It happened today – this day in history – July 19

64AD: Circus Maximus in Rome catches fire

711: Muslim forces under Tariq ibn Ziyad defeat the Visigoths led by their king Roderic

1380: Thomas of Buckingham’s invasion army lands on Calais.

1543: Death of Lady Mary Boleyn, mistress of Henry VIII.

1545: Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose sinks at Portsmouth; 73 die.

1553: 15-year-old Lady Jane Grey is deposed as Queen of England after nine days.

1595: Astronomer Johannes Kepler has an epiphany and develops his theory of the geometrical basis of the universe while teaching in Graz, Austria.

1692: Five more people are hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.

1834: Birth of French impressionist artist Edgar Degas in Paris.

1843: The steamship SS Great Britain, the largest vessel in the world and the first with an iron hull, is launched.

1845: A fire in New York City destroys 1,000 homes.

1870: France declares war on Prussia.

1877: Spencer Gore wins the inaugural Wimbledon tournament beating William Marshall 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

1879: Doc Holliday kills for the first time after a man shoots up his New Mexico saloon.

1884: Maud Watson becomes the inaugural female Wimbledon champion by beating her sister Lillian Watson 6–8, 6–3, 6–3.

1903: French rider Maurice Garin wins the first Tour de France.

1912: A meteorite of estimated 190kg mass explodes over Holbrook in Navajo County, Arizona, causing approximately 16,000 pieces of debris to rain down on the town.

1918: German armies retreat across the River Marne in France.

1919: Following Peace Day celebrations marking the end of the First World War, ex-servicemen riot and burn down Luton Town Hall.

1922: Swimmer and future film Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, is the first man to break the one minute barrier for 100m freestyle in 58.6 seconds.

1928: King Fuad of Egypt seizes power and disbands parliament.

1940: Adolf Hitler orders Britain to surrender. Needless to say, Churchill doesn’t.

1941: Prime Minister Winston Churchill launches his V for Victory campaign. On the same day, Tom and Jerry first appear under their own names in the Hanna/Barbera cartoon “The Midnight Snack”.

1942: German occupiers confiscate bicycles in Rotterdam and The Hague.

1943: 500 allied aircraft raid Rome.

1944: More than 1200 8th US Air Force bombers bomb targets in SW Germany while 500 15th US Air Force Liberators/Flying Fortresses bomb Munich.

1947: Prime Minister of shadow Burma government, Bogyoke Aung San, six of his cabinet and two non-cabinet members are assassinated by armed paramilitaries.

1952: The Olympic Games open in Helsinki, Finland. On the same day, the Tour de France is won by Fausto Coppi of Italy.

1956: The US refuses to lend Egypt money to build the Aswan Dam.

1962: Singles chart:

  1. I Can’t Stop Loving You – Ray Charles
  2. I’ll Remember You – Frank Ifield
  3. A Picture Of You – Joe Brown
  4. Come Outside – Mike Sarne ft Wendy Richard
  5. English Country Garden – Jimmie Rodgers
  6. Good Luck Charm – Elvis Presley
  7. Here Comes That Feeling – Brenda Lee
  8. Ginny Come Lately – Brian Hyland
  9. Our Favourite Melodies – Craig Douglas
  10. Do You Want To Dance – Cliff Richard

1965: The former leader of the Republic of South Korea, Syngman Rhee, dies in exile in the US aged 90. On the same day, shooting begins on the second pilot episode of Star Trek: “Where No Man Has Gone Before” after the first pilot “The Cage” was rejected by NBC. It eventually appeared the following year as Episode 3 of the first series and was the first episode ever shown in Britain on July 12 1969.

1966: Race riot in Cleveland, US. On the same day, 50-year old Frank Sinatra marries 21 year old Mia Farrow in Las Vegas.

1967: Race riots in Durham, North Carolina.


1969: Apollo 11 goes into orbit around the Moon. Also in the early hours of the same day, a car driven by Senator Edward Kennedy drives off a narrow unlit bridge on Chappaquiddick island in Massachusetts. The passenger, 28-year old political campaign specialist Mary Jo Kopechne, downs. Kennedy swims from the car but does not report the accident to police until the following morning.

1971: Sudan military coup under Major Hashem al-Atta.

1972: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are arrested in Rhode Island on charges of assault after a fight with a newspaper photographer.

1974: The Ozark Music Festival began in Missouri featuring The Eagles, Joe Walsh, Aerosmith, Blue Öyster Cult and Lynyrd Skynyrd. On the same day, Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 14 lands back on earth.

