It happened today – this day in history – January 8

871: Ethelred I of Wessex and his brother Alfred the Great defeat the invading Danish army at the Battle of Ashdown.

1297: Monaco gains its independence.

1324: Death of explorer Marco Polo aged 69.

1642: Astronomer Galileo Galilei dies aged 77.

1705: Handel’s first opera “Almira” premieres in Hamburg.

1708: A Spanish armada headed by the San Jose and loaded with gold is sunk after the British fleet attacks off the coast of Colombia.

1734: George Frideric Handel’s Ariodante premieres at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

1746: Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite troops occupy Stirling.

1790: US President George Washington delivers the first ever State Of The Union address.

1800: The Austrians defeat the French in Second Battle of Novi.

1815: The Battle of New Orleans is fought even though the War of 1812 had ended on Christmas Eve, as none of the forces knew.

1824: Writer Wilkie (William) Collins is born in London.

1902: New York state assemblyman Francis G Landon gets a bill passed to make men turning around on the street and “looking at a woman in that way” a criminal act.

1916: ANZAC forces withdraw from the Gallipoli Peninsula after Ottoman forces successfully defend access to Constantinople.

1917: Austria-Hungarian troops conquer Forlani, Italy.

1940: Bacon, butter and sugar is rationed in Britain.

1941: Lord Baden Powell, founder of the Boy Scout movement, dies aged 83.

1959: General Charles de Gaulle is proclaimed first President of the new Fifth Republic of France.

1961: The French people vote to grant Algeria its independence in a referendum after seven years of guerilla war.

1966: Georges Pompidou is re-elected prime minister of France.


1973: Judge John Sirica begins the trial of the Watergate burglars in Washington, D.C.

1975: Judge Sirica orders the release of Watergate’s John W. Dean III, Herbert W. Kalmbach and Jeb Stuart Magruder from prison.

1989: A Boeing 737 crashes onto the M1 motorway at Kegworth near East Midlands airport, killing 46 people.

1990: Actor Terry Thomas (Thomas Hoar-Stevens) dies of Parkinsin’s disease aged 78.

1991: One person dies and hundreds are injured when a commuter train crashes into buffers at Cannon Street station, London. On the same day, Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark is found dead from a drug overdose at his Chelsea flat.

1992: US President George Bush vomits on the Japanese prime minister’s lap during a reception.

1995: Singles chart:

  1. Cotton Eye Joe – Rednex
  2. Think Twice – Celine Dion
  3. Love Me For A Reason – Boyzone
  4. Stay Another Day – East 17
  5. Here Comes The Hotstepper – Ini Kamoze
  6. Set You Free – N-Trance
  7. Tell Me When – The Human League
  8. Whatever – Oasis
  9. Sympathy For The Devil – Guns n Roses
  10. Them Girls Them Girls – Zig and Zag
1995: Oasis – Definitely Maybe

Album chart:

  1. Carry On Up The Charts: The Best Of – The Beautiful South
  2. Always And Forever – Eternal
  3. Steam – East 17
  4. Crossroad: The Best Of – Bon Jovi
  5. Crocodile Shoes – Jimmy Nail
  6. Parklife – Blur
  7. Definitely Maybe – Oasis
  8. Psyche: The Album – PJ & Duncan
  9. Fields Of Gold: The Best Of – Sting
  10. Live At The BBC – The Beatles

1996: Former French president Francois Mitterrand dies aged 79.

1997: Kevin Keegan resigns as manager of Newcastle United.

2001: The child killers of toddler James Bulger, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, are granted new identities and lifetime anonymity by a judge.

2004: RMS Queen Mary 2, the largest passenger ship ever built, is christened by the Queen.

2011: Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is fatally shot at a grocery store.

2016: Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announces the recapture of drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, six months after his escape from prison. On the same day, Soul singer Otis Clay dies aged 73.

2017: Singer-songwriter Peter Sarstedt dies at the age of 75.

2020: Iran launches a missile strike on American troops in Irbil and Al Asad bases in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani. On the same day, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announce they are stepping back as senior royals, leaving Britain and will work towards becoming financially independent.

2021: Donald Trump is banned from Twitter “due to the risk of further incitement of violence”.

2022: Death of award winning lyricist Marilyn Bergman aged 93.

BIRTHDAYS: Dame Shirley Bassey, singer, 86; Carolina Herrera, fashion designer, 84; Lee Jackson, bassist (The Nice) 80; Robbie Krieger, guitarist, (The Doors) 77; Ron Sexsmith, singer-songwriter, 59; R (Robert) Kelly, singer-songwriter, 54; Sean Paul, singer, 50; Genevieve Padalecki, actress, 42; Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, 39; David Silva, footballer, 37; Cynthia Enviro, actress, 36.