On This Day

On This Day in History for May 18

Events in History

  • 1096 Crusaders massacre Jews of Worms
  • 1268 The Principality of Antioch, a crusader state, falls to the Mamluk Sultan Baibars in the Battle of Antioch
  • 1291 After 100 years of Crusader control, Acre is the last Crusader stronghold reconquered and destroyed by the Mamluks under Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil
  • 1302 Bruges Matins; the nocturnal massacre of the French garrison in Bruges by local Flemish militia

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1593 Playwright Thomas Kyd's accusations of heresy lead to an arrest warrant for Christopher Marlowe

Dramatist and Playwright Thomas Kyd
Dramatist and Playwright
Thomas Kyd
  • 1596 Willem Barents leaves Amsterdam for Novaya Zemlya
  • 1619 Hugo Grotius sentenced to life in prison in Loevestein Castle in the Netherlands
  • 1631 English colony Massachusetts Bay grants puritarian voting right

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

1631 John Winthrop is elected 1st Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony John Winthrop
Founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
John Winthrop

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1642 Ville-Marie (later Montreal), Canada, founded by the Société Notre-Dame de Montréal

Nurse and Settler of New France Jeanne Mance
Nurse and Settler of New France
Jeanne Mance
  • 1652 Rhode Island enacts 1st law declaring slavery illegal
  • 1703 Dutch & English troops occupy Cologne
  • 1756 Great Britain declares war on France
  • 1765 Fire destroys a large part of Montreal, Quebec
  • 1783 First United Empire Loyalists reach Parrtown, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada after leaving the United States
  • 1794 Second Battle of Bouvines (France-Austria)

BattleDeclaration of War

1803 Britain declares war on France after Napoleon Bonaparte continues interfering in Italy and Switzerland

French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte
French Emperor
Napoléon Bonaparte
  • 1804 Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed Emperor of France by the French Senate
  • 1811 Battle of Las Piedras: The first great military triumph of the revolution of the Río de la Plata in Uruguay lead by Jose Artigas

AssassinationAssassination of Spencer Perceval

1812 John Bellingham, a Liverpool merchant who assassinated British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval on May 11, is hung for the crime at the Old Bailey in London

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British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is assassinated by John Bellingham, drawing by John Heaviside Clark
British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is assassinated by John Bellingham, drawing by John Heaviside Clark
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  • 1830 Edwin Budding of England signs an agreement for the manufacture of his invention, lawn mower. Saturdays are destroyed forever
  • 1843 United Free Church of Scotland forms
  • 1846 US troops attack Rio Grande occupying Matamoros
  • 1848 Opening of the first German National Assembly (Nationalversammlung) in Frankfurt, Germany
  • 1851 Amsterdam-Nieuwediep telegraph connection linked
  • 1852 Massachusetts rules all school-age children must attend school

Electoral defeatPresidential Convention

1860 Republican Party nominates Abraham Lincoln for president

16th US President Abraham Lincoln
16th US President
Abraham Lincoln
  • 1861 Battle of Sewall's Point Virginia - 1st Federal offense against the South
  • 1861 Friedrich Hebbel's "Kriemhildes Rache" premieres in Weimar
  • 1863 Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi begins
  • 1864 Battle of Yellow Bayou, Louisiana (Bayou de Glaize, Old Oaks)
  • 1866 French government of De Putte resigns
  • 1869 Robert Tanner Freeman is 1st African American to graduate from Harvard Dental School
  • 1869 Surrender and dissolution of the Ezo Republic to Japan
  • 1896 US Supreme court affirms legitimacy of racial separation (Plessy v Ferguson)

CrownRoyal Coronation

1896 Khodynka Tragedy: A mass panic on Khodynka Field, Moscow, during the festivities of the coronation of Russian Tsar Nicholas II, results in the deaths of 1,389 people

