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THE IRON LADY

About Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher was the first female head of government in the West. She was also the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th Century. Key Dates
1925 Margaret Roberts was born in the town of Grantham, the daughter of a grocer.
1943 Accepted at Oxford University to study Chemistry. President of the Student Conservative Association. Late
1940s Works as a research chemist.
1950 Stands for election to Parliament as Conservative candidate for the district of Dartford and loses the election.
1951 Marries successful businessman, Denis Thatcher.
1953 Qualifies as a barrister. Gives birth to twins, Carol and Mark.
1959 Stands for election to Parliament as Conservative candidate for the district of Finchley and wins, entering the House of Commons.
1970 Appointed Secretary of State for Education and Science by Prime Minister Edward Heath.
1975 Elected leader of the Conservative Party.
1976 The Soviet Union dubs her "The Iron Lady" for her staunch opposition to Communism.
1979 Leads the Conservative Party to victory in Britain's general election and becomes the country's first female prime minister. Airey Neave, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and her close friend and advisor, is killed by an Irish republican car bomb.
1980 Pursues a policy of spending cuts, notwithstanding recession and high unemployment.
1981 Riots in the U.K. Irish Republican Army members commence hunger strike in the Maze Prison in protest of Thatcher's anti-IRA policies. Trip to White House to meet U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
1982 Falkland Islands crisis leads to war with Argentina in April. The Falklands are back under British control by June.
1983 Wins a landslide in the general election for a second term as prime minister.
1984 Survives assassination attempt when the Brighton Grand Hotel is bombed by Irish Republican Army during the Conservative Party Conference. Start of the year-long miners' strike against coal pit closures, ending with the defeat of the Miners' Union.
1987 Wins unprecedented third term as prime minister.
1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall.
1990 Her introduction of the "Poll Tax" (a flat-rate per capita tax to fund local services) leads to civil unrest. Opposition to closer integration with Europe causes divisions within the Conservative Party. Geoffrey Howe, a former key ally, resigns and precipitates a challenge to her leadership of the Conservative Party. Resigns as prime minister and leaves 10 Downing Street.
2002 After a series of minor strokes, announces an end to her public speaking engagements.
2003 Death of Denis Thatcher.
2011 Thatcher is now 86 years old.

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