It happened today – this day in history – September 26

1181: Birth of St Francis of Assisi.

1396: Sultan Bajezid I beheads hundreds of crusaders.

1580: Francis Drake completes his circumnavigation of the world, sailing into Plymouth aboard the Golden Hind.

1665: Height of the Great Plague of London with more than 7,000 deaths over the previous week.

1777: British General William Howe’s forces occupy Philadelphia during the American Revolution.

1815: Russia, Prussia and Austria sign the Holy Alliance. On the same day, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord resigns as Prime Minister of France.

1820: American frontiersman Daniel Boone dies aged 85.

1867: Tom Morris Sr. wins the British Open golf at Prestwick.

1887: Emile Berliner patents the Gramophone.

1888: The birth of poet T S Eliot.

1898: Composer George Gershwin is born in New York.

1901: Britain annexes the Ashanti Kingdom and places it under the governor of the Gold Coast (Ghana).

1904: Earl Grey is named British governor-general of Canada.

1907: New Zealand and Newfoundland each become dominions within the British Empire.

1918: Beginning of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, more than 1 million American soldiers in the largest and most costly offensive of the First World War.

1923: The Commonwealth Conference is held in London. Britain recognizes the right of the dominions to make treaties with foreign powers.

1934: The British liner Queen Mary is launched.

1937: Blues singer Bessie Smith dies aged 43 after being involved in a car accident outside Memphis. Her right arm was amputated in hospital and she died without regaining consciousness.

1938: Adolf Hitler issues an ultimatum to the Czech government, demanding the Sudetenland.

1940: The Luftwaffe bombs the Spitfire factory in Woolston, Southampton, for a second time. On the same day, Japanese troops attack French Indo-China.

1944: British and Polish soldiers withdraw from Arnhem after days of fierce fighting. On the same day, Soviet troops occupy Estonia.

1945: Death of composer Béla Bartok aged 64.

1954: The Japanese ferry boat Toya Maru sinks in Strait of Tsugaru during a typhoon, killing 1,153 people.

1955: The New York Stock Exchange has its worst price decline since the crash of 1929.

1956: In the first European Cup match played on English soil. Manchester United beat Anderlecht 10-0 at Maine Road.

1957: Dag Hammarskjöld is re-elected as secretary-general of the UN. On the same day, “West Side Story” premieres at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York.

1960: Almost 70 million Americans tune in to watch the first ever televised debate between the two presidential candidates, Democrat John F Kennedy and Republican Richard Nixon in Chicago. On the same day, Cuban leader Fidel Castro delivers a 4 hour and 29 minute long speech at the UN.


1965: During an argument in Denmark between all four members of The Who at the end of a European tour, Roger Daltrey knocks out drummer Keith Moon, resulting in his sacking from the band. He is reinstated a few days later.

1968: Theatre censorship ends in Britain.

1969: General Ovando Candia leads a military coup in Bolivia.

1971: MP David Bleakley resigns in protest over the introduction of Internment and the lack of any new political initiatives by the Northern Ireland government.

1973: Concorde makes its first non stop flight across the Atlantic from Washington to Paris in three hours 32 minutes. On the same day, Turkey’s state of siege ends after two and a half years.

1977: Sir Freddie Laker begins his cut-rate “Skytrain” flights from London to New York.

1980: A bomb attack on Octoberfest in Munich kills 12 people.

1981: Singer Bruce Dickinson joins Iron Maiden.

1983: Australia II wins the America’s Cup yacht race – the first time a non American team has won. On the same day, cosmonauts Titov & Strekalov are saved from the exploding Soyuz T-10 and Soviet military officer Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov averts a worldwide nuclear war by correctly judging a supposed missile attack from the US as an error.

1984: A Berlin appeals court clears Paul McCartney in a long-standing paternity suit.

1985: Tunisia drops diplomatic relations with Libya.

1989: Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze calls for the total destruction of all Soviet and US chemical weapons.

1993: The US wins the Ryder Cup at The Belfry. On the same day, Alain Prost finishes second in the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril to clinch his fourth Formula 1 World Drivers Championship then announces his intention to retire at the end of the season.

1994: Switzerland bans racist propaganda.

1997: Two earthquakes strike the Italian regions of Umbria and the Marche, causing part of the Basilica of St. Francis at Assisi to collapse and damaging priceless artefacts.

1998: Sheffield Wednesday’s Paolo Di Canio is banned for 11 matches and fined £10,000 for pushing over referee Paul Alcock (who made a real meal of it) after being sent off in the game against Arsenal at Hillsborough.

1999: Singles chart:

  1. Blue (Da Ba Dee) – Eiffel 65
  2. S Club Party – S Club 7
  3. Man I Feel Like A Woman – Shania Twain
  4. Mambo No 5 (A Little Bit Of…) – Lou Bega
  5. You Drive Me Crazy – Britney Spears
  6. Sun Is Shining – Bob Marley
  7. We’re Going To Ibiza – Vangaboys
  8. The Launch – D J Jean
  9. Get Get Down – Paul Johnson
  10. Mickey – Lolly
1999: Shania Twain – Come On Over

Album chart:

  1. Rhythm And Stealth – Leftfield
  2. Come On Over – Shania Twain
  3. Supergrass – Supergrass
  4. The Man Who – Travis
  5. Liquid Skin – Gomez
  6. One From The Modern – Ocean Colour Scene
  7. You Me & Us – Martine McCutcheon
  8. Sogno – Andrea Bocelli
  9. Performance And Cocktails – Stereophonics
  10. Greatest Hits – Daniel O’Donnell

2002: An overcrowded Senegalese ferry capsizes off the coast of Gambia, killing more than 1,000.

2003: Singer Robert Palmer dies of a heart attack in Paris aged 54.

2008: Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy becomes the first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel. On the same day, actor Paul Newman dies aged 83. Also, the members of Muse are each awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Plymouth.

2012: The Syrian army massacres 40 civilians in Thiabieh, south of Damascus.

2017: Saudi Arabia announces it is overturning its ban on women driving – the last country in the world to do so. On the same day, fights break out in Uganda’s parliament during a debate to raise the presidential age limit and the world’s second-largest gem-quality diamond, the “Lesedi La Rona”, sells for $53m.

2019: Abortion is decriminalized in New South Wales, the last remaining Australian state to do so. On the same day, former French president Jacques Chirac dies aged 86.

BIRTHDAYS: Ricky Tomlinson, actor, 82; Anne Robinson, TV host, 77; Bryan Ferry, singer-songwriter, 76; Olivia Newton-John, singer, 73; Cesar Rosas, guitarist (Los Lobos) 67; Linda Hamilton, actress, 65; Kenny Sansom, footballer, 63; Will Self, writer, 60; Tracey Thorn, singer (Everything But The Girl) 59; Lysette Anthony, actress, 58; Jim Caviezel, actor, 53; Michael Ballack, German footballer, 45; Christina Milian, singer, 40; Serena Williams, tennis champion, 40; Keisha Buchanan, singer (Sugerbabes) 37; Nev Schulman, TV host; Kieran Gibbs, footballer, 32; Emma Rigby, actress, 32.