  • 1897 Paul Dukas' "L'Apprenti Sorcier Pruimtabak on the Market" premieres

Book releaseHistoric Publication

1897 "Dracula" by Irish author Bram Stoker is published by Archibald Constable and Company in London

Novelist Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1897 Herbert Henry Dow founds Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan

Chemical Industrialist Herbert Henry Dow
Chemical Industrialist
Herbert Henry Dow
  • 1899 World Goodwill Day-26 nations meet in 1st Hague Peace Conference
  • 1900 Britain proclaims protectorate over Kingdom of Tonga
  • 1904 In Morocco, a brigand, Raizuli, kidnaps Ion H. Perdicaris, an American citizen
  • 1911 President Jose Porfirio Diaz of Mexico's term ends
  • 1916 US pilot Kiffin Rockwell shoots down German aircraft
  • 1916 A British Royal Inquiry into the Easter Rising in Dublin is set up in London
  • 1917 Satie, Massine and Picasso's ballet "Parade" premieres in Paris
  • 1917 US Congress passes Selective Service Act, authorizing the federal government to raise a national army for the American entry into World War I through compulsory enlistment

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1917 First units of the American Expeditionary Force, commanded by General John J. Pershing, is ordered to France

US WW1 Commander John J. Pershing
US WW1 Commander
John J. Pershing
  • 1918 Dutch Indian Volksraad installed in Batavia
  • 1918 TNT explosion in chemical factory in Oakdale, Pennsylvania, kills 200
  • 1922 Dutch 2nd Chamber agrees to 48 hour work week (was 45 hrs)
  • 1926 Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanishes in Venice, California She shows up a month later saying she's been kidnapped
  • 1927 "Slide Lake" in Gros Ventre, Wyoming, collapses
  • 1927 Ritz Hotel opens in Boston
  • 1927 Bath School Disaster, Bath MI. Andrew Kehoe blows up Bath Consolidated School killing 38 children, 2 teachers.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1933 Tennessee Valley Act (TVA) Act signed by FDR, to build dams

32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt
32nd US President
Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • 1933 Around 5,000 forced deportees in the Soviet Union arrive on Nazino Island; within thirteen weeks most of them will be dead due to disease, cannibalism and violence
  • 1934 TWA begins commercial service
  • 1935 Harold Gimblett scores 123 in 80 mins on debut for Somerset
  • 1940 German troops conquer Brussels
  • 1941 An Egyptian steamer sinks
  • 1941 Italian army in Ethiopia under general Aosta surrenders to Britain
  • 1941 Jewish veterans honor their dead
  • 1943 Allied bombers attack Pantelleria, an Italian island 100 km southwest of Sicily
  • 1944 Polish 2nd Army corps captures convent of Monte Cassino, Italy
  • 1944 Expulsion of more than 200,000 Tartars from Crimea by Soviet Union begins, they are accused of collaborating with the Germans
  • 1945 Tigers & A's both have 7 straight games postponed due to rain
  • 1948 Arab Legion captures fort on Mt Scopus during Arab-Israeli war
  • 1948 Saudi Arabia joins invasion of Israel
  • 1948 The First Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China officially convenes in Nanking
  • 1949 Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America incorporates
  • 1950 Tommy Glaviano makes 3 consecutive errors on grounders
  • 1951 US General Collins predicts use of atom bomb in Korea


1952 Professor WF Libby says Stonehenge dates back to 1848 BC

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Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England
Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England
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  • 1953 1st woman to break sound barrier (Jacqueline Cochran, USA)
  • 1955 28.7 cm rain falls at Lake Maloya New Mexico (state record)
  • 1955 Atkinson & Depeiaza take WI from 6-187 to 6-494 in day v Aust
  • 1955 Queen Juliana opens E55 fair in Amsterdam
  • 1956 Hungarian party leader Matyas Rákosi enforces his own policy
  • 1956 Queen Juliana opens Rembrandt fairs in Amsterdam
  • 1960 Eillen Fulton begins playing Lisa on As the World Turns (for almost 30 yrs)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1960 Jean Genet's "Le Balcon" premieres in Paris

