A coal mine explosion, the birth of Nancy Witcher Langhorne, and the first Briton in space: 5 things that happened On This Day 19 May

What happened on this day in history? We round up five famous events, births, battles and deaths...

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19 May

1928: 195 men were killed when an accumulation of firedamp (gas that consists chiefly of methane) exploded in a coal mine in Mather, Pennsylvania.

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1879: Nancy Witcher Langhorne was born. In 1919, as Viscountess Astor, she became the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons.

1312: Piers Gaveston, the favourite of King Edward II, surrendered to a group of barons at Scarborough. Despite their promises to guarantee his safety, Gaveston was taken to Warwick, condemned to death and executed near Kenilworth.

1991: Helen Sharman, a 27-year-old former chemist for the Mars confectioners, became the first Briton in space, visiting the Soviet Mir space station aboard Soyuz TM-12. She was chosen from among 13,000 applicants after answering a radio announcement.

1643: A French army under the 21-year-old Duc d’Enghien defeated a Spanish army under Fransisco de Melo at the battle of Rocroi in north-eastern France. It was one of the few defeats suffered by a Spanish army in a hundred years.

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Compiled by Julian Humphrys – You can follow Julian on Twitter @GeneralJules