What happened on this day, back in the day
602 Western Roman Emperor Maurice is forced to watch his six sons being executed before he is beheaded. This sparks a 26-year war with Sassanid Persia which leaves both empires vullnerable to a Muslim invasion.
1493 Christopher Columbus returns to La Navidad colony, on the north-east coast of Haiti, to find it destroyed by the first native American uprising against Spanish rule. Taíno cacique Caonabo led his people to attack the settlement after the brutal treatment they received from the garrison who disobeyed Columbus's orders.
1701 Anders Celsius is born in Sweden. He goes on to invent the commonly used centigrade temperature scale.
1798 An eloquent speaker and writer later in life, Andries Pretorius, the Voortrekker leader after whom Pretoria is named, is born near Graaff-Reniet. Highly regarded by both the British and Black leaders, when Pretorius died in the Magaliesberg in July 1853 many of them visited him to pay their respects.
1820 Renowned SA Painter Thomas Baines is born in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England.
1853 Wild West lawman Bat Masterson is born in Henryville, Quebec. He was also a gambler, saloonkeeper, and later became a news writer in New York.
1895 In Paris, Alfred Nobel signs his last will and testament, setting aside his estate to establish the Nobel Prize. He did so after reading a premature obituary which condemned him for arms sales profiteering.
1942 The French navy scuttles its fleet in Toulon to keep them out of Nazi hands.
1960 Patrice Lumumba flees Leopoldville, Congo.
1967 French President Charles de Gaulle says ‘Non!’ to British entry to the European Common Market for the second time.
1971 The Soviet Union’s Mars 2 orbiter malfunctions and crashes, but is the first man-made object to reach Mars’ surface.
1987 A man in Omerset, England, makes headlines for all the wrong reasons when it becomes known that he has survived, or rather botched, 7 suicide attempts.
1989 A Boeing 727 explodes in mid-air over Colombia, killing 110 people. Pablo Escobar’s Medellín drug cartel claims responsibility.
2005 The first partial human face transplant takes place for Isabelle Dinoire in Amiens, France.
2015 The "holy grail" of shipwrecks, the San Jose, which sank in 1708 after her powder magazines exploded during battle with a British naval squadron, is found by the Colombian navy. The ship, its wreck is off the Caribbean coast coast of Colombia, had been laden with gold, silver and emeralds worth the equivalent of $17 billion as of 2023.
2017 A North Korean ghost ship washes up On a Japanese beach with 8 skeletons on board – it is the fourth boat to wash up in a month.
2020 Iran’s most senior nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh assassinated outside Tehran, escalating tensions in the region