Novelist and Playwright Jean Genet
Novelist and Playwright
Jean Genet
  • 1964 US Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional to deprive naturalized citizens of citizenship if they return to home country for more than 3 years

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1965 Ray Dolby founds Dolby Laboratories in London, England

Inventor Ray Dolby
Ray Dolby
  • 1967 Silver hits record $1.60 an ounce in London
  • 1967 Tennessee Governor Ellington approves the repeal of the Butler Act or "Monkey Law", upheld in 1925 Scopes Trial
  • 1967 The Butler Act, a Tennessee statue prohibiting the teaching of evolution, is repealed after 42 years
  • 1968 Frank Howard ties AL record with HR in his 6th consecutive game his 10 home runs in the most in 6 games
  • 1969 Apollo 10 launches from Kennedy Space Center and later transmits the 1st color pictures of Earth from space
  • 1971 Bulgarian constitution goes into effect

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1971 US President Richard Nixon rejects 60 demands of Congressional Black Caucus

37th US President Richard Nixon
37th US President
Richard Nixon
  • 1971 Vampire rapist Wayne Boden's last victim found in Calgary, Alberta
  • 1973 Soviet party leader Brezhnev visits West Germany
  • 1973 WIBC Bowling Queens won by Dotty Fothergill
  • 1974 India becomes the sixth nation to explode an atomic bomb
  • 1974 Nigeria announces 55 percent government participation in all oil concessions

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

1977 Menachem Begin becomes Prime Minister of Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin
Israeli Prime Minister
Menachem Begin
  • 1977 US, USSR and other nations sign the Environmental Modification Convention which prohibits weather warfare having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects
  • 1978 Italy legalizes abortion
  • 1978 Russian dissident Yuri Orlov exiled to compulsory work

Birthdays in History

  • 1048 Omar Khayyám, Persian mathematician, poet and philosopher (d. 1131)
  • 1186 Konstantin of Rostov, Prince of Novgorod (d. 1218)
  • 1474 Isabella d'Este, Marquise of Mantua (d. 1539)
  • 1610 Stefano della Bella, Italian printmaker (d. 1664)
  • 1662 George Smalridge, English bishop of Bristol (d. 1719)
  • 1692 Joseph Butler, English theologian and bishop, born in Wantage, England (d. 1752)
  • 1711 Ruggiero G Boscovich [Rudzer J Boskovic], Italian astronomer
  • 1742 Lionel Lukin, British life boat pioneer, born in Great Dunmow, Essex (d. 1834)
  • 1778 Charles William Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry (d. 1854)
  • 1785 John Wilson, Scottish writer (d. 1854)
  • 1788 Hugh Clapperton, Scottish explorer of Africa, born in Annan, Scotland (d. 1827)
  • 1797 Frederick Augustus II, King of Saxony (1836-54)
  • 1798 Ethan Allen Hitchcock, American Major General (Union Army), born in Vergennes, Vermont (d. 1870)
  • 1815 Thomas Stanhope Bocock, rep (Confederacy), (d. 1891)
  • 1817 James William Denver, American lawyer, politician and Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Winchester, Virginia (d. 1892)
  • 1850 Oliver Heaviside, physicist (predicted ionosphere), born in London, England
  • 1851 James Budd, American politician, Governor of California (1895-99), born in Janesville, Wisconsin (d. 1908)
  • 1852 Gertrude Käsebier, American pioneering photographer, born in Des Moines, Iowa
  • 1862 Freiherr Albert von Schrenk-Notzing, German para-psychologist
  • 1863 William Heinemann, English publisher (Heinnemann), born in Surbiton, England (d. 1920)
  • 1864 Jan P Veth, Bayern, Dutch painter, etcher, lithographer and art historian

