On this day: Ian McGeechan was knighted | £1 notes first issued by the Bank of England | Victor Hugo was born

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A selection of historical events from 26 February

26 February

1531: Earthquake in Portugal killed tens of thousands of people and flattened much of Lisbon and other cities.

1672: Naturalisation granted to Philip van der Straten, a Fleming who set up a factory in Kelso to begin the Border woollen industry.

1797: £1 notes first issued by the Bank of England.

1832: Polish Constitution was abolished by Russia’s Tsar Nicholas I.

1839: The first official Grand National steeplechase, run at Aintree, Liverpool.

1848: Second French Republic was proclaimed.

1871: Preliminary Peace of Versailles was signed between France and Germany.

1918: German planes bombed Venice.

1935: Radar was first demonstrated in Daventry by Robert Watson-Watt.

1936: The Volkswagen car factory was opened in Saxony by Adolf Hitler.

1936: Military coup in Japan replaced Koki Hirota as premier.

1952: Winston Churchill announced that Britain had produced its own atomic bomb.

1968: Israel’s foreign minister Abba Eban announced that Israel had agreed to what he called “a form of negotiation” with Arabs.

1980: Diplomatic relations were established between Israel and Egypt.

1989: Burke’s Peerage stated that King Arthur’s Round Table had been found near Stirling, on the banks of the Carron river.

1991: US aircraft mistakenly killed nine British soldiers on 41st day of Operation Desert Storm. Allied tanks moved into Kuwait City as Iraqis fled with up to 5,000 Kuwaiti hostages.

1992: Dublin Supreme Court ruled that 14-year-old Irish schoolgirl who became pregnant after being raped, could travel to London for an abortion, reversing High Court ban.

1993: Five people were killed by a car bomb in underground car park at World Trade Center in New York.

1995: Barings Bank crashed after one of its Far East traders, Nick Leeson, lost more than £500m in unauthorised dealing on the Tokyo stock exchange.

1997: A report said that Parliament had been repeatedly misled over the widespread use of dangerous organophosphate pesticides by British troops during the Gulf war.

2010: Scottish rugby legend Ian McGeechan was knighted for a glittering sports career as both player and coach.


Sandie Shaw, singer, 66; Erykah Badu, singer, 42; Michael Bolton, singer, 60; Lynda Clark, QC, Baroness Clark of Calton, Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland, 64; Fats Domino, American R&B singer and pianist, 85; Michel Houellebecq, novelist, 57; Dame Carolyn Emma Kirkby DBE, soprano, 64; Corinne Bailey Rae, singer, 34; Brian Simmers, Scottish rugby player, 73; Colin Telfer, Scottish rugby player and coach, 66.


Births: 1802 Victor Hugo, poet and novelist; 1846 William Cody, American frontiersman and showman, known as Buffalo Bill; 1916 Jackie Gleason, comic actor; 1921 Betty Hutton, actress; 1932 Johnny Cash, singer and songwriter; 1931 Ally McLeod, football manager.

Deaths: 1802 Alexander Geddes, biblical critic and poet; 1834 Aloys Senefelder, inventor of lithography; 1898 Frederick Tennyson, poet; 1903 Richard Gatling, inventor of revolving battery gun; 2009 Wendy Richard MBE, actress.