On this day in history, September 8

The Sydney Opera House is illuminated with a portrait of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II following her death, aged 96. Picture: EPA-EFE

The Sydney Opera House is illuminated with a portrait of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II following her death, aged 96. Picture: EPA-EFE

Published Sep 8, 2023


Some of the more interesting things that happened on this day.

The statue of David. Picture: Suppied

1504 Michelangelo’s famous statue of David is unveiled in Florence.

1886 Digging for gold in the Witwatersrand is authorised, accelerating the influx of people to the area as many from around the world come to seek their fortune. The city of Johannesburg is established a month later, and after 10 years, the city had a population of over 100 000 people – a third of which are foreigners.

1886 English officer Siegfried Sassoon is born. Decorated for bravery, which was often near suicidal, he earns the nickname, ‘Mad Jack’. He goes on to become one of the leading poets of World War I with his antiwar poems.

1888 In England, the first six football league matches are played.

1916 To prove women are capable of being military dispatch riders, Augusta and Adeline van Buren arrive in Los Angeles, after a 60-day, 8 850km cross-country trip on motorcycles.

1923 In heavy fog, nine US Navy destroyers run aground on Devil’s Jaws – a particularly treacherous stretch of coast, near Santa Barbara, California. Seven of the ships are complete loses and 23 sailors die. Earlier that day, the mail ship SS Cuba ran aground nearby. Some attributed these groundings in the Santa Barbara Channel to unusual currents caused by the great Tokyo earthquake a week before.

1941 Nazi forces sever the last road to Leningrad, initiating the 872-day Siege of Leningrad – the deadliest with nearly a million people shelled and starved to death.

1966 The landmark American science fiction television series Star Trek premières.

1987 Margaret Mary Smith dies in Grahamstown. She illustrated the book, Sea Fishes of Southern Africa, one of the most comprehensive books on fishes in the world.

1994 The last allied troops leave West Berlin.

1990 Nelson Mandela warns that if the government fails to take effective steps to end the violence in the country, the only defence of the people will be to take up arms.

2018 Egypt sentences over 700 people, including 75 death sentences for the 2013 pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya square, Cairo.

2019 Brazil’s Supreme Court rules a Marvel comic depicting two men kissing can be sold after Rio de Janeiro’s mayor tried to ban it.

2019 About 1 million people attend a mass held by Pope Francis near Antananarivo, Madagascar.

2020 Moria refugee camp, Europe's biggest migrant camp, burns down on the Greek island of Lesbos, leaving 13 000 refugees without shelter.

2020 Two ex-Myanmar soldiers testify they were ordered to rape and kill Muslim Rohingya villagers. It is the public confession of army-directed crimes against Rohingya.

2022 Australian Stephanie Gilmore wins her eighth world surfing title at Lower Trestles, California, making her the most successful women's champion in history.

2022 Queen Elizabeth II, 96, dies at Balmoral Castle after ruling for 70 years, as the UK's longest-serving monarch. Her eldest son, 73, and who saw his mother being crowned, inherits the throne as King Charles III.