It happened today – this day in history – March 26

127AD: Greek astronomer and mathematician Ptolemy begins his observations of the heavens.

1668: England takes control of Bombay.

1780: The first British Sunday newspaper appears (British Gazette & Sunday Monitor).

1799: Napoleon captures Jaffa in Palestine.

1808: Charles IV of Spain abdicates in favour of his son, Ferdinand VII.

1812: An earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale destroys 90% of Caracas, Venezuela, killing up to 20,000.

1827: Death of composer Ludwig van Beethoven aged 56.

1839: First Henley Regatta held.

1863: Voters in West Virginia approve the gradual emancipation of slaves.

1892: Death of poet Walt Whitman aged 72.

1923: Death of actress Sarah Bernhardt aged 78.

1924: Premiere of George Bernard Shaw’s “Saint Joan” in London.

1942: German offensive in North Africa under General Erwin Rommel.

1944: 705 British bombers attack Essen, Germany.

1945: Allies led by US Marine Corps secure the island of Iwo Jima from the Imperial Japanese Army. On the same day, the Allies launch an attack at Remagen on the Rhine and former Prime Minister David Lloyd George dies aged 82.

1953: Dr Jonas Salk announces a vaccine to prevent polio.

1958: The Bridge on the River Quay wins the best picture Oscar at the Academy awards.

1959: Death of mystery writer Raymond Chandler aged 71.

1965: Bill Wyman is knocked unconscious for several minutes after receiving an electric shock from a faulty microphone at a Rolling Stones concert in Denmark.

1966: Tim Norman wins the Grand National on 50/1 outsider Anglo. On the same day, Wales beats France, 9-8 at the National Stadium, Cardiff to clinch their 15th Five Nations Rugby Championship.

1969: Singles chart:


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  1. I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
  2. Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) – Peter Sarstedt
  3. Surround Yourself With Sorrow – Cilla Black
  4. Sorry Suzanne – The Hollies
  5. Gentle On My Mind – Dean Martin
  6. Games People Play – Joe South
  7. First Of May – The Bee Gees
  8. Monsieur Dupont – Sandie Shaw
  9. Boom Bang A Bang – Lulu
  10. Get Ready – The Temptations

1970: Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary pleads guilty to ‘taking immoral liberties’ with a 14 year old girl in Washington D.C.

1971: Bangladesh (East Pakistan) declares its independence from Pakistan.

1972: William Whitelaw appointed as the first Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

1973: Women are allowed on to the trading floor of the London Stock Exchange for the first time in the institution’s 200 year history. On the same day, Noel Coward dies aged 73.

1974: George Foreman defeats Ken Norton by a TKO in Round 2 for heavyweight boxing title in Caracas, Venezuela.

1976: The Queens sends out the first royal e-mail, from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment.

1979: Israel and Egypt end 30 years of war with a handshake at the White House between Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin after the signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

1981: Roy Jenkins, David Owen, William Rodgers and Shirley Williams launch the SDP.

1989: Boris Yeltsin wins the first free elections in the USSR.

1992: Mike Tyson is sentenced to 10 years in prison for rape. He serves three.

1999: Ex-miners suffering from lung diseases win the biggest industrial injuries case in British legal history in a deal worth £2bilion.

2005: Crowded House drummer Paul Hester is found hanged aged 46 in a park in Melbourne, Australia. On the same day, “Doctor Who” returns to BBC TV after 16 years with the debut of Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler. Also, former Prime Minister, James Callaghan dies aged 92.

2006: In Scotland the prohibition of smoking in all enclosed public places comes into force.

2006: Prince – 3121

Album chart:

  1. Journey South – Journey South
  2. The Impossible Dream – Andy Abraham
  3. Corinne Bailey Rae – Corinne Bailey Rae
  4. The Voice: The Ultimate Collection – Russell Watson
  5. Amore – Andrea Bocelli
  6. In Between Dreams – Jack Johnson
  7. Greatest Hits – David Essex
  8. In The Hands Of Love – Vittorio Grigolo
  9. 3121 – Prince
  10. Voice: The Best Of – Beverly Knight

2015: Richard III is reburied at Leicester Cathedral after being discovered under a car park in the city in 2012. On the same day, folk guitarist John Renbourn (Pentangle) dies aged 70.

2017: Carrie Lam becomes the first woman elected to lead Hong Kong by Beijing-influenced electorial commission.

2018: US, EU and Ukraine expel more than 100 Russian diplomats in response to the novichok nerve gas attack on former KGB officer Sergei Skripol and his daughter in Salisbury. On the same day, Porn star Stormy Daniels claims she had an affair with Donald Trump and a US soldier receives world’s first penis and scrotum transplant at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

2019: Ranking Roger of The Beat dies from cancer aged 56. On the same day, a stolen Picasso painting “Buste de Femme” (Dora Maar) (1938) is recovered after 20 years by a Dutch art detective.

2020: Christchurch mosque gunman Brenton Tarrant pleads guilty to all 51 murders in New Zealand. On the same day, the US charges Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and other officials with “narco-terrorism”, by flooding the US with drugs.

BIRTHDAYS: James Caan, actor, 81; Diana Ross, singer, 77; Archie Gemmill, footballer, 74; Richard Tandy, keyboards (ELO) 73; Steven Tyler, singer (Aerosmith) 73; Jennifer Grey, actress, 61; James Iha, guitarist (Smashing Pumpkins) 53; Lesley Mann, actress, 49; T (Terence). R.Knight, actor, 48; Amy Smart, actress, 45; Roisin Conaty, comedian/actress/writer, 43; Mikel Artete, Arsenal manager, 39; Kiera Knightley, actress, 36.

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