I write regularly for a range of newspapers and magazines. The subjects are 95% history, but every now and then there is something else!


‘Dominic’s posts are the ‘In Our Time‘ of the Telegraph’

‘Thank you, Mr Selwood, for being dangerous’

‘What a great read … a fragment of world history made interesting. Thank you.’

This is easily one of the best and most important articles I’ve read this year.

As fair an evaluation of a conflicted and deeply divisive ‘object’ as I have ever read. Well done.

Selwood´s work is a fascinating change from the usual dusty history books

On This Day

A series exploring important or fascinating anniversaries

These articles will take you to

597 BC   On this day in 597 BC: King Nebuchadnezzar II sacks Jerusalem and exiles the Jews (16 March)

551 BC   On this day in 551 BC: Confucius, creator of the Chinese approach to living, is born (28 September)

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

241 BC   On this day in 241 BC: The Battle of Aegates brings Roman victory in the First Punic War (10 March)

218 BC   On this day in 218 BC: Hannibal and his elephants outwitted the Romans in a humiliating defeat (18 December)

83 BC   On this day in 83 BC: the birth of Mark Antony, who served Caesar, loved Cleopatra, and shattered Rome (14 January)

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

19 BC   On this day in 19 BC: Virgil, epic poet of the Aeneid, dies (21 September)

0   On this day we honour the birth of Jesus. But it wasn’t December 25, it wasn’t in Bethlehem, and that was not his name (25 December)

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

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

AD 51   On this day in AD 51: the brutal, vainglorious Roman emperor Domitian is born (24 October)

AD 68   On this day in AD 68: The death of the tyrannical Emperor  (9 June)

AD 73   On this day in AD 73: Roman soldiers breach the fearsome Masada fortress – and are shocked by what’s inside (16 April)

AD 80   On this day in AD 80: Titus, scourge of Jerusalem and rebuilder of Rome, dies (13 September)

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

AD 313   On this day in 313 AD: Constantine liberates the Christians with the Edict of Milan (13 June)

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

AD 455   On this day in AD 455: the beginning of the end for Rome (2 June)

AD 476   On this day in 476 AD: the final blow is struck, and the Roman Empire ends in the west (4 September)

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

AD 529   On this day 529 AD: The Code of Justinian, precursor to Europe’s great secular civil codes, is published (7 April)

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

AD 624   On this day in AD 624: Victory for Muhammad at the Battle of Badr signals the arrival of Islam as a major force in the Arabian Peninsula (13 March)

AD 632   On this day in AD 632: Yazdegerd III ascends the throne of the Sassanian Empire (16 June)

AD 632   On this day in 683 AD: The Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam, is burned to the ground (31 October)

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

AD 661   On this day in 661 the new religion of Islam split in two – when Caliph Ali is murdered with a poisoned sword (28 January)

AD 679   On this day in 679: Æthelthryth, Anglo-Saxon princess and saint, dies at Ely (23 June)

AD 747   On this day in AD 747: The Umayyad Caliphate, which ruled from Cordoba to Baghdad, is overthrown (29 January)

AD 747/8  On this day in 747/8: The birth of Charlemagne, ‘saviour of Christendom’ and ‘father of Europe’ (2 April)

AD 778   On this day in 778AD: Charlemagne suffers his only major defeat at the Battle of Roncesvalles, inspiring the epic Song of Roland (16 August)

AD 868   On this day in AD 868: The Diamond Sutra, the oldest printed text in the world, goes to press (11 May)

AD 918   On this day in 918: the death of Æthelflæd, the powerful queen who united England (12 June)

AD 991   On this day in 991 AD: One of the most famous battles of English history is fought at Maldon (10 August)

AD 1002   On this day in 1002: King Æthelred orders the St Brice’s Day Massacre of all Danes living in England (13 November)

AD 1012   On this day in 1012: Ælfheah, Anglo-Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury, is murdered at a drunken feast (19 April)

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

AD 1040   On this day in 1040: The real Macbeth hacks Duncan down in battle and takes the throne of Scotland (14 August)

