On This Day … 18 January


  • 474 – Seven-year-old Leo II succeeds his maternal grandfather Leo I as Byzantine emperor. He dies ten months later.
  • 1486 – King Henry VII of England marries Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV uniting the House of Lancaster and the House of York.
  • 1591 – King Naresuan of Siam kills Crown Prince Mingyi Swa of Burma in single combat, for which this date is now observed as Royal Thai Armed Forces day.
  • 1670 – Henry Morgan captures Panama.
  • 1701 – Frederick I crowns himself King of Prussia in Königsberg.
  • 1871 – Wilhelm I of Germany is proclaimed Kaiser Wilhelm in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles (France) towards the end of the Franco-Prussian War. Wilhelm already had the title of German Emperor since the constitution of 01 January 1871, but he had hesitated to accept the title.
  • 1911 – Eugene B. Ely lands on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania anchored in San Francisco Bay, the first time an aircraft landed on a ship.
  • 1913 – First Balkan War: A Greek flotilla defeats the Ottoman Navy in the Naval Battle of Lemnos, securing the islands of the Northern Aegean Sea for Greece.
  • 1915 – Japan issues the “Twenty-One Demands” to the Republic of China in a bid to increase its power in East Asia.
  • 1919 – World War I: The Paris Peace Conference opens in Versailles, France.
  • 1919 – Ignacy Jan Paderewski becomes Prime Minister of the newly independent Poland.
  • 1941 – World War II: British troops launch a general counter-offensive against Italian East Africa.
  • 1943 – Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: The first uprising of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.
  • 1945 – World War II: Liberation of Kraków, Poland by the Red Army.
  • 1974 – A Disengagement of Forces agreement is signed between the Israeli and Egyptian governments, ending conflict on the Egyptian front of the Yom Kippur War.
  • 1976 – Lebanese Christian militias kill at least 1,000 in Karantina, Beirut.
  • 1978 – The European Court of Human Rights finds the United Kingdom’s government guilty of mistreating prisoners in Northern Ireland, but not guilty of torture.
  • 2002 – Sierra Leone Civil War is declared over.

People (Births)

  • 1853 – Marthinus Nikolaas Ras, South African farmer, soldier, and gun-maker (d. 1900).
  • 1879 – Henri Giraud, French general and politician (d. 1949).
  • 1888 – Thomas Sopwith, English ice hockey player, sailor, and pilot (d. 1989).
  • 1915 – Santiago Carrillo, Spanish soldier and politician (d. 2012).
  • 1917 – Nicholas Oresko, American sergeant, Medal of Honour recipient (d. 2013).
  • 1923 – John Graham, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Wales (d. 2012).
  • 1925 – John V. Evans, American soldier and politician, 27th Governor of Idaho (d. 2014).
  • 1925 – Sol Yurick, American soldier and author (d. 2013).
  • 1931 – Chun Doo-hwan, South Korean general and politician, 5th President of South Korea.
  • 1963 – Martin O’Malley, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 61st Governor of Maryland.

People (Deaths)

  • 1589 – Magnus Heinason, Faroese naval hero (b. 1545).
  • 1862 – John Tyler, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 10th President of the United States (b. 1790).
  • 1973 – Irina Nikolaevna Levchenko, Russian tank commander (b. 1924).
  • 1984 – Panteleimon Ponomarenko, Belarusian general and politician (b. 1902).
  • 2012 – Georg Lassen, German captain (b. 1915).

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