On this day in history, July 28

An artist’s depiction of Saudi Arabia's wildly futuristic linear megacity that will host the Winter Olympics. Picture: AFP

An artist’s depiction of Saudi Arabia's wildly futuristic linear megacity that will host the Winter Olympics. Picture: AFP

Published Jul 28, 2023


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

1540 King Henry VIII of England has his chief adviser, Thomas Cromwell, executed for treason, opening the way for him to marry his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.

1586 Thomas Harriot brings the humble potato to Europe from the Americas.

1794 French Revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre and 22 leaders of “the Terror” are guillotined to thunderous cheers in Paris.

1863 The American confederate raider Alabama, of which the Cape Malays still sing, Hier Kom die Alabama – arrives in Saldanha Bay for provisions during the US Civil War.

1900 The hamburger is created by Louis Lassing in Connecticut.

1914 Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia a month after the murder on Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, beginning World War I.

1917 The Silent Parade takes place in New York City, in protest at violence against African-Americans.

1943 RAF bombing over Hamburg causes a fire storm that kills 42 600 civilians.

1945 A B-25 bomber crashes in thick fog into the Empire State Building, killing 14 people and injuring 26. Twenty-year-old survivor Betty Lou “Elevator girl” Oliver falls 75 stories after her lift’s cables snap. Miraculously she survives and goes on to have a full life.

1957 Heavy rain and a mudslide in Isahaya, Japan, kills 992 people.

1976 An earthquake flattens Tangshan in China, killing 243 000 people.

1986 Nasa releases a transcript from the doomed Challenger space shuttle in which the pilot, Michael Smith, is heard saying, “Uh-oh!” as the craft disintegrates. None of the seven astronauts survived.

1988 Winnie Mandela’s home in Soweto is destroyed by arson.

2002 Nine miners trapped for 77 hours in a flooded coal mine in Pennsylvania are rescued.

2005 The IRA ends its 30-year-long armed campaign in Northern Ireland.

2013 39 people are killed after a bus veers off a bridge in Avellino Province, Italy.

2016 The earliest evidence of cancer is found in a 1.7 million-year-old toe fossil from the Swartkrans Cave.

2020 Iter, the world’s largest nuclear fusion project, begins assembly in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France.

2022 Saudi Arabia unveils plans for a futuristic 170km-long one-building city, ‘The Line’, to house 9 million people, powered by renewable sources and without roads. The most unusual feature is the proposed year-round winter sports complex. It was because of the plan that Saudi Arabia was chosen to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games at the $500 billion futuristic megacity in the desert.