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1988

Eddie 'The Eagle' becomes first Briton to compete in Olympic ski jumping

On February 23rd 1988 Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards took to the slopes at the 1988 Winter Olympic games in Calgary, becoming the first competitor to represent Great Britain in ski-jumping. He finished last in both the 70m and 90m events, but did set a British record with a jump of 73.5m. He was hugely popular at the games that year and went on to become famous as an 'under-dog' who persevered despi... Read more >

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1981

Spanish rebels storm Parliament

In Spain, Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero and 200 members of the civil guard burst into the Cortes in Madrid, firing shots into the air as they take the democratic government of Spain hostage. The right-wing conspirators, resentful of the rapid pace of democratic reform since the death of dictator Francisco Franco, called for an all-out military revolt. The future of Spain was held in suspens... Read more >

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1885

A remarkable reprieve for a man sent to the gallows

Nineteen-year-old John Lee is sent to the gallows in Exeter, England. Convicted of murder despite insisting on his innocence, Lee was sentenced to death by hanging. Although the noose was brought around his neck and the lever was pulled, something malfunctioned and Lee was not dropped. The equipment was tested repeatedly and seemed to be in working order; weights used in a test run plunged to t... Read more >

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1955

First council meeting of SEATO

In the first council meeting of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles declares the United States is committed to defending the region from communist aggression. The meeting, and American participation in SEATO, set the stage for the U.S. to take a more active role in Vietnam. SEATO had been established in Manila in 1954, at a meeting called by Secretary D... Read more >