It happened today – this day in history – January 18

1126: Emperor Huizong abdicates the Chinese throne in favour of his son Qinzong.

1535: Francisco Pizarro founds the city of Lima in Peru.

1591: King Naresuan of Siam kills Crown Prince Minchit Sra of Burma in single combat.

1644: Pilgrims in Boston report America’s first UFO sighting.

1733: The first polar bear in captivity in the US is exhibited in Boston.

1779: Lexicographer Peter Mark Roget is born in London.

1788: The first ships of the fleet carrying 736 convicts from England to Australia arrives at Botany Bay to set up a penal colony.

1871: The Second German Empire is proclaimed by Kaiser Wilhelm I and Otto von Bismark.

1882: Birth of author A A Milne in Hampstead.

1884: General Charles Gordon departs London for Khartoum. On the same day, Dr William Price attempts to cremate the body of his infant son, Iesu Grist Price, setting a legal precedent for cremation in the UK.

1886: The Hockey Association forms in England.

1892: Birth of Oliver Hardy in Georgia.

1896: An X-ray machine is demonstrated in the US for the first time in New York. On the same day, British troops occupy Kumasi, West Africa.

1908: Frederick Delius’ “Brigg Fair” premieres in London.

1915: Japan issues the “Twenty-One Demands” to the Republic of China in a bid to increase its power in eastern Asia.

1919: Bentley Motors Limited is founded in London. On the same day, Prince John, youngest son of George V, dies aged 13. He was epileptic and had been kept from the public eye.

1922: Irish author Liam O’Flaherty and others occupy the Rotunda in Dublin.

1923: Actor/director/screenwriter Wallace Reid dies aged 31 from a morphine overdose.

1936: Author Rudyard Kipling dies aged 70.

1941: A counter-offensive is launched by the British against the Italians in East Africa.

1943: Soviets announce they have broken the long siege of Stalingrad by Nazi Germany by opening a narrow land corridor.

1951: Mt Lamington in Papua New Guinea erupts, killing almost 3,000 people.

1952: Curly Howard (Jerome Lester Horwitz) of The Three Stooges dies aged 48.

1961: The maximum wage of £20 a week is abolished in English football three days before PFA members were due to go on strike.

1963: Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell dies after a sudden deterioration in his heart condition.

1965: The Rolling Stones record The Last Time and Play With Fire at RCA studios in Hollywood.

1967: Albert DeSalvo, The Boston Strangler, who claims he murdered 13 women, is given a life sentence for assault and armed robbery.


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1972: Former leader of Rhodesia, Garfield Todd and his daughter, Judith, supporters of black majority rule, are seized after violence erupts over Anglo-Rhodesian plans for independence. On the same day, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Brian Faulkner bans all parades and marches until the end of the year.

1974: The band Bad Company forms from members of Free, King Crimson and Mott The Hoople.

1976: Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Dallas Cowboys, 21-17 to win the Super Bowl.

1977: Scientists identify a previously unknown bacterium as the cause of Legionnaires’ disease.

1980: The owners of New York club Studio 54, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, are sentenced to three and a half years in prison for tax evasion and fined $20,000,

1981: Nine people die in a blaze which engulfs a house in New Cross, south London.

1985: Actor Wilfrid Brambell dies aged 72.

1987: Singles chart:

  1. Jack Your Body – Steve Silk Hurley
  2. Reet Petite – Jackie Wilson
  3. Is This Love – Alison Moyet
  4. C’est La Vie – Robbie Nevil
  5. No More The Fool – Elkie Brooks
  6. Big Fun – The Gap Band
  7. Surrender – Swing Out Sister
  8. Hymn To Her – The Pretenders
  9. It Didn’t Matter – The Style Council
  10. Real Wild Child (Wild One) – Iggy Pop
1987: The Bangles – Different Light

Album chart:

  1. The Whole Story – Kate Bush
  2. Graceland – Paul Simon
  3. Live Magic – Queen
  4. Different Light – The Bangles
  5. True Blue – Madonna
  6. Now That’s What I Call Music 8 – Various Artists
  7. Slippery When Wet – Bon Jovi
  8. Get Close – The Pretenders
  9. Sweet Freedom – Michael McDonald
  10. The House Of Blue Light – Deep Purple

1990: Singer Mel Appleby of the duo Mel and Kim, dies of pneumonia aged 23 following treatment for metastatic paraganglioma.

1991: The US acknowledges the CIA and the US Army paid Panama dictator Manuel Noriega $320,000 over a number of years.

1993: Elton John resigns his directorship of Watford Football Club.

1996: Lisa Marie Presley files for divorce from Michael Jackson.

2000: A meteorite impacts Earth at Tagish Lake in Canada.

2005: The world’s largest commercial jet, the Airbus A380, is unveiled in France.

2007: Hurricane Kyrill strikes Western Europe, killing 44 and sinking a container ship off the coast of Devon.

2008: Actor/director George Clooney becomes a UN messenger for peace.

2009: Artist and TV presenter Tony Hart dies aged 83.

2010: Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle, mother of Rufus and Martha Wainwright, dies of cancer aged 63.

2013: Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, is indicted on corruption charges stemming from post-Hurricane Katrina business contracts and bribes.

2015: Session drummer Dallas Taylor (Crosby Stills & Nash) dies of complications from viral pneumonia and kidney disease, aged 66

2017: Former England Ladies cricket captain Rachel Heyhoe Flint, dies aged 77.

2016: The Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey dies aged 67 from complications arising from rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and pneumonia.

2020: Premiership Rugby announces reigning European and English champions Saracens are to be relegated for exceeding the salary cap over the previous three seasons.

2022: Indonesia’s parliament approves a bill to relocate its capital to Borneo and announces the new city’s name will be Nusantara.

BIRTHDAYS: Raymond Briggs, author/illustrator, 88; Bobby Goldsboro, singer, 82; Legs Larry Smith, drummer (Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) 79; Bob Latchford, footballer, 72; Kevin Costner, actor/director, 68; Tom Bailey, singer-songwriter/musician (The Thompson Twins), 67; Sir Mark (David) Rylance, actor, 63; Peter Beardsley, footballer, 62; Jane Horrocks, actress, 59; Richard Dunwoody, jockey, 58; Dave Bautista, actor, 54; Jonathan Davis, singer, (Korn) 52; Pep Guardiola, football manager, 52; Crispian Mills, guitarist/singer (Kula Shaker) 50; Leo Varadkar, Irish politician, 44; Robert Green, goalkeeper, 43; Jason Segel, actor/writer, 43; Joanna Newsom, singer-songwriter/harpist, 41; Samantha Mumba, singer/actress, 40.