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Painting of the Battle of Waterloo

Major historical anniversaries in June

From D-Day to Henry VIII being crowned, these are the biggest historical anniversaries in June.

Image: Battle of Waterloo (1815) | Public Domain

From the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II to the signing of the Magna Carta, discover what major historical events took place in the month of June.

2 June

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (1953)

After the death of her father King George VI the previous year, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey in 1953. The ceremony was the first to ever be televised and watched by millions across the globe.

4 June

Tiananmen Square Massacre (1989)

Student-led pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, turned deadly after Chinese government troops suppressed the demonstrations with violence. Estimates vary from several hundred to several thousand people being killed.

5 June

Robert F. Kennedy is shot (1968)

Less than five years after his older brother President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, Senator Robert Kennedy was shot by a 24-year-old Palestinian. Kennedy died the following day.

6 June

D-Day (1944)

The largest invasion fleet in the history of warfare landed on five beachheads in Normandy, France. Known as Operation Overlord, Allied forces hoped to liberate Western Europe from Nazi control. The invasion was a success and within a year Hitler’s forces were defeated.

7 June

Robert the Bruce dies (1329)

One of the most revered of Scottish national heroes, Robert the Bruce famously defeated the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Bruce was King of Scots from 1306 until his death.

12 June

Anne Frank is born (1929)

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Anne Frank received a diary on her 13th birthday. That diary went on to become an important document of the Holocaust. For two years during WWII, young Anne penned the daily struggles her family endured while hiding away in a secret annex of an office in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands.

Mandela is sentenced to life in prison (1964)

The leader of the African National Congress (ANC) was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of sabotage and conspiring to overthrow the South African apartheid government. He’d spend the next 27 years behind bars before being released and becoming the nation’s first black president.

13 June

Alexander the Great dies (323 B.C.)

The young Macedonian king was a military genius who never lost a battle and established a vast empire that heralded a new historical era. He died at the age of 32 from natural causes, although many historians continue to debate his true cause of death.

14 June

Grenfell Tower Fire (2017)

72 people were killed after a high-rise fire broke out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats located in West London. More than 70 others were injured in what would become the worst residential fire in the country since WWII. An electrical fault in a fridge on the 4th floor triggered the fire.

End of the Falklands War (1982)

After a 10-week conflict and nearly a thousand deaths, the Falklands War came to an end with an Argentine surrender. The war was triggered after troops from Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a South Atlantic archipelago that is a colony of the UK.

15 June

Magna Carta signed (1215)

Hoping to avoid further revolt and civil war in England, King John met with a band of 25 rebel barons in Runnymede, Surrey, and signed the Magna Carta (Latin for great charter). It was the first document to state in principle that the king and his government were not above the law.

18 June

Battle of Waterloo (1815)

Near the village of Waterloo just south of Brussels, three armies converged to fight one of the most decisive and bloody battles in European history. The epic battle marked the final defeat of Napoleon and crushed his imperial dreams of ruling Europe.

22 June

The Empire Windrush arrives in Britain (1948)

The vessel known as the Empire Windrush carried many hundreds of Caribbean people to a new life in the UK, kickstarting the era of multiculturalism in the country.

Operation Barbarossa is launched (1941)

Arguably one of the worst military decisions in the history of warfare was launched on this day in 1941. Hitler’s ill-fated invasion of Russia led to the deaths of millions of soldiers and civilians as the Eastern Front became a meat-grinder during WWII.

23 June

The UK votes to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum

51.9% of the country voted to leave the European Union in what became known as Brexit. The official withdrawal took place on 31 January 2020.

24 June

Henry VIII is crowned the King of England (1509)

The coronation of Henry VIII took place at Westminster Abbey. Henry’s most famous for the establishment of the Church of England as well as having six wives.

25 June

Michael Jackson dies (2009)

The ‘King of Pop’ known for hits such as Thriller (1982), Beat It (1982), Bad (1987) and Smooth Criminal (1988), died aged 50 from a cardiac arrest caused by a drug overdose.

28 June

Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated (1914)

The heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated in Sarajevo by a Bosnian Serb student. The event is considered one of the key events that led to the First World War.

30 June

Spanish retreat from the Aztec capital city (1520)

Known as the La Noche Triste (‘The Sad Night’), Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés and his 500 men attempted to fight their way out of the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan after the local population rose against them. Along with heavy Spanish casualties, the Aztec emperor Montezuma II was also killed during the retreat.

Aztec gold and silver were said to be dumped in Lake Texcoco by the fleeing Spanish, starting the legend of Montezuma's lost treasure.