This Week in History

This Week in History Archive

See what happened each week of the year.

Weeks Of The Year

Wk 01: Khmer Rouge Is Overthrown In Cambodia audio January 1979
After nearly 4 years in power, the regime led by Pol Pot is brought down.
Wk 02: US President Bush Vomits On Japanese Leader audio January 1992
US President George Bush becomes ill and vomits on the Japanese Prime Minister.
Wk 03: Shah Of Iran Flees Uprising audio January 1979
After many years of autocratic rule, the Shah of Iran flees the country amid growing opposition.
Wk 04: Nazi Death Camp At Auschwitz Liberated audio January 1945
Red Army soldiers from the USSR liberate the largest Nazi concentration camp.
Wk 05: Mahatma Gandhi Is Assassinated audio January 1948
Indian pro-independence activist and leader Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi.
Wk 06: Nelson Mandela Is Freed From Jail audio February 1990
South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela is freed after nearly 30 years' imprisonment.
Wk 07: Allies Bomb Dresden, Killing Thousands audio February 1945
Massive bombing by Allied forces kills tens of thousands of civilians in Dresden, Germany.
Wk 08: Russia Launches The First Space Station audio February 1986
Russia launches the first modules of the MIR space station into orbit around the earth.
Wk 09: USA Tests Its Biggest Nuclear Weapon audio March 1954
The USA explodes a huge hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
Wk 10: Bell "Invents" The Telephone audio March 1876
Alexander Graham Bell claims to have invented the telephone, but did he?
Wk 11: US Troops Kill Vietnamese Villagers audio March 1968
US soldiers kill hundreds of men, women and children in the Vietnamese village of My Lai.
Wk 12: American-led Forces Invade Iraq audio March 2003
Iraq is invaded in order to destroy weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons are found.
Wk 13: Nuclear Reactor Melts Down In The USA audio March 1979
Deadly radiation escapes from a US nuclear power plant, endangering nearly 2,000,000 people.
Wk 14: Martin Luther King Is Assassinated audio April 1968
US civil rights leader Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
Wk 15: Russia Sends First Man Into Space audio April 1961
Russian cosmonaut Major Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin becomes the first man to fly into space.
Wk 16: Cuba Repels Bay Of Pigs Invasion audio April 1961
Cubans defeat US-backed insurgents trying to bring down their government.
Wk 17: Prisoners Abused By US Forces In Iraq audio April 2004
Photos prove serious abuse of Iraqis by US forces at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.
Wk 18: The War Ends In Vietnam audio April 1975
The South Vietnamese government surrenders to North Vietnam and the country is unified.
Wk 19: Germany Surrenders To Allied Forces audio May 1945
After six years of war, Germany surrenders and Europe is at peace once again.
Wk 20: Communist States Sign The Warsaw Pact audio May 1955
The Soviet Union and its communist allies in Eastern Europe sign a pact to strengthen ties.
Wk 21: First Solo Non-Stop Atlantic Flight audio May 1927
Charles Lindbergh becomes the first person to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean.
Wk 22: Mount Everest Is "Conquered" audio May 1953
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay become the first to climb the world's highest mountain.
Wk 23: Chinese Troops Kill Protesters audio June 1989
Chinese troops kill thousands of pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.
Wk 24: Henry Ford Founds The Ford Motor Company audio June 1903
Henry Ford founds a company that will revolutionize industrial production methods.
Wk 25: France Loses The Battle Of Waterloo audio June 1815
French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte are defeated by the Allies in Belgium.
Wk 26: US Army Defeated At Little Big Horn audio June 1876
US General George Custer and all of his men are killed after attacking Native Americans.
Wk 27: Declaration Of Independence Approved audio July 1776
13 British colonies in North America claim independence from Great Britain.
Wk 28: The Bastille Is Attacked In Paris audio July 1789
French revolutionaries attack and overtake the most despised prison in France, "The Bastille".
Wk 29: Spanish Civil War Begins audio July 1936
Pro-fascist forces revolt against the government of Spain, and civil war ensues.
Wk 30: World's First Test Tube-Baby Is Born audio July 1978
Louise Brown, the world's first "test tube baby", is born in Manchester, England.
Wk 31: First FIFA World Cup Is Held In Uruguay audio July 1930
The final match of the first FIFA World Cup Football Championship is held in Montevideo, Uruguay
Wk 32: USA Drops Nuclear Bombs On Japan audio August 1945
The USA drops atomic bombs on two Japanese cities at the end of World War II.
Wk 33: The Panama Canal Is Opened audio August 1914
The Panama Canal is officially opened after 10 years of construction.
Wk 34: Soviet-led Forces Invade Czechoslovakia audio August 1968
Soviet-led forces invade Czechoslovakia to halt pro-democracy reforms.
Wk 35: Princess Diana Dies After A Car Crash audio August 1997
Princess Diana dies shortly after a high-speed car accident in Paris, France.
Wk 36: Allies Declare War On Nazi Germany audio September 1939
Great Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Hitler's Nazi Germany.
Wk 37: USA Suffers 4 Simultaneous Attacks audio September 2001
The world watches in shock and awe as 4 commercial airliners wreak havoc in the USA.
Wk 38: Palestinian Refugees Killed In Lebanon audio September 1982
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Palestinian refugees are killed in refugee camps in Lebanon.
Wk 39: The First Flight Around The World audio September 1924
2 US planes, The Chicago and The New Orleans, complete the first flight around the world.
Wk 40: First Satellite Launched Into Space audio October 1957
The USSR launches Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth.
Wk 41: Columbus Reaches The "New World" audio October 1492
Christopher Columbus leads the first Europeans to sail across the Atlantic.
Wk 42: Protesting Algerians Shot Dead In Paris audio October 1961
French police kill up to 400 people marching in support of Algeria's independence.
Wk 43: Communists Depose Russian Rulers audio October 1917
Communists led by Vladimir Lenin bring down the Russian government.
Wk 44: First Bra Is Patented audio November 1914
In the USA, Mary Phelps Jacob receives the world's first patent for a brassiere.
Wk 45: The Berlin Wall Falls audio November 1989
For the first time since it was built in 1961, free movement is allowed through the Berlin Wall.
Wk 46: Frenchman Flies The First Helicopter audio November 1907
French bicycle maker Paul Cornu flies his home-made helicopter for 20 seconds.
Wk 47: US President Is Shot In Texas audio November 1963
US President John F. Kennedy is killed by an assassin's bullets in Dallas, Texas.
Wk 48: Tutankhamen's Tomb Is Opened audio November 1922
The tomb of the ancient Egyptian "boy king" is opened for the first time in over 3,000 years.
Wk 49: Gas Leak Kills Thousands In India audio December 1984
A gas leak at a Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India, causes thousands of deaths.
Wk 50: Call For US Vote Recount Is Rejected audio December 2001
George W. Bush becomes US president after the Supreme Court rejects a call for a vote recount.
Wk 51: US Forces Occupy The Philippines audio December 1898
The USA claims the Philippines as a "ceded territory" and takes control using military force.
Wk 52: US Troops Kill 150 Native Americans audio December 1890
At least 150 Native American men, women and children are shot dead at Wounded Knee Creek.
Contributor: Matt Errey. Matt is the author of several books including 1000 Phrasal Verbs in Context and Common English Idioms for learners, and Matt's ESL Games and Quizzes for teachers. He is also creator of WORD UP, the world's #1 EFL board game.