This Day in History

October 18


320      eclipse of the sun is recorded by Pappus of Alexandria   1699
614      Chlothar II, King of the Franks, promulgates the Edict of Paris defending the rights of the Frankish nobles   1405
1009      destruction of Constantine's Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem under orders from caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah   1010
1016      Battle of Assandun in Essex, England—a decisive Danish victory led by Canute the Great over Saxon forces commanded by Edmund II   1003
1081      Normans defeat the Byzantine Empire in the Battle of Dyrrhachium on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea   938
1356      estimated 7.1 earthquake destroys Basel, Swizerland—most significant seismological event in Central Europe in recorded history   663
1386      opening of the University of Heidelberg—oldest university in Germany   633
1540      Hernando de Soto's forces destroy the fortified town of Mabila in present-day Alabama—estimated 3000 die   479
1545      English composer and organist John Taverner dies, age approximately 55   474
1748      Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle is signed ending the War of the Austrian Succession   271
1767      Mason-Dixon Line, boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania, agreed upon   252
1817      French Romantic opera composer Étienne Nicolas Méhul dies in Paris, age 54   202
1818      Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams and mother of President John Quincy Adams, dies in Quincy, Massachusetts, age 73   201
1818      University of Bonn is founded by Frederick William III as the Rhein University   201
1847      Flora is the 8th known asteroid—discovered by English astronomer John Russell Hind   172
1851      Herman Melville's Moby DIck is first published in England titled The Whale   168
1867      U.S. formally takes possession of Alaska from Russia   152
1871      English mathematician and computer visionary Charles Babbage dies in London, age 79   148
1888      opening session of the 1888 General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota   131
1889      Italian inventor and telephone pioneer Antonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci dies in New York, age 81   130
1893      French composer Charles-François Gounod dies in Saint-Cloud, France, age 75   126
1898      U.S. takes possesion of Puerto Rico from Spain   121
1911      French psychologist Alfred Binet dies, age 54   108
1922      British Broadcasting Company (BBC) is founded—world's first national broadcasting organization   97
1931      American inventor Thomas Alva Edison dies in West Orange, New Jersey, age 84   88
1954      Regency TR1 by Texas Instruments, first portable transistor radio announced   65
1963      French cat named Félicette became the first and only feline to ever travel to space launched atop a Véronique AG1 rocket suborbital   56
1967      Venera 4 enters Venusian atmosphere and transmitted the first chemical analysis of the Venusian atmosphere   52
1968      in the Mexico City Olympics Bob Beamon smashes long-jump record by almost 2ft   51
1969      The Nativity with St Francis and St Lawrence by Caravaggio is stolen from the Oratorio di San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily   50
1973      American animator and cartoonist and creator of 'Pogo' Walter "Walt" Crawford Kelly, Jr. dies, age 60   46
1977      in a World Series game Yankee Reggie Jackson hits 3 home runs off 3 consecutive pitches from 3 Dodger pitchers   42
1979      Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began allowing home satellite earth stations without a federal government license   40
1985      Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) launches in North America   34
1989      Galileo, spacecraft to explore Jupiter, launched by Atlantis   30
2000      American singer and actress Julie London (born Julie Peck) dies in Encino, California, age 74   19
2000      American actress and dancer Gwyneth Evelyn "Gwen" Verdon dies in Woodstock, Vermont, age 75   19
2001      small, unnamed Indonesian fishing boat with 421 passengers on board sinks during a storm in Indonesian waters—45 survivors   18
2003      Spanish journalist, novelist, poet, essayist, humorist, and critic Manuel Vázquez Montalbán dies in Bangkok, Thailand, age 64   16
2006      English-Canadian singer, musician, and comedian Anna Russell (born Anna Claudia Russell-Brown) dies in New South Wales, age 94   13
2007      suicide attack on a motorcade carrying former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto kills 139 and wounds 450   12
2008      American soul singer Delia Juanita Warrick (Dee Dee Warwick) dies, age 66   11
2009      American visual artist Nancy Spero dies in New York City, age 83   10
2011      Spaceport America in Sierra County, New Mexico officially opens   8
2013      NASA's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) establishes a record 662 Mbps communication from lunar orbit   6
2015      American mission design specialist who worked for NASA Robert Willard Farquhar dies, age 83   4
2015      British-born American novelist, poet, and essayist Paul West dies in Ithaca, New York, age 85   4
2017      Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 23,000 for the first time—23,157   2

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

day before yesterdayyesterday tomorrowday after tomorrow