On this day: July 18

POSTED: 4:56 PM Jul 17 2012   UPDATED: 12:00 AM Jul 18 2014

A Nobel Peace Prize winner and astronaut are born, a gymnast reaches Olympic perfection, and an epic superhero hits summer theaters, all on this day.

OTD July 18 - Nelson Mandela
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Mike Hutchings/Reuters

1918: Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, is born in Mvezo, South Africa. Mandela served 27 years of a life sentence after being convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the state. Upon his release in 1990, he joined negotiations with President F. W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994, in which he became South Africa's first black president. The winner of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, he declined to seek re-election and instead became an elder statesman and focused on charitable efforts. He died at age 95 on Dec. 5, 2013.

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