It happened today – this day in history – August 15

1519: Panama City is founded by Spanish conquistador Pedro Arias Dávila.

1548: Mary, Queen of Scots arrives in France, aged 6.

1620: The Mayflower sets sail from Southampton with 102 pilgrims.

1741: French troops attack the Rhine.

1769: Birth of Napoleon Bonaparte on Corsica.

1824: Freed American slaves establish Liberia on the West African coast.

1892: The fourth and final government of William Gladstone forms.

1901: Britain issues a proclamation calling on the Boers to surrender by 15 September or face banishment and confiscation of their property.

1903: New Zealand’s All Blacks play their first Rugby Test Match against Australia’s Wallabies at the Sydney Cricket Ground, winning 22-3.

1906: Edward VII visits his cousin Kaiser Wilhelm II to discuss the escalating rivalry between their nations’ naval forces.

1914: Dinant, Belgium, is destroyed by German bombs. Lt Charles de Gaulle, aged 24, is injured. On the same day, the Panama Canal opens. Also, a servant of architect Frank Lloyd Wright sets fire to the living quarters of the architect’s Wisconsin home, Taliesin, murders seven people and burns the living quarters to the ground.

1920: Polish troops commanded by Jozef Pilsudski defeat the Soviets at the Battle of Warsaw.

1923: Eamon de Valera is arrested in the Irish Free State.

1925: Norway annexes Spitsbergen.

1935: Aviator Wiley Post dies aged 36 when his plane crashes in Alaska. The crash also kills his friend, actor Will Rogers, 55.

1939: The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland, premieres at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Hollywood.

1944: Allies land on French Mediterranean sea coast and in Provence while the US 12th Army corps enters Le Mans through Orleans.

1945: Allied nations rejoice on VJ Day following Japan’s unconditional surrender, marking the end of World War II.

1947: India gains independence from Britain.

1950: Princess Anne is born at Clarence House. On the same day, Ezzard Charles TKOs Freddie Beshore in Round 14 to retain the heavyweight boxing title. Also, Sukarno proclaims the unitary Republic of Indonesia and becomes its first president.

1954: Alfredo Stroessner declares himself president of Paraguay.

1955: Elvis Presley and his father Vernon attend a meeting in Memphis with his manager Bob Neal and carnival promoter Colonel Tom Parker (real name Andreas Cornelius van Kujik) at which a new contract is signed that names Colonel Parker as “special advisor” with control of virtually every aspect of the singer’s career.

1958: Rock n roll star Buddy Holly marries receptionist Maria Santiago.

1962: John Lennon and Paul McCartney drive from Liverpool to Skegness where Ringo Starr is playing a Butlins residency with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, to ask the drummer in person to join The Beatles.

1963: Singles chart:

  1. Sweets For My Sweet – The Searchers
  2. Confessin’ – Frank Ifield
  3. Bad To Me – Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas
  4. Twist And Shout – Brian Poole and the Tremeloes
  5. Devil In Disguise – Elvis Presley
  6. In Summer – Billy Fury
  7. Theme From The Legion’s Last Patrol – Ken Thorne
  8. Da Doo Ron Ron – The Crystals
  9. Sukiyaki – Kyu Sakomoto
  10. Wipe Out – The Surfaris

1964: Fred Trueman takes his 300th Test wicket against Australia at The Oval.

1965: A weekend of rioting in Los Angeles leaves 34 dead and hundreds injured. On the same day, The Beatles set a new world record for the largest attendance at a pop concert when they play in front of 55,600 fans at Shea Stadium in New York.

1966: Five members of the Ku Klux Klan, led by the Imperial Wizard of Maryland, picket a Beatles show at the D.C. Stadium in Washington during the band’s final tour.

1968: Pirate station Radio Free London begins transmitting.


1969: The Woodstock Festival begins at Max Yasgur’s 600 acre farm in Bethel, New York state featuring on the first day, Richie Havens, Melanie, Joan Baez, Tim Hardin, Ravi Shankar and Arlo Guthrie. On the same day, working on The Beatles’ Abbey Road album, producer George Martin supervised orchestral overdubs for the tracks Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End, Here Comes The Sun and Something.

