On this day in history, March 16

A Chinese rocket carrying a manned capsule blasts off on a mission to dock with the Tiangong-2 space lab. Picture: EPA

A Chinese rocket carrying a manned capsule blasts off on a mission to dock with the Tiangong-2 space lab. Picture: EPA

Published Mar 16, 2024


Today, back in the day

1190 York Pogrom: Jews seek refuge in Clifford’s Tower, which is besieged by a mob; about 150 people are massacred or commit suicide rather than submit to Christian baptism.

1244 As part of an ongoing campaign against the faith, about 210 Cathars are burned after the fall of Château de Montségur for their beliefs, which don’t fit in with Catholicism.

1521 Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reaches the Philippines, landing at Homonhon Island after crossing the Pacific.

1561 The Jesuit, Gonçalo da Silveira, first missionary in Southern Africa, is martyred.

1657 Jan Wouters is found guilty in court in the Cape for ‘blasphemous libels on Cape ladies’ and is sentenced to beg their pardon on his knees, to have his tongue ‘bored through’, to forfeit his wages, and to be banished for three years. (One wonders what he said.)

1713 A quarter of the Cape’s white population dies of smallpox, but the Khoisan fare worse.

1769 Louis-Antoine de Bougainville’s expedition completes the first French circumnavigation of the world. The first woman to circumnavigate the world is Jeanne Baré.

1830 The New York Stock Exchange records its slowest day ever with only 31 shares traded.

1867 First publication of an article by Joseph Lister outlining the discovery of antiseptic surgery, in The Lancet.

1871 Dr Hans Merensky, discoverer of tin near Pretoria, platinum near Lydenburg, diamonds at Alexander Bay, chromium at Pietersburg and phosphate at Phalaborwa, is born at Botshabelo, in the eastern Transvaal.

1872 Wanderers FC win the first FA Cup – the oldest football competition in the world – beating Royal Engineers AFC 1-0.

1900 Sir Arthur Evans rediscovers Knossos in Crete, home of the legendary Minotaur.

1917 Russian Grand Duke Michael, brother of Tsar Nicholas II, defers acceptance of the Russian throne until ratification by an elected assembly. After the Russian Revolution, he was imprisoned and murdered.

1926 Robert Goddard launches the first liquid-fuelled rocket, at Auburn, Massachusetts.

1971 One of the most influential blues musicians, Muddy Waters, wins his first Grammy Award. The Rolling Stones named themselves after his 1950 hit song, Rollin’ Stone. He won six Grammys.

1978 Former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro is kidnapped. (He is later murdered).

1988 The Kurdish town of Halabja in Iraq is attacked with a mix of poison gas and nerve agents on the orders of Saddam Hussein, killing 5 000 people and injuring about 10 000.

2012 A Turkish Nato helicopter crashes into a house, killing 10 people, in the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan.

2012 Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar becomes the first cricketer to score 100 international centuries.

2023 Houston Zoo announces their oldest resident Mr Pickles (90) is finally a father, with Mrs Pickles (53), the parents of three rare baby radiated tortoises, named Dill, Gherkin and Jalapeño.