AD 1066   On this day in 1066: Harald Hardrada, the last Viking to invade England, joins forces with the traitor, Tostig Godwinson (18 September)

AD 1076   On this day in 1076: Waltheof’s secret execution prompts scandal and speculation (31 May)

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

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

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

AD 1152   On this day in 1152: Eleanor of Aquitaine marries Henry II (18 May)

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

AD 1155   On this day in 1155: Henry the Young King, who was crowned but never reigned, is born (28 February)

AD 1159   On this day in 1159: the death of Adrian IV, the only Englishman ever to become Pope (so far) (1 September)

AD 1170   On this day in 1170: Thomas Becket is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, and becomes a martyr (29 December)

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

AD 1198   On this day in 1198: the Islamic philosopher Averroës dies in Marrakech (10 December)

AD 1199   On this day in 1199: brave Richard the Lionheart dies (6 April)

AD 1204   On this day in 1204: The glory of Byzantium is forever extinguished in the Sack of Constantinople (12 April)

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

AD 1215   On this day in 1215: Magna Carta is sealed (15 June)

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

AD 1225   On this day in 1225: Arnaud Amaury, warrior monk and scourge of Cathars and Moors alike, dies (29 September)

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

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

AD 1260   On this day in 1260: Kublai Khan, future conqueror of China, is proclaimed Mongol emperor (5 May)

AD 1273   On this day in 1273: Rumi, the great poet and founder of the Whirling Dervishes, dies (17 December)

AD 1274   On this day in 1274: After kidnap, fire irons, prostitutes, and timeless philosophy, Thomas Aquinas dies (7 March)

AD 1294   On this day in 1294: the election of Pope Boniface VIII begins a bloody feud which will upend medieval politics (24 December)

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

AD 1316   On this day in 1316: Ramon Llull, pioneering philosopher and father of literary Catalan, dies (29 June)

AD 1329   On this day in 1329: Robert the Bruce dies after a fearsome campaign to liberate Scotland from English rule (7 June)

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

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

AD 1337   On this day in 1337: the illustrious Duchy of Cornwall is born (17 March)

AD 1368   On this day in 1368: Charles VI the mad king is born into a world which will mock and scorn him to his grave (3 December)

AD 1373   On this day in 1373: A dying nun sees a vision of Christ as a mother – and becomes English’s first female author (13 May)

AD 1389   On this day in 1389: Pope John XXII condemns the mystical contemplations of Meister Eckhart as heretical (27 March)

AD 1387   On this day in 1397: The first reading of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (17 April)

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

AD 1404   On this day in 1404: William of Wykeham, the self-made man who reshaped English education and bestrode government, dies aged 80 (27 September)

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

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

AD 1415   On this day in 1415: St George’s Day declared a national feast day (23 April)

AD 1415   On this day in 1415: Those few, those happy few, that band of brothers rout the French at Agincourt (25 October)

AD 1429   On this day in 1429: Joan of Arc wins her first military victory as she outwits the English besiegers of Orléans (19 April)

AD 1461   On this day in 1461: The Battle of Towton, one of bloodiest on English soil, ends in victory and coronation for Edward IV (29 March)

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

AD 1469   On this day in 1469: Niccolò Machiavelli, author of The Prince, is born (3 May)

AD 1484   On this day in 1484: the College of Arms, font of heraldry, is founded (2 March)

AD 1485   On this day in 1485: England’s future is forever changed when the House of Plantagenet is ended at the Battle of Bosworth Field (22 August)

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

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

AD 1493   On this day in 1493: A papal bull divides the world in two between Spain and Portugal (4 May)

AD 1496   On this day in 1496: John Cabot’s perilous mission to discover North America gets the green light from Henry VII (5 March)

AD 1497   On this day in 1497: Cornwall’s valiant rebels are hanged, drawn and quartered by the King (27 June)

AD 1506   On this day in 1506: the Swiss Guard became a permanent corps to protect the Pope (22 January)

AD 1512   On this day in 1512: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling leaves the public speechless (1 November)

