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On this day in history, September 7

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

ANC MP, former policeman and whistle-blower Gregory Rockman is greeted by Pagad members outside Cape Town’s Gatesville mosque in 1996. Picture: Obed Zilwa

Published Sep 7, 2023


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

1695 Henry Every becomes the richest pirate in history with the capture of precious metals and jewels to the tune of £600 000 (worth £91.9 million in 2021) from the treasure ship Ganj-i-Sawai, part of a treasure-laden Grand Mughal fleet of 25 ships. Every was unusual in that he was never captured, escaping the noose with his loot and presumably living to a ripe old age. But no-one knows for certain.

1776 Ezra Lee makes the world’s first submarine attack.

1812 The Battle of Borodino, involving 250 000 troops and 70 000+ casualties takes place 110km from Moscow. It is the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle was a victory for Napoleon, as the Russian army retreated and the French occupied Moscow. However, their failure to destroy the Russian army would come back to haunt them.

1909 Eugene Lefebvre is the first pilot to die in an airplane crash.

1936 Benjamin, the last Tasmanian devil, dies in Hobart Zoo.

1940 The Blitz begins with Germany bombing London and other cities for 57 nights.

1945 About 5 000 soldiers and officers from the Soviet Union, the US, the UK and France participate in a victory parade in Berlin, marking the Allied Victory over the Nazis.

1986 Desmond Tutu becomes the first black leader of the Anglican Church in South Africa.

1987 An intricate prisoner exchange takes place in Maputo, involving 133 Angolan soldiers, anti-apartheid activists, Klaas de Jonge and Pierre Andre Albertin, and Major Wynand du Toit, a recce captured in 1985.

1989 Mitchells Plain policeman Gregory Rockman condemns riot police squads as brutal and unprofessional, saying: ‘Our people have been oppressed enough. It’s time somebody speaks about police brutality.’

1991 South Africa is readmitted to world sport after 25 years at a gymnastics event.

2021 El Salvador becomes the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.

2022 The discovery of the earliest evidence of surgery from a 31 000-year-old skeleton with an amputated lower leg in a cave in East Kalimantan, Borneo is published in Nature.