It happened today – this day in history – May 18

1048: Birth of Persian mathematician, poet and philosopher Omar Khayam.

1152: Eleanor of Aquitaine marries Henri of Anjou, handing the future Henry II of England most of France, allowing future kings of England to claim France for centuries after.

1291: After 100 years of Crusader control, Acre is the last Crusader stronghold reconquered and destroyed by the Mamluks under Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil.

1765: Fire destroys a large part of Montreal.

1803: Britain declares war on France after Napoleon Bonaparte continues interfering in Italy and Switzerland.

1804:Napoleon is proclaimed Emperor of France by the French Senate.

1868: Birth of Nicholas II, last Tsar of Russia.

1872: Birth of philosopher Bertrand Russell.

1896: A mass panic on Khodynka Field, Moscow, during the festivities of the coronation of Russian Tsar Nicholas II results in the deaths of 1,389 people.

1897: Dracula by Bram Stoker is published.

1900: Britain proclaims protectorate over Tonga.

1911: Death of composer Gustav Mahler aged 50.

1917: US Congress passes Selective Service Act, authorizing the federal government to raise a national army for the American entry into the First World War through compulsory enlistment. On the same day, the first units of the American Expeditionary Force are ordered to France.

1944: Monte Cassino falls to the Allies.

1948: Saudi Arabia joins the invasion of Israel.

1950: Twelve nations agree on a permanent defence organisation for the US and Europe – NATO.

1953: American pilot Jacqueline Cochran becomes the first woman to break the sound barrier.

1960: The legendary Real Madrid team, featuring Alfredo Di Stefano (4) and Ferenc Puskas (3), beat Eintracht Frankfurt, 7-3 at Hampden Park in one of the most famous club games in the history of football to win the team’s fifth consecutive European Cup.

1964: Scores of youths are given prison sentences following violent clashes between gangs of mods and rockers at a number of south coast seaside resorts.

1967: Pink Floyd begin recording their forthcoming single See Emily Play at Sound Techniques Studios in Chelsea. Syd Barrett wrote the song about Floyd fan Emily Young, who is now a renowned sculptor.

1968: The first Miami Pop event takes place with an estimated 100,000 people attending. Bands include The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Mothers of Invention, Steppenwolf and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

1969: Apollo 10 launches from Kennedy Space Centre and later transmits the first colour pictures of Earth from space.

1970: England captain Bobby Moore is arrested in Bogota, Colombia, on a trumped up theft charge as the England squad prepare for the World Cup finals in Mexico. All charges are eventually dropped.


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1972: Guitarist Danny Whitten dies of a drug overdose aged 29.

1973: Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev visits West Germany.

1974: India becomes the sixth nation to explode an atomic bomb.

1978: Italy legalizes abortion.

1980: On the eve of their first trip to the US, Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis hangs himself in the kitchen of his house in Macclesfield at the age of 23. On the same day, Mount St Helens erupts in Washington state, causing the largest landslide in history, killing 57 people.

1986: The South African army occupies Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Singles chart:

  1. The Chicken Song – Spitting Image
  2. On My Own – Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald
  3. Lessons In Love – Level 42
  4. Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel
  5. Spirit In The Sky – Doctor and the Medics
  6. Snooker Loopy – The Matchroom Mob with Chas n Dave
  7. Rock Me Amadeus – Falco
  8. Why Can’t This Be Love – Van Halen
  9. Rollin’ Home – Status Quo
  10. Live To Tell – Madonna
1986: Billy Ocean – Love Zone

Album chart:

  1. Street Life: 20 Great Hits – Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music
  2. Love Zone – Billy Ocean
  3. Brothers In Arms – Dire Straits
  4. Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston
  5. The Collection – Earth Wind and Fire
  6. World Machine – Level 42
  7. Hits 4 – Various Artists
  8. Hunting High And Low – A-Ha
  9. The Man And His Music – Sam Cooke
  10. Comic Relief Presents Utterly Utterly Live – Comic Relief

1988: Daws Butler, the voice of Yogi Bear, Deputy Dawg and Huckleberry Hound, dies aged 71.

1990: East and West Germany sign a monetary union treaty. On the same day, actress Jill Ireland, wife of Charles Bronson, dies of cancer aged 54.

1991: Helen Sharman, 27, from Sheffield, becomes Britain’s first astronaut aboard a Soviet Soyuz capsule. On the same day, Paul Gascoigne is carried off with a torn cruciate ligament after a wild tackle on Forest’s Gary Charles at the Spurs v Nottingham Forest FA Cup Final. Spurs win 2-1.

1994: Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip.

1995: Actress Elizabeth Montgomery dies of cancer aged 62.

1998: The United States Department of Justice and 20 US states file an antitrust case against Microsoft. On the same day, “I’m Alan Partridge” wins best comedy at the BAFTA TV awards.

2004: Death of jazz drummer Elvin Jones aged 72.

2011: John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics for the Beatles song Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – the single sheet also includes the opening words for She’s Leaving Home, a song presumed to have been written by Paul McCartney alone – sells for $237,132 (£145,644) at an auction in the US.

2017: Singer Chris Cornell commits suicide in Detroit after a Soundgarden gig.

2018: A 17 year-old gunman kills ten at Santa Fe High School in Texas.

2019: Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling each score twice as Manchester City thrash Watford, 6-0 to win the FA Cup, completing an unprecedented domestic treble.

2020: US President Donald Trump confirms he is taking controversial drug hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19.

2021: Actor and writer Charles Grodin dies aged 86.

BIRTHDAYS: Miriam Margolyes, actress, 81; Albert Hammond, singer-songwriter, 78; Rick Wakeman, keyboardist/composer, 73; Mark Mothersbaugh, musician/songwriter/TV theme composer (Devo), 72; George Strait, country artist, 70; Wreckless Eric (Goulden) singer-songwriter, 68; Jimmy Case, footballer, 68; Chow Yun-fat, actor, 67; Toyah Wilcox (Fripp), singer/actress, 64; Hugh Whittaker, drummer (The Housemartins), 61; Russell Senior, musician (Pulp) 61; Martin Duffy, musician (Primal Scream) 55; Tina (Elizabeth Stamatina) Fey, comedian/actress/writer, 52; Brad Friedel, goalkeeper, 51; Martika (Marta Marrero), singer-songwriter, 51; Jack Johnson, singer-songwriter, 47; John Higgins, snooker player, 47; Danny Mils, footballer, 45; Conor Washington, footballer, 30; Ryan Sessegnon, footballer, 23.

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