AD 1515   On this day in 1515: Anne of Cleves, the ‘Flanders mare’ and the last to die of Henry VIII’s wives, is born (22 September)

AD 1534   On this day in 1534: Elizabeth Barton, traditionalist prophet, is executed for attacking Henry VIII’s divorce )20 April)

AD 1536   On this day in 1556: Thomas Cranmer, author of Henry VIII’s divorces, Archbishop of Canterbury, and leading Protestant, is burnt at the stake (21 March)

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

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

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

AD 1554   On this day in 1554: unwilling pretender to the Tudor throne Lady Jane Grey was beheaded, aged 16 (12 February)

AD 1556   On this day in 1556: David Riccio, rumoured father of James I, is brutally murdered in Scotland (9 March)

AD 1560   On this day in 1560: History’s most prolific female serial killer, ‘Countess Dracula’ is born (7 August)

AD 1593   On this day in 1593: Thomas Kyd, roommate of soon-to-be-murdered Christopher Marlowe, is arrested (12 May)

AD 1582   On this day in 1582: Pope Gregory XIII announces the new Gregorian calendar (24 february)

AD 1584   On this day in 1584: Ivan the Terrible, bloody and violent tyrant, and oppressor of Russians meets his death (28 March)

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

AD 1600   On this day in 1600: The East India Company begins its 274 mission to dominate India (31 December)

AD 1603   On this day in 1603: James VI of Scotland begins his turbulent reign as King of England (24 March)

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

AD 1612   On this day in 1612: The Pendle witch trials (18 August)

AD 1616   On this day in 1616: Nicholas Culpeper, rebel doctor and apothecary to the people, is born (18 October)

AD 1620   On this day in 1620: The Mayflower sets sail from Plymouth, carrying the Pilgrim Fathers to the New World (6 September)

AD 1628   On this day in 1628: Charles I’s close friend, and sworn enemy of Parliament, George Villiers is murdered (23 August)

AD 1633   On this day in 1633: The Inquisition sentences Galileo to life imprisonment for heresy (22 June)

AD 1637   On this day in 1637: The once famous, now long-forgotten hermetic philosopher Robert Fludd dies  (8 September)

AD 1645   On this day in 1645: The Battle of Naseby, the turning point in the English Civil War (14 June)

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

AD 1662   On this day in 1662: The Great Ejection sees puritanism purged from public life (24 August)

AD 1687   On this day on 1687: A direct hit by a Venetian mortar blows up the Parthenon (26 September)

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

AD 1692   On this day in 1692: The Salem witch trials begin with a wave of hysteria (1 March)

AD 1692   On this day in 1662: Punch and Judy, soon to be integral to British life, arrive on English shores (9 <ay)

AD 1701   On this day in 1701: Pirate of the Caribbean, William ‘Captain’ Kidd, meets his end at Execution Dock (23 May)

AD 1702   On this day: Jack Sheppard, thief and prison escape artist extraordinaire, is born (4 March)

AD 1703   On this day in 1703: the 47 Rōnin avenge their master’s death in a legendary tale of samurai honour (4 February)

AD 1703   On this day in 1703: the 47 Rōnin avenge their master’s death in a legendary tale of samurai honour (4 February) 

AD 1703   On this day in 1703: the real-life Man in the Iron Mask dies in the Bastille – taking his identity to the grave (19 November)

AD 1706   On this day in 1706: John Baskerville, whose eponymous typeface transformed printing, is born (28 January)

AD 1713   On this day in 1713: the Treaty of Utrecht is signed, ceding Gibraltar to Britain (11 April)

AD 1715   On this day in 1715: the death of Dom Perignon, master winemaker and Benedictine monk (14 September)

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

AD 1723   On this day in 1723: the death of Christopher Wren, whose magnificent monuments are all around you today (25 February)

AD 1727   On this day in 1727: Sir Isaac Newton, scientific genius and ‘last of the magicians’, dies (20 March)

AD 1730   On this day in 1730: Robert Walpole, consummate wheeler-dealer, becomes Britain’s first prime minister (15 May)

