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Navigation

Click here for the short ‘On This Day’ pieces that appear in the Daily Telegraph.

Click here for longer features that appear in a range of publications – mainly the Daily Telegraph, but also the Spectator, Prospect Magazine, the Catholic Herald, etc.

Click here for an index to the Feature articles.

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‘On This Day’

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PREHISTORY AND CLASSICAL (up to AD 476)

[354 BC] On this day: an ancient Athenian performer invents the theatre as we know it (23 November)

[49 BC] On this day in 49 BC: Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon (10 January)

[9] On this day: Roman emperor Vespasian, inventor of pay-per-use public toilets, is born (17 November)

[41] On this day in AD 41: Emperor Caligula, the incestuous madman, is assassinated by his Praetorian Guard (24 January)

[250] On This Day in AD 250: The first empire-wide persecution of Christians claims the life of the Pope (20 January)

[395] On this day in AD 395: The Roman Empire is forever cloven in two (17 January)

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MEDIEVAL (476 to 1485)

[516] 1,500 years ago – King Arthur’s epic battle (30 December)

[532] On this day in AD 532: The Nika riots sweep across Constantinople (11 January)

[655] On this day: Britain’s last great pagan king is struck down by Christians at the Battle of the Winwaed (15 November)

[747] On this day in AD 747: The Umayyad Caliphate, which ruled from Cordoba to Baghdad, is overthrown (25 January)

[1016] On this day in 1016: Canute the Great – Viking king of England, Denmark and Norway – is crowned in London (6 January)

[1095] On this day: Pope Urban II launches the First Crusade, sparking flames which still burn today (18 November)

[1102]On this day in 1102: Empress Matilda – fearsome fighter, wife and mother – was born (7 February)

[1120] On this day in 1120: The Knights Templar order of warrior monks is formed (16 January)

[1154] On this day: one of medieval England’s greatest rulers, King Henry II, was crowned (19 December)

[1177] On this day: Crusader forces under the leper king Baldwin IV crush Saladin at Montgisard (25 November)

[1215] On this day: priests were banned from trying people by fire – paving the way for modern juries (11 November)

[1216] On this day in 1216: the Dominican Order is approved by the Pope (22 December)

[1250] On this day in 1250: the violent death of William II Longespée, one of England’s more unfortunate crusaders (8 February)

[1256] On this day in 1256: the Mongol horde crushes the legendary Assassins (15 December)

[1302] On this day in 1302: Dante Alighieri goes into exile, prompting a melancholy that ends in him writing the Divine Comedy (27 January)

[1355] On this day in 1355: University fracas ends with 93 dead and the birth of a 600-year-long tradition (10 February)

[1413] On this day: Philip IV, one of Europe’s greatest villains, finally gets what he deserves (29 November)

[1324] On this day in 1324: Marco Polo, the great Venetian traveller, dies (9 January)

[1400] On this day in 1400: The deposed Richard II conveniently dies, leaving Henry IV unchallenged

[1408] On this day: the order which gave Count Dracula his name was founded (12 December)

[1468] On this day in 1468: Gutenberg, inventor of the revolutionary printing press, dies (3 February)

[1485] On this day: two deluded inquisitors lit the first flames of Europe’s tragic witchcraft hysteria (5 december)

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TUDORS AND STUARTS (1485 to 1714)

[1492] On this day in 1492: The end of Moorish Spain and Islamic rule in mainland Europe (2 January)

[1542] On this day in 1542: Henry VIII’s 18-year-old wife, Katherine Howard, is beheaded (13 February)

[1542] On this day: Mary Stuart becomes Queen of Scots at six days old (14 December)

[1552] On this day in 1552: Sir Edward Coke – champion of the Common Law, Parliament, and representative government – was born (! February)

[1600] On this day in 1600: Giordano Bruno is burnt alive for his science, 42 years before Galileo (17 February)

[1606] On this day in 1606: Guy Fawkes, treasonous plotter, is executed in Westminster (31 January)

[1648] On this day: Pride’s Purge of Parliament paves the way for the trial of Charles I (6 december)

[1688] On this day in 1688: James II goes into exile, leaving Parliament supreme (23 December)

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GEORGIAN AND VICTORIAN (1714 to 1901)

[1718] On this day: Blackbeard’s last stand (22 November)

[1775] On this day: Jane Austen was born (16 December)

[1788] On this day in 1788: The First Fleet reaches Australia and founds a nation (18 January)

[1797] On this day in 1797: A French invasion of Wales ends in wine-addled surrender (22 February)

[1804] On this day: Napoleon crowned himself emperor in Notre Dame (2 December)

[1819] On this day in 1819: To supplant the Dutch, Britain founds a new Malacca Strait base – Singapore (6 February)

[1847] On this day in 1847: Samuel Colt finalises the design for his legendary Colt Walker handgun (4 January)

[1854] On this day: Pope Pius IX issues the first infallible pronouncement of the modern era (* December)

[1868] On this day in 1868: Japan overthrows its last shogun and enters the modern era full steam ahead (3 January)

[1879] On this day in 1879: The Battle of Rorke’s Drift, immortalised in the film Zulu, is fought (23 January)

[1881] On this day in 1881: Fyodor Dostoyevsky – profound novelist, philosopher and scholar of tortured psyches – dies (9 February)

[1885] On this day in 1885: General Charles Gordon dies with his men in the bloody Siege of Khartoum (26 January)

[1893] On this day in 1893: Hermann Goering, Adolf Hitler’s right hand man, is born (12 January)

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1900 to 1945

[1904] On this day: a Briton invented the electronic component that powers all modern music (16 November)

[1915] On this day in 1915: German zeppelins begin the first ever bombing raid on Britain (19 January)

