Today in History: August 18 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: August 18

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


Today in History
August 18

1587 In the Roanoke Island colony, Ellinor and Ananias Dare become parents of a baby girl whom they name Virginia, the first English child born in what would become the United States.
1590 John White, the leader of 117 colonists sent in 1587 to Roanoke Island (North Carolina) to establish a colony, returns from a trip to England to find the settlement deserted. No trace of the settlers is ever found.
1698 After invading Denmark and capturing Sweden, Charles XII of Sweden forces Frederick IV of Denmark to sign the Peace of Travendal.
1759 The French fleet is destroyed by the British under “Old Dreadnought” Boscawen at the Battle of Lagos Bay.
1782 Poet and artist William Blake marries Catherine Sophia Boucher.
1862 Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart‘s headquarters is raided by Union troops of the 5th New York and 1st Michigan cavalries.
1864 Union General William T. Sherman sends General Judson Kilpatrick to raid Confederate lines of communication outside Atlanta. The raid is unsuccessful.
1870 Prussian forces defeat the French at the Battle of Gravelotte during the Franco-Prussian War.
1898 Adolph Ochs takes over the New York Times, saying his aim is to give “the news, all the news, in concise and attractive form, in language that is permissible in good society, and give it early, if not earlier, than it can be learned through any other medium.”
1914 Germany declares war on Russia while President Woodrow Wilson issues his Proclamation of Neutrality.
1920 Tennessee becomes the thirty-sixth state to ratify the nineteenth amendment granting women’s suffrage, completing the three-quarters necessary to put the amendment into effect.
1929 The first cross-country women’s air derby begins. Louise McPhetridge Thaden wins first prize in the heavier-plane division, while Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie finishes first in the lighter-plane category.
1939 The film The Wizard of Oz opens in New York City.
1942 Japan sends a crack army to Guadalcanal to repulse the U.S. Marines fighting there.
1943 The Royal Air Force Bomber Command completes the first major strike against the German missile development facility at Peenemunde.
1963 James Meredith, the first African American to attend University of Mississippi, graduates.
1965 Operation Starlite marks the beginning of major U.S. ground combat operations in Vietnam.
1966 Australian troops repulse a Viet Cong attack at Long Tan.
1969 Two concert goers die at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in Bethel, New York, one from an overdose of heroin, the other from a burst appendix.
1973 Hank Aaron makes his 1,378th extra-base hit, surpassing Stan Musial’s record.
1974 Luna 24, the USSR’s final major lunar exploration mission, soft-lands on moon.
1979 Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini demands a “Saint War” against Kurds.
1982 Pete Rose sets a record with his 13,941st plate appearance.
1987 Ohio nurse Donald Harvey is sentenced to triple life terms for poisoning 24 patients.
1988 The Republican Convention in New Orleans nominates the George H.W. Bush-Dan Quayle ticket.
1991 A group of hard-line communist leaders unhappy with the drift toward the collapse of the Soviet Union seize control of the government in Moscow and place President Mikhail S. Gorbachev under house arrest
1993 Historic Kapellbrücke (chapel bridge) in Luzern, Switzerland, burns, destroying 147 of its decorative paintings. It was built in 1365.
1992 Dennis Rader, the BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill) killer receives 10 consecutive life sentences. He had terrorized Wichita, Kansas, murdering 10 people between 1974 and 1991.
2010 Edelmiro Cavazos, mayor of Santiago, Nuevo Leon, is found handcuffed, blindfolded and dead following his abduction three days earlier. He had championed crackdowns on organized crime and police corruption.
2011 Gold hits a record price of $1,826 per ounce.
Born on August 18
1774 Meriwether Lewis, American explorer who led the Corps of Discovery with William Clark.
1792 Lord John Russell, Prime Minister of England from 1846 to 1852 and 1865 to 1866.
1807 Charles F. Adams, U.S. diplomat and public official whose father was John Quincy Adams.
1918 Elsa Morante, Italian writer (History: A Novel).
1922 Shelly Winters, actress who won an Academy Award for The Diary of Anne Frank.
1923 Jimmy Witherspoon, blues singer.
1932 Luc Montagnier, virologist who discovered the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
1933 Roman Polanski, Polish film director best known for Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown.
1934 Roberto Clemente, outfielder for Pittsburgh Pirates, first Latin American enshrined in National Baseball Hall of Fame; died in plane crash while delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua, Dec. 31, 1972.
1936 Robert Redford, actor (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, The Great Gatsby).
1937 William George Rushton, actor, author, cartoonist; co-founder of Private Eye satire magazine.
1940 Frankie Avalon, singer (“Venus,” 5 weeks at No. 1), actor (Beach Blanket Bingo); teen heartthrob of late 1950s–early 1960s.
1952 Patrick Swayze, actor/dancer (Dirty Dancing, Ghost).
1961 Robert Warren “Bob” Woodruff, journalist, TV news anchor; critically wounded by a roadside bomb while reporting on the war in Iraq, January 2006.
1962 Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico 2006–2012.
1969 Christian Slater, actor (Heathers, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Hard Rain).