On This Day … 18 November


  • 401 – The Visigoths, led by king Alaric I, cross the Alps and invade northern Italy.
  • 1095 – The Council of Clermont begins: called by Pope Urban II, it led to the First Crusade to the Holy Land.
  • 1493 – Christopher Columbus first sights the island now known as Puerto Rico.
  • 1494 – French King Charles VIII occupies Florence, Italy, as part of the First Italian War (1494-1498).
  • 1601 – Tiryaki Hasan Pasha, an Ottoman provincial governor, routs the Habsburg forces commanded by Ferdinand the Archduke of Austria during the Siege of Nagykanizsa.
  • 1803 – The Battle of Vertières, the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution, is fought, leading to the establishment of the Republic of Haiti, the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere.
  • 1809 – In a naval action during the Napoleonic Wars, French frigates defeat British East Indiamen in the Bay of Bengal.
  • 1812 – Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Krasnoi ends in French defeat, but Marshal of France Michel Ney’s leadership leads to him becoming known as “the bravest of the brave”.
  • 1863 – King Christian IX of Denmark signs the November constitution that declares Schleswig to be part of Denmark.
    • This is seen by the German Confederation as a violation of the London Protocol and leads to the German–Danish war of 1864.
  • 1901 – Britain and the United States sign the Hay–Pauncefote Treaty, which nullifies the Clayton–Bulwer Treaty and withdraws British objections to an American-controlled canal in Panama.
  • 1903 – The Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty is signed by the United States and Panama, giving the United States exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone.
  • 1909 – Two United States warships are sent to Nicaragua after 500 revolutionaries (including two Americans) are executed by order of José Santos Zelaya.
  • 1916 – World War I: First Battle of the Somme: In France, British Expeditionary Force commander Douglas Haig calls off the battle which started on July 1, 1916.
  • 1918 – Latvia declares its independence from Russia.
    • Proclamation Day of the Republic of Latvia celebrates the independence of Latvia from Russia.
  • 1940 – World War II: German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano meet to discuss Benito Mussolini’s disastrous Italian invasion of Greece.
  • 1943 – World War II: Battle of Berlin: Four hundred and forty Royal Air Force planes bomb Berlin causing only light damage and killing 131.
    • The RAF loses nine aircraft and 53 air crew.
  • 1956 – Independence Day (Morocco), celebrates the independence of Morocco from France and Spain.
  • 1961 – United States President John F. Kennedy sends 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam.
  • 1971 – Oman declares its independence from United Kingdom.
    • National Day (Oman).
  • 1991 – After an 87-day siege, the Croatian city of Vukovar capitulates to the besieging Yugoslav People’s Army and allied Serb paramilitary forces.
    • Remembrance Day of the Sacrifice of Vukovar in 1991 (Croatia).
  • 2002 – Iraq disarmament crisis: United Nations weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix arrive in Iraq.
  • Day of Army and Victory (Haiti).

People (Births)

  • 1804 – Alfonso Ferrero La Marmora, Italian general and politician, 6th Prime Minister of Italy (d. 1878).
  • 1886 – Ferenc Münnich, Hungarian soldier and politician, 47th Prime Minister of Hungary (d. 1967).
  • 1904 – Alan Lennox-Boyd, 1st Viscount Boyd of Merton, English lieutenant and politician, Secretary of State for the Colonies (d. 1983).
  • 1918 – Tasker Watkins, Welsh soldier, judge, and politician, Victoria Cross recipient (d. 2007).
  • 1923 – Alan Shepard, American admiral, pilot, and astronaut (d. 1998).
  • 1923 – Ted Stevens, American soldier, lawyer, and politician (d. 2010).
  • 1924 – Alexander Mackenzie Stuart, Baron Mackenzie-Stuart, Scottish soldier, engineer, and judge (d. 2000).
  • 1947 – Timothy Maude, American general (d. 2001).
  • 1991 – Ahmed Kelly, Iraqi-Australian swimmer.
  • 1994 – Akiyuki Hashimoto, Japanese sprinter.

People (Deaths)

  • 1247 – Robin Hood, heroic outlaw in English folklore (b. 1160).
  • 1590 – George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, English commander and politician, Lord High Steward of Ireland (b. 1528).
  • 1664 – Miklós Zrínyi, Croatian and Hungarian military leader and statesman (b. 1620).
  • 1804 – Philip Schuyler, American general and senator (b. 1733).
  • 1841 – Agustín Gamarra, Peruvian general and politician, 10th and 14th President of Peru (b. 1785).
  • 1978 – Leo Ryan, American soldier, educator, and politician (b. 1925).
  • 1980 – Conn Smythe, Canadian soldier, ice hockey player, and businessman (b. 1895).
  • 1987 – Jacques Anquetil, French cyclist (b. 1934).

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