1727 The birth of British general James Wolfe, known for his training reforms but remembered chiefly for his victory over the French in Canada. His service in Flanders and in Scotland, where he took part in the suppression of the Jacobite Rebellion, brought him to the attention of his superiors. Wolfe’s part in the taking of Quebec in 1759 led to his death in battle but earned him posthumous fame and he became an icon of Britain’s victory in the Seven Years War and subsequent territorial expansion.
1757 Robert Clive (also known as Clive of India) captured Calcutta. It had been seized by the Nawab of Bengal, who imprisoned 146 British in the infamous ‘black hole’. Only 23 survived. Clive established the military and political supremacy of the East India Company in Bengal and also the wealth that followed, for the British crown. Together with Warren Hastings (the first Governor-General of India) he was one of the key figures in the creation of British India.
1769 The Royal Academy, founded through a personal act of King George III on 10th December 1768, was opened On This Day in Piccadilly, London, with English painter Sir Joshua Reynolds as president. Its purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate.
1788 Named after King George II, Georgia becomes the fourth state of the U.S.A.
1868 The birth of Arthur Gore, English tennis player. He competed at Wimbledon on every occasion from 1888 to 1927, winning the men’s singles championship in 1901 and 1908, and becoming the oldest winner in 1909. He also won two gold medals at the London Olympics in 1908, winning the men’s indoor singles and the men’s indoor doubles, with Herbert Barrett.
1905 Sir Michael Tippett, English composer, was born. His most famous work ‘A Child of Our Time’ was inspired by events in 1938 when a Jewish refugee teenager in Paris murdered a German diplomat. The attack was a catalyst for the Nazis’ attacks against Jews in Germany. During the war Tippett tried, and failed, to get exemption as a conscientious objector, and was imprisoned.