It happened today – this day in history – July 8

975: Death of Edgar, King of England.

1497: Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama departs on his first voyage, becoming the first European to reach India by sea.

1538: Spanish conquistador of Chile and Peru, Diego de Almagro, is executed at Las Salinas.

1663: King Charles II grants a charter to Rhode Island.

1776: Colonel John Nixon gives the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence to an assemblage of citizens in Philadelphia.

1792: France declares war on Prussia.

1796: The US State Department issues the first US passport.

1822: Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley drowns at 29 in a sudden storm on the Gulf of La Spezia while returning from Livorno to Lerici, Italy in his sailing boat.

1831: Birth of pharmacist John Pemberton, the inventor of Coca Cola.

1836: Charles Darwin reaches Saint Helena in HMS Beagle and takes up lodgings near the tomb of Napoleon.

1838: Birth of Ferdinand von Zeppelin, inventor of the rigid dirigible.

1882: Birth of composer Percy Grainger in Melbourne, Australia.

1889: John L Sullivan KOs Jake Kilrain in 75 rounds in the last bare-knuckle boxing bout. On the same day, the Wall Street Journal is first published.

1905: May Sutton becomes the first American player to win the Ladies singles title at Wimbledon, beating Dorothea Chambers 6-3, 6-4. On the same day, the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin who mutinied, surrender to Romanian authorities.

1923: Warren G Harding becomes the first sitting US President to visit Alaska.

1933: Denny Shute wins his only British Open golf title at St Andrews.

1939: American Alice Marble wins her only Wimbledon Ladies singles title, beating Kay Stammers of England 6-2, 6-0.

1944: British troops march into Caen, Normandy.

1950: General Douglas MacArthur is named commander-in-chief of UN forces in Korea.

1954: Sun Records producer Sam Phillips takes an acetate recording of Elvis Presley singing That’s All Right Mama to Memphis radio station WHBQ DJ Dewey Phillips, who plays the song just after 9.30pm that evening on his nightly show Red Hot and Blue. The phone lines light up asking the DJ to play the song again, launching Presley’s career.

1955: Peter Thomson of Australia wins the second of three consecutive British Open titles at St Andrews.

1957: Sinn Féin leaders are arrested in Ireland on the authority of premier Eamon de Valera.

1961: In an all-British final Angela Mortimer wins the Wimbledon Ladies singles title, beating Christine Truman 4–6, 6–4, 7–5.

1963: The US bans all monetary transactions with Cuba. On the same day, Margaret Smith wins her first of three Wimbledon Singles titles beating Billie Jean Moffitt 6-3, 6-4.

1965: Ronald Biggs, who was serving a 30-year sentence for his part in the Great Train Robbery escapes from Wandsworth prison.

1966: King Mwambutsa IV Bangiriceng of Burundi is deposed by his son Prince Charles Ndizi.

1967: Actress, Vivian Leigh dies of tuberculosis at 53.

1969: Marianne Faithfull is admitted to a Sydney Hospital after collapsing from a drug overdose on the set of Ned Kelly in Australia. She is subsequently sacked from the production which stars her boyfriend Mick Jagger.


1971: Two men are killed by the British army during rioting in Londonderry.

1975: Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin visits West Germany.

1978: Joe Strummer and Paul Simenon of The Clash are arrested for being drunk and disorderly after a gig at Glasgow Apollo. On the same day, Sandro Pertini is elected President of Italy and the Pioneer-Venus 2 multi-probe is launched to Venus.

1979: Voyager 2 takes the first ever photo of Jupiter’s satellite Adrastea.

1981: French Prime Minister Maurois nationalizes banks/plane/steel industry.

1989: Carlos Saul Menum becomes President of Argentina.

1990: West Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup in Rome. Pedro Monzón and Gustavo Dezotti of Argentina are sent off.