AD 1731   On this day in 1731: Daniel Defoe, powerful propagandist and father of the English novel, dies (24 April)

AD 1739   On this day in 1739: Highwayman Dick Turpin is identified by an old teacher, his path to the noose guaranteed (23 February)

AD 1742   On this day in 1742: The glorious tones of Händel’s Messiah are heard for the first time in public (13 April)

AD 1743   On this day in 1743: The birth of Jean-Paul Marat, the French revolutionary killed in his bath (24 May)

AD 1752  On this day: Lady Day, and until 1752 the first day of the year (25 March)

AD 1757   On this day in 1757: Admiral John Byng, scapegoated for the loss of Minorca to the French, is executed by firing squad aboard HMS Monarch (14 March)

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

AD 1776   On this day in 1776: The Illuminati, the modern day conspiracy theorist’s favourite bogeyman, is founded in Bavaria (1 May)

AD 1761   On this day in 1761: Madame Tussaud, waxworker to kings and French Revolutionaries, is born (1 December)

AD 1782   On this day in 1782: One of the darkest moments in US history sees 96 Native American Delawares massacred (8 March)

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

AD 1789   On this day in 1789: Mutiny! The disagreeable Captain Bligh is cut adrift from HMS Bounty (28 April)

AD 1792   On this day in 1792: La Marseillaise, revolutionary anthem of the French, is composed in just 24 hours (25 April)

AD 1793   On this day in 1793: Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France, is guillotined before the mob on Place de la Revolution (16 October)

AD 1793   On this day in 1793: France unleashes the Terror against enemies of the Revolution (5 September)

AD 1794   On this day in 1794: The first festival of Revolutionary France’s Cult of the Supreme Being (8 June)

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

AD 1797   On this day in 1797: Mary Shelley, groundbreaking author of Frankenstein, is born (30 August)

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

AD 1814   On this day in 1814: the birth of Sheridan le Fanu, neglected prince of Victorian ghost stories (28 August)

AD 1814   On this day 1814: A torrent of ale sweeps through London in the Great Beer Flood  (17 October)

AD 1820  On this day in 1820: the statue of Venus de Milo is discovered (8 April)

AD 1832   On this day in 1832: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, celebrated statesman, scholar and author of Faust, dies (22 March)

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

AD 1924  On this day in 1924: Adolf Hitler is sentenced to five years in prison for the Munich putsch (1 April)

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

AD 1849   On this Day in 1849: Katsushika Hokusai – Japan’s artistic master and painter of The Wave – dies (10 May)

AD 1853   On this day in 1853: Vincent van Gogh, the epitome of the tortured artist, is born (30 march)

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

AD 1859   On this day in 1859: America’s largest ever sale of slaves reaches its tragic end (3 March)

AD 1859   On this day in 1859: The birth of Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle (22 May)

AD 1865  On this day in 1865: John Wilkes Booth shoots Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre, Washington (14 April)

AD 1869   On this day in 1869: Rasputin was (probably) born (21 January)

AD 1872   On this day in 1872: the Mary Celeste was found adrift in the Atlantic, inexplicably deserted (4 December)

AD 1873   On this day in 1863: Jacob Grimm, who with his brother returned folktales to the centre of culture, dies (2- September)

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

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

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

AD 1881   On this day in 1881: James Garfield dies three months after he is shot, becoming the second US president to be assasinated (19 September)

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

AD 1888   On this day in 1888: Jack the Ripper claims his first victim in the world’s most infamous unsolved murder spree (31 August)

AD 1889   On this day in 1889: Paris’ dramatic icon, the Eiffel Tower, opens (31 March)

AD 1890   On this day in 1890: Heinrich Schliemann, the pioneering archaeologist who claimed to have found Troy, dies (26 December)

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

AD 1893   On this day in 1893: Poet Wilfred Owen, killed one week before the end of World War One, is born (18 March)

AD 1895   On this day in 1895: the catalysis for Oscar Wilde’s demise is triggered  (3 April)

AD 1897   On this day in 1897: Dennis Wheatley, the master of the occult thriller and WWII deception artist who faded from national icon to obscurity, is born (8 January)

