It happened today – this day in history – October 26

900: Death of Alfred the Great.

1529: Sir Thomas More is appointed Lord Chancellor of England.

1685: Birth of composer Domenico Scarlatti in Naples.

1776: Benjamin Franklin departs for France on a mission to seek French support for the American Revolution.

1830: Belgian rebels occupy Antwerp.

1858: Hamilton Smith patents the rotary washing machine.

1859: The steam clipper Royal Charter is wrecked on the coast of Anglesey, killing 459.

1863: The Football Association forms in England.

1881: The gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, between Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp with Doc Holiday and the Cowboys including Tom and Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton, who were killed. The shoot-out lasted barely 30 seconds.

1896: Abyssinia and Italy sign a peace treaty.

1905: The union of Sweden & Norway ends.

1909: Itō Hirobumi, Resident-General of Korea, and former Japanese Prime Minister, is shot and killed by a Korean nationalist in Harbin, China.

1912: Opening of the Woolwich Foot Tunnel.

1916: Nurse Margaret Sanger is arrested for obscenity after advocating birth control.

1918: Cecil Chubb gives Stonehenge to the nation. On the same day, Germany’s supreme commander General Eric Ludendorff resigns, protesting the terms to which the German Government has agreed in negotiating an armistice.

1919: Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, premieres in Queen’s Hall London. On the same day, US Ppresident Woodrow Wilson’s veto of the Prohibition Enforcement Bill is overridden.

1922: The Italian government resigns under pressure from fascists.

1931: Playwright Eugene O’Neill’s “Mourning Becomes Electra” premieres in New York.

1947: British military occupation ends in Iraq.

1950: Mother Teresa founds the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta.

1951: Winston Churchill becomes prime minister for the second time as the Conservatives win the general election. On the same day, Rocky Marciano defeats former world champion Joe Louis by a TKO in Round 8 at Madison Square Garden.

1952: Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American actress to win an Oscar, dies of breast cancer aged 57.

1955: British troops occupy the Saudi Arabian oil field at Boeraimi. On the same day, Ngo Dinh Diem proclaims Vietnam a republic with himself as President.

1956: Hungarian Prime Minister, Imre Nagy, appeals for calm as demonstrators battle with Soviet troops.


1962: The Beatles record Please Please Me and Ask Me Why at EMI Studios, Abbey Road. The A-side started out as a John Lennon-written Roy Orbison pastiche which the band sped up, prompting producer George Martin to say over the studio talkback: “Congratulations gentlemen, you just recorded your first No 1.” It actually stalled at No 2 when released in February 1963. On the same day, US President John F Kennedy warns Russia that the USA will not allow Soviet missiles to remain on Cuba. Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev sends a note to JFK offering to withdraw his missiles if the US closes its bases in Turkey. The offer is rejected.

1965: The Beatles receive their MBEs from The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

1966: Singer Alma Cogan dies of stomach cancer aged 34.

1967: The Shah of Iran crowns himself after 26 years on the Peacock Throne.

1968: George Foreman wins the Olympic heavyweight gold medal in Mexico.

1972: Edwin Land introduces the first truly instant camera the Polaroid SX-70.

1973: Israeli forces reach Suez, trapping the Egyptian army.

1975: Anwar Sadat becomes the first Egyptian president to officially visit the US.

1976: Trinidad & Tobago becomes a republic.

1979: The President of South Korea, Park Chung Hee, is “accidentally” shot dead by the chief of his intelligence service, Kim Jea Kyu.

1986: McLaren driver Alain Prost retains his Formula 1 World Drivers Championship with victory in the season ending Australian Grand Prix.

1991: Legendary concert promoter Bill Graham is killed when the helicopter he is in strikes the top of a Pacific Gas and Electric transmission tower near Sears Point, northwest of Vallejo and explodes.

1994: At a ceremony in the desert witnessed by US President Clinton, Jordan and Israel sign a peace agreement ending 46 years of war.

1995: Mossad agents assassinate Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shikaki in his hotel in Malta.

1997: Jacques Villeneuve finishes third in the European Grand Prix at Jerez, Spain too become the first Canadian to win the Formula 1 World Drivers Championship.

1999: The House of Lords votes to end the right of hereditary peers to vote in Britain’s upper chamber of Parliament. On the same day, singer-songwriter and actor Hoyt Axton dies of a heart attack aged 61.

2002: Approximately 50 Chechen rebels and 150 hostages die when Russian Spetsnaz storm a theatre in Moscow which had been occupied by the rebels during a performance three days before.

2003: Singles chart:

  1. Be Faithful – Fatman Scoop/Crooklyn Scoop
  2. Guilty – Blue
  3. Turn Me On – Kevin Lyttle
  4. Where Is The Love – Black Eyed Peas
  5. Hole In The Head – Sugarbabes
  6. Jumpin’ – Liberty X
  7. Superstar – Jamelia
  8. Got Some Teeth – Obie Trice
  9. So Yesterday – Hilary Duff
  10. Maybe – Emma
2003: Dido – Life For Rent

Album chart:

  1. Life For Rent – Dido
  2. Room On Fire – The Strokes
  3. The Very Best Of – Sheryl Crow
  4. As Time Goes By: The American Songbook Vol 2 – Rod Stewart
  5. Careful What You Wish For – Texas
  6. The Very Best Of – Cat Stevens
  7. 12 Memories – Travis
  8. Permission To Land – The Darkness
  9. The R in R ‘n’ B: Greatest Hits Vol 1 – R Kelly
  10. Live At Knebworth – Robbie Williams

2007: Pete Doherty was given a suspended prison term for drugs and motoring offences after admitting driving while uninsured, having no MOT and while in possession of crack cocaine, heroin, ketamine and cannabis.

2017: Jacinda Ardern is sworn in as Prime Minister of New Zealand, becoming the world’s youngest female head of government.

2019: A raid by US Special Forces kills ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria. On the same day, Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere dies aged 71.

BIRTHDAYS: Jaclyn Smith, actress, 76; Hilary Clinton, former First Lady/presidential candidate, 74; Bootsy (William) Collins, bassist (Funkadelic) 70; Andrew Motion, poet, 69; David Was (Weiss), musician/songwriter, (Was Not Was) 69; Keith Strickland, musician/songwriter (The B52s) 68; James Pickens Jr, actor, 67; Rita Wilson (Hanks), actress, 65; Dylan McDermott, actor, 60; Uhuru Kenyatta, Prime Minister of Kenya, 60; Cary Elwes, actor, 59; Natalie Merchant, singer-songwriter, 58; Tom Cavanagh, actor/director, 58; Judge Jules, DJ, 56; Keith Urban, country singer, 54; Seth MacFarlane, animator/film maker, 48; Jon Heder, actor, 44; Nicola Adams, boxer, 39.