Singles chart:

  1. Sacrifice – Elton John
  2. Nessun Dorma – Luciano Pavarotti
  3. Mona – Craig McLachlan and Check 1, 2
  4. One Love – The Stone Roses
  5. It Must Have Been Love – Roxette
  6. U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
  7. Thunderbirds Are Go – FAB ft MC Parkr
  8. World In Notion – Englandneworder
  9. Close To You – Maxi Priest
  10. Oops Up – Snap!
1990: Anita Baker – Compositions

Album chart:

  1. The Essential Pavarotti – Luciano Pavarotti
  2. Sleeping With The Past – Elton John
  3. Hot Rocks 1964-1971 – The Rolling Stones
  4. Step By Step – New Kids On The Block
  5. Summer Dreams – The Beach Boys
  6. Natural History: The Very Best Of – Talk Talk
  7. Compositions – Anita Baker
  8. Greatest Hits – The Bangles
  9. Volume II (1990 A New Decade) – Soul II Soul
  10. …But Seriously – Phil Collins

1996: Three infants and four adults are attacked by a man with a machete at St Luke’s C of E School in Wolverhampton. Schizophrenic Horrett Irving Campbell is charged with attempted murder. Nursery nurse Lisa Potts is later awarded the George Medal for bravery.

1997: Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are invited to join NATO.

1999: Allen Lee Davis is executed by the state of Florida in the last use of the electric chair for capital punishment in the state.

2000: Venus Williams wins her first Wimbledon Ladies singles title, beating fellow American Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 7-6.

2002: Speaking at a civil rights meeting in New York, Michael Jackson claims there is a ‘conspiracy’ among record companies, especially towards black artists. A spokesman for Jackson’s record label Sony describes the remarks as “ludicrous, spiteful and hurtful”.

2004: Mark Purseglove, known as the world’s ‘biggest bootlegger’ is sentenced to 3 years 6 months in jail at Blackfriars Crown Court. He had built up a £15 million pirate CD empire by bootlegging live concerts of some of the world’s biggest stars.

2005: In the wake of the Live8 concerts, the G8 summit in Gleneagles ends with a deal to boost aid for developing countries by $50bn.

2006: Queen guitarist Brian May makes a “substantial” donation to save hedgehogs from slaughter in the Outer Hebrides.

2011: Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched in the final mission of the US Space Shuttle program.

2012: Tens of thousands protest over election corruption in Mexico City after Enrique Peña Nieto’s win in the country’s presidential election. On the same day, actor Ernest Borgnine dies aged 95.

2014: Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in the World Cup semi final. It is Brazil’s first home competitive defeat since 1975, the highest score in the World Cup semi final and the worst defeat ever suffered by a host nation in the World Cup.

2015: The New York Stock Exchange stops trading for nearly four hours due to a technical error.

2016: Italian designer Maria Grazia Chiuri is the first woman to be appointed artistic director at French fashion house Christian Dior.

2018: Brexit Secretary David Davis resigns in a stand against Prime Minister Theresa May’s softer Brexit policy.

2019: Congolese general and rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in the Hague. On the same day, US financier Jeffrey Epstein is indicted on further charges of sex trafficking of minors.

2021: A small Leonardo da Vinci sketch “Head of a Bear”, the size of a post-it. sells for £8.9 million at auction in London. On the same day, President Joe Boden says US troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by August 31, despite increased Taliban gains across the country.

2022: Former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe is assassinated while giving a speech in Nara, Japan.

2023: The Dutch government collapses amid disagreements between coalition partners over asylum policies.

Alice Levine

BIRTHDAYS: Polly James (Pauline Devaney), actress, 83; Jeffrey Tambor, actor, 80; Jaimoe (Jai) Johanson, Drummer (The Allman Brothers Band) 80; Kim Darby, actress, 76; Anjelica Huston, actress/director, 73; Russell Christian, singer (The Christians), 69; Kevin Bacon, actor, 66; Joan Osborne, singer-songwriter, 61; Billy Crudup, actor, 56; Michael Weatherly, actor, 56; Beck (Campbell), singer-songwriter, 54; Neil Mavers, drummer (The La’s) 53; Milo Ventimiglia, actor, 47; Robbie Keane, footballer, 44; Jamie Cook, guitarist, (Arctic Monkeys) 39; Alice Levine, broadcaster, 38; Virgil van Dijk, footballer, 33; Son Heung-min, footballer, 32; Jaden Smith, actor, 26.