AD 1897   On this day in 1897: Dracula is published (26 May)

AD 1900   On this day in 1900: Archaeologists find the key to a 3,000-year-old lost Greek civilisation (5 April)

AD 1900   On this day in 1900: Friedrich Nietzsche dies  (25 August)

AD 1901   On this day in 1901: Marlene Dietrich – megastar, bisexual seductress and scourge of Nazi Germany – is born (27 December)

AD 1903   On this day in 1903: Orde Wingate, leader of the Chindits, is born (27 February)

AD 1904   On this day in 1904: the ‘wickedest man in Britain’ completes his manuscript for a new religion (10 April)

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

AD 1909   On this day in 1909: Joan of Arc, French heroine in the Hundred Years War and national icon, is beatified (18 April)

AD 1911   On this day in 1911: modern master of guitar music and early influencer of rock and roll is born (8 May)

AD 1911   On this day in 1911: The theft that made the Mona Lisa the most famous painting on earth (21 August)

AD 1911   On this day in 1911: the ‘Queen of Gospel’ and civil rights activist, Mahalia Jackson, is born (26 October)

AD 1912   On this day in 1912: The birth of Kim Philby, who betrayed his friends and colleagues to the Soviet Union (1 January)

AD 1912   On this day in 1912: The sinking of RMS Titanic (15 April)

AD 1914   On this day in 1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated in Sarajevo (28 June)

AD 1914   On this day in 1914: Dylan Thomas, Wales’s wildest poet, is born (27 October)

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

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

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

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

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

AD 1918   On this day in 1918: Fearless British flying ace Douglas Leigh-Pemberton cheated death and triumphed in the skies  (5 February)

AD 1918   On this day in 1918: Legendary WWI ace the Red Baron is killed by a shot to the heart (21 April)

AD 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)

AD 1919   On this day in 1919: Marxist firebrand Rosa Luxemberg is shot for leading a failed German revolution (15 January)

AD 1919   On this day in 1919: Benito Mussolini, vanguard of Europe’s far-right, founds his fascist party (23 March)

AD 1919   On this day in 1919: The German Fleet is scuttled at Scapa Flow (21 June)

AD 1921   On this day in 1921: Violette Szabo, secret agent who parachuted into occupied France, is born (26 June)

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

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

AD 1929   On this day in 1929: The Wall Street Crash begins, wiping billions off stock markets  (23 October)

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

AD 1933   On this day in 1933: a fire at the Reichstag lets Adolf Hitler seize absolute power (27 February)

AD 1934   On this day in 1934: Hitler ruthlessly purges his close friend in the Night of the Long Knives (30 June)

AD 1934   On this day in 1934: The world’s most infamous prison welcomes its first inmates (11 August)

AD 1934   On this day in 1934: Charles Manson, the murderous cult leader who would bring a violent end to the decade of love, is born (12 November)

AD 1935   On this day in 1935: The death of Lawrence of Arabia (19 May)

AD 1935   On this day in 1935: The Nuremberg racial laws were passed (15 September)

AD 1937   On this day in 1937: German bombs rain down on the Spanish town of Guernica (26 April)

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

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

AD 1940   On this day in 1940: The 15,000-year-old cave paintings of Lascaux are discovered by Robot the dog (12 September)

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

AD 1941   On this day in 1941: Two allied agents parachute into Czechoslovakia to kill an architect of the Final Solution (28 December)

AD 1942   On this day in 1942: 1,000 RAF bombers obliterate Cologne in a major escalation of the air war (30 May)

AD 1942   On this day in 1942: A 16-year-old British sailor salvaged the Enigma codebook from a sinking U-Boat (30 October)

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

AD 1942   On this day in 1942 : legendary guitarist and 1960s icon, Jimi Hendrix, was born (27 November)

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

AD 1943   On this day in 1943: The audacious and masterful Dambusters raid strikes the Nazi industrial heartland (17 May)

AD 1945  On this day in 1945: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian and anti-Nazi dissident, is executed (9 April)

