It happened today – this day in history – December 18

1271: Kublai Khan renames his empire Yuan, beginning the Yuan dynasty of China.

1737: Antonio Stradivari, renowned violin-maker, dies in Cremona, Italy, at 93.

1783: George III dismisses the Duke of Portland’s government.

1787: New Jersey becomes the third state to ratify US constitution.

1832: HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin on board reaches Tierra del Fuego for the first time.

1852: George Hamilton-Gordon becomes Prime Minister after the downfall of the Conservative government of Edward Smith-Stanley.

1862: The Battle at Lexington, Tennessee in the American Civil War.

1878: Birth of Joseph Stalin, Dictator and General Secretary of the Soviet Union.

1892: Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Nutcracker Suite” premieres.

1899: Field Marshal Lord Roberts appointed British supreme commander in South Africa.

1902: Parliament passes the Education Act, which will come to be regarded as the most important legislation of Arthur Balfour’s government.

1912: Piltdown Man, later discovered to be a hoax, is supposedly found in the Piltdown Gravel Pit, by Charles Dawson.

1916: Battle of Verdun, longest of World War I, officially ends in German defeat after nine months of fighting and almost 1 million total casualties.

1917: The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, authorizing prohibition of alcohol, is approved by the US congress.

1941: Japanese troops land on Hong Kong.

1945: Uruguay joins the United Nations.

1956: Japan is admitted to the UN. On the same day, Stanley Matthews wins the Ballon d’Or.

1961: EMI rejects The Beatles.

1965: Frank Borman and Jim Lovell Splash down in Atlantic after two week Gemini VII mission.

1966: Heir to the Guinness fortune, Tara Browne, is killed when his Lotus Elan collides with a lorry in South Kensington. His death was immortalised by John Lennon in the song A Day In The Life.

1969: House of Lords votes to abolish the death penalty in England, Wales and Scotland.

1971: Three members of the IRA die when the bomb they were transporting explodes prematurely in Magherafelt, Co Derry.

1983: Keith Richards marries 27-year old Patti Hansen on his 40th birthday. On the same day, James Brown’s guitarist of 38 years, Jimmy Nolan, died of a heart attack in Atlanta.

1997: Comedian Chris Farley dies of a drugs overdose aged 33.

1999: Newsreader Robert Dougal dies aged 86.

2000: Singer, songwriter Kirsty MacColl, was killed in a boating accident off the coast of Mexico when a speedboat hit her.

2001: Songwriter Clifford T. Ward died aged 57 after suffering from multiple sclerosis since 1984.

2002: Fashion designer Calvin Klein announces he is selling his company to shirt-maker Phillips-Van Heusen for $430 million.

2003: Michael Jackson was formally charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering intoxicating liquor to a minor with the intent of committing a crime.

2011: The last US troops withdraw from Iraq, formally ending the Iraq War. On the same day, former Czech president Vaclav Havel dies aged 75.

2013: Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins was sentenced to 35 years in jail for a string of child sex offences.

2016: Death of Hungarian actress Zsa Zsa Gabor aged 99.

2017: Australia regains the Ashes.

2018: Jose Mourinho is sacked by Manchester United. On the same day, a meteor explodes in huge fireball over the Bering Sea with 10 times the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

BIRTHDAYS: Keith Richards, guitarist, (The Rolling Stones) 76; Steven Spielberg, director, 73; Bill Nelson, guitarist (Be Bop Deluxe) 71; Rosie Vela, singer/songwriter/model 67; Ray Liotta, actor, 65; Geordie Walker, musician (Killing Joke) 61; Brad Pitt, actor, 56; Robson Green, actor, 55; Sia (Furler) singer/songwriter 44; Katie Holmes, actress, 41; Christina Aguilera,singer, 39; Billie Eilish, singer, 18.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]