On This Day … 18 May


  • 1096 – First Crusade: Around 800 Jews are massacred in Worms, Germany..
  • 1152 – The future Henry II of England marries Eleanor of Aquitaine. He would become king two years later, after the death of his cousin once removed King Stephen of England.
  • 1268 – The Principality of Antioch, a crusader state, falls to the Mamluk Sultan Baibars in the Siege of Antioch.
  • 1291 – Fall of Acre, the end of Crusader presence in the Holy Land.
  • 1302 – Bruges Matins, the nocturnal massacre of the French garrison in Bruges by members of the local Flemish militia.
  • 1388 – During the Battle of Buyur Lake, General Lan Yu leads a Chinese army forward to crush the Mongol hordes of Tögüs Temür, the Khan of Northern Yuan.
  • 1499 – Alonso de Ojeda sets sail from Cádiz on his voyage to what is now Venezuela.
  • 1565 – The Great Siege of Malta begins, in which Ottoman forces attempt and fail to conquer Malta.
  • 1756 – The Seven Years’ War begins when Great Britain declares war on France.
  • 1783 – First United Empire Loyalists reach Parrtown (later called Saint John, New Brunswick), Canada, after leaving the United States.
  • 1794 – Battle of Tourcoing during the Flanders Campaign of the War of the First Coalition.
  • 1803 – Napoleonic Wars: The United Kingdom revokes the Treaty of Amiens and declares war on France.
  • 1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed Emperor of the French by the French Senate.
  • 1811 – Battle of Las Piedras: The first great military triumph of the revolution of the Río de la Plata in Uruguay led by José Artigas.
  • 1863 – American Civil War: The Siege of Vicksburg begins.
  • 1900 – The United Kingdom proclaims a protectorate over Tonga.
  • 1917 – World War I: The Selective Service Act of 1917 is passed, giving the President of the United States the power of conscription.
  • 1944 – World War II: Battle of Monte Cassino: Conclusion after seven days of the fourth battle as German paratroopers evacuate Monte Cassino.
  • 1955 – Operation Passage to Freedom, the evacuation of 310,000 Vietnamese civilians, soldiers and non-Vietnamese members of the French Army from communist North Vietnam to South Vietnam following the end of the First Indochina War, ends.
  • 1974 – Nuclear weapons testing: Under project Smiling Buddha, India successfully detonates its first nuclear weapon becoming the sixth nation to do so.
  • 1991 – Northern Somalia declares independence from the rest of Somalia as the Republic of Somaliland but is not recognised by the international community.
  • 1993 – Riots in Nørrebro, Copenhagen, caused by the approval of the four Danish exceptions in the Maastricht Treaty referendum. Police open fire against civilians for the first time since World War II and injure 11 demonstrators.
  • 1994 – Israeli troops finish withdrawing from the Gaza Strip, ceding the area to the Palestinian National Authority to govern.
  • 2009 – The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), aka The Tamil Tigers, are defeated by the Sri Lankan government, ending almost 26 years of fighting between the two sides.
  • Baltic Fleet Day (Russia).
  • Battle of Las Piedras Day (Uruguay).
  • Victory Day (Sri Lanka).

People (Births)

  • 1778 – Charles Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, Irish soldier and diplomat, British Ambassador to Austria (d. 1854).
  • 1862 – Josephus Daniels, American publisher and politician, 41st United States Secretary of the Navy (d. 1948).
  • 1883 – Eurico Gaspar Dutra, Brazilian marshal and politician, 16th President of Brazil (d. 1974).
  • 1895 – Augusto César Sandino, Nicaraguan rebel leader (d. 1934).
  • 1904 – Jacob K. Javits, American colonel and politician, 58th New York Attorney General (d. 1986).
  • 1930 – Warren Rudman, American soldier, lawyer, and politician (d. 2012).
  • 1930 – Fred Saberhagen, American soldier and author (d. 2007).
  • 1939 – Gordon O’Connor, Canadian general and politician, 38th Canadian Minister of Defence.
  • 1952 – David Leakey, English general and politician.

People (Deaths)

  • 1096 – Minna of Worms, Jewish martyr killed during the Worms massacre (1096).
  • 1781 – Túpac Amaru II, Peruvian-Indian rebel leader (b. 1742).
  • 1795 – Robert Rogers, English colonel (b. 1731).
  • 1800 – Alexander Suvorov, Russian general (b. 1729).
  • 2009 – Velupillai Prabhakaran, Sri Lankan rebel leader, founded the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (b. 1954).
  • 2013 – Jo Benkow, Norwegian soldier and politician (b. 1924).

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