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This Day in History – My picks from the events, deaths and observances everyday throughout history.

31st March

1685  – Birth of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

1889 – The Eiffel Tower is officially opened.

1926 – Birth of English author John Fowles.

30th March 

1820 – Birth of English author Anna Sewell.

1853 – Birth of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.

1856 – The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the Crimean War.

29th March 

1461 – Battle of Towton – War of the Roses – Edward of York defeats Queen Margaret to become King Edward IV of England.

1871 – The Royal Albert Hall is opened by Queen Victoria.

28th March

1979 – The British House of Commons passes a vote of no confidence against James Callaghan’s government, precipitating a general election.

27th March

1854 – The Crimea War: The United Kingdom declares war on Russia.

1871 – The first international rugby football match takes place with Scotland defeating England in Edinburgh at Raeburn Place.

1922 – Birth of English author Dick King-Smith.

World Theatre Day

26th March

1484 – William Caxton prints his translation of Aesop’s Fables.

1881 – Birth of Italian businessman and fashion designer Guccio Gucci.

1911 – Birth of American dramatist Tennessee Williams.

1934 – The driving test is introduced in the UK.

25th March

1584 – Sir Walter Raleigh is granted a Charter to colonize Virginia.

1807 – The Slave Trade Act becomes law, abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire.

1969 – During their honeymoon John Lennon and Yoko Ono hold their first bed-in for peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

24th March

1707 – The Acts of Union 1707 is signed, officially uniting the Kingdoms of England and Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain.

1944 – During World War Two, an event later dramatized by the film The Great Escape, 76 prisoners start breaking out of Stalag Luft III. 

23rd March

1919 – In Malin, Italy, Benito Mussolini founds his Fascist political movement.

22nd March

1622 – Jamestown Massacre:  Algonquian Indians kill 347 English settlers around Jamestown, Virginia, a third of the colony’s population.

1963 – The first album by The Beatles’ Please Please Me is released in the UK.

World Water Day

21st March

1871 – Otto von Bismarck is appointed Chancellor of the German Empire.

1871 – Journalist Henry Morton Stanley begins in trek to find the missionary and explorer David Livingstone.

1963 – Alcatraz, a federal penitentiary on an island in San Francisco Bay, closes.

World Poetry Day

World Puppetry Day

20th March

43 BC – Birth of Roman poet Ovid.

1602 – The Dutch East India Company is founded.

1616– Sir Walter Raleigh is freed from the Tower of London after 13 years of imprisonment.

1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published.

1916 – Albert Einstein publishes his general theory of relativity.

19th March

1813 – Birth of Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone.

1848 – Birth of US Marshall Wyatt Earp.

1921 – Birth of British prop comedian and magician Tommy Cooper.

1982 – Argentinian forces land on South Georgia Island, precipitating war with the UK – the Falklands War.

2003 – US President George W Bush orders the start of the war against Iraq.

18th March

1869 – Birth of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

1893 – Birth of British poet, Wilfred Owen.

1915 – A massive naval attack in the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War, in which three battleships are sunk during a British and French naval attack on the Dardanelles.

1965 – Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov becomes the first person to walk in space.

17th March

1880 – Birth of English army officer and Antarctic explorer Lawrence Oates (see below).

Saint Patrick’s Day (Ireland)

16th March

1912 – Lawrence Oates, an ill member of Robert Falcon Scott’s South Pole expedition, left the tent to die saying, ‘I’m just going outside and may be some time.’

15th March

44 BC – Julius Caesar is stabbed to death on the Ides of March.

1990 – Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as the first President of the Soviet Union.

14th March

44 BC  – On the eve of Julius Caesar’s assassination, Casca and Cassius decide that Mark Anthony should live.

1879 – Birth of German-born physicist Albert Einstein.

13th March

1733 – Birth of English scientist and minister, Joseph Priestley.

1764 – Birth of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Earl Grey, who has become associated with Earl Grey Tea.

12th March

1894 – Coca Cola is bottled and sold for the first time in Vicksburg, Mississippi, by local soda fountain operator Joseph Biedenharn.

1922 – Birth of American writer Jack Kerouac.

11th March

1702 – The Daily Courant, England’s first national daily newspaper is published for the first time.

1952 – Birth of English writer Douglas Adams.

10th March

1804 – Louisiana Purchase: In St. Louis, Missouri a formal ceremony is conducted to transfer ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States.

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell makes the first successful telephone call saying, ‘Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you.’

9th March

1454 – Birth of Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci.

1916 – Pancho Villa leads nearly 500 Mexican raiders in an attack against Columbus, New Mexico.

1934 – Birth of Soviet cosmonaut and the first human in space, Yuri Garagin.

8th March

1859 – Birth of English writer and author the children’s classic The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame. 

1978 – The first radio episode of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams is transmitted on BBC Radio 4.

International Women’s Day

7th March

1944 – Birth of British soldier and explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

1989 – Iran and the UK break diplomatic relations over a row over Salman Rushdie and his controversial book.

6th March

1475 – Birth of Italian painter ans sculpture Michelangelo, who painted scenes from Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

1806 – Birth of British poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

1869 – Dmitri Mendeleev presents the first periodic table to the Russian Chemical Society.

1927 – Birth of Columbian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

5th March

1496 – King Henry VII of England issues a charter to John Cabot and his sons, authorizing them to explore unknown lands.

1824 – The First Anglo-Burmese War; Britain officially declares war on Burma.

1960 – Cuban photographer Alberto Korda took his iconic photograph of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.

4th March

1394 – Birth of Portuguese sponsor of exploration Henry the Navigator.

1519 – Hernan Cortes arrives in Mexico in search of the Aztec civilisation and their wealth.

1980 – Nationalist leader Robert Mugabe wins a sweeping election victory to become Zimbabwe’s first black Prime Minister.

3rd March

1847 – Birth of Scottish-American inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

1857 – The Second Opium War; Britain and France declare war on China.

1923  – TIME magazine is published for the first time.

1931 – The United States adopts the Star-Spangled Banner as its national anthem.

2nd March

1904 – Birth of American author Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel).

1931 – Birth of President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev

1st March 

1872 – Yellowstone National Park is established as the world’s first National Park.

1936 – The Hoover Dam is completed.

Beer Day (Iceland)

St David’s Day (Wales)

[29th Feb Leap Day]

28th Feb

1784 – John Wesley charters the Methodist Church.

1953 – James D Watson and Francis Crick announce to their friends that they have determined the chemical structure for DNA, the formal announcement is made on April 25th.

27th Feb

1900 – The British Labour Party is founded.

1902 – Birth of American writer John Steinbeck.

26th Feb

1802 – Birth of French writer Victor Hugo.

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from Elba.

25th Feb

1917 – Birth of English author Anthony Burgess, author of the dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange. 

1947 – The state of Prussia ceases to exist.

1956 – In his speech On the Personality Cult and its Consequences Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union denounces the cult of personality of Joseph Stalin.

24th Feb

1920 – The Nazi Party is founded.

2008 – Fidel Castro retires as the President of Cuba after nearly fifty years.

23rd Feb

1633 – Birth of English naval administrator and man of letters, Samuel Pepys, who is posthumously famous as a diarist.

1739 – Richard Palmer is identified at York Castle, by his former schoolteacher, as outlaw Dick Turpin.