Person of interestNicholas II

1868 Nicholas II, last Tsar of Russia (1894-1917), born in Saint Petersburg, Russia (d. 1918)

  • 1869 Ruprecht, crown prince of Bavaria/general-fieldmarshall
  • 1871 Franiska [Franny] zu Reventlow, German writer and feminist, born in Husum, Germany (d. 1918)

Person of interestBertrand Russell

1872 Bertrand Russell, English mathematician and philosopher (Nobel 1950), born in Trellech, England (d. 1970)

Philosopher Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
  • 1883 Walter Gropius, architect (Bauhaus school of design), born in Berlin, Germany
  • 1885 Eurico Gaspar Dutra, Brazilian leader, President of Brazil (1945-50), born in Cuiabá, Brazil (d. 1974)
  • 1887 Ernst Wiechert, German writer (The Simple Life), born in Kleinort, East Prussia (d. 1950)
  • 1889 Gunnar Gunnarsson, Icelandic writer (The Church on the Mountain), born in Fljótsdalur, Iceland (d. 1975)
  • 1889 Thomas Midgley, American chemist and inventor (d. 1944)
  • 1891 Rudolf Carnap, philosopher (German Logical Positivist)
  • 1898 Juan J Domenchina, Spanish poet/interpreter (sombra desterrada)
  • 1900 Sarah Miriam Peale, American portrait painter (General Lafayette, 1825), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1885)
  • 1901 Vincent du Vigneaud, US biochemist
  • 1904 Jacob K Javits, American politician (Sen-R-NY), born in NYC, New York (d. 1986)
  • 1907 Robley Evans, American nuclear physicist, born in University Place, Nebraska (d. 1996)
  • 1907 Carl Mydans, American photographer (d. 2004)
  • 1910 Arthur van Schendel, Dutch art historian
  • 1911 Michael Berry, Baron Hartwell, British newspaper proprietor and journalist (d. 2001)
  • 1912 Georg von Opel, German auto manufacturer
  • 1912 Richard Brooks, director (Blackboard Jungle, In Cold Blood), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1914 Anthony Fell, British MP
  • 1914 Boris Christoff, Bulgaria/Italian bass (Boris Godunov)
  • 1914 Pierre Balmain, French fashion designer, born in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, France (d. 1982)
  • 1915 Leon Shenandoah, native American leader
  • 1917 Charles Wintour, English journalist (The Evening Standard), born in Dorset, England (d. 1999)

