On this day in history, December 15

Two iconic landmarks, one builder.

Two iconic landmarks, one builder.

Published Dec 15, 2023


What happened today, back the day

1488 Bartolomeu Dias returns to Portugal after rounding the Cape of Good Hope.

1832 French engineer Alexandre Eiffel is born in Dijon, France. He designed the Eiffel Tower for the 1889 Paris International Exposition and helped design the US Statue of Liberty.

1840 Napoleon Bonaparte gets a French state funeral in Paris – 19 years after his death.

1890 Lakota leader Sitting Bull – one of the leaders at the Battle of Little Big Horn, where one of America’s favourite sons, General George Custer and his 6th Cavalry were slaughtered – is killed along the Grand River in South Dakota as his warriors tried to prevent his arrest, in the Wounded Knee Massacre.

1899 The British under General Redvers Buller make a frontal attack in the Battle of Colenso to relieve Ladysmith. They lose more than 1 100 men to the Boers’ eight. This third British defeat brings ‘Black Week’ to an end.

1914 A gas explosion at Mitsubishi Hōjō coal mine, in Kyushu, Japan, kills 687 people.

1929 Swiss pilot Walter Mittelholzer is the first to fly over Mt Kilimanjaro.

1939 Gone with the Wind (the highest inflation adjusted grossing film) makes its première.

1944 Big-band leader, Glenn Miller dies when his plane crashes into the English channel.

1961 Nazi SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death in Jerusalem for his role in the Holocaust. Snatched from hiding in Argentina by Israeli secret agents, he organised the deportation of Jews to Nazi death camps. A fellow Nazi said that Eichmann once said ‘he would leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had 5 million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction’.

1970 A South Korean ferry capsizes in the Korea Strait, killing more than 300 people.

1979 Chris Haney and Scott Abbott develop the game, Trivial Pursuit.

1981 A suicide bomb in Beirut, Lebanon, kills 61  people, including Iraq’s ambassador.

1995 EU leaders announce that their new currency would be known as the euro.

2001 The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years and $27 million spent to stabilise it, but without fixing the famous lean, the reason why tourists flock to see it.

2012 18 Asylum seekers drown in the Aegean Sea on the way to Greece from Turkey

2013 China successfully lands its moon rover on the moon.

2016 White supremacist Dylann Roof is found guilty of the Charleston Church Massacre which killed 9 people.

2017 Pakistani teenager Ahed Tamimi filmed slapping Israeli officers during protest, arrested 4 days later.

2018 Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announces establishment of independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, splitting from Russian Orthodox. ‘The Chocolate King’ was president from 2014 to 2019, when he was ousted by Volodymyr Zelensky.

2019 Protests against India's new citizenship bill that excludes Muslims, erupt across major cities, killing at least five. The bill provided an accelerated pathway to Indian citizenship for persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan but not Muslims. The act was the first time that religion had been overtly used as a criterion for citizenship under Indian law, and it attracts global condemnation.

2022 Tens of thousands of nurses go on strike in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in largest strike in NHS history.