1903 – Cuba leases Guantanamo Bay to the United States ‘in perpetuity’.

22nd Feb

1732 – Birth of one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and First President of the US, George Washington.

1857 – Birth of British soldier, author and founder of the Scout movement, Robert Baden-Powell.

21st Feb

1613 – Mikhail I is unanimously elected Tsar by a national assembly, beginning the Romanov Dynasty in Imperial Russia.

1848 – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto. 

1925 – The New Yorker publishes its first issue.

1965 – Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam.

20th Feb

1902 – Birth of American photographer Ansel Adams.

1991 – A statue of Albania’s long-time leader Enver Hoxha is brought down in the Albanian town on Tirana, by mobs of angry protesters.

World Day of Social Justice

19th Feb

1473 – Birth of mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

1674 – England and the Netherlands sign the Treaty of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War, and transferring control of New Amsterdam over to the English, who rename it New York.

1915 – During the First World War, the naval attacks begins on the Dardanelles, when an Anglo-French force attack Ottoman Artillery along the coast of Gallipoli.

18th Feb

1516 – Birth of Mary I, Queen of England.

1848 – Birth of Louis Comfort Tiffany, American artist and designer and founder of Tiffany and Company.

1930 – While studying photographs taken in July, Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto.

17th Feb

1600 – Philosopher Giordano Bruno is burned alive for heresy at Campo de’Fiori in Rome.

2008 – Kosovo declares independence.

16th Feb

1923 – Howard Carter unseals the burial chamber of Tutankhamun.

1959 – Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba.

15th Feb

1564 – Birth of Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei.

1784 – Birth of English philosopher Jeremy Bentham.

1874 – Birth of Irish explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

14th Feb

1779 – James Cook is killed by native Hawaiians on the island of Hawaii.

1852 – Great Ormond Street Hospital for children is founded in London. It was the first hospital providing in-patient beds specifically for children in the English-speaking world.

Valentine’s Day

13th Feb

1931 – New Delhi becomes the capital of India.

2008 – Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes a historic apology to the indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations.

12th Feb

1809 – Birth of English naturalist Charles Darwin.

1809 – Birth of American President Abraham Lincoln.

1994 – Four men break into the National Gallery of Norway and steal Edvard Munch’s iconic painting The Scream.

11th Feb

1531 – Henry VIII is recognised as supreme head of the Church of England.

10th Feb

1306 – In front of the high altar of Greyfriars Church in Dumfries, Robert the Bruce murders John Comyn sparking revolution in the Scottish Wars of Independence.

1890 – Birth of Russian writer Boris Pasternak.

9th Feb

1737 – Birth of English radical liberal philosopher and writer of The Rights of Man Thomas Paine.

8th Feb

1587 – Mary Queen of Scots is executed on suspicion of involvement in the Babington Plot to murder her cousin Queen Elizabeth I.

1828 – Birth of French author Jules Verne.

1950 – The Stasi, the East-German secret police is establish.

1952 – Queen Elizabeth II is proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom.

7th Feb

1478 – Birth of English statesman, humanist and author, Sir Thomas More.

1812 – Birth of English writer Charles Dickens.

1935 – The classic board game Monopoly is invented.

6th Feb

1819 – Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles founds Singapore.

1913 – Birth of English anthropologist Mary Leakey.

1918 – British women over the age of 30 get the right to vote.

5th Feb

1919 – Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith launch United Artists.

1939 – Generalisimo Francisco Franco becomes the 68th leader of Spain.

1971 – Astronauts of the Apollo 14 mission land on the moon.

4th Feb

1936 – Radium becomes the first radioactive element to be made synthetically.

2002 – Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent cancer research charity is founded.

2004 – Facebook is founded by Mark Zuckerberg.

2013 – A skeleton underneath a council car park are officially identified today as the remains of King Richard III.

World Cancer Day

3rd Feb

1924 – Birth of English socialist historian and author of The Making of the English Working Class, E. P. Thompson.

1948 – Birth of Swedish author Henning Mankell.

1960 – British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan speaks of the ‘wind of change’ of the increasing national consciousness blowing through colonial Africa, signalling that his Government is likely to support decolonisation.

2nd Feb

1882 – Birth of Irish author James Joyce.

1922 – James Joyce’s Ulysses is published.

1st Feb

1327 – Teenaged Edward III is crowned King of England, but the country is ruled by his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer.

1709 – Alexander Selkirk is rescued after being shipwrecked on a desert island, inspiring the book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

31st Jan

1968 – Viet Cong attack the US embassy in Saigon and other attacks in the early morning hours, later group together as the Tet Offensive.

30th Jan

1933 – Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.

1948 – Mohandas K. Gandhi, known for his non-violence freedom struggle, is assassinated by Pandit Nathuram Godse, a Hindu-extremist.

29th Jan

1856 – Queen Victoria institutes the Victoria Cross

1874 – Birth of American entrepreneur John D Rockefeller Jr.

28th Jan

1813 – Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is first published in the UK.

27th Jan

1606 – The Gunpowder Plot: The trial of Guy Fawkes and other conspirators begins, ending with their execution on January 31st.

1756 – Birth of  Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

1825 – The US Congress approves Indian Territory clearing the way for the forced relocation of Eastern Indians on the ‘Trail of Tears’.

1832 – Birth of English author Lewis Carroll.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

26th Jan

1885 – Troops loyal to the Mahdi conquer Khartoum, killing the Governor-General Charles George Gordon.

25th Jan

1759 – Birth of Scottish poet Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns.

1858 – The Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn becomes a popular wedding recessional after it is played on this day at the wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Victoria and Friedrich of Prussia.

1882 – Birth of English writer Virginia Woolf

24th Jan

1862 – Birth of American writer Edith Wharton.

1908 – The first Boy Scout troop is organised in England by Robert Baden-Powell

23rd Jan

1570 – James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, regent to the infant King James VI of Scotland, is assassinated by firearm, the first recorded instance of such.

22nd Jan

1561 – Birth of English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon.

1788 – Birth of English poet George Gordon Byron (Lord Byron).

1879 – Anglo-Zulu War: Battle of Rorke’s Drift – 139 British soldiers successfully defend their garrison against an intense assault by 4000-5000 Zulu warriors.

21st Jan

1789 – The first American novel The Power of Sympathy or The Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth, is printed in Boston, Mass.

1793 – After been found guilty of treason by the French Convention Louis XVI of France is executed by guillotine.

20th Jan

1265  – In Westminster, the first English Parliament holds its first meeting run by Simon de Montfort in the Palace of Westminster, now known as the ‘Houses of Parliament’.

1649 – Charles I of England goes on trial for treason and other ‘high crimes’.

1841 – Hong Kong Island is occupied by the British.

19th Jan

1419 – The Hundred Years War, Rouen surrenders to Henry V of England, completing his conquest of Normandy.

1736 – Birth of Scottish inventor James Watt.

1809 – Birth of American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe.

1977 – Snow falls in Miami, Florida. It is the only time in its history that snow has fallen. It also fell in the Bahamas.

18th Jan

1689 – Birth of French satirist and philosopher Montesquieu.

1882 – Birth of British author and creator of Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne.

1934 – Birth of English writer and illustrator, famous for The Snowman, Raymond Briggs.

