On this day in history, December 14

US president George W Bush ducks as a thrown shoe narrowly misses him.

US president George W Bush ducks as a thrown shoe narrowly misses him.

Published Dec 14, 2023


Today, back in the day

1287 The Zuiderzee sea wall in the Netherlands collapses, killing 50 000 people.

1503 French physician Nostradamus is born in St Remy. He writes astrological predictions, which many still believe to be true.

1542 Princess Mary Stuart, aged 6 days, becomes Queen of Scots.

1702 The Forty-seven Ronin avenge the death of their master in the Akō vendetta.

1782 The Montgolfier bros. fly an unmanned hot air balloon in France for nearly 2km.

1896 James Doolittle is born in Alameda, California. April 1942 he leads a squadron of B-25 bombers launched from an aircraft carrier to carry out an audacious raid against Japan.

1900 Physicist Max Planck presents a theory, giving rise to quantum physics.

1901 Reports reach London of many deaths in the concentration camps that the British army had set up in South Africa.

1911 Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian team becomes the first to reach the South Pole.

1914 Rebel commando leader Jopie Fourie is captured. A member of the failed Maritz Rebellion against the government’s policies, his execution by firing squad. A divisive event in white politics, to many Afrikaners Fourie was a martyr and his court-martial and execution caused massive outrage and was a potent factor in the rise of the National Party.

1995 The Dayton Agreement is signed in Paris ending the bloody Yugoslav conflict.

1999 Flash floods kill thousands in Venezuela.

2004 France opens the world’s tallest bridge.

2008 US President George W Bush is almost struck by shoes during an event in Baghdad.

2017 The Vatican announces the rediscovery of lost-last paintings of Raphael, painted 1520.

2017 A British surgeon admits branding his initials on the livers of patients.

2019 Miss World is won by Miss Jamaica, Toni-Ann Singh, in London. It is the first time that all five major beauty titles are held by black women. One of them, South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi is crowned Miss Universe, for which she wins $250 000, a monthly salary, and the use of the opulent Miss Universe apartment in Manhattan, New York, for 365 days. In addition, the title opens up some of the best opportunities in the world of fashion and showbiz.

2021 A fuel tanker explosion after an accident leaves at least 90 people dead in city of Cap-Haitien in Haiti.