Events, anniversaries and birthdays for 18 February
National days of Gambia and Nepal.
1678: John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress was published.
1685: La Salle, French explorer, established first settlement in Texas.
1743: First performance of Handel’s oratorio, Samson, at Covent Garden, London.
1884: General Charles Gordon reached Khartoum in Sudan, but the Mahdi rejected his offer to negotiate.
1911: First airmail flight, with 6,000 letters and cards flown from Allahabad to Naini, India.
1930: At Lowell Observatory in the US, Clyde Tombaugh discovered the planet Pluto.
1945: Battle for Iwo Jima, in Pacific, began.
1956: The first ITV station outside London began broadcasting.
1961: Committee of 100 formed out of hard-core splinter group from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
1972: Wilberforce Committee recommended pay increases of between £4.50 and £6 for miners, vindicating six-week-long strike demands, and humiliating the Prime Minister, Edward Heath.
1972: Snow finally stopped falling on Paradise, a town in Mount Rainier, Washington, United States. During the preceding year 1,224 inches had fallen.
1988: Boris Yeltsin was ousted from ruling Communist Party Politburo in Moscow.
1989: Afghan government declared state of emergency “to ensure peace and security” in war-ravaged country.
1991: IRA bomb exploded in Victoria Station, London, at rush hour, killing one person and injuring 43.
1993: Unemployment hit 3,062,065 – only the third time since the First World War that the three million total had been passed.
1995: Scotland caused a major upset in the Five Nations Championship by beating France by 23-21 at Parc des Princes.
2003: Nearly 200 people died in the Daegu subway fire in South Korea.
2005: A ban on hunting with dogs came into force in England and Wales.
2009: Eighteen people were rescued after a Super Puma helicopter ditched into the sea east of Aberdeen on its way to a BP oil production platform.
John Travolta, actor, 59; Rob Andrew MBE, English rugby union footballer, 50; Michael Buerk, broadcaster, 67; José-Maria Canizares, golfer, 66; Yoko Ono, artist, widow of Beatle John Lennon, 80; Molly Ringwald, actress, 45; Greta Scacchi, actress, 53; Cybill Shepherd, actress, 63; Francis Egerton, 7th Duke of Sutherland, 73; Sinéad Cusack, actress, 65.
Births: 1516 Queen Mary I; 1745 Count Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist; 1857 Max Klinger, painter, etcher and sculptor; 1898 Enzo Ferrari, sports car builder and racing pioneer; 1922 Helen Gurley Brown, US author and editor; 1925 Russell Hunter, actor; 1931 Ned Sherrin, satirist, broadcaster and producer; 1933 Sir Bobby Robson CBE, football manager.
Deaths: 1546 Martin Luther, leader of Protestant Reformation; 1564 Michelangelo Buonarroti, Renaissance sculptor, artist and poet; 1933 James (“Gentleman Jim”) Corbett, pugilist and world heavyweight champion; 1967 Robert Oppenheimer, physicist who expressed doubts after helping to develop United States atomic bomb.