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- It happened today – this day in history – October 26 - 26/10/2020
1307: Edward I dies aged 68.
1456: A retrial verdict acquits Joan of Arc of heresy 25 years after she was burned at the stake.
1520: Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes and the Tlaxcalans defeat a numerically superior Aztec force at the Battle of Otumba.
1543: French troops invade Luxembourg.
1668: Isaac Newton receives an MA from Trinity College, Cambridge.
1713: The first performance of Handel’s “Te Deum” and “Jubilate”.
1753: British parliament grants Jews citizenship.
1771: Poet Thomas Gray dies aged 54.
1801: Toussaint L’Ouverture declares Haitian independence.
1807: The first Treaty of Tilsit is signed by Napoleon I of France and Alexander I of Russia.
1860: Birth of composer Gustav Mahler in Austria.
1865: Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and George Atzerodt are executed for their role in the conspiracy to assassinate US President Abraham Lincoln.
1911: Dorothea Chambers becomes first player not to concede a game in a Wimbledon final, beating Dora Boothby 6-0, 6-0.
1928: Sliced bread is sold for the first time by the Chillicothe Baking Company, Missouri.
1930: Construction begins on the Boulder Dam. On the same day, Sherlock Holmes creator, writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dies aged 71.
1937: Japanese and Chinese troops clash at the Marco Polo Bridge, beginning the Second Sino-Japanese War.
1939: Bobby Riggs beats fellow American Elwood Cooke 2-6, 8-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 for the Wimbledon sweep, having also won the doubles and mixed doubles titles.
1941: Nazis execute 5,000 Jews in Kovono, Lithuania. On the same day, US forces land in Iceland to forestall a Nazi invasion and Beirut is occupied by Free France and British troops.
1942: Economist John Maynard Keynes takes his seat in the British House Of Lords as Baron Keynes of Tilton.
1944: RAF Bomber Command drops 2,572 tons of bombs on Caen, France.
1947: A craft crashes on farmland in Roswell, New Mexico. Initially, the USAF admitted it was an alien spacecraft containing extra terrestrials before recanting and going to great lengths to prove it was in fact a downed weather balloon. The incident is seen by UFO-logists as proof of alien life and sparked the modern day interest in flying saucers.
1950: The UN Security Council establishes the United Nations Command to combat North Korean forces. On the same day, the first Farnborough Air Show is held.
1951: Doris Hart outclasses fellow American Shirley Fry 6-1, 6-0 for her only Wimbledon singles title.
1956: “Hancock’s Half Hour” premieres on British TV starring Tony Hancock and Sid James.
1960: The USSR shoots down an American aircraft over the Barents Sea.
1963: The Rolling Stones made their UK TV debut (with Mick Jagger in a tweed jacket) when they appeared on ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars singing “Come On”.
1965: Otis Redding records his song “Respect” with the MGs and the Memphis Horns at Stax.
1966: An Obscenity ban for “Naked Lunch” by William S Burroughs is overturned by the Massachusetts Supreme Court after testimony by Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer.
1969: The Beatles recorded a new George Harrison song, “Here Comes The Sun”, at EMI Studios in Abbey Road, St John’s Wood. John Lennon was absent from the session as he was still in hospital following a car crash in Scotland. On the same day, German newspaper Der Spiegel exposes Bishop Defregger of Munich as a war criminal.
1971: ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Faltskog married in Verum, Sweden.
1972: Secret talks take place between the IRA and the British Government. On the same day, seven people are killed in separate incidents across Northern Ireland.
1973: Hollywood star Veronica Lake (Constance Ockleman) dies aged 50 from hepatitis and acute kidney injury.
1974: West Germany beats The Netherlands, 2-1 in an ill-tempered final in Munich to win the FIFA World Cup.
1978: Martina Navratilova wins her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, beating Chris Evert 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. On the same day, the Solomon Islands declares independence from the UK.
1980: Led Zeppelin played their last-ever concert with drummer John Bonham at Eissporthalle in West Berlin. On the same day, Larry Holmes scores a 7th round TKO of Scott LeDoux in Bloomington, Minnesota in defence of his WBC heavyweight title and Sharia Law is instituted in Iran.
1981: England cricket captain Ian Botham resigns after no wins in 12 matches under his reign.
1982: British athlete David Moorcroft beats Kenyan Henry Rono’s 5000m world record by nearly 5 seconds, 13:00.41 in Oslo.
1985: Unseeded Boris Becker becomes the youngest player ever to win Wimbledon at the age of 17.
1986: Soviet General and spy for the US, Dmitri Polyakov, is arrested in retirement in Russia.
1987: Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North begins public testimony at the Iran-Contra hearing in the US.
1988: Death of comedy actor Jimmy Edwards aged 68.
1989: It was announced that for the first time compact discs were out selling vinyl albums.
1990: Martina Navratilova wins her record ninth Wimbledon singles title, beating American Zina Garrison 6-4, 6-1. On the same day, the first Three Tenors concert takes place featuring Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.
1996: Nelson Mandela steps down as President of South Africa.
2000: Eminem’s wife, Kimberly Mathers, was hospitalised after cutting her wrists following her husband’s show as part of the Up in Smoke Tour at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
2002: News reports accuse MI6 of sheltering Abu Qatada, supposed European leader of Al Qaeda.
2005: A series of co-ordinated suicide bomber attacks on London Underground and a bus kills 52 people and injures about 700 others. On the same day, influenced by the Live 8 concerts, G8 leaders pledge to double 2004 levels of aid to Africa from US$25 to US$50 billion by the year 2010.
2006: Syd Barrett, formerly of Pink Floyd, died from complications arising from diabetes aged 60. He made two solo albums after his exit from the band before going into seclusion for 30 years, his deteriorated mental health often blamed on a prodigious intake of LSD in the late 1960s.
2007: Ozzy Osbourne became the first artist to be honoured on Birmingham’s own Hollywood-style Walk of Fame. On the same day, Snow Patrol keyboard player Tom Simpson was arrested in connection with a failed court appearance in Glasgow. He was later released and the band went on to headline the T in the Park festival in Scotland. Also, Live Earth concerts, organised by Al Gore, as part of his campaign to “heal the planet” took place in Washington, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Shanghai and Sydney featuring The Police, Madonna, Genesis, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Crowded House and Foo Fighters.
2010: Paul McCartney joined Ringo Starr onstage at a concert at New York’s Radio City Music Hall to help celebrate the former Beatle drummer’s 70th birthday.
2013: Andy Murray beats Novak Djokovic 6-4. 7-5. 6-4 to become the first British man to win a Wimbledon singles title since Fred Perry in 1936.
2014: Israel launches a “counter-terrorist operation” dubbed Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza. On the same day, Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stéfano dies aged 88.
2016: In Dallas Texas, a lone gunman shoots and kills five police officers, wounding others during a protest march against fatal police shootings of African Americans.
2017: The G-20 summit of world leaders begins in Hamburg, Germany amid violent protests.
2019: The US win the FIFA Women’s World Cup, beating the Netherlands, 2-0 in France.
BIRTHDAYS: Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey), drummer, 80; Baron Howard of Lympne (Michael Howard) politician, 79; Bill Oddie, comedian/ornithologist, 79; Tony Jacklin, golfer, 76; Joe Spano, actor, 74; Rob Townsend, drummer (Family) 73; Shelley Duvall, actress, 71; Lynval Golding, guitarist (The Specials/Fun Boy Three) 67; Vonda Shepard, singer, 57; Jeremy Kyle, broadcaster, 55; Jim Gaffigan, comedian, 54; Jorga Fox, actress, 52;