What happened on this day, back in the day
1476 Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Dracula) becomes the ruler of Wallachia (Romania) for the third time through another of his bloody battles. Vlad, who had vicious methods of executing enemies, is the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. Revered and respected throughout Romania for defending his kingdom, he practised biological warfare by sending individuals infected with contagious diseases to the Ottoman armies. The survivors – 20 000 at a time – were impaled on spikes.
1860 The Belvedere arrives in Durban with 318 Indian labourers. They are the second large group to arrive to work on the sugar plantations after the locals had refused to work in the fields. The first group arrived on the SS Truro, a paddle steamer from Madras, on November 16. She and Belvedere were the first of 384 vessels – 262 from Madras and 122 from Kolkata, bringing indentured Indians to the colony in what would become a pivotal moment in the country’s history. The last ship, Umlazi 43, arrives in 1911.
1916 US President Woodrow Wilson declares, ‘the business of neutrality is over. The nature of modern war leaves no state untouched’.
1922 English archaeologist Howard Carter and his financier, Lord Carnarvon, open the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen. When they enter the first of the tomb’s four interior chambers, they are thrilled to find it virtually intact, with its treasures untouched after more than 3 000 years. Only after two months will they enter the last room – the burial chamber.
1983 In what becomes known as the ‘world’s greatest robbery’, £26 million worth of gold, diamonds and cash stolen from a vault in a warehouse at Heathrow Airport. Most of it has never been recovered.
2008 Ten co-ordinated attacks by Pakistan-based terrorists kill 164 people and injure more than 250 in Mumbai, India.
2011 Nato forces in Afghanistan kill 24 Pakistani soldiers in a friendly fire incident.
2018 Chinese scientist He Jiankui says he has made the first genetically edited baby. He and two others are later jailed for having flouted rules and medical ethics by altering genes in human embryos that were then implanted in two women.