What happened today, back in the day
326 Built over the site of the Circus of Nero, the old St Peter’s Basilica in Rome is consecrated. It was also built over the tomb of St Peter, first bishop of Rome and chief among Jesus’ disciples.
1095 Pope Urban II appeals for a crusade to overthrow the Turks who control Palestine.
1307 According to Swiss lore, William Tell refuses to bow to a tyrant and is forced to shoot an apple off his son’s head with a bow and arrow.
1421 A seawall at the Zuiderzee dyke in the Netherlands breaks, killing 10 000 people.
1477 William Caxton prints the first book in the English language, The Dictes and Sayengis of the Phylosophers.
1497 Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama reaches the Cape of Good Hope.
1626 St Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest church, is consecrated, replacing the old St Peter’s.
1686 Charles Francois Felix operates on King Louis XIV of France’s anal fistula after practising the surgery on several peasants.
1805 30 women meet at Mrs Silas Lee’s home in Wiscasset, Maine, and establish the Female Charitable Society, the first woman’s club in America
1836 British author Sir William Gilbert is born in London. He wrote the verses for the much-loved Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas which poked fun at the British establishment.
1865 Mark Twain publishes the short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” in The New York Saturday Press
1902 A Brooklyn toymaker names the teddy bear after US President Teddy Roosevelt.
1904 Gold is discovered in Zimbabwe, 320km south of Harare.
1916 In France, General Douglas Haig calls off the first Battle of the Somme, which started on July 1. The Allies’ 200km advance cost almost a million lives.
1928 Disney character Mickey Mouse makes first appearance in the silent film, ‘Plane Crazy’.
1959 The American dramatic film ‘Ben-Hur’, arguably the best of Hollywood’s biblical epics, has its world premiere; it later wins an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards.
1992 Ten MK members die when a grenade pin is pulled during a party in Sebokeng.
1993 A watershed day for South Africa as 21 political parties approve a new constitution, expanding voting rights and ending white minority rule, in other words, Apartheid.
2015 French police raid a terrorist cell in Saint Denis, killing 2 people, including the leader of the Paris terror attacks.
2015 Two female suicide bombers blow themselves up in Kano, Nigeria, killing 15 people and injuring over 100.
2015 New Zealand rugby player Jonah Lomu dies of a heart attack at age 40 after a long battle with kidney disease.
2018 An American missionary is killed on the forbidden North Sentinel Island, in the Bay of Bengal, by one of the world’s most fiercely independent and isolated tribes.
2021 A US judge exonerates Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam for the killing of Malcolm X in 1965, saying they were "wrongly convicted", after they spent 55 years in jail.