1492: Christopher Columbus is given royal commission by Spanish monarchs Isabella I and Ferdinand II to equip his fleet to the New World.
1527: Henry VIII and Francis I of France sign the Treaty of Westminster, pledging to combine their forces against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in an attempt to win War of the League of Cognac.
1563: Jews are expelled from France by order of Charles VI.
1763: Member of Parliament and journalist John Wilkes is confined in the Tower of London, charged with seditious libel.
1789: George Washington is inaugurated as the first President of the USA.
1803: Chancellor Robert Livingstone and future president James Munroe sign the Louisiana Purchase Treaty in Paris at a cost of $15 million, doubling the size of the USA.
1859: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is first published in weekly instalments in literary periodical “All the Year Round”.
1871: Camp Grant Massacre of Apaches in Arizona Territory.
1883: Death of French impressionist painter Édouard Manet, aged 51.
1897: English physicist J J Thomson announces his discovery of the electron in a lecture to the Royal Institution.
1900: Casey Jones dies heroically in a train wreck at Vaughn, Mississippi, while driving the Cannonball Express.
1902: Debussy’s only completed opera “Pelléas et Mélisande” premieres in Paris.
1904: The ice cream cone makes its debut.
1920: Britain ends conscription.
1927: Bury full back Sam Wynne collapses during a First Division game against Sheffield United at Bramhall Lane. He is stretchered off and dies in the dressing room from pneumonia.
1938: The first televised FA Cup Final takes place between Huddersfield Town and Preston North End.
1943: Noel Coward’s “This Happy Breed” premieres in London.
1945: The Soviet Red Army opens an attack on the German Reichstag building in Berlin. On the same day, Adolf Hitler commits suicide along with his new wife Eva Braun in the Fuhrerbunker.
1947: The Boulder Dam is renamed in honour of Herbert Hoover.
1952: The Diary Of A Young Girl by Ann Frank is published in Britain for the first time.
1955: The discovery of element atomic number 101, Mendelevium, is announced.
1961: Lee Harvey Oswald marries Marina Prusakova in Minsk, USSR.
1970: Twiggs Lyndon, road manager for The Allman Brothers Band, is arrested for murder after stabbing a club manager during an argument over a contract. At the ensuing trial, Lyndon’s lawyers argue that he had been temporarily insane and that touring with The Allman Brothers would drive anyone insane. Lyndon was acquitted. On the same day, US troops invade Cambodia.
1973: President Richard Nixon takes responsibility for the Watergate scandal but denies any personal involvement saying: “There will be no whitewash at the White House.”
1975: The war in Vietnam ends as the government in Saigon announces its unconditional surrender to the Vietcong.
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1976: The Who drummer Keith Moon pays nine cab drivers to block-off both ends of a New York street so he can throw the contents of his hotel room out of the window. On the same day, Muhammad Ali beats Jimmy Young in 15 rounds for the world heavyweight boxing title.
1980: Terrorists seize the Iranian Embassy in London. On the same day, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, abdicates on her 71st birthday and Princess Beatrix becomes Queen.
1983: Blues legend Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) dies in his sleep at his home in Illinois, aged 68.
1988: Derby County goalkeeper Peter Shilton breaks the Football League appearance record, playing in his 825th League match in the 1-1 First Division draw against Watford at Vicarage Road. He went on to increase the record to 1005 League appearances. On the same day, Celine Dion wins the Eurovision Song Contest for Switzerland singing Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi in Dublin and Tom Hanks marries actress Rita Wilson.
1989: The World Wide Web is first launched in the public domain by CERN scientist Tim Berners-Lee. On the same day, Sergio Leone, the director who invented the spaghetti western, dies aged 60.
- Eternal Flame – The Bangles
- Hand On Your Heart – Kylie Minogue
- If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Simply Red
- Baby I Don’t Care – Transvision Vamp
- Requiem – The London Boys
- Americanos – Holly Johnson
- Miss You Like Crazy – Natalie Cole
- Who’s In The House? – Beatmasters ft Merlin
- Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil
- Good Thing – Fine Young Cannibals
- Blast – Holly Johnson
- A New flame – Simply Red
- Anything For You – Gloria Estefan
- The Raw And The Cooked – Fine Young Cannibals
- Everything – The Bangles
- When The World Knows Your Name – Deacon Blue
- Club Classics Volume I – Soul II Soul
- Like A Prayer – Madonna
- Kick – INXS
- Appetite For Destruction – Guns n Roses
1993: The world number one women’s tennis player, Monica Seles, is stabbed in the back by a spectator during a match in Hamburg.
1994: Driver Roland Ratzenberger is killed during qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.
1997: Big Ben stops at 12:11pm for 54 minutes.
1999: A nail bomb explodes in Soho killing two people (a third died later) and injuring dozens. On the same day, Tony Hadley, Steve Norman and John Keeble of Spandau Ballet lose a court case against band songwriter Gary Kemp for lost royalties. Also, Nazareth drummer Darrell Sweet dies aged 52, after suffering a heart attack before a show in New Albany, Indiana.
2004: New child abuse charges are made against Michael Jackson, including a count of conspiracy, covering allegations of child abduction, extortion and false imprisonment. A new court date of May 28 is set. On the same day, US media release graphic photos of American soldiers abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.
2008: Skeletal remains found near Ekaterinburg, Russia, are confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia and one of his sisters, killed during the Russian Revolution. On the same day, singer Mariah Carey marries actor/TV host Nick Cannon in the Bahamas following a whirlwind two-month romance.
2009: A failed attack on the Dutch Royal Family results in seven deaths. On the same day, Britain formally ends combat operations in Iraq.
2013: Willem-Alexander becomes the first male monarch of Netherlands in 123 years following the abdication of his mother, Queen Beatrix.
2014: Guitarist Wilko Johnson has major surgery to treat the pancreatic cancer he had been told two years earlier was terminal.
2015: Soul and R&B singer Ben E King (Nelson) dies aged 76.
2018: Sajid Javid is named Home Secretary by Prime Minister Teresa May.
2019: Emperor Akihito of Japan declares his abdication at a ceremony in Tokyo. On the same day, former Level 42 guitarist Boon Gould dies age 64 and Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) dies aged 74.
2020: Captain Tom Moore, who raised more £30 million for the NHS by walking in his garden, turns 100 and is made an honorary colonel by the Queen.
BIRTHDAYS: Burt Young (Gerald Tommaso DeLouise), actor, 82; Merrill Osmond, bassist/singer (The Osmonds) 69; Jane Campion, film director, 68; Lars von Trier, director/screenwriter, 66; Adrian Pasdar, actor, 57; Leigh Francis, comedian, 49; Johnny Galecki, actor, 47; Sam Heughan, actor, 42; Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) singer-songwriter, 41; Kunal Nayyar, actor, 41; John O’Shea, footballer, 41; Kirsten Dunst, actress, 40; Gal Gadot, actress, 37; Dianna Agron, actress, 36.