It happened today – this day in history – January 15

1412: Birth of Joan of Arc.

1535: Henry VIII declares himself head of the Church in England.

1552: France signs a secret treaty with German Protestants.

1559: Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey.

1582: Russia cedes Livonia and Estonia to Poland, losing access to the Baltic Sea.

1622: Birth of French playwright Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) in Paris.

1752: Tobias Smollett accuses Henry Fielding of plagiarism.

1759: The British Museum opens in Montague House, London.

1785: Premiere of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s string quartet opus 10.

1797: The first top hat is worn by John Etherington of London.

1861: Ellisha Otis patents the steam elevator.

1895: Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake” premieres in St Petersburg.

1902: Abdulaziz Ibn Saud leads 40 men over the walls of Riyadh and takes the city.

1911: The first airplane bombing experiments with explosives are carried out at San Francisco.

1915: Japan claims economic control of China.

1919: Two million gallons of molasses floods Boston, Massachusetts, when a storage tank bursts, drowning 21. On the same day, pianist Ignace Paderewski becomes first premier of Poland. Also, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, two of the most prominent socialists in Germany, are tortured and murdered by the Freikorps.

1922: Arthur Griffith is elected president of the Irish Free State after Eamon de Valera resigns in opposition to the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

1934: While robbing the First National Bank in East Chicago, Indianapolis, John Dillinger is shot several times but survives because he is wearing a bullet proof vest.

1943: The Pentagon, the world’s largest office building is completed to house the US military.

1945: The Red Army frees Crakow-Plaszow concentration camp. On the same day, the Manhattan Project’s G-5 Group, headed by physicists Donald Kerst and Seth Neddermeyer, take their first betatron pictures of a nuclear implosion at the Los Alamos Laboratory.

1947: The brutalised corpse of Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia) is found in Leimert Park, Los Angeles.

1951: The US Supreme Court rules “clear & present danger” of incitement to riot is not protected speech and can be a cause for arrest. Take note Mr President! On the same day, Ilse Koch, also known as “The Bitch of Buchenwald”, is sentenced to life imprisonment by a West German court.

1953: East German authorities begin a purge of senior officials, accused of plotting against the state and spying for imperialistic powers.

1958: Northern Ireland beat Italy 2-1 in Belfast to qualify for the World Cup finals.

1961: The Supremes sign a record contract with Motown Records.


1964: Trombonist Jack Teagarden dies aged 58.

1970: Riots break out in the Ardoyne area of Belfast. On the same day, Muammar Gaddafi is proclaimed premier of Libya.

1973: President Nixon orders a halt to American bombing in North Vietnam following peace talks in Paris.

1976: Sara Jane Moore is sentenced to life for attempting to shoot US President Gerald Ford.

1978: The Dallas Cowboys beat the Denver Broncos, 27-10 to win the Super Bowl.

1982: The prime minister’s son, Mark Thatcher, is found safe and well after going missing in the Sahara for six days while taking part in the Paris-Dakar rally.

1984: Left wing rebel, Tony Benn, wins Labour’s nomination for the Chesterfield by-election.

1987: A police officer who mistakenly shot and paralysed Cherry Groce, the innocent mother of the man they were looking for in Brixton is cleared of all criminal charges.

1988: Sean MacBride, Chief of Staff of the IRA and founder of Amnesty International dies aged 83.

1991: UN’s deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait (they don’t).

1992: Elton John’s former bass guitarist, Dee Murray, dies after suffering a stroke aged 45.

1994: The Queen falls off her horse and breaks her wrist. On the same day, singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson dies in his sleep of heart failure.

1997: The Princess of Wales angers government ministers after calling for an international ban on landmines. On the same day, the space shuttle Atlantis docks with the Mir Space Station.

1998: Australian schoolboy Ian Thorpe becomes the youngest ever male to become a world swimming champion when he wins the 400m freestyle aged 15 years, 3 months in Perth . On the same day, Chicago blues vocalist and harmonica player, Junior Wells (Amos Blakemore) dies aged 63.

2002: Adam Ant (Stuart Goddard) is admitted to a mental ward 24 hours after being charged by police with pulling a gun on staff in a London pub.

2005: An intense solar flare blasts X-rays across the solar system.

2007: Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, former Iraqi intelligence chief and half-brother of Saddam Hussein, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former chief judge of the Revolutionary Court, are executed by hanging in Iraq.

2009: Pilot Chesley Sullenberger lands US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River shortly after take-off from LaGuardia Airport in New York. All passengers and crew members survive.

2011: Football legend Nat Lofthouse dies aged 85.

2012: Singles chart:

  1. Domino – Jessie J
  2. Good Feeling – Flo Rida
  3. Mama Do The Hump – Rizzle Kicks
  4. Levels – Avicii
  5. Dedication To My Ex – Lloyd ft Andre 3000/Lil Wayne
  6. Troublemaker – Taio Cruz
  7. Paradise – Coldplay
  8. Titanium – David Guetta ft Sia
  9. Dance With Me Tonight – Olly Nurs
  10. Earthquake – Labrinth ft Tinie Tempah
2012: Adele – 21

Album chart:

  1. Doo-Wops & Hooligans – Bruno Mars
  2. 21 – Adele
  3. + – Ed Sheeran
  4. Given To The Wild – The Macabees
  5. 4 – Beyonce
  6. What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? – The Vaccines
  7. Mylo Xyloto – Coldplay
  8. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
  9. Velociraptor – Kasabian
  10. Lioness: Hidden Treasures – Amy Winehouse

2015: Record producer Kim Fowley dies of bladder cancer in Hollywood, California at the age of 75.

2018: Singer-songwriter Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries dies unexpectedly while in London for a recording session. On the same day, fashion photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber are suspended from magazines including Vogue after allegations of sexual harassment. Also, US Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Simone Biles says she is one of more than 130 women sexually abused by former team doctor Larry Nassar and West Bromwich Albion legend Cyrille Regis, dies of a heart attack aged 59. Actor Peter Wyngarde (Cyril Goldbert) dies aged 90.

2019: Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU is rejected by parliament 432 votes to 202, the largest parliamentary defeat in its democratic era.

BIRTHDAYS: Princess Michael of Kent, 76; Pete Waterman, record producer/TV presenter, 74; Biff (Peter) Byford, singer, (Saxon) 70; Duke (Douglas) Erikson, guitarist (Garbage) 68; Peter Trewavas, bassist, (Marillion) 62; James Nesbitt , actor, 56; Regina King, actress/director, 50; Claudia Winkleman, TV presenter, 49; Mary Pierce, French tennis champion, 46; Edith Bowman, broadcaster, 46; Pitbull (Armando Pérez) rapper, 40; El Hadji Diouf, footballer, 40; Jermaine Pennant, footballer, 38.