This Day in History — October 18

Today is the 291st day of 2022. There are 74 days left in the year.


1995: The United States announces it will grant Fidel Castro a visa, permitting the Cuban president to address the United Nations.


1009: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is destroyed by the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who hacks the church’s foundations down to the bedrock.

1648: Boston’s shoemakers, barrelmakers and tubmakers set up the first American labour organisation.

1672: Poland surrenders Ukraine to the Turks after an invasion.

1685: King Louis XIV of France revokes the Edict of Nantes which had established the legal toleration of France’s Protestant population, the Huguenots.

1767: The boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania, the Mason-Dixon line which divides America’s south from the north, is agreed upon.

1867: US takes formal possession of Alaska from Russia, having paid US$7.2 million.

1892: The first long-distance telephone line is opened between Chicago and New York.

1898: The American flag is raised in Puerto Rico shortly before Spain formally relinquishes control of the island to the United States.

1931: American gangster Al Capone is convicted of tax evasion.

1944: Soviet troops invade Czechoslovakia during World War II.

1962: Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins of the United Kingdom and James Watson of the United States win the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their work in determining the structure of DNA.

1964: Pope Paul VI proclaims 22 new African saints. The saints, known as the Blessed Martyrs of Uganda, were a group of converts who were persecuted and martyred between 1885 and 1887.

1968: The US Olympic Committee suspends two black athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, for giving a black-power salute as a protest at a victory ceremony in Mexico City.

1969: The federal government bans artificial sweeteners, known as cyclamates, because of evidence they caused cancer in laboratory rats.

1972: A three-nation UN investigating committee, made up of Yugoslavia, Somalia and Sri Lanka, accuses Israel of continued violations of Arab rights in the territories occupied since the 1967 war.

1981: Andreas Papandreou’s Panhellenic Socialist Movement wins 48 per cent of the vote in national elections, becoming Greece’s first leftist Government.

1988: American sitcom Roseanne, starring Roseanne Barr, premieres on ABC and becomes hugely popular, noted for deriving humour from the everyday struggles of middle class families and for tackling controversial issues.

1989: Gunmen assassinate Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan, the front-runner in polls, at a campaign rally outside Bogota. Four candidates are murdered in the months leading up to the 1990 election.

1991: Ukraine, Georgia, Moldavia and Azerbaijan refuse to sign an economic union treaty with the Soviet constituent republics.

1993: A United Nations oil embargo takes effect against Haiti.

1994: Boat people begin to return to Haiti after the reinstatement of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

1998: A pipeline explosion in Nigeria, apparently sparked by thieves siphoning off oil, leads to an inferno that kills at least 250 people and destroys villages.

1999: Former South African President Nelson Mandela begins his first visit to Israel, a gesture of final reconciliation with a nation that had backed South Africa’s apartheid regime.

2000: Fighting between Nigeria’s Hausa and Yoruba tribes leaves 100 dead in Lagos. Thousands of people are killed in ethnic and religious conflicts in Africa’s most populous nation.

2001: Four Osama bin Laden disciples convicted in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa are sentenced in New York City to life without parole.

2002: The Vatican rejects parts of a plan adopted in June by the US Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to deal with the sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic clergy in the US.

2004: India’s most wanted bandit, Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, 60, a brutal smuggler who eluded police for three decades in dense jungles, is killed in a shoot-out with security forces.

2005: US Defence Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld accuses China of understating the growth of its military budget, saying the country is raising global suspicion about its military intentions by failing to acknowledge the true size of recent increases in its defence spending.

2006: Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont of Thailand says he will try to peacefully resolve the Muslim insurgency in the kingdom’s southern provinces — a reversal of the previous Government’s iron-fisted strategy.

2007: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returns to Karachi after eight years of exile; a suspected suicide bomber strikes near the truck carrying her, killing 108 people, but Bhutto escapes unhurt.

2008: Canada declares a chemical widely used in food packaging a toxic substance and says it will move to ban plastic baby bottles containing bisphenol A.

2009: A suicide bomber kills five senior commanders of the powerful Revolutionary Guard and at least 37 others near the Pakistani border in the heartland of a potentially escalating Sunni insurgency.

2010: The latest Facebook privacy fiasco shows that the world’s largest online social hub is having a hard time putting this thorny issue behind it, even as it continues to attract users and become indispensible to many of them.

2011: Looking thin, weary and dazed, Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit emerges from more than five years in captivity, surrounded by Hamas militants with black face masks who hand him over to Egyptian mediators in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

2012: A Libyan Islamist militia commander, who a witness and officials say helped lead the deadly assault on the US Consulate in Benghazi, says he was at the building that night but denies he was involved in the attack.


Henri Bergson, French philosopher and Nobel laureate (1856-1941); Pierre Elliott Trudeau, former Canadian Prime Minister (1919-2000); George C Scott, US actor (1927-1999); Lee Harvey Oswald, accused killer of US President John F Kennedy (1939-1963); Chuck Berry, US singer (1926-2017); Martina Navratilova, Czech tennis player (1956- ); Wynton Marsalis, jazz/classical trumpeter (1961- )

— AP

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