1971: Showjumper Harvey Smith is stripped of his £2,000 winnings and a major show jumping title for giving the V-sign on completing a clear round. On the same day, the Social Democratic and Labour Party announce a campaign of civil disobedience in response to the introduction of Internment in Northern Ireland.

1974: South Korean President Park Chung-Hee survives an assassination attempt that kills his wife.

1975: Founding father of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujiber Rahman is assassinated in a military coup.

1977: Herbert Kappler, head of Nazi police and security services (SS) in Rome during WWII, escapes from a prison hospital.

1981: Ian Botham scores a century in 86 balls v Australia at Old Trafford.

1983: Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone undergoes brain surgery after being badly beaten in a fight.

1985: The speedboat Virgin Atlantic Challenger capsizes off the south-west of England, which scuppers Richard Branson’s attempt at the fastest-ever Atlantic crossing.

1989: F W de Klerk becomes President of South Africa.

1990: At least 150 people die in clashes between the African National Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party in South Africa.

1991: Paul Simon plays a free concert in New York’s Central Park before an audience of three quarters of a million people.

1992: The first matches in the Premier League are played with Sheffield United striker Brian Deane scoring the first goal after five minutes against eventual champions Manchester United.

1995: U2’s Dublin hotel, The Clarence is damaged by fire.

1998: A massive car bomb detonated by the Real IRA in Omagh kills 20 people.

2000: David Bowie and wife Iman celebrate the birth of their daughter Alexandria Zahra Jones.

2004: Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts receives treatment for throat cancer.

2005: Israeli troops deliver the first eviction notices to settlers in the Gaza Strip.

2006: Der Spiegel publishes documents confirming German writer Gunter Grass was a member of the Waffen-SS during the Second World War.

2007: An 8.0-magnitude earthquake off the Pacific coast devastates various regions of Peru.

2008: Lee Berger and his nine-year-old son discover the two-million-year-old fossils of a new species of human ancestor (Australopithecus sediba) at Malapa Cave, South Africa. On the same day, record producer Jerry Wexler dies aged 91.

2009: The Athletics World Championships open in Berlin.

2010: Eminem – Recovery

2010: Album chart:

  1. Recovery – Eminem
  2. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
  3. The Defamation Of Strickland Banks – Plan B
  4. Eliza Doolittle – Eliza Doolittle
  5. The Fame – Lady Gaga
  6. Crazy Love – Michael Buble
  7. Praise & Blame – Tom Jones
  8. Sunny Side Up – Paolo Nutini
  9. Jason Derulo – Jason Derulo
  10. XX – XX

2015: North Korea creates its own time zone by moving its clocks back half an hour to GMT+8.5.

2016: Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas dives at the line to win the women’s 400m gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

2017: Speaking on Twitter, Barack Obama says: “No one is born hating another person because of the color (sic) of his skin or his background or his religion…” in response to Charlottesville violence. It becomes the most liked tweet ever.

2018: The first ever US execution by fentanyl of Carey Dean Moore at Nebraska State Penitentiary.

2021: Afghan president Ashraf Ghani flees the country as Taliban forces enter the capital Kabul and take control. On the same day, West German football legend Gerd Müller dies aged 75 from Alzheimer’s Disease.

BIRTHDAYS: Jim Dale, actor/songwriter, 87; Pete York, drummer (Spencer Davis Group) 80; Jimmy Webb, singer-songwriter, 76; Sir Tony Robinson, actor, 76; Tom Johnston, guitarist/singer/songwriter (The Doobie Brothers), 74; HRH The Princess Royal, 72; Matt Johnson, singer-songwriter (The The) 61; Jack Russell, wicketkeeper, 59; Debra Messing, actress, 54; Anthony Anderson, actor/comedian, 52; Mikey Graham, vocalist, (Boyzone) 50; Ben Affleck (Affleck-Boldt), actor/director/screenwriter, 50; Natasha Henstridge, actress, 48; Ted Dwane, bassist (Mumford & Sons) 38; Emily Kinney, actress, 37; Joe Jonas, singer/actor, 33; Jennifer Lawrence, actress, 32; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, footballer, 29.