17th Jan

1706 – Birth of American statesman and inventor Benjamin Franklin.

1820 – Birth of British author Anne Bronte.

1863 – Birth of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

16th Jan

1581 – The English Parliament outlaws Roman Catholicism.

1707 – The Scottish Parliament ratifies the Act of Union, paving the way for the creation of Great Britain.

1909 – Ernest Shackleton’s expedition finds the magnetic South Pole.

15th Jan

1559 – Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England.

1759 – The British Museum opens.

1929 – Birth of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

2001 – Wikipedia, the free Wiki content encyclopedia, goes online.

14th Jan

1904 – Birth of English fashion, portrait and war photographer, diarist, painter, interior designer and stage and costume designer for films and theatre, Sir Cecil Beaton.

13th Jan

1893 – The Independent Labour Party of the UK hold its first meeting.

1968 – Johnny Cash performs live at Folsom State Prison.

12th Jan

1876 – Birth of American author Jack London.

11th Jan

1859 – Birth of British statesman and Viceroy of India Lord George Nathaniel Curzon.

1879 – The Anglo-Zulu War starts.

1938 – Birth of British politician Arthur Scargill, president of the National Union of Mineworkers who lead the  Union during the miner’s strike 1984/5.

10th Jan

1863 – The London Underground opens between London Paddington Station and Farringdon Station.

1920 – The Treaty of Versailles takes place, officially ending the First World War.

1929 – The Adventures of Tintin, one of the most popular comic books in Europe is first published in Belgium.

9th Jan

1916 – The last Allied troops are evacuated from the peninsula after the conclusion of the Gallipoli campaign against the Ottoman Turks.

1918 – The last battle of the American Indian Wars, Battle of Bear Valley is fought.

8th Jan

1935 – Birth of Elvis Presley.

1940 – Britain introduces food rationing during World War Two.

1942 – Birth of English physicist Stephen Hawking.

7th Jan

1894 – William Kennedy Dickson receives a patent for motion picture film.

1904 – The distress signal CQD is established only to be replaced two years later by SOS.

1990 – The interior of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is closed to the public for safety reasons.

6th Jan

1412 – Birth of French military figure and Roman Catholic saint Joan of Arc.

1929 – Mother Teresa arrives in Calcutta, India to begin her work among India’s poorest and sick people.

5th Jan

1066 – Edward the Confessor dies childless, sparking a succession crisis that leads to the Norman Conquest.

4th Jan

1643 – Birth of English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and theologian, Isaac Newton.

1809 – Birth of the inventor of Braille and teacher of the blind, Louis Braille.

3rd Jan

106 BC – Birth of Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero.

1496 – Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tests a flying machine.

1892 – Birth of British writer J. R. R. Tolkien.

1925 – Benito Mussolini announces that he is taking dictatorial powers over Italy.

2nd Jan

1920 – Birth of American author Isaac Asimov.

1959 – Luna 1 is launched into space by the Soviet Union becoming the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the moon and to orbit the sun.

1981 – One of the largest police man hunts comes to an end when serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ is arrested in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

1st January

1788 – The Times of London, formally The Daily Universal Register is published for the first time.

1833 – Britain claims sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.

1877 – Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India.

1879 – Birth of English novelist E. M. Forster.

1919 – Birth of American novelist J. D. Salinger.

New Year’s Day

31st Dec

1514 – Birth of Flemish anatomist Andreas Vesalius.

1600 – The British East India Company is chartered.

1869 – Birth of French painter Henri Matisse.

1923 – The chimes of Big Ben are broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.

New Year’s Eve.

30th Dec

1460 – The War of the Roses – The Battle of Wakefield.

1865  – Birth of English writer Rudyard Kipling.

2006 – Former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein is executed.

29th Dec

1809 – Birth of British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.

28th Dec

1885 – The Indian National Congress a political party of India is founded in Bombay, British India.

1922 – Birth of American comic book writer Stan Lee.

1972 – Kim Il-sung becomes President of North Korea.

27th Dec

1571 – Birth of German astronomer Johannes Kepler.

1822 – Birth of French scientist Louis Pasteur.

1978 – Spain becomes a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.

26th Dec

Boxing Day

25th Dec

Christmas Day

24th Dec

Christmas Eve

1524 – Death of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama.

1865 – The Ku Klux Klan is formed.

23rd Dec

1823 – A Visit from St. Nicholas, also known as The Night Before Christmas is published anonymously.

22nd Dec

1880 – Death of English writer George Eliot.

21st Dec

1118 – Birth of Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket.

1804 – Birth of British politician and PM Benjamin Disraeli.

20th Dec

1946 – It’s a Wonderful Life is first released in New York City.

19th Dec

1843 – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol goes on sale.

18th Dec

1878 – Birth of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

1892 – The first performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in Saint Petersburg.

17th Dec

1538 – Pope Paul III excommunicates Henry VIII of England.

1778 – Birth of English chemist and physicist Humphry Davy.

1989 – The first episode of the television series The Simpsons ‘Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire’ airs in the US.

16th Dec

1653 – Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.

1773 – The Boston Tea Party. Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawks dumps crates of tea into Boston harbour as a protest against the Tea Act.

1775 – Birth of English novelist Jane Austen.

1899 – Birth of English playwright, actor and composer Sir Noel Coward.

1917 – Birth of sci-fi writer Arthur C Clarke.

1928 – Birth of sci-fi writer Philip K Dick.

1932 – Birth of English illustrator famous for his illustrations for Roald Dahl books, Quentin Blake.

15th Dec

37 – Birth of Roman Emperor Nero.

14th Dec

1546 – Birth of Danish astronomer and alchemist Tycho Brahe.

1903 – The Wright brothers make their first attempt to fly with their Wright Flyer in North Carolina.

13th Dec

1577 – Sir Francis Drake sets sail from Plymouth, England for his round-the-world voyage.

12th Dec

1914 – Birth of English author Patrick O’Brian.

1940 – Approximately 70 people are killed in the Marples Hotel, Fitzalan Square in Sheffield, as a result of a German air raid.

11th Dec

1917 – British General, Edmund Allenby enters Jerusalem on foot and declares martial law.

1931 – The British parliament enacts the Statute of Westminster 1931 which establishes legislative equality between the self-governing dominions of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of Canada, The Irish Free State, Dominion of Newfoundland, the Dominion of New Zealand and the Union of South Africa.

1936 – The abdication of Edward VIII comes into effect. His younger brother Albert, who became King George VI.

10th Dec 

1884 – Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published for the first time.

1901 – The first Nobel Prizes are awarded.

1941 – During WWII, the Royal Navy capital ships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse are sunk by Imperial Japanese Navy torpedo bombers near Malaya.

Human Rights Day (International)

9th Dec

1608 – Birth of English poet, John Milton.

8th Dec

1542 – Birth of Mary, Queen of the Scots.

1951 – Birth of American author Bill Bryson.

1980 – John Lennon, former member of The Beatles and peace activist is murdered by Mark David Chapman in New York City.

7th Dec

1941 – Attack on Pearl Harbour during World War Two,the Imperial Japanese Navy attacks the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour, causing a declaration of war on the Japanese by the US.

6th Dec

1421 – Birth of King Henry VI of England.

1768 – The first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica is published.

5th Dec

1901 – Birth of Walt Disney.

