It happened today – this day in history – May 26

1538: Geneva expels protestant reformer John Calvin and his followers from the city. Calvin lives in exile in Strasbourg for the next three years.

1647: Alse Young becomes the first person executed as a witch in the American colonies, when she is hanged in Hartford, Connecticut.

1703: Death of Samuel Pepys aged 70.

1798: The British kill about 500 Irish insurgents at the Battle of Tara.

1805: Lewis and Clark first sight the Rocky Mountains. On the same day, Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned king of Italy.

1860: Guiseppe Garibaldi occupies Palermo, Italy.

1896: Nicolas II, the last Tsar of Russia, is crowned.

1900: British troops attack the Vaal in South Africa.

1906: Vauxhall Bridge is opened across the River Thames.

1913: Emily Duncan becomes Britain’s first female magistrate.

1915: Prime Minister Herbert Asquith forms a coalition government.

1922: Lenin suffers a stroke.

1923: The first Le Mans Grand Prix d’Endurance is run.

1924: US President Calvin Coolidge signs law restricting immigration.

1933: Country singer Jimmie Rodgers dies of a pulmonary haemorrhage at 35.

1940: The first successful helicopter flight in the US.

1943: Winston Churchill flies from the US to North Africa.

1946: Patents are filed in the US for the H-bomb.

1948: South Africa elects a nationalist government under D. F. Malan with an apartheid policy.

1950: Long queues appear at garages and motorists tear their ration books into confetti after an end to petrol rationing is announced in the UK.

1955: The Conservatives led by Anthony Eden win the general election with a clear majority.

1966: The Beatles begin recording Yellow Submarine at EMI Studios, Abbey Road. Engineer Geoff Emerick worked on the session as producer George Martin was suffering from food poisoning. On the same day, a Buddhist monk sets himself on fire at the US consulate in Hué, South Vietnam and Guyana declares independence from the UK.

1967: EMI releases The Beatles album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to shops six days early in the UK. The official release date was June 1.


1968: Blues artist Little Willie John dies in prison after being convicted of manslaughter.

1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono begin an eight-day ‘bed in’, in room 1742 of The Hotel La Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Canada, to promote world peace. On the same day, the Apollo 10 astronauts return to Earth.

1972: State-owned travel firm Thomas Cook & Son is sold to a consortium of private businesses headed by Midland Bank. On the same day, President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT accord. Also, the IRA detonate a bomb in Oxford Street, Belfast, killing a 64 year old woman and Joe Frazier TKO’s Ron Stander in Round 5 for the world heavyweight boxing title

1974: Tragedy strikes at a David Cassidy concert at London’s White City when over 1,000 teenage girls need first aid. One fan, Bernadette Whelan, dies from heart failure four days later.

1981: The entire Italian coalition cabinet under Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani steps down in the wake of a scandal over freemasonry.

1982: Aston Villa win the European Cup, beating Bayern Munich with a single Peter Withe goal in Rotterdam

1984: Gary Lineker makes his England debut as a 72nd minute substitute in a 1-1 draw against Scotland at Hampden Park.

1989: Football manager Don Revie dies aged 61.

1991: Singles chart:

  1. The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss) – Cher
  2. I Wanna Sex You Up – Color Me Badd
  3. Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee – Crystal Waters
  4. Promise Me – Beverly Craven
  5. Baby Baby – Amy Grant
  6. Tainted Love – Soft Cell
  7. Last Train To Transcendental – KLF
  8. Touch Me (All Night Long) – Cathy Dennis
  9. Shiny Happy People – REM
  10. Shocked – Kylie Minogue
1991: Seal

Album chart:

  1. Seal – Seal
  2. Greatest Hits – Eurythmics
  3. Beverley Craven – Beverley Craven
  4. Time, Love And Tenderness – Michael Bolton
  5. Out Of Time – REM
  6. Joyride – Roxette
  7. Unplugged: The Official Bootleg – Paul McCartney
  8. Memorabilia: The Singles – Larc Almpnd and Soft Cell
  9. The White Room – KLF
  10. Schubert Dip – EMF

1994: Michael Jackson marries Lisa Marie Presley in the Dominican Republic.

1998: Addressing a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, Emperor Akihito of Japan speaks of his “pain” over the suffering inflicted by his country during the Second World War.

1999: Substitutes Teddy Sherringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær score in injury time to give Manchester United late victory to win the Champions League.

2000: Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee is jailed for five days for violating his parole by drinking alcohol. On the same day, sci-fi author and inventor of the communications satellite, Arthur C Clarke is knighted “for services to literature” at a ceremony in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

2002: “The Pianist”, directed by Roman Polanski, wins the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

2004: US Army veteran Terry Nichols is found guilty of 161 state murder charges for helping carry out the Oklahoma City bombing.

2006: An earthquake on Java kills over 5,700 people and leaves 200,000 homeless.

2012: Pope Benedict XVI’s butler is arrested for allegedly leaking confidential documents.

2018: Real Madrid beat Liverpool, 3-1 to win the Champions League for third time in a row.

2020: Costa Rica becomes the first county in Central America to legalize same-sex marriage. On the same day, Twitter begins adding warning labels to about inaccuracies in US President Donald Trump’s tweets.

2021: Dominic Cummings gives a damming report to MPs into Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

2022: Actor Ray Liotta dies from heart failure aged 67; Yes drummer Alan White dies aged 72 and Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode dies of an aortic dissection at 60.

Stevie Nicks

BIRTHDAYS: Stevie Nicks, singer-songwriter (Fleetwood Mac) 75; Pam Grier, actress, 74; Philip Michael Thomas, actor, 74; Jeremy Corbyn MP, politician, 74; Michael Portillo, broadcaster/former politician 70; Wayne Hussey, guitarist/singer (Sisters of Mercy/The Mission), 64; Bobcat Goldthwait, comedian/director, 61; Mary Nightingale, newsreader/journalist, 60; Lenny Kravitz, singer-songwriter, 59; Zola Budd, athlete, 57; Helena Bonham Carter, actress, 57; Patsy Palmer, actress, 51; Laurence Fox, actor, 45; Jason Manford, comedian, 42.