The Khodynka Tragedy was a deadly stampede that happened during coronation celebrations for Russia’s last emperor, Nicholas II, in 1896.
Falling on the 18th of May on the old calendar (which equates to the 30th of May on the new calendar), 1389 people were trampled or suffocated to death when panic broke out in a crowd of many thousands.
Evidence of the tragedy was cleared away before many at the event in Moscow became aware of it, and Nicholas and his wife Alexandra continued with their schedule, including attending a ball with French diplomats that evening. It was decided it was more important to have good relations with the French than to appease the people of the Russian Empire.
The minor imperial response to the disaster did no favours for the family’s public image.
On the 15th of November, 1875, nine people were killed in a head-on collision between two trains travelling between Linköping and Vikingstad in Sweden. The accident occurred just after one in the morning. Signalling confusion meant two trains were accidentally travelling towards each other on a single track.
The wreck is seen in a photograph taken a few days after the accident.
The world’s first motorsport contest took place on the 22nd of July, 1894 from Paris to Rouen, France.
First, a selection event was held in which sixty-nine cars participated. The main 127 kilometre race had twenty-five contestants.
Count Jules-Albert de Dion circa 1903
Count Jules-Albert de Dion was the first to complete the race, but as cars were also judged on other elements – such as safety – he was not declared the winner. He completed the race in 6 hours and 48 minutes, which averaged 19 kilometres an hour.
Queen Victoria, already queen at the time and yet still only twenty, married her first cousin (also twenty) on the tenth of February, 1840.
Victoria had her wedding portrait painted years after her marriage. After her obsessive relationship with her husband, he died about four decades before she did. She insisted on being buried in her wedding veil when she died at eighty-one.