27 June 1358

Following the Treaty of Zadar, the Republic of Dubrovnik throws off Venetian rule and comes under the protection of Louis I of Hungary.


27 June 1462

The future Louis XII of France was born in Blois. In October 1514, aged 52, he married Mary, the 18-year-old sister of Henry VIII, but died within three months.

27 June 1659

As the English Republic begins to fall apart, former Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Henry Cromwell leaves the country for good. After the Restoration of King Charles II he will be allowed to live quietly in Cambridgeshire until his death in 1674.

27 June 1743

King George II became the last reigning British monarch to lead his troops in battle as his British, Hanoverian and Austrian army defeated the French at Dettingen in south-west Germany.

27 June 1831

Death of French mathematician Sophie Germain. In 1816 she had become the first woman to win a prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences for her paper on elasticity theory.

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27 June 1880

Birth in Alabama of author, political activist and lecturer Helen Keller, the first deaf-blind person to be awarded a bachelor of arts degree.

27 June 1954 : The football pitch becomes a battlefield

Brazil and Hungary’s World Cup quarter-final descends into an all-out brawl

The Wankdorf Stadium, Berne: 27 June 1954. As the rain pours down, the thousands of spectators can barely contain their excitement. Today’s World Cup quarter-final sees Brazil’s glamour boys play Hungary, pride of the communist bloc and unbeaten for the last four years. Everybody expects a feast of football.

What followed, however, was one of the most notorious matches in sporting history, known as the Battle of Berne. The result of the game was 4-2 to Hungary, but the real story was the violence, which made headlines around the world.

The trigger seems to have been Hungary’s second-half penalty, which provoked a pitch invasion by Brazil’s coaching staff, journalists and officials. For the next half-hour the match was a glorified brawl, which saw three players – Brazil’s Nilton Santos and

Humberto Tozzi and Hungary’s József Bozsik – sent off for fighting. “Never in my life have I seen such cruel tackling, the cutting down of opponents as if with a scythe, followed by threatening attitudes and sly jabs when officialdom was engaged elsewhere,” reported The Times correspondent.


At the final whistle, the Brazilians once again invaded the pitch, and the fighting in the dressing room was so intense that Hungary’s manager needed four stitches in his face. For the referee, Arthur Ellis from Halifax, the events that day were a terrible disappointment: “I thought it was going to be the greatest game I’d ever see. I was on top of the world,” he said later. “Whether politics and religion had something to do with it I don’t know, but they behaved like animals.” | Written by Dominic Sandbrook

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