What happened today back in the day
1717 English pirate Blackbeard (William Teach) ransacks the merchant sloop Margaret and keeps her captain, Henry Bostock, prisoner for 8 hours before releasing him. Bostock later provides the first record of Blackbeard’s appearance, and the source of his real name.
1766 In London, auctioneer James Christie holds his first sale.
1839 George Armstrong Custer is born in New Rumley, Ohio. He graduates at the bottom of his class from West Point, then becomes a dashing cavalry officer in the US Civil War. As a brigadier-general, he takes part in the Western expedition against the Sioux, but in June 1867, he and 200 of his soldiers are killed by the Sioux at Little Bighorn in Montana.
1901 Walt Disney is born in Chicago, Illinois. As a little boy, he liked to draw farm animals. He moved to Hollywood and in 1928 produced Steamboat Willie, starring Mickey Mouse, in the first cartoon with synchronised sound. In 1937, he released his full-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The company he founded has since grown into a global entertainment empire.
1906 The British grant self-governing rule to the Transvaal
1931 The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow is destroyed on Joseph Stalin’s orders so that a Palace of the Soviets could be built, but it wasn’t owing to World War II. Rebuilt between 1995 and 2000, and at 103m in height, it is the world’s tallest Orthodox church.
1941 Georgy Zhukov launches a massive Soviet counter-attack against the German army, driving them out of Moscow.
1945 Flight 19, the ‘Lost Squadron’ of five torpedo bombers and 14 airmen, is lost east of Florida in the Bermuda Triangle.
1952 A cold fog descends upon London, combining with air pollution and kills at least 12 000 in the weeks and months that follow.
1956 Nelson Mandela and 156 others arrested for political activities.
1983 A bomb blast shatters the Johannesburg office of the Department of Foreign Affairs. It is the 42nd attack by ANC saboteurs of the year.
2008 Human remains found in 1991 are finally identified as those of Tsar Nicholas II.
2013 Nelson Mandela dies.
2022 Construction begins on world's biggest radio telescope –the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in South Africa and Australia with collection area of nearly 500 000 square meters. It has been built to test Einstein's theories and search for extraterrestrial life.