This Day In History : May 18

1969 United States

Apollo 10 launched

Apollo 10 was launched on May 18, 1969 at 16:49:00 UTC from Kennedy Space Center. It was the fourth human spaceflight in the United States’ Apollo program and the second mission to orbit the Moon.

Also on This Day in History May 18

Discover what happened on May 18 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, May 18
  • 1872 Bertrand Russell

    English mathematician and philosopher (Nobel 1950)

  • 1952 George Strait

    American Country singer, songwriter, actor, and music producer

  • 1970 Tina Fey

    American actress and comedian

  • 1988 Taeyang

    Korean singer (Big Bang)

  • 1883 Eurico Gaspar Dutra

    Brazilian leader, President of Brazil (1945-50)

Deaths on This Day, May 18
  • 1808 Elijah Craig

    American minister, educator, and inventory who invented Bourbon Whiskey

  • 1812 John Bellingham (1769-1812)

    English merchant who assassinated British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval

  • 1973 Jeannette Rankin

    American politician, 1st woman elected to US Congress (R-Montana), women's rights advocate and pacifist

  • 2007 Pierre-Gilles de Gennes

    French physicist and Nobel Prize laureate (1991)

  • 2015 Raymond Gosling

    British scientist involved in DNA structure research

  • 1912 Eduard Adolf Strasburger

    German botanist who discovered that the nucleus of plant cells divides during cell division


Great Britain declares war on France at the start of the Seven Years' War

Great Britain officially declared war on France at the start of the Seven Years' War on May 18, 1756. This global conflict involved many of the great powers of the time and is often considered the first "world war" due to its scale and the various theaters of combat across Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Rhode Island passes the first law in North America that makes slavery illegal

Rhode Island passed the first law in North America that made slavery illegal on May 18, 1652. This early legislation was a significant step towards the abolition of slavery, although it was not effectively enforced at the time.

Abraham Lincoln wins the Republican Party presidential nomination over William H. Seward

On May 18, 1860, former Congressman Abraham Lincoln upset the Republican front runner, William Seward, at the party’s second convention in Chicago, setting in motion the eventual regional split that became the Civil War1.

Jackie Cochran becomes the first woman to break the sound barrier

Jacqueline Cochran, an American pilot and business executive, achieved a significant milestone in aviation history. On May 18, 1953, she flew an F-86 Sabre past Mach 1, becoming the first woman to break the sound barrier.
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