On this Day

October 18

1009: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was destroyed by Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who hacked its foundations down to bedrock.

1356: An earthquake destroyed Basel, Switzerland.

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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.

1851: Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, was published.

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1867: Alaska was officially transferred to the USA 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.

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1918: Czechoslovakia declared independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

1922: BBC formed at a meeting of 300 wireless manufacturers and shareholders.

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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.

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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.

1961: West Side Story, the film adaptation of the Broadway musical, starring Natalie Wood. was released. It would win the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1962.

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1963: Harold Macmillan resigned as prime minister, and was succeeded by Sir Alec Douglas-Home.

1966: Timothy Evans was granted posthumous pardon 16 years after being hanged for Rillington Place murders in London.

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1967: Walt Disney’s animated movie The Jungle Book was released.

1968: John Lennon and Yoko One were fined £150 for possession of marijuana.

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1969: Rod Stewart joined The Small Faces, and the new line-up was renamed The Faces.

1978: Anatoly Karpov regained the world chess championship, defeating Viktor Korchnoi.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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2012: Syrian air strikes killed 40 people in Maaret al-Numan.

2013: Saudi Arabia became the first country to decline a seat on the UN Security Council in protest over Syria.