Today in history
1144 - Basilica of St Denis is dedicated near Paris, the first fully Gothic church. 1644 - Florentine scientist Evangelista Torricelli describes his invention of the mercury barometer in 1643 in a letter to Michelangelo Ricci. 1770 - Captain James Cook discovers Great Barrier Reef off Australia. 1901 - At a civic reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, John Logan Campbell handed over the deed to Cornwall Park, land around One Tree Hill/maungakiekie. The new park was named in honour of the royal couple; Cook Islands annexed and proclaimed part of New Zealand. 1917 - King Alexander assumes the throne of Greece after his father Constantine I abdicates under pressure by allied armies occupying Athens. 1940 - Italy declares war on Allies; British forces bomb Genoa and Turin in Italy; First attack of the Italian Air force on the island of Malta. 1941 - Vichy-french planes bomb Tel Aviv, killing 20 Jews. 1942 - German army defeated at El-alamein, North Africa. 1943 - British invades Pantelleria [a tiny island south of Sicily]. 1944 - 15 US aircraft carriers attack Japanese bases on Marianas. 1962 - Brothers John and Clarence Anglin and fellow inmate Frank Morris escape from Alcatraz Island prison, the only ones to do so. 1971 - US and Japan sign accord to return Okinawa to Japan.