4th Dec

1892 – Birth of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.

3rd Dec

1857 – Birth of Polish-born British novelist Joseph Conrad.

2nd Dec

1697 – St Paul’s Cathedral in London is opened.

1804 – At Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of the French. The first French emperor in a thousand years.

1961 – In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declares he is a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba is going to adopt communism.

1st Dec

1761 – Birth of French creator of wax sculptures (Madame Tussauds), Marie Tussaud.

1935  – Birth of American film director, actor and comedian Woody Allen.

30th Nov

1874 – Birth of British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.

29th Nov

1832 – Birth of American author, Louisa May Alcott, famous for Little Women.

1898 – Birth of English writer C. S. Lewis.

28th Nov

1582  – In Stratford-upon-Avon William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway pay a £40 bond for their marriage license.

1660 – At Gresham College, 12 men, including Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins and Sir Robert Moray decide to found what is later known as the Royal Society.

1757 – Birth of British poet William Blake.

1919 – Lady Astor is elected as Member of Parliament (UK), becoming the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. (Countess Markievicz, was the first women to be elected, but refused to sit).

27th Nov

1940 – Birth of American actor and martial arts legend Bruce Lee.

1942 – Birth of American musician and guitarist Jimi Hendrix.

26th Nov

1922 – Howard Carter and Lord Carnavon become the first people to enter the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in over 3000 years.

2003 – Concorde makes its final flight over Bristol, England.

25th Nov

1703 – The Great Storm of 1703, wind gusts of up to 120 mph hit southern Great Britain, in the greatest windstorm ever recorded and lasts for two days. 9000 people are killed.

24th Nov

1806 – Birth of William Webb Ellis, who is created with the invention of Rugby.

1859 – Charles Darwin publishes his On the Origin of Species, the anniversary of which is sometimes called ‘Evolution Day’.

1864 – Birth of French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

1962 – The first broadcast of the influential satirical television programme That Was The Week That Was (TW3).

1963 – Lee Harvey Oswald is shot by Jack Ruby in the basement of the police station in Dallas. The murder happened to be captured on live television.

23rd Nov

1859 – Birth of American outlaw Billy the Kid.

1963  – The BBC airs the first ever episode of Doctor Who (starring William Hartnell)

22nd Nov

1718 – British pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard is killed off the coast of North Carolina in a battle with a boarding party led by the Royal Navy Lieutenant Robert Maynard.

1963 – In Dallas, American President John F. Kennedy is assassinated and Texas Governor John B. Connally is seriously wounded. Suspect Lee Harvey Oswald is later captured and charged with the murder of the President and of police officer J. D. Tippit. Oswald is shot two days later while in custody by Jack Ruby.

1995 – Toy Story, the first feature length film to have been completed with computer-generated images, is released.

21st Nov

World Television Day (International)

Reminds me of a quote: ‘I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.’ – Groucho Marx.

20th Nov

1947 – The Princess Elizabeth marries Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, who becomes the Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey, London.

19th Nov

1917 – Birth of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

1994  – In the UK the first National Lottery draw is held. A £1 ticket gave a one-in-14-million chance of choosing the winning numbers.

18th Nov

1307 – William Tell shots the apple off of his son’s head.

1939 – Birth of Canadian novelist, poet, critic, and essayist Margaret Atwood.

17th Nov

1558 – The Elizabethan Era begins with the death of Queen Mary I and the succession of her half sister Queen Elizabeth I of England.

1603 – Sir Walter Raleigh, English explorer, writer and courtier, goes on trial for treason.

1855 – David Livingstone becomes the first European to see the Victoria Falls.

16th Nov

1849 – A Russian court sentences Fyodor Dostoevsky to death for anti-government activities. His sentence is later reduced to hard labour

15th Nov

1688 – The Glorious Revolution begins: William of Orange lands at Brixham.

1859 – The first modern revival of the Olympic Games takes place in Athens.

14th Nov

1840 – Birth of French painter Claude Monet.

1916 – Battle of the Somme (World War One) ends.

13th Nov

World Kindness Day

12th Nov

1929 – Birth of American actress and Princess consort of Monaco, Grace Kelly.

11th Nov

Remembrance Day

10th Nov

1483 – Birth of German Protestant reformer Martin Luther.

1865 – Henry Morton Stanley locates missing explorer and missionary David Livingstone at Ujiji near Lake Tanganyika, where he famously said ‘Dr Livingstone, I presume?’ (although no real evidence exists to support that he actually said this).

9th Nov

1888 – Mary Jane Kelly was murdered in London and is believed to be the fifth and final victim of Jack the Ripper.

8th Nov

1847 – Birth of Irish novelist Bram Stoker, who gave the world Dracula.

1900 – Birth of American novelist Margaret Mitchell, famous for Gone with the Wind

7th Nov

1728 – Birth of British naval officer, cartographer and explorer Captain James Cook.

1913 – Birth of French writer and Nobel Prize laureate Albert Camus.

1944 – Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected for a record fourth term as President of the United States.

2012 – Barack Obama defeats Mitt Romney to win a second term as President of the United States.

5th Nov

1605 – Guy Fawkes Night

Remember, remember the fifth of November,

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason, why the gunpowder treason,

should never be forgot.

The arrest of Guy Fawkes and the foiling of Robert Catesby’s plot (aka The Gunpowder Plot), prevents the destruction of the House of Lords and everything in it, and has led to English people celebrating the failure of the plan to destroy the King and Parliament, with fireworks, a bonfire and a ‘guy’.

4th Nov

1857 – Sir James Young Simpson a British physician discovers the anaesthetic properties of chloroform.

1922 – British archaeologist Howard Carter and his team find the entrance to Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt.

2008 – Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States.

3rd Nov

1838 – The Times of India the world’s largest circulated English language daily broadsheet newspaper is founded as The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce. 

2nd Nov

1755 – Birth of French Queen, Marie Antoinette.

1960 – Penguin books is found not guilty of obscenity in the trial R vs Penguin Books Ltd in the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case.

1st Nov

1887 – Birth of British painter L. S. Lowry.

31st Oct

1920 – Birth of British novelist Dick Francis.

1940  – The Battle of Britain ends, in which Britain prevents a possible German invasion.


30th Oct

1821 – Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky is born.

1922 – Benito Mussolini is made Prime Minister of Italy.

1944 – Anne Frank and her sister Margot are transported from Auschwitz to the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen.

29th Oct

1618 – Sir Walter Raleigh, English adventurer, writer and courtier, is beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I.

28th Oct

1903 – Birth of English writer Evelyn Waugh.

27th Oct

1858 – Birth of American President Theodore Roosevelt.

1932 – Birth of American poet Sylvia Plath

26th Oct

1759 – Birth of French Revolutionary leader George Jacques Danton.

25th Oct

1415 – The army of Henry V of England defeats the French at the Battle of Agincourt.

1881 – Birth of Pablo Picasso.

1962 – Nelson Mandela is sentenced to five years in prison.

24th Oct

1857 – Sheffield F. C., the world’s first football club is founded in Sheffield, England.

1973 – Yom Kippur War ends.

2003 – Concorde makes its last commercial flight.

23rd Oct

1642 – Battle of Edgehill, the first major battle of the First English Civil War.

1707 – The first Parliament of Great Britain meets.

