It happened today – this day in history – February 26

1564: Birth of dramatist Christopher Marlowe in Canterbury.

1606: First known European landing in Australia by Dutch navigator Willem Jansz.

1616: The Roman Inquisition delivers an injunction to Galileo demanding he abandon his belief in heliocentrism, which states the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun.

1797: The Bank of England issues first £1 note.

1802: Birth of French author Victor Hugo.

1815: Napoleon Bonaparte and his supporters leave Elba to start a 100 day re-conquest of France.

1839: The first Grand National steeplechase at Aintree Racecourse won by 5/1favourite Lottery.

1863: Abraham Lincoln signs National Currency Act, establishing a single national US currency.

1869: Franz Schubert’s previously unknown Symphony number 4, “The Tragic”, premieres 41 years after his death.

1885: The Berlin Conference gives Congo to Belgium and Nigeria to Great Britain.

1891: Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” premieres in Oslo.

1912: Miners go on strike in Britain.

1916: Mutual signs Charlie Chaplin to a film contract.

1917: The first jazz records are recorded – “Dixie Jazz Band One Step” and “Livery Stable Blues” by Original Dixieland Jass (sic) Band for the Victor Talking Machine Company. On the same day, the Russian Army mutinies when Tsar Nicholas II orders them to quell civil unrest in Petrograd.

1918: Stands at the Hong Kong Jockey Club collapse and burn, killing 604 people.

1924: Adolf Hitler goes on trial for treason after the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich.

1933: The Golden Gate Bridge groundbreaking ceremony is held at Crissy Field, San Francisco.

1935: The Luftwaffe is re-formed under Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering. On the same day, RADAR is first demonstrated by Robert Watson-Watt.

1950: Leonard Bernstein’s “Age of Anxiety” premieres in New York.

1952: Winston Churchill announces that Britain has its own atomic bomb.

1956: Poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath meet at a party in Cambridge.


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1962: The US Supreme court disallows race separation on public transport.

1968: Twenty-one female patients die in a fire which sweeps through a wing of Shelton Mental Hospital near Shrewsbury.

1971: Two RUC officers are shot and killed by the IRA while on a patrol in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.

1975: Police Constable Stephen Tribble, aged 22, is shot three times at point blank range by a gunman on the run from detectives in Baron’s Court, West London.

1978: Singles chart:

  1. Take A Chance On Me – ABBA
  2. Come Back My Love – Darts
  3. Wishing On A Star – Rose Royce
  4. Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees
  5. Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush
  6. Figaro – Brotherhood Of Man
  7. Mr Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra
  8. Just One More Night – Yellow Dog
  9. Love Is Like Oxygen – The Sweet
  10. If I Had Words – Scott Fitzgerald and Yvonne Keely
1978: ELO – Out Of The Blue

Album chart:

  1. The Album – ABBA
  2. Reflections – Andy Williams
  3. Variations – Julian Lloyd Webber
  4. Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
  5. Foot Loose And Fancy Free – Rod Stewart
  6. Out Of Th Blue – Electric Light Orchestra
  7. The Souond Of Bread: Their 20 Finst Songs – Bread
  8. New Boots And Panties – Ian Dury
  9. Greatest Hits – Donna Summer
  10. Darts – Darts

1980: Egypt and Israel exchange ambassadors for the first time.

1984: The last of the remaining American forces occupying Beirut pull out of the Lebanese capital.

1987: The Church of England’s General Synod votes by a huge majority in favour of the ordination of women priests.

1991: The Kuwaiti capital is liberated by the Gulf War Allies after 208 days of Iraqi occupation. Coalition planes bomb retreating Iraqi forces, creating the so-called ‘Highway of Death’.

1993: A car bomb explodes underneath the World Trade Centre in New York, killing at least five people.

1995: London finance house Barings collapses after huge losses in Singapore by rogue trader Nick Leeson.

1997: Songwriter Ben Raleigh, composer of Scooby Doo Where Are You? dies in a fire in his kitchen after setting fire to his bathrobe while cooking.

2000: Former British spy David Shayler is sued by the government for breach of confidence and contract over information leaked to a national newspaper.

2009: Death of actress Wendy Richard. On the same day, supermodel Gisele Bundchen marries American football quarterback Tom Brady.

2010: With debts of around £70m Portsmouth becomes the first Premier League club to enter administration.

2019: India launches air strikes on alleged terrorist camps in Pakistan. On the same day, Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell is convicted of child sexual abuse in Melbourne, Australia.

2021: An Amnesty International report says that Eritrean troops may have committed crimes against humanity,

2022: A ‘rain bomb’ caused by a slow-moving low pressure trough causes major flooding in south-east Queensland, Australia.

2023: Former Speaker of the House of Commons, Betty Boothroyd, dies aged 93.

Corinne Bailey Rae

BIRTHDAYS: Sandie Shaw (Sandra Goodrich) singer, 77; Michael Bolton (Bolotin) singer-songwriter, 71; Recep Erdoğan, president of Turkey, 70; Jaz (Jeremy) Coleman, vocalist/composer (Killing Joke) 64; Tim Commerford, bassist (Rage Against The Machine) 56; Erykah Badu (Erica Wright), singer-songwriter, 53; Max Martin (Karl Sandberg), producer/songwriter, 53; Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, footballer/manager, 51; Corinne Bailey Rae, singer-songwriter, 45; Emmanuel Adebayor; footballer, 40; Teresa Palmer, actress, 38.