On this day in history, December 12

Idols SA season 10 winner Vincent Bones was rehabilitated in Boys’ Town.

Idols SA season 10 winner Vincent Bones was rehabilitated in Boys’ Town.

Published Dec 12, 2023


What happened today, back in the day

1098 Crusaders breach the walls of Ma’arrat al-Numan and massacre the 20 000 inhabitants. After finding themselves with insufficient food, they resort to cannibalism.

1776 On his last voyage of discovery, English explorer Captain James Cook finds a group of islands – the Prince Edward Islands, which become a part of South Africa.

1800 Washington, DC, becomes the US capital, replacing Philadelphia.

1899 Winston Churchill escapes from the Boers in Pretoria and jumps on a train going to Lourenço Marques (Maputo).

1911 Delhi replaces Calcutta as India’s capital.

1917 A French troop train derails, killing 543.

1917 Irishman Father Flanagan founds Boys Town for wayward boys in a Nebraskan farm village. Flanagan’s concept spreads to South Africa, among other places. Flanagan, who quickly became an expert on child care and juvenile delinquency, believed: “There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.”

1936 Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek declares war on Japan.

1942 German troops begin Operation Winter Storm to relieve their soldiers in Stalingrad.

1961 One of the main forces behind the Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, dubbed ‘the banality of evil’, is found guilty of war crimes.

1962 A police patrol in the former Transkei is attacked by a gang of 60 Poqo members. Seven of the attackers are shot dead and three constables are seriously injured.

1968 Arthur Ashe becomes first black to be ranked #1 in tennis.

1975 A gas stove explodes and starts a fire, killing 138 people in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

1980 Apple makes its initial public offering on the US stock market – within 28 years it becomes the first firm valued at $1 trillion.

1985 A DC-8 crashes in Newfoundland, killing 256 people, including 236 members of the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division.

1997 International terrorist Carlos the Jackal goes on trial in Paris.

1998 Three Eastern Cape farmers, looking for stolen cattle in Lesotho, are shot dead.

2016 Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte boasts that he killed suspected criminals when he was mayor of Davao City.

2018 China built 88 out of the world’s 143 skyscrapers that year, more than any country ever. (A skyscraper is a building with a height of greater than 200m.)

2019 The deepest point on land is identified under Denman Glacier, east Antarctica at 3.5km below sea level. The deepest exposed land on Earth, meanwhile, is the shore of the Dead Sea in Israel which reaches only 413m below sea level.

2018 Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev compete complex spacewalk to fix hole in Soyuz spacecraft.

2020 Chinese leader Xi Jinping says the country will reduce its carbon intensity by 65% by 2030.

2022 A “calculated and targeted execution” leaves three people shot dead, including two police officers, with the three killers also killed during a six-hour gun fight near Wieambilla, west of Brisbane, Australia.