On this day in history, December 21

Gangnam Style makes history. Picture: Reuters

Gangnam Style makes history. Picture: Reuters

Published Dec 22, 2023


Today, back in the day

AD 69 The Roman Senate declares Vespasian the emperor of Rome – the last in the Year of the Four Emperors (Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian).

1846 Anaesthesia is used for the first time during an operation at London’s University College Hospital by Robert Liston, who amputates the leg of a servant.

1879 Soviet leader Josef Stalin is born, as Iosif Dzhugashvili, in the village of Gori in Georgia.

1913 The first crossword puzzle (with 32 clues) is printed in the New York World.

1933 Fox Films signs Shirley Temple aged 5, to a studio contract.

1945 Flamboyant US General George Patton dies in Germany following a car accident. Buried in Luxembourg, ‘Old Blood and Guts’ once stated during the war, ‘We shall attack and attack until we are exhausted, and then we shall attack again.’

1967 Louis Washkansky, the first person to have a human-to-human heart transplant, dies in Cape Town, 18 days after the transplant.

1979 The Lancaster House Agreement – an independence agreement for Rhodesia – is signed in London by Lord Carrington, Sir Ian Gilmour, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and SC Mundawarara.

1982 At the end of a 44-day inquest into the death in detention of the trade union leader Neil Aggett, the magistrate finds no one to blame. The verdict is greeted with astonishment and anger.

1988 Pan American Flight 103 explodes in midair when a terrorist bomb goes off, and it crashes into the town of Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 passengers and crew, along with 11 people on the ground, are killed.

1988 First flight of Antonov An-225 Mriya, the largest aircraft in the world. It will be destroyed during the 2022 Russian incursion into Ukraine. It was the only one of its type.

1989 New Zealand is the first country to set a formal inflation target (0-2%) for how much prices should rise each year. Most developed countries adopt similar targets.

1990 Cricketing brothers Steve and Mark Waugh score 464 runs for New South Wales against Western Australia.

2012 Gangnam Style, by Psy, becomes the first video to reach one billion views on YouTube.

2012 39 people are killed in violent clashes in Kenya.

2021 A major breakthrough happens in the development of nuclear fission energy when an experiment produces 59 megajoules of energy over five seconds at JET Laboratory, UK.