22nd Oct

1964 – Jean-Paul Sartre is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, but turns down the honour.

21st Oct

1520 – Ferdinand Magellan discovers a strait now known as Strait of Magellan.

20th Oct

1632 – Birth of St Paul’s Cathedral architect Christopher Wren.

19th Oct

1386 – The Universitat Heidelberg gives its first lecture, making it the oldest university in Germany.

1813 – The Battle of Leipzig concludes making it one of the worst defeats for Napoleon Bonaparte.

1914 – The first battle of Ypres begins.

1931 – Birth of English novelist John Le Carre

18th Oct

1851 – Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is first published as The Whale by Richard Bentley of London.

1945 – Argentine military officer and politician Juan Peron marries actress Eva Peron.

17th Oct

1814 – London Beer Flood occurs in London, killing nine.

1905 – The October Manifesto is issued by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

1915 – Birth of American playwright Arthur Miller.

1918 – Birth of American dancer and actress Rita Hayworth.

1979 – Mother Teresa is awarded the Nobel peace Prize.

16th Oct

1793 – Marie Antoinette is guillotined in Paris at the height of the French Revolution.

1854 – Birth of Irish writer Oscar Wilde.

1905 – The Partition of Bengal in India takes place.

15th Oct

1582 – Pope Gregory XIII implements the Gregorian calendar, and Oct 4th is followed directly by Oct 15th.

1815 – Napoleon I begins his exile on St Helena.

1888 – The ‘From Hell’ letters are sent by Jack the Ripper.

1987 – The Great Storm of 1987 hits France and England in the early hours of the morning.

1990 – Mikhail Gorbachev is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to lessen the tensions during the Cold War and open up his nation.

14th Oct

1066 – The Battle of Hastings.

1633 – Birth of James II of England.

1890 – Birth of US President Dwight D Eisenhower.

1926 – Children’s book Winnie the Pooh by A. A Milne is first published.

13th Oct

1884 – Greenwich in London is established as Universal Time meridian of longitude.

1925 – Birth of British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

1958  – The classic character from children’s literature in England, Paddington Bear makes his debut.

12th Oct

1915 – During World War One British Nurse Edith Cavell is executed by German firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape from Belgium.

1979 – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the first book from the trilogy of five by Douglas Adams is published.

11th Oct

1872 – Birth of militant women’s suffrage activist, Emily Davison.

10th Oct

1924 – Birth of Australian author James Clavell.

9th Oct

1940 – Birth of British singer and member of The Beatles John Lennon.

1970 – The Khmer Republic is proclaimed in Cambodia.

8th Oct

1920 – Birth of American author, Frank Herbert.

7th Oct

1849 – Death of poet Edgar Allan Poe.

5th Oct

1962 – The Beatles’ first single Love Me Do is released in the UK.

1969 – The first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus airs on BBC One.

4th Oct

1626  – Birth of Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland, Richard Cromwell.

1853 – The Ottoman Empire declares war on Russia in the Crimean War.

1883 –  The first running of the Orient Express.

The start of World Space Week (International).

3rd Oct

1916 – Birth of English veterinarian and author James Herriot.

1995 – O. J. Simpson is acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

2nd Oct

1869 – Birth of Indian Independence figure, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

1st Oct

1553 – Coronation of Mary I of England.

1918 – Arab forces under T. E. Lawrence capture Damascus

1946 – Nazi leaders are sentenced at Nuremberg Trials.

1946 – Mensa International is founded in the UK.

1957 – First appearance of In God We Trust on US bank notes.

29th Sept

1547 – Birth of Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes.

1758 – Birth of English admiral Horatio Nelson.

1810 – Birth of English author Elizabeth Gaskell.

28th Sept

1066 – William The Bastard (William The Conqueror) invaded England, beginning the Norman invasion.

27th Sept

World Tourism Day

26th Sept

1580 – Sir Francis Drake finishes his circumnavigation of the globe.

25th Sept

1764 – Birth of English Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian.

24th Sept

1896 – Birth of American author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

22nd Sept

1598 – Playwright Ben Jonson kills an actor in a duel and indicted for manslaughter.

1888 – The first issue of the National Geographic Magazine is published.

1991 – The Dead Sea Scrolls are made available to the public for the first time by Huntington Library.

Hobbit Day, a day celebrating the fictional character Bilbo and Frodo Baggins as part of Tolkien week.

21st Sept

1866 – Birth of author H. G. Wells.

1937 – J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is published.

20th Sept

1973 – Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome, in Houston, Texas.

2011 – The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell‘ US policy ends, allowing gay men and women to openly serve for the first time.

19th Sept

1879 – The Blackpool Illuminations (UK) are switched on for the first time.

1911 – Birth of English novelist and Nobel Prize laureate, Sir William Golding.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

18th Sept

1914 – The Irish Home Rule Act becomes law but it is delayed due to the First World War.

17th Sept

1814 – Francis Scott Key finishes his poem ‘Defence of Fort McHenry’, which later becomes the lyrics of The Star-Spangled Banner.

1935 – Birth of American novelist Ken Kesey.

16th Sept

1386 – Birth of Henry V of England.

15th Sept

1890 – Birth of English author Agatha Christie.

Battle of Britain Day (United Kingdom)

International Day of Democracy

14th Sept

1752 – The British Empire adopts the Gregorian Calender, skipping 11 days. The previous day was 2nd September.

13th Sept

1894 – Birth of English playwright and novelist J.B. Priestley.

1916 – Birth of Roald Dahl.

International Chocolate Day.

12th Sept

490 BC – The accepted date for the Battle of Marathon. The Athenians and their allies defeat the first Persian invasion of Greece.

1812 – Birth of British historian Sir Edward S Creasy, most famous for his Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World.

1852 – Birth of British statesman H. H. Asquith.

11th Sept

2001 – 9/11. The September terrorist attacks on America. Hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center in New York and a third hits the Pentagon. A fourth crashes in a field in Pennsylvania. Altogether, around 3000 people were killed.

10th Sept

1624 – Birth of English physician Thomas Sydenham.

2008 – The world’s largest science experiment, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN is powered up in Geneva.

9th Sept

1543 – A nine month old Mary Stuart is crowned ‘Queen of the Scots’.

1948 – Kim Il-sung declares the establishment of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

1828  – Birth of Russian author Leo Tolstoy.

8th Sept

1504 – Michelangelo’s David is unveiled in Florence.

1966 – The first Star Trek series premieres.

International Literacy Day

7th Sept

1533 – Birth of Queen Elizabeth I.

1901 – The Boxer Rebellion in China finally draws to an end with the signing of the Boxer Protocol.

6th Sept

1620 – The Pilgrims set sail from Portsmouth aboard the Mayflower, setting sail for North America.

5th Sept 

1698 – Tsar Peter I of Russia imposes a tax on beards excluding men of the clergy and the peasantry in a bid to Westernize his nobility.

1735 – Birth of German composer Johann Christian Bach.

1846 – Birth of American businessman Jack Daniel, founder of Jack Daniel’s.

1847 – Birth of American criminal and murderer Jesse James.

4th Sept

1588 – Death of Robert Dudley, Ist Earl of Leicester, and favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. (born 1532)

1998  – Google is founded by Stanford students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

3rd Sept

1189 – Richard I, or Richard the Lionheart is crowned at Westminster.

