4 October 1661

Death, on her 36th birthday, of Jacqueline Pascal – sister of French philosopher and fellow child prodigy Blaise Pascal – and a leading figure in the Jansenist Abbey of Port-Royal, Paris.


4 October 1809

Spencer Perceval became British prime minister following the resignation of the ailing Lord Portland. In 1812 he became the only British PM to have been assassinated when he was shot in the lobby of the House of Commons.

4 October 1830

Belgium's provisional government declared independence from the Netherlands. In January 1831 an international conference in London declared the dissolution of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.

4 October 1842

Soldier and colonial governor Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole died at Highfield House, Hampshire. He was one of Wellington's most reliable subordinates during the Peninsular War, but missed the Waterloo campaign because he was on his honeymoon.

4 October 1883

William Alexander Smith, an exporter of shawls, plaids and tartans and a lieutenant in the First Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers, founds the first company of the Boys' Brigade in the North Woodside Mission Hall, Glasgow.


4 October 1957

Launch of Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit Earth.

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