1975: Bob Marley & the Wailers appear at the Lyceum Theatre in London. The show was recorded and the live single No Woman, No Cry later released.

1976: British fishermen urge Foreign Secretary, Anthony Crosland, to secure a 50-mile fishing zone around the UK. On the same day, the Allman Brothers’ roadie, Scooter Herring, is sentenced to 75 years in prison for providing drugs to the group, based on organist/singer Gregg Allman’s testimony.

1979: Two supertankers collide off Tobago, spilling 260,000 gallons of oil.

1980: The Olympic games open in Moscow with many nations boycotting the event due to Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.

1981: Bernard Hinault of France wins the Tour de France.

1982: David S Dodge becomes the first American hostage in Lebanon.

1984: Lynn Rippelmeyer becomes the first woman to captain a Boeing 747 across the Atlantic .

1985: Christa McAuliffe is chosen to be the first school teacher to fly aboard the space shuttle. On the same day, the Val di Stava Dam collapses in Italy, killing 268.

1986: Tim Witherspoon KOs Frank Bruno in Round 11 for the world heavyweight boxing title.

1987: Nick Faldo wins the British Open at Muirfield. His first major title.

1989: Singer James Brown changes accommodation behind bars after $40,000 in cash and cheques is discovered in his minimum security cell. On the same day, a United Airlines DC-10 crashes at Sioux City Iowa, killing 112.

1991: Boxer Mike Tyson rapes Miss Black America contestant Desiree Washington.

1992: Nick Faldo wins his third British Open at Muirfield.

1993: The last day of first class cricket for Ian Botham. On the same day, President Bill Clinton fires FBI director William S. Sessions.

1996: Bosnian Serb President and wanted war criminal Radovan Karadzic is forced out of office.

1997: The IRA announces a surprise ceasefire.

1999: DJ Tim Westwood is shot and injured in Kensington.

2001: Soul and gospel singer Judy Clay dies aged 62. On the same day, Michael Brunet discovers the skull of Sahelanthropus tchadensis, one of the oldest known species in the human family tree, 6-7 million years ago years old, in the Djurab Desert, Chad.

2009: A black spot the size of Earth is discovered on Jupiter after an unknown object crashed onto the planet.

2009: Michael Jackson – Thriller

Album chart:

  1. The Essential – Michael Jackson
  2. Lungs – Florence and the Machine
  3. Thriller – Michael Jackson
  4. The Motown Years – Michael Jackson & The Jackson 5
  5. The Fame – Lady Gaga
  6. Sunny Side Up – Paolo Nutini
  7. Off The Wall – Michael Jackson
  8. La Roux – La Roux
  9. Evacuate The Dancefloor – Cascada
  10. Number Ones – Michael Jackson

2013: Comedian and director Mel Smith dies from a heart attack at 60.

2014: Death of actor James Garner aged 86.

2017: A US judge halts an auction of Madonna’s personal items including underwear, a chequebook, a hairbrush, photos and a break-up letter from the late rapper Tupac Shakur after she said they had been stolen by a former friend.

2018: Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker transfers from Roma to Liverpool for a world record fee for a keeper of £66.8m.

2019: Crowds dancing at a festival in Sheffield trigger minor earthquakes. On the same day, the UK oil tanker Stena Impero is seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Strait of Hormuz. Also, actor Rutger Hauer dies aged 75.

2020: Lewis Hamilton wins an eighth Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of wins at a single circuit.

2021: The UK lifts most COVID-19 restrictions on so-called “Freedom Day” despite 50,000 new daily infections.

2022: Temperatures exceed 40°C in parts of England for the first time.

Sir Brian May

BIRTHDAYS: Ilie Nastase, tennis star, 77; Alan Gorrie, guitarist/bassist/singer/songwriter (Average White Band) 77; Bernie Leadon, guitarist (The Eagles) 76; Sir Brian May, guitarist/songwriter, 76; Abel Ferrara, director/screenwriter, 72; Anthony Edwards, actor, 61; Evelyn Glennie, percussionist, 58; Rageh Omaar, journalist, 56; Nicola Sturgeon, politician, 53; Vitali Klitschko, boxer/politician, 52; David Lammy, MP, 51; Eric Prydz, DJ/producer, 47; Benedict Cumberbatch, actor, 47; Angela Griffin, actress, 47; Michelle Heaton, singer (Liberty X) 44; Jared Padalecki, actor, 41; Fabio Silva, footballer, 21.