On this day in history, March 9

Don’t pucker up – it could be fatal, and in more ways than one.

Don’t pucker up – it could be fatal, and in more ways than one.

Published Mar 9, 2024


Events that ripple through time

1562 Kissing in public – an act punishable by death – is banned in Naples, italy, but the law does little to prevent the spread of the plague, which claims many European lives.

1776 Adam Smith’s influential economics book, The Wealth of Nations, is published.

1816 Five of the Slachter’s Nek rebels are hanged at Van Aardtspos. Four of the nooses break and although the condemned men and public beg for mercy, the sentence is carried out using one rope. It is regarded as the beginning of Afrikaner struggle against British colonial rule.

1831 The French Foreign Legion is founded.

1839 The Prussian government limits the work week for children to 51 hours.

1841 The US Supreme Court rules that the captive Africans who seized control of the Spanish schooner Amistad, had been taken into slavery illegally.

1893 Congo cannibals kill thousands of Arabs during an uprising.

1916 Mexican general Pancho Villa invades the US, attacking a town in New Mexico.

1922 Martial law is declared in the Transvaal in response to the Rand Rebellion by armed white miners who forcibly took over Benoni and Brakpan, and the Johannesburg suburbs of Fordsburg and Jeppe. The revolt started because mining companies, in an effort to counter the rising costs and a decline in the price of gold, started replacing well-paid white workers with a cheaper black labour force. The government, headed by Prime Minister Jan Smuts, responded with the full force of the armed forces: infantry, artillery and bomber aircraft. The rebellion was quickly crushed, resulting in the deaths of over 200 people, injuries to more than 1 000 and 4 748 arrests. Smuts was widely criticized for his severe handling of the revolt. He lost support and was defeated in the 1924 general election, which gave Hertzog's Nationalist Party and the Labour Party, supported by white urban workers, the opportunity to form a pact. The white miners were forced to accept the mine owners' terms unconditionally, and gold production again increased because of the use of a higher proportion of African labour, lower wages for whites, and new labour-saving devices which had come into operation.

1945 The first night bombing raid on Tokyo inflicts damage comparable to that inflicted on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the atomic bombs five months later.

1953 A rusty 1.4kg shell, dating from 1901, explodes in a Johannesburg playground, injuring more than 30 children and a teacher. It was found on a koppie near the school by one of the pupils, who brought it to school.

1959 Loved, even today, by millions of children around the world, the Barbie doll makes its debut.

1965 £100 000 worth of gold that went missing from the Cape Town Castle, is found hidden on the ship while berthed in Durban.

It was normal for Union Castle line ships to carry bullion from gold fields in the Transvaal to Southampton, from where it would be taken to the Bank of England. The loss was discovered when the ship was unloaded in Southampton, but for months no trace could be found of the gold.

The ship was searched many times before she sailed as usual for Cape Town two weeks later. The police had no clues or suspects. Scotland Yard decided that it was an inside job and that the people responsible must have left the bullion untouched and hidden on board. A strict watch was maintained over the next number of months, probably by undercover officers on the crew and they were eventually rewarded when the thieves did make their move. An attempt was made to sell a few bars in Durban. The rest of the gold was discovered concreted into the base of a sand-filled container on deck near the stern and was ultimately recovered and returned to the bank. Two seamen were sentenced each later to 10 years in jail.

1974 Japanese soldier Hiroo Onoda surrenders after continuing fighting from the jungle and mountains in the Philippines, 29 years after the end of World War II. Under orders to surrender under no circumstances, he continued his resistance there, preying on the local islanders to survive. It was only when his commanding officer came to Lubang and officially relieved him of duty that he gave up. He returned to Japan with a warm welcome where he was seen as exemplifying samurai spirit.

1998 Mozambican police arrest Robert McBride on charges of gunrunning.

2006 Liquid water is discovered on the moon of Saturn.

2020 Italy says it is locking down the country due to a spike in Covid-19 cases with 10 040 cases and 630 deaths.