It happened today – this day in history – May 24

15BC: Birth of Julius Caesar Germanicus.

1153: Malcolm IV becomes King of Scots.

1218: The Fifth Crusade leaves Acre for Egypt

1543: Death of astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus aged 70.

1660: Charles II visits The Netherlands

1689: Parliament guarantees freedom of religion for Protestants.

1738: John Wesley is converted, launching the Methodist movement.

1809: Dartmoor Prison opens to house French prisoners of war.

1819: Birth of Queen Victoria.

1844: Samuel Morse taps out “What hath God wrought?” in the world’s first telegraph message.

1846: Future US President, Gen Zachary Taylor, captures Monterey in the Mexican War.

1862: Westminster Bridge opens across the River Thames.

1873: Alexandra Palace opens on Queen Victoria’s 54th birthday.

1890: Leo von Caprivi succeeds Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor of Germany.

1895: Henry Irving becomes the first actor to receive a knighthood.

1916: Conscription begins in Britain.

1921: The first parliament for Northern Ireland is elected.

1923: Stanley Baldwin succeeds Andrew Bonar Law as Prime Minister.

1930: Amy Johnson becomes the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.

1941: German battleship Bismarck sinks the British battle cruiser HMS Hood; 1,416 die, three survive.

1944: Icelandic voters sever all ties with Denmark.

1948: Benjamin Britten’s “Beggar’s Opera” premieres in Cambridge.

1956: The first Eurovision Song Contest is held in Lugano, Switzerland and won by Lys Assia with the song Refrain for the host nation.

1963: Blues guitarist Elmore James dies of a heart attack aged 45.

1968: President de Gaulle of France issues a back me or sack me ultimatum to striking students and workers. On the same day, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful are arrested for drug possession. Also, Bob Foster defeats holder Dick Tiger for the world light-heavyweight boxing championship.


1972: Glasgow Rangers win the European Cup Winner’s Cup against Dynamo Moscow 3-2 in Barcelona.

1974: Death of bandleader Duke Ellington aged 75.

1976: Muhammad Ali TKOs Britain’s Richard Dunn in Round 5 for the heavyweight boxing title.

1977: USSR President Podgorny resigns.

1979: “Apocalypse Now” directed by Francis Ford Coppola and “Die Biechtrommel” directed by Volker Schlondorff are jointly awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

1986: Margaret Thatcher becomes the first British Prime Minister to visit Israel.

1987: Singles chart:

  1. Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now – Starship
  2. I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston
  3. Hold Me Now – Johnny Logan
  4. A Boy From Nowhere – Tom Jones
  5. Shattered Dreams – Johnny Hates Jazz
  6. Incommunicado – Marillion
  7. Jack Mix II/III – Mirage
  8. Can’t Be With You Tonight – Judy Boucher
  9. (Something Inside) So Strong – Labi Siffre
  10. Wishing I Was Lucky – Wet Wet Wet
1987: Peter Gabriel – So

Album chart:

  1. It’s Better To Travel – Swing Out Sister
  2. Solitude Standing – Suzanne Vega
  3. Keep Your Distance – Curiosity Killed The Cat
  4. Tango In The Night – Fleetwood Mac
  5. The Joshua Tree – U2
  6. Running IN The Family – Level 42
  7. Raindancing – Alison Moyet
  8. FLM – Mel and Kim
  9. Men And Women – Simply Red
  10. So – Peter Gabriel

1988: Controversial Section 28 passed as law by Parliament prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality.

1989: A jury at the High Court in London awards £600,000 damages to Sonia Sutcliffe, wife of the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, against satirical magazine Private Eye.

1991: Singer-songwriter Gene Clark, formerly of The Byrds, dies of a heart attack aged 49.

1993: Eritrea achieves independence from Ethiopia after a 30-year civil war.

1995: Former prime minister Harold Wilson dies aged 79.

1999: Lawrence Dallaglio resigns as England’s rugby union captain following newspaper allegations that he took and sold drugs before becoming a rugby player.

2000: Israeli troops withdraw from southern Lebanon after 22 years. On the same day, Real Madrid beat Valencia 3-0 to win the Champions League. Also, Andrea and Sharon Corr from The Corrs both collapse in the midday sun whilst shooting a video in the Mojave Desert in California.

2001: 23 people are killed and hundreds are injured at a wedding party in Jerusalem when a building collapses. On the same day, 15-year-old Sherpa Temba Tsheri becomes the youngest person to climb to the top of Mount Everest.

2003: Paul McCartney plays in Red Square, Moscow.

2004: North Korea bans mobile phones.

2009: Manchester United win the Premier League title for third consecutive season.

2010: Paul Gray, bassist with Slipknot, is found dead aged 38 in a hotel in Des Moines, Iowa.

2014: Rapper Kanye West marries Kim Kardashian in Florence, Italy.

2017: Manchester United beat Ajax 2-0 in Stockholm to win the Europa League.

2020: Prime Minister Boris Johnson refuses to sack his senior aide Dominic Cummings, after it is revealed he broke lockdown rules to drive to the north the country. On the same day, double bass player Al Rex of Bill Haley’s Comets dies aged 91.

2022: 19 children and two teachers shot and killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, by an 18-year-old gunman.

Kristin Scott Thomas (Image: Maximilian Bühn, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

BIRTHDAYS: Stanley Baxter, actor/comedian, 98; Bob Dylan, singer-songwriter, 83; Gary Burghoff, actor, 81; Patti Labelle (Holte), singer, 80; Priscilla Presley, actress, 79; Dave Peacock, bassist (Chas and Dave) 79; Albert Bouchard, drummer (Blue Oyster Cult) 77; Jim Broadbent, actor, 75; Alfred Molina, actor, 71; Rosanne Cash, singer-songwriter, 69; Dominic Grieve MP, politician, 68; Larry Blackmon, singer, (Cameo) 68; Dame Kristin Scott Thomas, actress, 64; Liz McColgan, athlete, 60; John C Reilly, actor/comedian/writer, 59; Eric Cantona, footballer/actor, 58; Rich Robinson, guitarist (The Black Crowes) 55; Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, politician, 55; (Sean) Dermot O’Leary, broadcaster, 51; Jo Joyner, actress, 47; Ben Howard, singer-songwriter; 36; Yannick Bolasie, footballer, 35.