AD 1945   On this day in 1945: Trapped in his bunker, Adolf Hitler makes a will and retires for the last time to his room (30 April)

AD 1945   On this day in 1945: The Germans surrender in World War Two (7 May)

AD 1945   On this day in 1945: The US detonated an atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Nagasaki (9 August)

AD 1945   On this day in 1945: The Nuremberg trials of 24 surviving senior Nazis begin (20 November)

AD 1949   On this day in 1949: The growing Soviet threat in Europe leads 12 Western nations to form Nato (4 April)

AD 1950   On this day in 1950: British troops join the hellish war that would split Korea in two (29 August)

AD 1953   On this day in 1953: Django Reinhardt, Europe’s greatest jazz musician, dies tragically young (16 May)

AD 1953   On this day in 1953: The execution of Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (19 June)

AD 1953   On this day: Piltdown Man (21 November)

AD 1954   On this day in 1954: Joseph McCarthy, scourge of communism, makes the error that ends his career (18 February)

AD 1960   On this day in 1960: The Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial ends and Britain is deluged by smut (2 November)

AD 1961   On this day in 1961: beloved British entertainer, George Formby, dies (6 March)

AD 1962   On this day in 1962: The execution of Adolf Eichmann, Holocaust organiser (1 June)

AD 1963   On this day in 1963: sex, spies and shootings force John Profumo to resign from government (5 June)

AD 1963   On this day in 1963: Bruce Reynolds and company make off with millions in the Great Train Robbery (8 August)

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

AD 1966   On this day in 1966: The death of Georges Lemaître, inventor of the Big Bang Theory (20 June)

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

AD 1968   On this day in 1968: Robert F Kennedy is assassinated, five years after his brother  (6 June)

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

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

AD 1976   On this day in 1976: the Sex Pistols make their swaggering, aggressive debut with ‘Anarchy in the UK’ (26 November)

AD 1977   On this day in 1977: The premiere of the world’s greatest space opera, Star Wars (25 May)

AD 1977   On this day in 1977: The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, dies at 42 (17 August]

AD 1977   On this day in 1977: the southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd plummet to Earth in badly-maintained plane (20 October)

AD 1978   On this day in 1978: Georgi Markov, Bulgarian dissident, is assassinated with an umbrella on Waterloo Bridge (7 September)

AD 1979   On This Day: Ayatollah Khomeini seizes control in the Iranian Revolution (11 February)

AD 1980   On this day in 1980: Led Zeppelin’s legendary drummer, John Bonham, dies after 40 shots of vodka (25 September)

AD 1962   On this day in 1982: The Falklands War begins, after the Argentine flag is hoisted over South Georgia (19 March)

AD 1982   On this day in 1982: General Belgrano is sunk by HMS Conqueror, killing 323 Argentine sailors (2 May)

AD 1983  On this day in 1983: The death of Anthony Blunt, the ‘fourth man’ in the Cambridge spy ring(26 March)

AD 1983   On this day in 1983: the ‘Hitler diaries’ announced (22 April)

AD 1984   On this day in 1984: The Libyan embassy siege, triggered by the murder of Yvonne Fletcher, ends (27 April)

AD 1987   On this day in 1987: Rudolf Hess, once Hitler’s right hand man and sole inmate in Spandau prison, dies (17 August)

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

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

AD 1994   On this day in 1994: 76 years since women’s suffrage, the Church of England finally ordains its first female priests (12 March)

AD 1994   On this day in 1994: the Channel Tunnel opens, linking England to France (6 May)

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

AD 1997   On this day in 1997: Eddie Chapman, notorious Second World War double agent, dies (11 December)

AD 1999   On this day in 1999: The Lewinsky scandal, which shocked America, culminates in the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton (7 January)

AD 2001   On this day in 2001: Islamist terrorists topple the World Trade Centre and change the world forever (11 September)

AD 2005   On this day in 2005: Saddam Hussein goes on trial for crimes against humanity (19 October)

AD 2016   On this day in 2016: Umberto Eco, the esoteric novelist baffled by his own success, dies in Milan (19 February)


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