On this day in history, September 14

Organ-transplant recipient Selena Gomez at the Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles in 2022. Picture: AFP

Organ-transplant recipient Selena Gomez at the Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles in 2022. Picture: AFP

Published Sep 14, 2023


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

1652 Jan van Riebeeck visits Robben Island for the first time. Separated from the mainland by frigid waters and strong currents, it is a natural location to isolate undesirables. The first ‘political prisoner’ there was Autshumato, who was exiled there in 1658 after trying to recover cattle confiscated by European settlers.

1812 The Great Fire of Moscow begins as Napoleon and his troops enter the city, which the retreating Russians set on fire. Napoleon found it was impossible to stay through the winter in the ruined city. He then began a retreat from Moscow which became one of the great disasters of military history. Fewer than 20 000 of the original 500 000 men with him survived the Russian campaign.

1814 The poem, Defence of Fort McHenry is written by Francis Key during the Battle of Baltimore. Francis watched the British attack overnight and at dawn saw the American flag still flying over the fort, inspiring him to write the verses, which were later coupled with the tune of a popular drinking song, and, in 1931 became the US national anthem.

1886 The typewriter ribbon is patented.

1918 The first cases of a severe strain of influenza – Spanish Flu – is diagnosed in Durban. Of the country’s 6 million South Africans, nearly half get the disease; close to 140 000 die. Globally, 25-40 million die.

1927 In Nice, France, famed ballet dancer Isadora Duncan, 50 – “the mother of modern dance”– is killed in a freak accident when her scarf gets caught in a wheel of the car she was in, breaking her neck.

1982 Former Hollywood actress Grace Kelly, 52, who became Princess Grace of Monaco, has a stroke while driving with her daughter, Stephanie, and dies when her car plunges down a mountainside. Her death takes place a few kilometres from where Isodore Duncan died 55 years before.

1984 Joe Kittinger becomes the first person to fly a gas balloon alone across the Atlantic Ocean.

1985 The 13.5km-long Penang Bridge, the longest in Malaysia, opens to traffic.

2015 Fourteen-year-old Texan Ahmed Mohamed is arrested at school when a home-made clock is wrongly assumed to be a bomb – Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and US President Barack Obama send supportive tweets

2017 Nineteen people die when a boat capsizes on Yamun River in Uttar Pradesh, India.

2017 Two Islamic State terrorist attacks in Iraq’s Dhiqar province kill at least 60 people.

2017 Actress Selena Gomez reveals that she has had a kidney transplant, because of lupus, with the new organ donated by her friend, Francia Rais.

2019 A drone attack on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq oil plant takes out half of country's oil production and 5% of the world's. Yemen Houthi rebels claim responsibility.

2020 Astronomers report possible signs of life on Venus, after detecting phosphine in planets's atmosphere by telescope.

2020 Jakarta, Indonesia’s biggest city of 10 million people, imposes widespread restrictions again, amid warnings the healthcare system is on the verge of collapse.

2022 Disgraced musician R Kelly is convicted of more sex crimes in Chicago, including producing child sexual abuse imagery

2022 With Operation London Bridge (the long-planned for funeral of Britain’s monarch) underway, the procession of Queen Elizabeth II's coffin takes place from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster to lie in state, with snaking queues of people lining up for 4km to pay their respects.