On this day in history, December 20

Not bad for a day’s work, Lady Gaga.

Not bad for a day’s work, Lady Gaga.

Published Dec 20, 2023


What happened today, back in the day

1522 Suleiman the Magnificent accepts the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who settle on Malta, becoming the Knights of Malta.

1699 Czar Peter the Great changes the Russian New Year from September 1 to January 1.

1852 Sir George Cathcart, governor and commander-in-chief at the Cape, is defeated by Moshesh at Berea Mountain, in Basutoland.

1880 The Battle of Bronkhorstspruit takes place in which a British detachment is cut to pieces.

1900 Having had ceasefire offers rebuffed, Britain orders concentration camps for Boer non-combatants – 27 827 people, including 14 100 blacks, would die in them.

1914 Rebel commando leader Jopie Fourie is shot for high treason. His death was a factor in the rise of the National Party.

1915 The last Australian troops are evacuated from the disastrous attempt to Gallipoli, Turkey.

1941 The Flying Tigers, the American Volunteer Group squadron, has their first battle against Japanese invaders in Kunming, China.

1942 The Japanese air forces bombs Calcutta, India.

1951 An Idaho power station becomes the first nuclear plant to generate electricity, powering four light bulbs.

1952 Professor JLB Smith receives a cable from Captain Eric Hunt, saying that he has a coelacanth at the Comoros. So important a find is it that Prime Minister DF Malan arranges a military aircraft for Smith to go get it.

1971 The humanitarian charity, Doctors Without Borders is founded.

1987 A ferry sinks after hitting an oil tanker in the Philippines, killing about 4 000 people.

1989 The US invades Panama so they can arrest its leader, Manuel Noriega, who they want on drug-trafficking charges.

1990 The world’s first website and server go live at Cern.

1991 Archaeologists discover a fleet of 5 000-year-old, ships near the Nile.

2019 The US Space Force – an armed forces branch – is founded.

2017 Singer Lady Gaga lands a Las Vegas residency deal for $75 million – the most lucrative deal ever offered in ‘Sin City’. The deal sees the world’s biggest star earn $1m per show. | The Historian