It happened today – this day in history – February 18

1219: Jerusalem re-taken by the Christian Crusader kingdom in a peace treaty between Holy Roman Emperor Frederik II and Egyptian ruler Al-Kamil

1294: Death of Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan.

1478: George, Duke of Clarence, is convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV and is privately executed in the Tower of London (allegedly by being drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine).

1503: Henry Tudor (later Henry VIII) is made Prince of Wales.

1516: Birth of Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary)

1519: Conquistador Hernan Cortes leaves Cuba for the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico with 11 ships and 500 men.

1546: Death of theologian Martin Luther.

1564: Death of Michelangelo.

1587: Mary, Queen of Scots is beheaded

1678: John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” is published in London.

1745: Bonnie Prince Charlie’s troops occupy Inverness.

1797: Trinidad is surrendered to a British fleet under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby.

1814: The Battle of Montereau; victory of French under Napoleon Bonaparte against Austrians and Württembergers under the King of Württemberg.

1861: Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia becomes first King of Italy.

1876: A direct telegraph link is established between Britain and New Zealand.

1884: General Charles Gordon arrives in Khartoum.

1885: Mark Twain publishes the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in the US.

1901: Winston Churchill makes his maiden speech in the House of Commons.

1915: Germany begins a blockade of Britain. On the same day, US outlaw Frank James dies aged 72.

1921: British troops occupy Dublin.

1930: Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto .

1942: Japanese troops land on Bali

1943: German Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbells demands “total war” from German citizens in a speech at Berlin Sportpalast.

1951: Nepal becomes a constitutional monarchy.

1954: The Secretary of the US army orders two generals subpoenaed by anti-Communist senator Joseph McCarthy to ignore the summons. On the same day, The first Church of Scientology is established in Los Angeles by L Ron Hubbard.


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1955: Singles chart:

  1. Softly Softly – Ruby Murray
  2. Mambo Italiano – Rosemary Clooney and the Mellomen
  3. Give Me Your Word – Tennessee Ernie Ford
  4. The Finger Of Suspicion – Dickie Valentine with the Stargazers
  5. Heartbeat – Ruby Murray
  6. The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane – Dean Martin
  7. Shake, Rattle And Roll – Bill Haley and his Comets
  8. The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane – The Ames Brothers
  9. Let Me Go Lover – Teresa Brewer with the Lancers
  10. No One But You – Billy Eckstein

1959: Ray Charles records What’d I Say in New York.

1960: The Winter Olympic Games open in Squaw Valley, California.

1962: Elvis Presley – Blue Hawaii

1962: Album chart:

  1. Blue Hawaii – Elvis Presley
  2. The Young Ones – Cliff Richard
  3. The Black And White Minstrel Show – The George Mitchell Singers
  4. South Pacific – Original Soundtrack
  5. The Shadows – The Shadows
  6. Sound Of Music – Original London Cast
  7. West Side Story – Original Broadway Cast
  8. Another Black And White Minstrel Show – The George Mitchell Singers
  9. Vamp From The Roaring Twenties – Dorothy Provine
  10. Oliver – Original London Cast

1963: Hugh Gaitskell, leader of the Labour Party, dies aged 56.

1965: The Beatles record You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away and Tell Me What You See for the Help! Album at EMI Studios in Abbey Road, St John’s Wood. On the same day, Gambia becomes independent from the UK.

1966: Brian Wilson begins recording Good Vibrations with the Wrecking Crew of top session musicians while The Beach Boys are away on tour.

1967: Death of theoretical physicist Robert Oppenheimer – father of the atomic bomb, aged 62.

1968: David Gilmour joins Pink Floyd.

1969: Singer Lulu marries Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees in Bucks.

1977: Peter Sellers marries Lynne Frederick.

1979: Snow falls in the Sahara Desert.

1981: Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government withdraws plans to close 23 coal pits in its first major U-turn since coming to power.

1990: Freddie Mercury makes his final public appearance on stage when he joins the rest of Queen to collect the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. People are shocked by his gaunt appearance.

1996: IRA bomber Edward O’Brien dies when the device he is carrying explodes prematurely on board a London bus.

1998: Tenor Andrea Bocelli makes his operatic debut as Rodolfo in “La Bohème” at the Teatro Comunale in Cagliari.

2003: More than 200 people die in a subway fire in South Korea.

2005: Hunting with dogs becomes illegal in England and Wales.

2009: Author Terry Pratchett is knighted by The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

2014: Revolution breaks out in the Ukraine capital Kyiv.

2020: The Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy amid hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits.

2021: NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully lands on Mars.

2022: Storm Eunice moves across Europe and the UK with gusts of 120mph.

2023: Dirctor George T. Miller dies aged 79.

Yoko Ono (Photo: Earl McGehee)

BIRTHDAYS: Yoko Ono, avant garde artist, 91; Graeme Garden, writer/comedy actor, 81; Michael Buerk, newsreader, 78; Cybill Shepherd, actress, 74; Randy Crawford, singer, 72; John Travolta, actor, 70; Brian James, guitarist (The Damned) 69; Carol McGiffin, broadcaster, 64; Greta Scacchi, actress, 64; Rob Andrew, former rugby player, 61; Matt Dillon, actor, 60; Dr Dre (Andre Young) rapper, 59; Roberto Baggio, Italian footballer, 57; Colin Jackson, former athlete, 57; Molly Ringwald, actress, 56; Gary Neville, football pundit, 49; Keith Gillespie, footballer, 49; Regina Spektor, singer-songwriter, 44; Courtney Act (Shane Janek), drag artist, 42; Jermaine Jenas, football pundit, 41; Anton Ferdinand, footballer, 39; Nathan Aké, footballer, 29.

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