[1916] On this day in 1916: the savage slaughter of the Battle of Verdun begin (21 February)

[1917] On this day: the Bolsheviks seize power in the Russian October Revolution (7 November)

[1917] On this day: Edmund Allenby captures Jerusalem, ending 730 years of Muslim rule (9 December)

[1917] On this day: the Soviet Union founds the CHEKA, their dreaded secret police force (20 December)

[1919] On this day in 1919: The Nazi Party is founded by Anton Drexler (while Adolf Hitler is sent to spy on it) (5 January)

[1922] On this day: Howard Carter unlocks the tomb of Tutankhamun (4 November)

[1923] On this day: Adolf Hitler makes his first grab for power in the Beer Hall Putsch (9 November)

[1933] On this day in 1933: Congress strikes the first blow in the fight to kill Prohibition (20 February)

[1939] On this day: the German warship Graf Spee meets its end in the Battle of the River Plate (13 December)

[1940] On this day in 1940: The Royal Navy makes its last ever boarding action during the Altmark Incident (16 February)

[1941] On this day in 1941: The Japanese Navy attacks Pearl Harbor, bringing the USA into the Second World War (7 December)

[1942] On this day: Germany invades Vichy France (10 November)

[1943] On this day in 1943: The brutal Battle of Stalingrad convulsed to a dramatic close (2 February)

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1945 to PRESENT

[1953] On this day: Piltdown Man (21 November)

[1963] On this day: Lee Harvey Oswald’s murder was broadcast live on TV (24 November)

[1968] On this day in 1968: Johnny Cash performs at Folsom Prison and cements his legend (13 January)

[1971] On this day in 1971: Decimal Day heralds the end of the “bob” and “tanner” (15 February)

[1972] On this day: Paris’ notorious guillotine claims its final victim (28 November)

[1988] On this day: A bomb brings PanAm Flight 103 down over Lockerbie, killing 270 people (21 December)

[1990] On this day: The world decided to stop Saddam Hussein’s forces marauding around Kuwait )29 November)

[1995] On this day: Operation Desert Storm ends (30 November)

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GENERAL

On this day: A most violent date throughout history claims the life of many a leader (30 January)

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Features

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Journals

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Index to Articles

The longer (free) articles appear first, then the shorter (paid for, Telegraph Premium) ones appear after.

Free Feature Articles

Ada Lovelace paved the way for Alan Turing’s more celebrated codebreaking a century before he was born

A gutsy British Second World War hero—a woman, and a Muslim, Have you ever heard of her? (Noor Inayat Khan)Amal Clooney should back off. Lord Elgin was a hero who saved the marbles for the world

A stain on history: the burning of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the mysterious Knights Templar, 700 years ago today

As the Euro elections loom, let’s remember the coronation of our last Anglo-Saxon king

Cathedrals are bursting with colour again

Columbus, greed, slavery, and genocide: what really happened to the American Indians

Cruel, anti-English and almost certainly gay: meet the real Richard the Lionheart

Dresden was a civilian town with no military significance: why did we burn its people?

Duel: Should we return the Elgin Marbles?

Forget the Da Vinci Code: this is the real mystery of the Knights Templar

Forget the Guy Fawkes propaganda – the English Reformation was a violent disaster

Greece knows it has no legal right to the Elgin Marbles: that’s why it won’t sue the UK

Guy Fawkes. Islamists, converts, and terrorism: some things never change

How a Protestant spin machine hid the truth about the English Reformation

How bad a guy was Richard III?

How German is the Queen?

How Protestantism fuelled Europe’s deadly witch craze

If the Turin Shroud is the work of a medieval artist, it’s one of the greatest artworks ever created

In praise of charming but pointless laws—like the Magna Carta

King Alfred was a Roman Catholic. Let’s bury him in Westminster Cathedral

King Richard III: These bones may not be his – but if they are they deserve a Catholic burial in York

Lemmy was a national treasure – a unique collection of swing and amphetamines

Magna Carta trial: The barons’ treason must be exposed

New Year’s Day is too soon after Christmas. Let’s move it back to its proper place—in March

Richard III: we’re burying the wrong body

The 1860s may have been a lost decade, but the 1870s were revolutionary – we can do it again

The bloody underside of the ‘civilized’ Renaissance

The cult of Magna Carta is historical nonsense: no wonder Oliver Cromwell called it ‘Magna Farta’

The dark, deep roots of Britain’s fascination with witchcraft

The Great Tudor Bible myth

The Greeks can have the Elgin Marbles any time they like – if they play by the rules

The Ides of March. The assassination of Julius Caesar and how it changed the world

The man who invented poison gas: a horror story

The spy who saved D-Day (Agent Garbo)

The true story of the Battle of Hastings, today in 1066

The Vikings were no worse than the Anglo-Saxons. Let’s celebrate this rich immigrant culture

This day 2496 years ago. Western civilisation began at Salamis

This is the man who turned Christianity into a global religion. Do you even know his name?

Thomas Cromwell was the Islamic State of his day

Three radical ways to get Britain voting again

Today is the anniversary of the fall of Moorish Spain. Was it really such a wonderful place?

Howard Carter unlocks the tomb of Tutankhamun | On This Day

Two millennia after the sack of Jerusalem, what does history tell us about violence in the Middle East?

We must mark failures like Gallipoli alongside our successes

What Catholic England would look like today

What does the Rosetta Stone tell us about the Bible? Did Moses read hieroglyphs?

What English Catholicism will look like in 2115

What the Crusades tell us about shifting borders in the Middle East

Why the so-called ‘Dark Ages’ were just as civilized as the savage Roman Empire