War of the Willies
1689 The start of the Williamite War in Ireland; a conflict between Catholic King James II and Protestant King William of Orange over who would be King of England, Scotland and Ireland. The War was to have a lasting effect on Ireland, confirming British and Protestant rule over the country for over a century. The iconic Williamite victories of the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne are still celebrated by the Unionist community in Northern Ireland today.
1710 Thomas Arne, English composer of Rule Britannia, was born. He also wrote a version of God Save the King, which was to become the British national anthem.
The First Assassin
1868 Henry O’Farrell from Dublin, attempted to assassinate Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria whilst he was on a tour of Australia. The attack caused great embarrassment in the colony, and led to a wave of anti-Irish sentiment, directed at all Irish people, including Protestant Loyalists.
1881 Andrew Watson made his Scotland debut as the world’s first black, international football player and captain.
The Salt March
1930 Mahatma Gandhi began his 300-mile march to the sea in protest against the British tax law securing a monopoly for salt. Joined by thousands of protesters, Gandhi and his followers eventually reached the Arabian Sea, where they made their own salt by evaporating sea water. The march, which resulted in the arrest of Gandhi and 60,000 others, earned new international respect and support for the leader and his movement.
1941 Islanders on the Hebrides hid thousands of bottles of shipwrecked whisky from government officials. The episode was celebrated in the film “Whisky Galore.”
1969 Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman, US photographer.
1994 The Church of England ordained the first women priests (32 in total) at Bristol Cathedral.