Person of interestJohn Paul II

1920 Pope Saint John Paul II [Karol Wojtyla], 264th Roman Catholic Pope (1978-2005), born in Wadowice, Poland (d. 2005)

264th Pope John Paul II
264th Pope
John Paul II
  • 1921 Anthony Epstein, English pathologist and virologist
  • 1922 GMcC Kitson, British principal (Central School of Speech/Drama)
  • 1922 Gerda Boyesen, Norwegian-born body psychotherapist (d. 2005)
  • 1924 Maya Kopitseva, Russian painter of the Leningrad school, born in Gagry, USSR (d. 2005)
  • 1927 Richard Body, British politician (C), born in Eton, Buckinghamshire
  • 1928 P G Hammersley, British Rear-Admiral
  • 1929 Johan N Block, aviation pioneer (Martinair/Transavia/Air Holland)
  • 1929 Norman St John-Stevas, Baron St John of Fawsley, British MP (C) (1964-1987), born in London
  • 1930 Barbara Goldsmith, American author (Little Gloria Happy At Last), born in NYC, New York (d. 2016)
  • 1930 Don Leslie Lind, American astronaut (STS 51-B), born in Midvale, Utah
  • 1930 Fred[erick Thomas] Saberhagen, American sci-fi author (Book of Swords)
  • 1930 Geoffrey Littler, CEO (County NatWest Group)
  • 1930 Warren B Rudman, (Sen-R-NH, 1980- )
  • 1931 Don Martin, American cartoonist (d. 2000)
  • 1932 John Clement, chairman (Unigate Group)
  • 1933 Bernadette Chirac, French politician
  • 1933 H. D. [Haradanahalli Doddegowda] Deve Gowda, Indian politician, Prime Minister of India (1996-97), born in Haradanahalli, Kingdom of Mysore
  • 1937 Jacques Santer, President (European Commission)
  • 1938 Janet Fish, Boston USA, American realist artist
  • 1939 Patrick Cormack, British politician (C), born in Grimsby, Lincolnshire
  • 1939 Giovanni Falcone, Italian magistrate (d. 1992)
  • 1939 Gordon O'Connor, Canadian politician, born in Toronto, Ontario
  • 1940 A Marshall Stoneham, FRS, physicist
  • 1941 M S Longair, astronomer
  • 1942 Keith Hellawell, Chief Constable (West Yorkshire)
  • 1942 Simon Isaacs, 4th Marquess of Reading, English aristocrat, banker and philanthropist
  • 1944 Peter Ryan, British national director (Police Training)
  • 1944 W. G. Sebald, German-born writer (d. 2001)
  • 1945 John Richard Patterson, businessman
  • 1945 Maarten van Traa, Dutch politician (PvdA)
  • 1946 Frank Hsieh, former Premier of Taiwan
  • 1947 John Bruton, Prime Minister (Republic of Ireland)
  • 1949 Stuart Gannes, writer (Fortune), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1952 Diane E[lizabeth] Duane, American sci-fi author (Door into Fire)
  • 1952 Martin R Hoke, (Rep-R-Ohio)
  • 1952 Jeana Yeager, American aviator
  • 1953 Helen Chadwick, artist
  • 1962 Mike Darnell, American television executive
  • 1971 Desiree Horton, American helicopter pilot/television reporter
  • 1980 Aileen Campbell, Scottish Politician

Weddings in History

The Most Expensive Divorce in HistoryThe Most Expensive Divorce in History

1152 Eleanor of Aquitaine marries Henri of Anjou, handing the future King Henry II of England most of France, allowing future kings of England to claim France for centuries thereafter

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An artist's impression of what Eleanor could have looked like
An artist's impression of what Eleanor could have looked like
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LoveWedding of Interest

1514 Francis, Duke of Valois, later Francis I, King of France, marries Claude, Duchess of Brittany

Divorces in History

  • 1989 Lisa Strawberry files for divorce from Darryl

Deaths in History

  • 526 John I, Pope (523-26), dies
  • 1160 Erik IX Helgi, King of Sweden, dies at ~40
  • 1401 Vladislaus II, Duke of Opole, dies at 69
  • 1410 Rupert, King of Germany (1400-10), dies at 58
  • 1450 Sejong the Great, 4th King of Joseon (1418-50), dies at 52
  • 1550 John, Cardinal of Lorraine, French churchman, dies at 52
  • 1551 Domenico di Pace Beccafumi, Italian Mannerist painter, dies at 65
  • 1584 Ikeda Motosuke, Japanese samurai commander, dies at 48
  • 1587 Felix van Cantalice, Italian saint, dies at 72
  • 1625 Francisco Gomez de Sandoval y Rojas, Spanish marquis of Denia, dies at 72
  • 1653 Carel Reyniersz, Governor General of the Dutch East Indies, dies at 48
  • 1675 Jacques Marquette, French Jesuit missionary explorer (Chicago), dies at 37
  • 1675 Stanisław Lubieniecki, Polish astronomer, dies at 51
  • 1692 Elias Ashmole, English antiquarian & collector (Ashmolean Museum), dies at 74
  • 1724 Johann K Amman, Swiss-Dutch doctor for deaf-mutes, dies at 54
  • 1780 Charles Hardy, British governor of Newfoundland, dies at 66
  • 1781 Túpac Amaru II, Peruvian-Indian revolutionary, a descendant of the last Inca ruler Túpac Amaru, dies at 43
  • 1799 Pierre de Beaumarchais, French polymath & dramatist (The Marriage of Figaro, Barber of Seville), dies at 67
  • 1800 Alexander Suvorov, Russian general, dies at 70
  • 1807 John Douglas, Scottish Anglican bishop & man of letters, dies at 86
  • 1808 Jacob Albright, German-American Christian leader, founder of Albright's People (Evangelical Association), dies at 49
  • 1808 Elijah Craig, American minister & inventor, dies at 70

