This Day in History — September 18

This Day in History — September 18

Friday, September 18, 2020

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Today is the 262nd day of 2020. There are 104 days left in the year.


2001: Letters postmarked in Trenton, New Jersey, that test positive for anthrax are sent to the New York Post and the US NBC broadcasting network anchor Tom Brokaw.


1544: Sweden's King Gustavus I forms alliance with France to counter Denmark's alliance with the Holy Roman Empire.

1739: Peace of Belgrade is signed by Holy Roman Emperor and Turkey, whereby Austria cedes Orsova, Belgrade, and Serbia to Turkey.

1759: The French formally surrender Quebec to the British.

1793: George Washington lays the US Capitol Building's cornerstone in Washington.

1810: Chile declares its independence from Spain.

1850: US Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Act, which allows slave owners to reclaim slaves who escaped to free states.

1851: The New York Times newspaper publishes its first issue.

1860: Italian troops under Count Camillo Cavour defeat Papal forces at Castelfidardo.

1898: A British expedition trying to establish a north-south corridor the length of Africa reaches the fort of Fashoda in the Sudan, only to find it occupied by the French. The stand-off brings the countries to the brink of war.

1913: Bulgaria and Turkey sign a treaty settling their frontiers in Thrace.

1916: Greek army surrenders to Germans at Kavalla, Greece, in World War I; Russian offensive under Alexei Brusilov is checked by Germans.

1927: The Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System — later CBS — debuts in the United States with a network of 16 radio stations.

1931: Japan begins siege of Mukden, using bomber seaplanes, and occupies strategic points in Manchuria.

1932: King Ibn Saud unifies the dual kingdom of the Hejaz and Najd under the name Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

1947: The US National Security Act, unifying the Navy, Army, and newly formed Air Force goes into effect.

1948: Indonesian Communists set up Soviet-style Government in Java but are forced to withdraw.

1955: At least 166 people are killed, 100 missing and 1,000 injured due to destructive winds and floods in the central and northern Gulf Coast area of Mexico where Hurricane Hilda struck.

1961: Swedish UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, 56, is killed in air crash in northern Rhodesia — now Zambia — while on a peace mission to Congo.

1967: United States announces it will build anti-missile network to counter any attack by China; explosives planted by Communist terrorists destroy Taiwan's embassy in Saigon.

1973: East Germany, West Germany, and The Bahamas are admitted to United Nations.

1975: Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is captured by the FBI in San Francisco, 19 months after being kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army and then becoming one of its members.

1978: Egypt's Foreign Minister Ibrahim Kamel and Ambassador to United States Ashraf Ghorbal resign in protest of Egypt's Camp David agreement with Israel.

1983: British adventurer George Meegan finishes a six-year-long walk from the southernmost tip of South America to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, covering 30,605 kilometres (19,021 miles).

1988: Burma's military commander San Maung overthrows Burma's civilian President Maung Maung in coup.

1993: A United Nations investigation finds Liberian army troops responsible for shooting, bludgeoning, and mutilating more than 400 refugees, most of whom were women and children.

1994: US President Bill Clinton announces Haiti's strongman Raoul Cedras has agreed to leave power by October 15 and permit US troops to enter the country.

1996: In Lagos, Nigeria, anti-riot police clash with thousands of Muslims and 10 people are killed.

1997: In Cairo, Muslim extremists open fire on a tourist bus outside a museum, killing 10 people, mostly German tourists; media mogul Ted Turner pledges US$1 billion to the United Nations.

1998: The Basque separatist group ETA begins observing an open-ended ceasefire after 30 years of fighting for an independent homeland in lands straddling northern Spain and south-west France.

2000: Three gangs of armed gunmen break into three jails on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in separate incidents, freeing more than 200 inmates, many of them convicted and suspected drug traffickers.

2002: Burundi's Government reports 173 civilians are killed by uniformed gunmen. It was one of the worst massacres in the country's nine-year-old civil war between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups.

2003: Akila al-Hashemi, one of three women on the 25-member Iraqi governing council, dies five days after she was shot by unidentified assailants near her home in Baghdad. This is the first assassination of an Iraqi political leader appointed by the US-led occupation authority.

2004: A divided UN Security Council approves a resolution threatening oil sanctions against Sudan unless it acts to rein in Arab militias blamed for a 19-month killing and looting spree in Darfur that the United States has called genocide.

2005: Afghans choose a legislature for the first time in decades, embracing their newly recovered democratic rights and braving threats of Taliban attacks to cast votes in schools, tents and mosques.

2006: UNESCO World Heritage sites in Lebanon, including some of the Middle East's most significant ancient ruins, are in urgent need of repairs after a month of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, the UN agency says.

2007: While there are an estimated 7,000 languages spoken around the world today, one of them dies out about every two weeks, linguistic experts say.

2008: Somchai Wongsawat is inaugurated as Thailand's prime minister.

2009: Tens of thousands of protesters — many decked out in the green colour of the reform movement and chanting “Death to the dictator!” — rally in defiance of Iran's Islamic leadership, clashing with police and confronting State-run anti-Israel rallies.

2010: Despite Taliban rocket strikes and bombings, Afghans vote for a new Parliament, the first election since a fraud-marred presidential ballot last year cast doubt on the legitimacy of the embattled Government.

2011: Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn breaks his silence four months after a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault, calling his encounter with the woman a “moral failing” he deeply regrets, but insisting in an interview on French television that no violence was involved.

2012: Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi begins her landmark visit to Washington by declaring that she supports the easing of the remaining US economic sanctions on her country.

2013: The death toll from days of flooding in southern and central Mexico rises to 80 and new reports of landslides near the resort of Acapulco threatens to drive the number of casualties higher.


Samuel Johnson, English poet-critic (1709-1784); Jean-Bernard-Leon Foucault, French scientist (1819-1868); Greta Garbo, Swedish-born actress (1905-1990); Agnes Demille, US dancer/choreographer (1905-1993); Kwame Nkrumah, Ghanaian statesman (1909-1972); Robert Blake, US actor (1933- ); Dee Dee Ramone, US rock musician (1952-2002)

— AP

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