Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 18 October
1842: The first telegraph cable was laid by Samuel Morse. It ran from Governor’s Island to the Battery across New York harbour and lasted only 24 hours – 200 feet of it was destroyed when a ship raised anchor.
1866: Alaska was officially transferred to the US by Russia.
1910: The trial of Doctor Hawley Harvey Crippen for the murder of his wife began at the Old Bailey. He was later executed.
1922: BBC formed at a meeting of 300 wireless manufacturers and shareholders.
1947: The Post Office Workers’ Union claimed a minimum wage of £5 for postmen aged 21 – they said young, unmarried postmen earning less than £4 a week could not afford to go courting.
1958: Denis Law, of Huddersfield Town, became the youngest footballer to play for Scotland. He was 18 when he played against Wales at Cardiff.
1961: Henri Matisse’s Le Bateau went on show in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Forty-six days later, after 116,000 people had seen it, it was realised it was hanging upside down.
1963: Harold Macmillan resigned as prime minister, and succeeded by Sir Alec Douglas-Home.
1966: Timothy Evans was granted posthumous pardon 16 years after being hanged for Rillington Place murders in London.
1978: Anatoly Karpov regained the world chess championship, defeating Viktor Korchnoi.
1988: Employees at GCHQ Cheltenham were dismissed, the first time government employees had been sacked for belonging to a trade union.
1989: San Francisco was hit by an earthquake which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale, killing at least 273 people and injuring 650.
1995: Red Rum, three times Grand National winner, died at the age of 30 and was buried at the winning post at Aintree.
2000: More than 1,300 mourners from all walks of life filled Glasgow Cathedral for the funeral of Donald Dewar. Millions more watched the service on television, and thousands lined the streets as the first minister’s body was taken to Clydebank crematorium for a family service.
2007: The BBC announced plans to make 2,500 employees redundant, including 230 in Scotland, with heavy cuts in news and factual programmes, and more repeats.
2009: British racing driver Jenson Button won the Formula 1 world title.
Zac Efron, actor and singer, 26; Chuck Berry, rock’n’roll singer, 87; Lord Elis-Thomas, presiding officer, National Assembly for Wales 1999-2011, 67; Sam Galbraith, MP 1987-2001, 68; Barry Gifford, screenwriter and novelist, 67; Winton Marsalis, jazz trumpeter, 52; Martina Navratilova, nine-time Wimbledon singles tennis champion, 57; Flora Marjory Fraser, 21st Lady Saltoun, Chief of the Name of Fraser, 83; Gladstone Small, cricketer, 52; Jean-Claude Van Damme, actor, 53.
Births: 1405 Pope Pius II; 1697 Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canale), artist; 1903 Evelyn Waugh, novelist; 1927 George C Scott, actor; 1939 Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged assassin of president John F Kennedy.
Deaths: 1541 Margaret, Queen of Scotland; 1865 Lord Palmerston, Whig statesman and twice prime minister; 1931 Thomas Edison, inventor of the phonograph and the electric lamp; 1966 Elizabeth Arden, cosmetics company founder; 1978 Frank Woolley, cricketer; 2007 Alan Coren, journalist and broadcaster; 2009 Sir Ludovic Kennedy, broadcaster.