Person of interestJohn Bellingham

1812 John Bellingham, English merchant who assassinated British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, executed by hanging at 42 or 43

Assassin of Spencer Perceval John Bellingham
Assassin of Spencer Perceval
John Bellingham
  • 1829 Maria Josepha of Saxony, Queen consort of Spain, dies at 35
  • 1839 Carolina Bonaparte, Queen of Naples, dies at 57
  • 1844 Richard McCarty, American politician, dies at 64
  • 1848 William Leidesdorff, Mixed-race early Californian businessman, dies at 37
  • 1862 William High Keim, American Union brigadier general, dies in battle at 48
  • 1864 James Byron Gordon, American Brigadier General (Confederate Army), dies at 41
  • 1900 Jean Gaspard Felix Ravaisson-Mollien, French philosopher, dies at 86
  • 1909 George Meredith, English poet & writer (Diana of Crossways), dies at 81
  • 1910 Eliza Orzeszkowa, Polish novelist (Dziurdziowie), dies at 68
  • 1922 Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran, French physician (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine), dies at 76
  • 1927 Andrew Kehoe, American mass murderer (Bath School disaster), commits suicide at 55
  • 1949 James Truslow Adams, American historian (Pulitzer 1921), dies at 70
  • 1955 Mary McLeod Bethune, American educator (Bethune-Cookman College) and civil rights leader, dies at 79
  • 1965 Eduard Jan Dijksterhuis, Dutch historian of science (biography of Archimedes), dies at 72
  • 1966 Paul Althaus, German theologist (That Christian Wahrheit), dies at 78

Person of interestJeannette Rankin

1973 Jeannette Rankin, American politician, 1st woman elected to US Congress (R-Montana), women's rights advocate and pacifist, dies at 92

1st Woman Elected to Congress Jeannette Rankin
1st Woman Elected to Congress
Jeannette Rankin
  • 1980 Reid Blackburn, American photojournalist for National Geographic & victim of Mount St. Helens eruption, dies at 28
  • 1980 Harry Truman, American victim of Mount St. Helens eruption, dies at 83
  • 1980 David A. Johnston, American volcanologist, dies in Mount St. Helens eruption at 30
  • 1981 William Saroyan, American novelist & stagewriter (Time of your life), dies at 72
  • 1985 Stojan Daskalov, Bulgarian writer (A Farm), dies at 75
  • 1987 Wilbur J Cohen, American social security expert, worked on the New Deal, dies at 73
  • 1993 Heinrich Albertz, German theologist & mayor of Berlin (1966-67), dies at 78
  • 1993 Pamela M Cunnington, English architect & writer, dies at 67
  • 2000 Maulana Yousuf Ludhianvi, Muslim scholar, dies at 68
  • 2003 Barb Tarbox, Canadian anti-smoking crusader, dies at 42
  • 2006 Andrew Martinez, American activist (U.C. Berkeley's "Naked Guy"), dies at 33
  • 2007 Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, French physicist & Nobel Prize laureate (1991), dies at 74
  • 2008 Joseph Pevney, American television director, dies at 96
  • 2009 Velupillai Prabhakaran, Sri Lankan founder & leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, dies at 54
  • 2014 Wubbo Ockels, Dutch physicist & astronaut, dies from renal cell cancer at 68
  • 2014 Dobrica Cosic, Serbian writer & President (1992-93), dies at 92
  • 2017 Roger Ailes, American TV executive & CEO of Fox News (1996-2016), dies at 77
  • 2017 Jacque Fresco, American industrial designer & founder of the Venus Project, dies at 101