1658 – Richard Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England.

1803 – English scientist John Dalton begins using symbols to represent the atoms in elements.

2nd Sept

1666 – The Great Fire of London breaks out, destroying 10,000 buildings including St Paul’s Cathedral. It will burn for the next three days.

1st Sept

1969 – A coup in Libya brought Muammar Gaddafi to power.

31st August

1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales, Dodi Al-Fayed and their driver Henri Paul died in a car crash in Paris.

30th August

1797 – Birth of English author Mary Shelley.

1912 – Birth of New Zealand-English war agent Nancy Wake.

29th August

1842 – The signing of the Treaty of Nanking ends the First Opium War.

28th August

1963 – Martin Luther King Jr delivers his ‘I have a dream speech’

27th August

1896 – The shortest war in history 45 minutes, the Anglo-Zanzibar War, begins at 9am.

26th August 

1676 – Robert Walpole, English politician and Prime Minister is born.

1910 – Birth of Mother Teresa.

25th August

1530 – Birth of Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible

1768 – James Cook begins his first voyage.

24th August

1662 – The Act of Uniformity requires England to accept the Common Book of Prayer.

1690 – Job Charnock of the East India Company establishes a factory at Calcutta, an event formally to be considered the founding of the city, although in 2003 the Calcutta High Court ruled that the city has no birthday.

1759 – Birth anti-slavery campaigner and abolitionist William Wilberforce.

23rd August

1305 – William Wallace is executed in London for High Treason.

1839 – Britain captures Hong Kong and prepares it as a base for war with Qing China. The three-year conflict that followed became known as the First Opium War.

22nd August

1642 – Charles I calls the English parliament traitors, thereby starting the English Civil War.

21st August

1918 – The Second Battle of the Somme begins.

19th August 

1612 – One of the most famous witch trials in English history, the Samlesbury witches. Three women are put on trial in Samlesbury, Lancashire accused of witchcraft.

1692 – In Salem four people are executed after being found guilty of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials in America.

18th August

1590 – The Governor of the Roanoke Colony returns with supplies from England to find the colony deserted.

1958 – The controversial novel by Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is published in the US.

17th August

1962 – East German border guards kill 18-year-old Peter Fechter as he attempts to cross the Berlin Wall into West Berlin, becoming one of the first victims of the wall.

16th August

1888 – Birth of T. E. Lawrence, British Army Officer, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, for his liaison role during the Arab revolt against Ottoman-Turkish rule during 1916-18.

15th August 

1945 – Japan surrenders to end the war. (WWII)

1947 – India gains independence from the British Empire, joining the Commonwealth of Nations.

14th August

1947 – Pakistan gains independence from the British Empire, joining the Commonwealth of Nations.

13th August

1888 – Birth of John Logie Baird, Scottish television pioneer.

1926 – Birth of Communist dictator, Fidel Castro.

1961 – The German Democratic Republic closes the borders between east and west German, preventing people from escaping west. Later the infamous Berlin Wall would be built.

12th August

1887 – Birth of Austrian physicist Edwin Schrödinger, a founding father of quantum mechanics, Nobel laureate, and famous for his thought-experiment Schrödinger’s cat.

11th August

1919 – The Constitution of the Weimar Republic is implemented.

1934 – The first civilian prisoners arrive at Alcatraz Prison.

10th August

1793 – The Musée du Louvre officially opens in Paris.

9th August

1899 – Birth of Australian author who wrote the famous Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers.

1945 – The US drop the atomic bomb on Nagasaki during World War II. The bomb killed 39,000 people outright.

8th August

1942 – The Quit India Movement begins. It is sparked by Mohandas K Gandhi’s call for swaraj (self-government, self-rule).

1969 – Photography Iain Macmillian takes the iconic photograph of the zebra-crossing scene which graces the cover of The Beatles’, Abbey Road. It has become one of the most famous and recognisable album covers in music history.

6th August

1809 – Poet best known for The Charge of the Light Brigade, Alfred Tennyson was born.

1881 – Birth of Scottish biologist and discover of the antibiotic penicillin, Sir Alexander Fleming.

1928 – Birth of American artist Andy Warhol.

5th August

1620 – The Mayflower departs from Southampton on its first attempt to reach North America.

1962  – Nelson Mandela is jailed. He was not released until 1990.

International Beer Day

4th August

1961 – Birth of American President Barack Obama

3rd August

1920 – Birth English crime writer P. D. James.

1924 – Death of Polish-born English writer, author of Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad.

1st August

1819 – American author Herman Melville is born.

1834 – Slavery is abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act comes into force.

31st July

1588 – The Spanish Armada is spotted off the coast of England.

1965 – Birth of British author of the globally successful Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling.

30th July

1818 – Birth of English writer Emily Brontë.

29th July

1805 – French historian and political scientist Alexia de Tocqueville is born.

1883 – Benito Mussolini is born.

1981 – 700 million people worldwide tune in to watch the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

28th July

1794  – Maximilien Robespierre and Louis Antoine de Saint-Just are executed by guillotine during the French Revolution.

1866 – Birth of English author Beatrix Potter.

27th July

2012 – The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony is held on this day. ‘Directed’ by Danny Boyle it celebrated the countryside, the industrial revolution as well as characters from UK novels such as Voldermort, Mary Poppins and Peter Pan.

26th July

1856 – Birth of Irish writer George Bernard Shaw

1894 – Birth of English author Aldous Huxley

1928 – Birth of American director Stanley Kubrick

25th July

1603 – James VI is crowned King James I of England, bringing together England and Scotland into one kingdom.

1797 Horatio Nelson loses more than 300 men and his right arm during his failed conquest attempt of Tenerife.

24th July

1897 – Birth of American aviator Amelia Earhart.

23rd July

1888 – Birth of American novelist Raymond Chandler.

22nd July

Pi Approximation Day – held on 22/7 in date/month format, as the fraction 22/7 is a common approximation of Pi.

22/7 = 3.14286

21st July

1865 – Wild Bill Hickok shots and kills Davis Tutt, in the market square of Springfield, Missouri, in what is regarded as the first Western showdown.

1899 – Birth of American writer, Ernest Hemingway

20th July

356 BC – Birth of Alexander the Greek, Greek King of Macedonia, and conqueror of Persia.

1919 – Birth of Sir Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer.

19th July

1545 – The Tudor warship the Mary Rose sinks of Portsmouth

1692 – Death of two of the women accused and convicted of witchcraft during the Salem Witch trials, Sarah Good, and Susannah Martin

18th July

1918 – Birth of South African politician, President and  Peace Prize laureate, Nelson Mandela

1925 Mein Kampf, the personal manifesto of Adolf Hitler is published.

17th July

1790 – Death of Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith.

1917 – King George V of Great Britain proclaims that the Royal family are to adopt the name of Windsor.

16th July

1951 – The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is published.

15th July

1799 – In the Egyptian town of Rosetta, the Rosetta Stone is found by Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign.

14th July

1789 – The Storming of the Bastille, sparks the French Revolution

1858 – Birth of English suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst

13th July

1527 – Dr John Dee, English scientist and astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I was born.

12th July

1730 – Josiah Wedgwood, English potter was born.

11th July

1859 – Westminster’s Big Ben rang out for the first time on this date.

1960 – Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird was published.

