A final, uncompromising demand or set of terms, the rejection of which could lead to a severance of relations or to the use of force.
Fact of the Day
In 1956 John Wayne starred as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror. It was filmed in Utah, downwind of the US government's nuclear tests in Nevada, and about half the cast and crew developed cancer as a result.
Quote of the Day
"There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen. "
On This Day
1154 King Stephen, who had wrested control of England from his cousin, Empress Matilda - and broken his oath in the process - died of a stomach disorder. Thanks to the Treaty of Winchester, Matilda's own son, Henry, became king instead of Stephen's eldest surviving son, William.
1400 One of the greatest poets of the English language, Geoffrey Chaucer, died of unknown causes (according to the engraving on his tomb) but possibly on the orders of the enemies of the recently-deposed Richard II. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, and his remains are now interred in Poets' Corner.
1415 The outnumbered English, led by Henry V, won a decisive victory against the French - helped massively by their use of the longbow - at the Battle of Agincourt.
1760 George II died when his heart ruptured following an incipient aortic aneurysm, and his grandson, George III, acceded to the throne.
1822 The First Siege of Missolonghi begins as part of the Greek War of Independence.
1854 'Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of hell Rode the six hundred': British light cavalry charged in a frontal assault against well-defended and well-sited Russian guns in the Crimean War. The Charge of the Light Brigade has become a prime example of bravery in the face of futile death.
1917 (Julian calendar). Lenin's Bolsheviks seize power by capturing the Winter Palace in Petrograd.