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18th May

1804 Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Emperor of France.

1901 Alexandra Palace in London was opened to the public.

1909 * Fred Perry, English tennis player and winner of 5 Grand Slam tennis events.

1910 Halley's Comet passed the Sun.

1912 * Perry Como, US crooner with hits in the 1950's such as 'Magic Moments' and 'Wanted'.

1919 * Dame Margot Fonteyn de Arias, English ballerina who often partnered Rudolf Nureyev.

1920 * Pope John Paul II (Karol Jozef Wojtyla), the first non-Italian pope in 450 years.

1944 Monte Cassino fell to the Allies and the Polish flag was flown over the ruins of the ancient Italian monastery, which was a symbol of German resistance since the beginning of the year.

1950 US and Europe agree NATO aims as twelve nations agreed on a permanent defence organisation for the US and Europe.

1953 Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound.

1964 Dozens of youths were given prison sentences following violent clashes between gangs of Mods and Rockers in a series of seaside riots.

1972 Doctors said the Duke of Windsor must remain in his bedroom throughout the Queen's visit to his home in Paris. The Queen did spend 15 minutes talking alone with her "Uncle David" after the Duchess of Windsor hosted tea in the downstairs drawing room.

1974 India became the 6th country to become a nuclear power.

1980 The volcano Mount St. Helens in the USA erupted devastating 230 square miles of land.

1991 Britain's first astronaut, 27-year-old Helen Sharman from Sheffield, blasted into orbit.

2003 President Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia declared martial law and sent 30,000 troops into Aceh.

xxxx * = Date of birth

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