10th July

1871 – French author, critic and essayist, Marcel Proust was born.

1903 – Science-fiction writer and author of The Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham was born.

8th July 

1497 – Vasco de Gama sets sail for India.

1836 – British politician Joseph Chamberlain was born.

6th July

1189 – Richard the Lionheart is crowned King of England.

1535 – Sir Thomas More is executed for treason against Henry VIII.

5th July 

1853 – Cecil Rhodes, empire-builder and businessman in South Africa was born.

4th July

1865 – Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is published

2nd July

1839 – 53 rebelling slaves take over the ship Amistad, twenty miles of the coast of Cuba.

World UFO Day

1st July

1916 – It was the first day of the Somme, and 19,000 soldiers of the British army lost their lives, with a further 40,000 wounded. In one day.

30th June

1997 – The UK transfers sovereignty to the PR of China of Hong Kong.

29th June

1613 – London’s Globe Theatre burns down to the ground.

1881 – Mohammad Ahmad declares himself the Madhi, the messianic redeemer of Islam, in Sudan. After many revolts, the British retreat from Sudan, leaving the Madhi to rule for 14 years.

28th June

1712 – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Genevan philosopher, writer and composer. His political philosophy was a key influence of the French Revolution.

1914 – The Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated in Sarajevo; the catalyst for the First World War

27th June

1743 – George II leads his troops out onto the battlefield at the Battle of Dettingen, Bavaria, during the War of Austrian Succession. It would be the last time that a British monarch would command troops on the battlefield.

Armed Forces Day (UK)

25th June

1947 – The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank’s Diary) was published.

1950 – The Korean War begins with the invasion of South Korea by North Korea.

24th June

1497 – John Cabot lands at Newfoundland leading the first European exploration of the region since the Vikings.

1850 – Birth of English field marshal, Horatio Kitchener.

23rd June

1757 – The Battle of Plassey – 3,000 British troops under Robert Clive defeat Indian forces of 50,000 strong at Plassey.

22nd June

1911 – George V and Mary of Teck are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

21st June

1572 – Death of Italian historian and political author, Niccolo Machiavelli.

1905 – Birth of French philosopher and writer, Jean-Paul Sartre.

20th June

1756 – A British garrison is imprisoned in the Black Hole of Calcutta.

1837 – Queen Victoria (and the Empress of India) succeeds to the British throne.

19th June

1947 – Indian author, Salman Rushdie was born.

1993 – Death of English author of Lord of the Flies, Sir William Golding dies.

17th June

1579 – Sir Francis Drake claims a  land he calls Nova Albion (California) for England.

1631 – When Mumtaz Mahal dies during childbirth, her husband will spend the next 17 years building her mausoleum, the Taj Mahal.

16th June

1816 – Lord Byron reads Fantasmagoriana to his house guests inspiring each of them to write a ghost story, culminating in Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein, John Polidori writing the short story The Vampyre, and Byron writing the poem Darkness

15th June

1215 – King John of England puts his seal to the Magna Carta

14th June

1928 – Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara Argentine Cuban revolutionary was born.

1928 – British feminist and leader of the suffragette movement, Emmeline Pankhurst dies.

1982 – The Falklands War ends when Argentine forces unconditionally surrender to the British forces in the capital Stanley.

12th June

1942 – Anne Frank receives a diary for her thirteenth birthday.

1964 – Anti-apartheid activist and ANC leader Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life in prison for sabotage in South Africa.

11th June

1776 –  the English painter, John Constable was born, (d. 1837)

10th June

1921 – Birth of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

1928 – Birth of Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak, who died this year (2012)

9th June

1870 – Death of author Charles Dickens.

8th June

1949 – George Orwell’s 1984 is published.

7th June

1893 – Gandhi’s first act of Civil Disobedience

1970 – Death of author E M Forster

6th June

1944 – The D-Day landings during World War II begins; code named Operation Overlord commences with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy.

5th June

1851 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery serial, Uncle Tom’s Cabin or, Life Among the Lowly starts a ten-month run in the National Era abolitionist newspaper.

4th June

1913– Emily Davison, a suffragette, runs out in front of King George V’s horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby. She is trampled, never regains consciousness and dies a few days later.

1917– The first Pulitzer Prizes are awarded on this day: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall receive the first Pulitzer for biography. Jean Jules Jusserand receives the first Pulitzer for history and Herbert B. Swope receives the first Pulitzer for journalism.

3rd June

1937– The Duke of Windsor marries Wallis Simpson.

1657 – William Harvey, English physician and author of De Motu Cordis dies(b. 1578).

2nd June

1952 – The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, who is crowned Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Her Other Realms and Territories & Head of the Commonwealth, the first major international event to be televised.

1st June

1963 – Kenya gains internal self-rule.

International Children’s Day.

31st May

1669 – Citing poor eyesight diarist Samuel Pepys records the last event in his diary.

30th May

1431 Joan of Arc is burned at the stake during the Hundred Years War in Rouen, France. As a result, the Catholic Church remember this day as the celebration of Saint Joan of Arc.

29th May

1630 – Birth of King Charles II, King of England

1917 – Birth of 35th American President John F. Kennedy

28th May

1588 – The Spanish Armada, with 130 ships begins to leave Lisbon heading for the English Channel. It will take up to the 30th May for all the ships to leave the port.

1759 – Birth of William Pitt the Younger, Prime Minister of the UK.

27th May

1626 – Birth of William II, Prince of Orange.

26th May

1897 – Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published.

1966 – British Guiana receives independence becoming Guyana

25th May

1977  – Star Wars (retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in 1981) was released, inspiring the Jediism religion and Geek Pride holiday.

Geek Pride Day (star wars)

Towel Day (Douglas Adams fans)

24th May

1789 – The Irish Rebellion led by the United Irishmen against British rule begins.

1819 – Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom was born (d. 1901)

1836 – Joseph Rowntree, British social reformer was born (d. 1925)

23rd May

1911 – The New York Public Library is dedicated.

22nd May

1859 – Birth of Scottish physician and writer of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

21st May

1780 – Birth of British social reformer, Elizabeth Fry.

20th May

1570 – Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas.

1609Shakespeare’s sonnets are first published in London, perhaps illicitly, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe.

19th May

1649 – An Act of Parliament declaring England a Commonwealth is passed by the Long Parliament, England will go onto to become a republic for the next eleven years.

1925 – Birth of American civil rights activist, Malcolm X

1925 – Birth of Cambodian dictator, Pol Pot.

18th May

1652 Rhode Island passes the first law in English-speaking North America making slavery illegal.

1756 – The Seven Years War begins when Great Britain declares war on France.

International Museum Day

17th May

1900 – British troops relieve Mafeking during the Second Boer War.

World Information Society Day.

15th May

1928 – Mickey Mouse premiered in his first cartoon, Plane Crazy.

14th May

1607 Jamestown, Virginia settled as an English Colony.

1796 Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox vaccination.

1925-Virginia Woolf’snovel Mrs Dalloway is published.

1925 – Death of English author H. Rider Haggard, whose novels were set in exotic locations such as Africa, and include She and King Solomon’s Mines. (born 1856).

13th May

1787 – Captain Arthur Phillip leaves Portsmouth with the ‘First Fleet’ of convicts and sets sail for Australia to establish a penal colony there.

