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- It happened today – this day in history – January 26 - 26/01/2021
1158: Frederick Barbarossa declares himself ruler of North Italy.
1493: Christopher Columbus discovers the Caribbean island of Saba.
1640: Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, impeached by the House of Lords on the evidence of John Pym, and imprisoned in the Tower of London.
1688: Prince Willem III’s invasion fleet sails to England.
1745: Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army enters England.
1775: Mohawk military leader Joseph Brant goes to London to solicit more support from the government and to persuade the Crown to address past Mohawk land grievances in exchange for their participation as allies in the impending war of American Independence.
1790: Chrysanthemums are introduced to England from China.
1805: French troops attempt to slow the retreat of a vastly superior Russian and Austrian force at the Battle of Dürenstein.
1811: Cartagena Colombia declares independence from Spain.
1821: Birth of novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky in Moscow.
1836: Chile declares war on Bolivia and Peru.
1880: Australian Bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly is hanged at Melbourne Gaol.
1887: Construction of the Manchester Ship Canal starts at Eastham.
1889: Washington is admitted as the 42nd state of USA.
1901: Premiere of Maurice Ravel’s “Jeux d’eau”.
1911: Russia issues an ultimatum to Persia and follows it with an invasion of North Persia to impose political control.
1918: The Armistice signed by the Allies and Germany comes into effect and First World War hostilities end at 11am. Emperor Charles I of Austria abdicates and Poland declares its independence.
1920: The Cenotaph in Whitehall, honouring Britain’s war dead, designed by Edwin Lutyens, is unveiled. On the same day, the burials of unknown soldiers take place simultaneously in Westminster Abbey, London, and at the Arc de Triomphe, Paris.
1921: US President Warren G Harding dedicates the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery, Virginia.
1922: Birth of author Kurt Vonnegut in Indianapolis.
1925: 24-year old Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five, including wife Lil on piano and Kid Ory on trombone, begin their first recording session.
1940: The British Fleet Air Arm destroys half of the Italian fleet at Taranto.
1954: Thousands of elderly people take part in a rally in London calling for an increase to their pensions. On the same day, “Two Towers”, the second volume of “Lord of the Rings”, by J.R.R. Tolkien is published.
1961: Stalingrad is renamed Volgograd. On the same day, “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller is published.
1965: The Rhodesian Government, led by Prime Minister Ian Smith, illegally severs its links with Britain. On the same day, the final recording session for The Beatles Rubber Soul album take place at EMI Studios in Abbey Road, London. Three songs were still needed to finish the album so a song left over from the Help! Sessions, Wait was used plus two new songs, You Won’t See Me and Girl were recorded in just two takes plus overdubs. The album was in the shops by December 3.
1966: Launch of Gemini 12 with astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell.
1968: The Maldives becomes a republic.
1972: Allman Brothers Band bass player Berry Oakley is killed when his motorcycle hit a bus at the same intersection as former band member Duane Allman, who had died a year earlier.
1975: Angola gains its independence from Portugal. On the same day, Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam is removed from office by Governor General Sir John Kerr – the first elected PM to be removed in 200 years – and Malcolm Fraser is sworn in as caretaker prime minister.
1979: Singles chart:
- When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman – Dr Hook
- One Day At A Time – Lena Martell
- Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
- Eton Rifles – The Jam
- Still – The Commodores
- Gimme Gimme Gimme – ABBA
- Every Day Hurts – Sad Cafe
- On My Radio – Selecter
- Tusk – Fleetwood Mac
- A Message To You Rudy – The Specials ft Rico Rodriguez
- Greatest Hits Vol 2 – ABBA
- Greatest Hits – Rod Stewart
- Tusk – Fleetwood Mac
- Regatta De Blanc – The Police
- Rock n Roller Disco – Various Artists
- Greatest Hits 1972-1978 – 10cc
- 20 Golden Greats – Diana Ross
- Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants – Stevie Wonder
- Lena’s Music Album – Lena Martell
- Specials – The Specials
1983: The first US cruise missiles arrive in Britain.
1987: The painting “Irises” by Vincent van Gogh sells for £27million – a world record for a work of art.
1992: The Church of England’s General Synod votes by a narrow margin to allow women to be ordained as priests.
1998: Singer Paddy Clancy of the Clancy Brothers died aged 76, he wrote the classic Irish songs ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ and ‘Carrickfergus.’
2000: 155 skiers, many of them children, die in an intense fire on board a funicular railway in the Austrian Alps.
2004: Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat dies in hospital in Paris, aged 75. Mahmood Abbas is elected new PLO leader.
2009: Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour received an honorary doctorate from Anglia Ruskin University.
2014: The captain of a South Korean ferry which sank in April is found guilty of gross negligence and sentenced to 36 years in prison. On the same day, an Italian appeals court overturns a manslaughter conviction against six scientists for failing to give adequate warning of a deadly earthquake. Also, The people of Catalonia vote in a disputed and non-binding poll on independence from Spain.
2015: Montreal begins a controversial dumping of raw sewage into the St Lawrence River. On the dame day, Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, former drummer with Motorhead, dies aged 61.
2016: Actor Robert Vaughn dies aged 83.
BIRTHDAYS: Chris Dreja, guitarist (The Yardbirds), 75; Daniel Ortega, president of Nicaragua, 75; Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, footballer, 75; Chip Hawkes, bassist (The Tremeloes) 74; Fuzzy Zoeller, golfer, 69; Andy Partridge, singer-songwriter/guitarist (XTC) 67; Ian Craig Marsh, keyboards, (Heaven 17/Human League) 64; Stanley Tucci, actor, 60; Demi Moore, actress, 58; Calista Flockhart, actress, 56; Gary Powell, drummer, (The Libertines) 51; Leslie Mann, actress, 48; Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, 46.