Prime Minister and Communist Party leader, General Wojciech Jaruzelski seated at Sejm (parliament) during the announcement of lifting the martial law. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

1983 - Polish authorities announced an end to 19 months of martial law from midnight and declared a limited amnesty for political prisoners. The announcement by head-of-state Henryk Jablonski to a packed Sejm (parliament) closed a unique chapter in the history of Communist East Europe, which began with the creation of the Solidarity free trade union in 1980. The Prime Minister and Communist Party leader, General Wojciech Jaruzelski (above front) in a Sejm speech, rejected any suggestion that the present moves might have been taken in response to western sanctions. The end of martial law comes into effect on the national day.

Other important events

1831 - Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg is crowned the first king of newly independent Belgium.

1873 - Jesse James and his gang pull off the first train robbery in America taking $3,000 (Dh11,034) from the Rock Island Express in Adair, Iowa.

1940 - Soviet Union annexes Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

1960 - Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka becomes the world’s first woman Prime Minister.

1969 - Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr blast off from Moon and head back to Earth after first lunar landing.

1970 - After 11 years, the Aswan High Dam across the Nile River in Egypt is completed.

1973 - France explodes nuclear device over South Pacific island despite worldwide protests.

1980 - Salah Al Deen Al Bitar, former premier of the United Arab Republic, is assassinated in Paris.

2005 - China revalues its currency.

2008 - Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is arrested for war crimes after a 12-year manhunt.

2011 - The space shuttle programme comes to an end after 30 years as Atlantis lands at Cape Canaveral, Florida.