This day in history | 1964 Poitier breaks new ground with Oscar win

The acting profession’s top award has gone to a black actor for the first time. Sidney Poitier won the best actor Oscar for his role in Lilies of the Field. In the

This day in history | 1961 Soviets win space race

The Soviet Union has beaten the USA in the race to get the first man into space. At just after 0700BST, Major Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin was fired from the Baikonur launch

This day in history | 2003 Saddam statue topples with regime

There have been scenes of jubilation in Baghdad as US tanks rolled into the very heart of the Iraqi capital, confirming that the government of Saddam Hussein has been ousted

This day in history | 1986 Eastwood voted mayor by landslide

Residents of the Californian town of Carmel have overwhelmingly voted for actor Clint Eastwood as their mayor. The turnout was double the norm in the picturesque seaside town, 80 miles (128

This day in history | 1999: US claims ‘banana war’ victory

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has ruled in favour of the United States in its long-running trade dispute with Europe over bananas. The WTO says the European Union (EU) has broken

This day in history | 1986 Bomb tears hole in airliner over Greece

Four people, including an eight-month old baby, have been sucked out of a TWA passenger jet after an explosion ripped a hole in its side. The Boeing 727 was flying at

This day in history | 1957 BBC fools the nation

The hoax Panorama programme, narrated by distinguished broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, featured a family from Ticino in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest. It showed women carefully plucking strands of spaghetti

This day in history | 1986 Greater London Council abolished

Thousands of people have taken part in festivities to mark the historic final hours of 97 years of local rule in London. A throng of 250,000 people have gathered on the

This day in history | 1981 President Reagan is shot

President Ronald Reagan has been shot and wounded after a lone gunman opened fire in Washington. He is currently undergoing emergency surgery at George Washington University Hospital but there are unconfirmed

This day in history | 1971 Manson sent to gas chamber

Charles Manson and three members of his hippy cult have been sentenced to death in Los Angeles. They were found guilty of the August 1969 murders of

This day in history | 1973 Stock Exchange admits women

Ten newly elected lady members entered the Stock Exchange today on the first working day since their election took place. The decision to break a time-honoured tradition and introduce equality was

This Day in History | 1975 Saudi’s King Faisal assassinated

King Faisal of Saudi Arabia has died after a gun attack in Riyadh despite the efforts of doctors to save him. The king was rushed to hospital still alive and doctors

This day in history | 1992 Punch ends 150 years of satire

Punch, Britain’s oldest satirical magazine, is to close after suffering crippling losses of £1.5m a year. The decision ends a publishing tradition dating back almost 151 years. It is expected to publish

This day in history | 1983 Reagan launches Cold War into space

President Reagan has unveiled plans to combat nuclear war in space. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) proposes a defensive shield, using laser or particle beam technology to “intercept and destroy” incoming

This day in history | 1956 King convicted for bus boycott

Civil rights leader, the Reverend Martin Luther King, has been convicted of organising an illegal boycott by black passengers of buses in the US state of Alabama. Mr King, 27, was

This Day in History | 1976 Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon to split

Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon are to separate after 16 years of marriage, it has been announced by Buckingham Palace. After weeks of speculation a 39-word statement was issued by the

This day in history | 1992 South Africa votes for change

White South Africans have backed an overwhelming mandate for political reforms to end apartheid and create a power-sharing multi-racial government. In a landslide victory for change, the government swept the polls

This day in history | 1968 Anti-Vietnam demo turns violent

More than 200 people have been arrested after thousands of demonstrators clashed in an anti-Vietnam war protest outside the United States embassy in London. The St John Ambulance Brigade said it

This day in history | 1953 Marshal Tito makes historic visit to London

Marshal Josef Tito of Yugoslavia has arrived in Britain, the first Communist head of state to visit the country. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Foreign Secretary Anthony

This day in history | 1990 Observer journalist executed in Iraq

Britain has strongly condemned the Iraqi authorities over the execution of The Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft in Baghdad. Mr Bazoft - who came to live in Britain from Iran in the

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