1907 – Birth of Dame Daphne du Maurier, English author of Rebecca.

12th May

1820 – Birth of Florence Nightingale, famed nurse during the Crimean War

1926 – In the UK the 9 day General Strike, by trade unions ends.

11th May

1820 – Launch of the HMS Beagle, which took Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage

2001 – The amazing and inspiration Douglas Adams passed away on this day.

10th May

1857 – Sepoy soldiers at Meerut rebel against the issue of the Enfield Rifle, whose cartridges were rumoured to have been covered in the grease from pigs and cows, deeply offensive to their religious beliefs, and the Indian Mutiny begins.

9th May

1874  – Birth of famed British archaeologist Howard Carter.

7th May

1711 – Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume born.

6th May

1758 – Birth of Maximilien Robespierre French revolutionary.

1861 – Birth of Indian freedom fighter Motilal Nehru.

5th May

1818 – Birth of Karl Marx

1821 – Death of Napoleon Bonaparte

4th May

Star Wars Day – May the 4th be with you!

3rd May

1937 – Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

2nd May

1611 – The King James’ Bible is published for the first time in London by printer Robert Barker.

1st May

1707 – England, Wales and Scotland are united to form Great Britain.

1923 – Joseph Heller, novelist, short-story writer and playwright and author of Catch-22, was born.

30th April

 1971 – Irish novelist John Boyne was born, author of the proclaimed Boy In The Stripped Pyjamas which has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

29th April

1770 Captain James Cook arrives at and names Botany Bay, Australia.

28th April

1789 The Mutiny on the Bounty. Led by Fletcher Christian against the commanding officer William Bligh. The crew were attracted to the idyllic life on the island of Tahiti, but mutinied against Bligh after they set sail from the island.  The Mutiny has been represented in many books, film and popular songs, albeit taking liberties with the true accounts for their own artistic licence.

1926 – Author of To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee was born.

1948 – Author of the Discworld Series, Terry Pratchett was born.

27th April

1737 – English historian and Member of Parliament Edward Gibbon was born. He is well known for his publication The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which was published in 6 volumes between 1776-1788.

25th April

1915 – Gallipoli. Australian and New Zealand forces, along with English and Indian, set out to captured the Gallipoli peninsula from the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany. It was a botched attempt to open the Black Sea to the Allies, but after landed miles north of the intended landing sites, the forces were met with high cliffs to scale, and Turkish fighters entrenched on high positions. The campaign was a stalemate, and dragged on for eight months. Casualties were high and resources were continuously running low, but the Australian and New Zealand troops fought bravely and the 25th April quickly became the date to remember the sacrifice they made for the war. And the actions of the ANZAC troops, as they were known, proved to be a powerful legacy, and the creation of an ANZAC legend was born.

1916 – ANZAC Day. One year after the Gallipoli campaign the ANZAC forces celebrated the first ANZAC Day, in celebration and remembrance of their fallen comrades and pride in their determination and strength of body and mind to survive the eight month-long campaign. The ANZAC Day commemoration features a solemn ‘Dawn Service’, to remember those lost, with the sounds of The Last Post on the bugle. Traditionally, the fourth stanza of the poem For The Fallen by Laurence Binyon, simply known as the Ode is often recited.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

24th April

1731 – Daniel Defoe, English trader, writer, journalist and pamphleteer, who was one of the earliest writers to help to popularise the novel in England, who is famed for his Robinson Crusoe, died on this day.  

23rd April

St George’s Day 

21st April

1816 – Charlotte Bronte, English novelist and poet, who wrote the wonderful and iconic (and often recreated in film) Jane Eyre

(which she wrote under the pen name of Currer Bell), was born.

20th April

1912 – Bram Stoker, author of the legendary Dracula dies.

1968 – Enoch Powell delivers his highly controversial Rivers of Blood Speech

19th April

1770 – Cook sights Australia. arriving at Botany Bay ten days later.

17th April

1397  – Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is first heard in the court of King Richard II.

15th April

1755 – Dr Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of The English Language  is published. (Sometimes published simply as Johnson’s Dictionary.) 

14th April

1939 – The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is published.

13th April

1919 – Amritsar massacre at Jallianwala Bagh. After the British government issued warnings against the gathering of crowds, news reaches British officials of a public gathering at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. They despite General Dyer to investigate. The crowd was peaceful, consisting mainly of women and children, but this fact did not dissuade Dyer to act. And he ordered his men to fire on the defenceless crowd. The Jallianwala Bagh was a closed off square, with only narrow exits, so it was difficult to escape.  Dyer would have used further troops if the cars at his disposal were able to fit through the narrow passage ways leading towards the site. He ordered the men to fire, and called them to halt after fifteen minutes, fearing that the troops may not have enough bullets left to make a safe escape. Dyer left the site without making any provisions for the dead or the wounded. The estimated fatalities were 379, with over 1,000 wounded.

The British officials were at first supportive of Dyer, but after the true scale of the attack and of the backlash received both in India and at home, an inquiry into the matter was launched, led by Lord William Hunter.

In Lord Hunter’s Committee in to the Punjab Disturbances in the House of Commons, Mr Edwin Montagu (the Secretary of State for India) decreed the event was an ‘lamentable affair‘.

In Dyer’s eyes, as in those of his supporters, he was ensuring that a ‘moral lesson to the whole of the Punjab‘ was taught, fearing a second mutiny.

Mr Churchill maintains his abhorrence throughout the debate saying,

‘That is an episode which appears to me to be without precedent or parallel in the modern history of the British Empire…..It is an extraordinary event, a monstrous event which stands in singular and sinister isolation.’ 

10th April

1925 – The Great Gatsby is published.

17th April

1770 – The romantic English poet, who helped launch the Romantic Age in English Literature, William Wordsworth was born. Up there with Shakespeare and Chaucer as one of England’s greatest writer. He is famous for his I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud as well as many, many others. To find out more about him and his work visit http://www.online-literature.com.

5th April 

1930Mohandas K Gandhi completed his 241 mile march to Dandi on the coast of India, beginning his Salt Satyagraha campaign. With a background of the Drain of Wealth Theory (fears of Britain literally draining the wealth from India for the benefit of her and her Empire through means such as taxation and exploitation of what the work force should grow/produce), and Gandhi’s self-sufficiency campaign, in which he was determined to make India self-sufficient upon herself not just for government but also in terms of the goods she produced (swaraj – the (economic) independence from foreign domination).

He marched to the sea, with thousands of Indians joining him, and he declared Indian salt for India, in order to undermine British taxation laws placed upon salt, and he and his followers produced it and sold it openly in defiance.

It was on the following day when he declared, by raising a lump of mud and salt,

With this I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire.”

The campaign was one of most successful at upsetting British rule in India, and the British responded by arresting over 60,000 people. However, the real impact of his salt satyagraha did not affect as many Indians as he had hoped, as many were not directly affected by the salt march, but it rather became a symbolic gesture against the British Empire and her control over her subjects, who no longer had the desire to be controlled, and whose self-confidence as an independent nation was on the increase.

satyagraha  – ‘insistence on truth’; ‘satya’ – truth, ‘agraha’ – insistence. ‘Soul force’ or ‘truth force’.

 2nd April

International Children’s Book Day

1st April

1700 – supposed traditional date for the recognition of April Fool’s Day

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