On This Day … 18 February


  • 1229 – The Sixth Crusade: Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, signs a ten-year truce with al-Kamil, regaining Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem with neither military engagements nor support from the papacy.
  • 1268 – The Battle of Wesenberg is fought between the Livonian Order and Dovmont of Pskov.
  • 1332 – Amda Seyon I, Emperor of Ethiopia begins his campaigns in the southern Muslim provinces.
  • 1478 – George, Duke of Clarence, convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, is executed in private at the Tower of London.
  • 1637 – Eighty Years’ War: Off the coast of Cornwall, England, a Spanish fleet intercepts an important Anglo-Dutch merchant convoy of 44 vessels escorted by six warships, destroying or capturing 20 of them.
  • 1781 – Fourth Anglo-Dutch War: Captain Thomas Shirley opens his expedition against Dutch colonial outposts on the Gold Coast of Africa (present-day Ghana).
  • 1791 – Congress passes a law admitting the state of Vermont to the Union, effective 04 March, after that state had existed for 14 years as a de facto independent largely unrecognised state.
  • 1797 – French Revolutionary Wars: Sir Ralph Abercromby and a fleet of 18 British warships invade Trinidad.
  • 1814 – Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Montereau.
  • 1861 – In Montgomery, Alabama, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as the provisional President of the Confederate States of America.
  • 1861 – With Italian unification almost complete, Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont, Savoy and Sardinia assumes the title of King of Italy.
  • 1873 – Bulgarian revolutionary leader Vasil Levski is executed by hanging in Sofia by the Ottoman authorities.
  • 1900 – Second Boer War: Imperial forces suffer their worst single-day loss of life on Bloody Sunday, the first day of the Battle of Paardeberg.
  • 1932 – The Empire of Japan creates the independent state of Manzhouguo (the obsolete Chinese name for Manchuria) free from the Republic of China and installed former Chinese Emperor Aisin Gioro Puyi as Chief Executive of the State.
  • 1938 – Second Sino-Japanese War: During the Nanking Massacre, the Nanking Safety Zone International Committee is renamed “Nanking International Rescue Committee”, and the safety zone in place for refugees falls apart.
  • 1942 – World War II: The Imperial Japanese Army begins the systematic extermination of perceived hostile elements among the Chinese in Singapore.
  • 1943 – World War II: The Nazis arrest the members of the White Rose movement.
  • 1943 – World War II: Joseph Goebbels delivers his Sportpalast speech.
  • 1946 – Sailors of the Royal Indian Navy mutiny in Bombay harbour, from where the action spreads throughout the Provinces of British India, involving 78 ships, twenty shore establishments and 20,000 sailors.
  • 1947 – First Indochina War: The French gain complete control of Hanoi after forcing the Viet Minh to withdraw to mountains.
  • 1955 – Operation Teapot: Teapot test shot “Wasp” is successfully detonated at the Nevada Test Site with a yield of 1.2 kilotons.
    • Wasp is the first of fourteen shots in the Teapot series.
  • 1957 – Kenyan rebel leader Dedan Kimathi is executed by the British colonial government.
  • 1965 – The Gambia becomes independent from the United Kingdom.
  • 1991 – The IRA explodes bombs in the early morning at Paddington station and Victoria station in London.
  • 2010 – WikiLeaks publishes the first of hundreds of thousands of classified documents disclosed by the soldier now known as Chelsea Manning.

People (Births)

  • 1530 – Uesugi Kenshin, Japanese daimyō (d. 1578).
  • 1602 – Per Brahe the Younger, Swedish soldier and politician, Governor-General of Finland (d. 1680).
  • 1745 – Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist, invented the battery (d. 1827).
  • 1817 – Lewis Armistead, American general (d. 1863).
  • 1892 – Wendell Willkie, American captain, lawyer, and politician (d. 1944).
  • 1927 – John Warner, American captain, lawyer, and politician, 61st United States Secretary of the Navy.
  • 1957 – Marita Koch, German sprinter.
  • 1967 – Colin Jackson, Welsh sprinter and hurdler.
  • 1974 – Jillian Michaels, American fitness trainer and author.
  • 1985 – Jos van Emden, Dutch cyclist.

People (Deaths)

  • 1748 – Otto Ferdinand von Abensberg und Traun, Austrian field marshal (b. 1677).
  • 1915 – Frank James, American soldier and criminal (b. 1843).
  • 1945 – Ivan Chernyakhovsky, Russian general (b. 1906).
  • 2010 – John Babcock, Canadian soldier (b. 1900).
  • 2014 – Kristof Goddaert, Belgian cyclist (b. 1986).

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