On this week in history

On this week in history (14th to 20th May inclusive) as follows;

  • 1649 – England is declared a Commonwealth by the Rump Parliament
  • 1796 – British physician Edward Jenner carries out the first successful vaccination against smallpox
  • 1829 – The US Congress designates the slave trade as piracy
  • 1847 – HMS Driver arrives at Spithead on the south coast of England, completing the first round the world voyage by a steamship
  • 1861 – The first colour photograph is exhibited at the Royal Institution in London
  • 1900 – The second modern Olympic Games open in Paris and this time women are allowed to compete
  • 1906 – The 12 mile Simplon Tunnel linking Italy and Switzerland through The Alps is officially opened
  • 1918 – The world’s first regular air mail service begins between Washington and New York
  • 1936 – Aviator Amy Johnson arrives in England after a record breaking flight from London to Cape Town and back
  • 1954 – The European Convention on Human Rights comes into effect
  • 1955 – The Eastern Bloc signs the Warsaw Pact
  • 1957 – Britain’s first H-Bomb is dropped on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean
  • 1993 – Rebecca Stephens is the first British woman to climb Everest
  • 2006 – The world’s largest hydro-electric dam, The Three Gorges Dam, is completed in China
  • 2007 – The new Wembley Stadium is officially opened in London

And some notable birthdays include;

  • 1727 – Thomas Gainsborough, English painter of portraits, landscapes and sentimental rural genre scenes
  • 1759 – William Thornton, American architect who created the Capitol in Washington
  • 1806 – John Stuart Mill, English philosopher, economist and social reformer
  • 1818 – William Fargo, American co-founder of the freight carrying company Wells-Fargo
  • 1890 – Ho Chi Minh, North Vietnamese revolutionary leader
  • 1908 – James Stewart, American film actor
  • 1909 – James Mason, English actor who appeared in more than 80 films
  • 1919 – Dame Margot Fonteyn, British ballerina whose performances with Rudolph Nureyev were legendary
  • 1926 – Malcolm X, American Black Muslim leader
  • 1936 – Dennis Hopper, American actor and director who came to prominence with Peter Fonda in the film Easy Rider
  • 1945 – Cher, American singer and actress
  • 1945 – Pete Townsend, British guitarist with pop group The Who
  • 1949 – Rick Wakeman, British pop musician
  • 1953 – Mike Oldfield, British composer and instrumentalist who had a big hit with Tubular Bells
  • 1955 – Olga Korbut, Soviet gymnast who stole the show at the Munich Olympics in 1972, winning 2 gold medals and one silver