On this day in history, July 2

Significant and interesting snippets of news, with a South African angle, from this day in history

Hajj pilgrims visit Hiraa cave at Jabal Al-Noor mountain in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Picture: EPA-EFE

Published Jul 2, 2023


Significant and interesting snippets of news, with a South African angle, from this day in history

1505 After being caught in a violent thunderstorm, Martin Luther, a seminal figure in the coming Protestant Reformation, declares that he will become a monk.

1698 Thomas Savery patents the first steam engine.

1839 The slave ship the Amistad (which ironically means “Friendship” in Spanish) leaves Havana under the cover of nightfall to avoid British antislavery patrols. Before dawn her cargo of men, women and children break or pick the locks on their chains, climb up to the main deck, head for the sadistic cook and bludgeon him to death in his sleep. After overpowering the rest of their captors they rely on two of them to steer a course back to Sierra Leone, unaware of the ordeal that lies ahead.

1901 Outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid rob a train of $40 000 at Wagner, in the US state of Montana.

1937 Pioneering pilot Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan are last heard from over the Pacific Ocean.

1960 Wimbledon women’s tennis final: Defending champion Maria Bueno of Brazil beats South Africa’s Sandra Reynolds 8-6, 6-0.

1961 Nobel Prize-winning author, adventurer, war correspondent, bullfighter, drinker and all-round macho man, Ernest Hemmingway commits suicide at his home in Idaho, shooting himself with a shotgun. His father, grandfather, brother, sister, and granddaughter all killed themselves. He is best known for The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Old Man and The Sea.

1962 The first Walmart store opens in Rogers, Arkansas. The global firm, through its subsidiary Massmart, owns Game, Makro, Builders Warehouse and CBW in South Africa.

1990 About 1 400 Muslim pilgrims die in a stampede in a tunnel at Mecca.

2002 Steve Fossett becomes the first to fly solo, nonstop, around the world in a balloon.

2010 A tank truck explosion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo kills at least 230 people.

2016 A suicide bombing in Baghdad kills 341.

2018 British specialist divers discover 12 boys and their football coach alive deep underground in a cave in Thailand, where they had been trapped for nine days by monsoon flooding.

2022 Earliest evidence for the use of opium from 14th century BC found in burials at Tel Yehud, in ancient Canaan (now Israel).