2 December 1560

Charles de Marillac, Archbishop of Vienne, died at Melun, near Paris. An accomplished diplomat, he had served as French ambassador at the court of Henry VIII from 1538 to 1543. The dispatches Marillac sent back to his masters in France offer lively accounts of the king's first meeting with Anne of Cleves and the downfall of Thomas Cromwell. They also provide an assessment of Henry's character, which he describes as tainted by three ""plagues"": insatiable covetousness, distrust and fear, and lightness and inconsistency.


2 December 1697

The first service is held in Wren's new St Paul's Cathedral.

2 December 1859

Militant abolitionist John Brown was publicly hanged in Charles Town, Virginia after being found guilty of murder, treason and inciting a slave insurrection following his raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry.

2 December 1908

Two-year-old Pu Yi becomes the last Emperor of China. Pensioned off following the Chinese Revolution of 1911–12, he will be installed by the Japanese in 1932 as the puppet ruler of Manchuria.

2 December 1932

Opening day of the first cricket Test between Australia and England at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Captained by Douglas Jardine, whose patrician attitude alienated elements of the Australian crowd, England won the match by 10 wickets. They went on to win the series by four Tests to one. However, their use of what the Australians considered intimidatory short-pitched bowling on the line of the body, soured relations between the two countries.

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2 December 1961

Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared in a televised address that he was a Marxist-Leninist and that his country was adopting communism.

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