It happened today – this day in history – October 15

70BC: Birth of Roman poet Virgil.

1501: Heir to the throne and older brother of Henry VIII, Prince Arthur, marries Catherine of Aragon.

1520: Henry VIII orders bowling lanes at Whitehall.

1522: Conquistador Hernan Cortes is named governor of Mexico by Emperor Karel I.

1705: The English fleet under Lord Peterborough occupies Barcelona.

1815: Napoleon Bonaparte arrives on the island of St Helena to begin his exile.

1842: Karl Marx becomes editor-in-chief of Rheinische Zeitung.

1844: Birth of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

1866: Fire in Quebec destroys 2,500 houses.

1880: Cologne Cathedral is completed, 633 years after construction began.

1881: Birth of writer P. G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse in Guildford.

1886: Modest Mussorgsky’s musical fantasy “Night on Bald Mountain” premieres in St. Petersburg’s Kononov Hall, Russia.

1887: Preston North End achieve the highest score in a senior football match in England with a 26-0 victory against Hyde United in the FA Cup first round.

1897: Leopold II becomes king of Belgium.

1905: Claude Debussy’s symphonic sketch “La Mer” premieres in Paris.

1917: Exotic dancer Mata Hari (Margaretha Zelle) is executed by firing squad at Vincennes near Paris for spying for Germany.

1924: Andre Breton publishes his “Surrealist Manifesto” with Éditions du Sagittaire in Paris.

1937: Ernest Hemingway’s novel “To Have & Have Not” is published.

1939: La Guardia Airport opens in New York.

1940: Waterloo Station is bombed by the Luftwaffe. On the same day, the Charlie Chaplin satirical film “The Great Dictator” is released.

1941: Hideki Tojo is appointed Prime Minister of Imperial Japan.

1946: Nazi Reichmarshal Hermann Goering poisons himself in prison on the eve of his execution aged 53.

1951: The first synthesis of an oral contraceptive (norethindrone) is made at Mexican drug company Syntex.

1955: Buddy Holly opens for Elvis Presley at the ‘Big D Jamboree’ at Lubbock’s Cotton Club, Texas. Nashville talent scout Eddie Crandall was in audience and arranged for Holly to audition and record demos for the Decca US label.

1956: Little Richard records ‘Good Golly, Miss Molly’ at J&M Studio, New Orleans.


1958: Tunisia drops diplomatic relations with Egypt.

1963: Ludwig Erhard becomes Chancellor of West Germany.

1964: Al Oerter wins his third of four consecutive Olympic men’s discus titles at the Tokyo Olympics. On the same day, songwriter Cole Porter dies aged 73.

1966: The Black Panther Party is created by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.

1968: Al Oerter of the US wins the men’s discus in an Olympic record 64.78m at the Mexico Games – his fourth consecutive Olympic title. On the same day, Britain’s David Hemery sets a world record 48.12s to win the 400m hurdles gold medal.

1969: Americans take part in peace initiatives across the United States to protest against the continuing war in Vietnam.

1970: A Russian passenger flight is hijacked to Turkey. On the same day, Anwar Sadat is elected president of Egypt.

1972: 17 year-old American tennis prodigy Chris Evert wins the inaugural WTA Tour Championship at Boca Raton, Florida.

1973: Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones is found guilty of trafficking cannabis by a court in Nice. He is given a one-year suspended sentence and a 5,000 franc fine. He is also banned from entering France for two years.

1976: Two men from the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) are jailed for 35 years in connection with the murders of members of the Miami Showband.

1978: Singles chart:

  1. Summer Nights – John Travolta and Olivia Newton John
  2. Rasputin – Boney M
  3. Lucky Stars – Dean Friedman
  4. Sandy – John Travolta
  5. Love Don’t Live Here Anymore – Rose Royce
  6. Sweet Talkin’ Woman – ELO
  7. I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You – Leo Sayer
  8. Grease – Fankie Valli
  9. Rat Trap – The Boomtown Rats
  10. You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) – Sylvester
1978: David Bowie – Stage

Album chart:

  1. Grease – Original Soundtrack
  2. Big Wheels Of Motown – Various Artists
  3. Images – Don Williams
  4. Nightflight To Venus – Boney M
  5. War Of The Worlds – Jeff Wayne
  6. Classic Rock – The London Symphony Orchesttra
  7. Strikes Again – Rose Royce
  8. Bloody Tourists – 10cc
  9. Saturday Night Fever – original Soundtrack
  10. Stage – David Bowie

1983: A US Marine sharpshooters kill 5 snipers at Beirut International Airport. On the same day, Nelson Piquet finishes third in the season ending South African Grand Prix at Kyalami to clinch his second Formula 1 World Drivers Championship.

1987: Coup in Burkina Faso – president Sankara dies.

1989: South African president F W de Klerk frees ANC Founder Walter Sisulu and four other political prisoners.

1990: Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

1992: New York subway motorman Robert Ray is convicted of the manslaughter of five passengers, when he fell asleep drunk while in control of a train.

1994: President Jean-Baptiste Aristide returns to Haiti.

1999: The Metropolitan Police announces a huge out-of-court settlement to Winston Silcott, wrongly accused over the murder of policeman Keith Blakelock during riots in Tottenham in 1985.

2001: NASA’s Galileo spacecraft passes within 112 miles of Jupiter’s moon Io.

2003: Mike Smith, former lead singer of The Dave Clark Five suffers a fall at his home in Spain that leaves him paralysed from the waist down. On the same day, China launches Shenzhou 5, its first manned space mission.

2011: Coronation Street actress Elizabeth “Betty” Driver dies aged 91.

2016: Actress Dianna Agron marries Mumford & Sons banjo player Winston Marshall in Morocco.

2020: The Thai government issues emergency decree banning public gatherings amid increasing pro-democracy protests and criticism of the king. Pn the same day, musician Gordon Haskell dies from cancer aged 74.

BIRTHDAYS: Barry McGuire, singer-songwriter, 86; Richard Carpenter, pianist/songwriter, (The Carpenters) 75; Chris de Burgh, singer-songwriter, 74; Roscoe Tanner, tennis player, 70; Peter Richardson, actor/director, 70; Tito Jackson, musician (The Jacksons) 68; Michael Caton-Jones, director, 64; Sarah, Duchess of York, 62; Stephen Tompkinson, actor, 56; Didier Deschamps, French footballer/manager, 53; Dominic West, actor, 52; Andrew Cole, footballer, 50; David Trezeguet, French footballer, 44; Paul Robinson, goalkeeper, 42; Shayne Ward, singer/actor, 37; Jessie Ware, singer-songwriter, 37; Mesut Özil, footballer, 33; Anthony Joshua, boxer, 32; (Mizero) Ncuti Gatwa, actor, 30.