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Pope John Paul II speaks to millions in Dublin visit

In his first visit to Ireland, Pope John Paul II addresses a crowd of more than one million in Dublin and makes an impassioned plea for an end to violence between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. In 1978, Pope John Paul II, born as Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland became the first Polish Pope in history and the first non-Italian pope in 456 years.

Fluent in seven modern languages and Latin, the pope fully embraced his role as ambassador of the Roman Catholic Church, and travelled more extensively than any other pope in history. Known for his staunch anti-communism, the Pope was an outspoken supporter of democratic movements in his native Poland and elsewhere during the 1980s. He survived being shot in an assassination attempt in 1981 and died from a heart condition aged 84 in April 2005.

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Sellafield cooling towers are demolished

Nuclear Fall Down

Obviously here at HISTORY, we are concerned with all things progressive, empowering and civilisation advancing. But, at the same time, we also like things that blow up. And a great big thing blew up on this day in 2007 as the Calder Hall cooling towers were detonated and utterly demolished in spectacular fashion. For 50 years the towers had provided coo... Read more >

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Trains collide in Pakistan

A passenger train collides with an oil-tanker train in the Gambar province of western Pakistan, killing 300 people and seriously injuring another 150 on this day in 1957. The passenger train, bound for Karachi from western Pakistan, was overcrowded, which was not unusual at the time. However, the number of people on board did not cause this tragic accident, it only increased the casualties. The... Read more >

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Miguel de Cervantes Born

Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, is born this day near Madrid. Cervantes led an adventurous life and achieved much popular success, but he nevertheless struggled financially throughout his life. Little is know about his childhood, except that he was a favorite student of Madrid humanist Juan Lopez, and that his father was an apothecary. In 1569, Cervantes was living in Rome and worki... Read more >