On this day in history, November 12

Auguste Rodin’s celebrated sculpture, The Thinker

Auguste Rodin’s celebrated sculpture, The Thinker

Published Nov 12, 2023


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

1840 Sculptor Auguste Rodin is born in Paris. He is best known for statues like The Thinker, the history of which proves the power of art in engaging public imagination and creating an affective rapport with audiences.

1847 Chloroform is first used as an anaesthetic.

1901 The most southern battle of the Boer War is fought at Kraalbospan, near Darling.

1912 The frozen bodies of explorer Robert Scott and his men are found in Antarctica.

1926 The first recorded aerial bombing on US soil takes place in Williamson County, Illinois, during a feud between rival liquor gangs.

1938 Top Nazi Hermann Goering says he wants Madagascar as a Jewish homeland.

1941 Temperatures around Moscow drop to -12°C as the Soviet Union launches ski troops in a bold counter-attack against the Germans.

1966 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin takes the first ‘space selfie’.

1970 Cyclone Bhola makes landfall in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) killing 500 000 people.

1974 The UN suspends SA’s membership.

1982 KGB Chief Yuri Andropov becomes leader of the Soviet Union after Leonid Brezhnev has a fatal heart attack, but renal failure kills Andropov 15 months later. His successor, Konstantin Chernenko, fares worse, lasting just 13 months. His death paves the way for the reformist Mikhail Gorbachev.

1990 The World Wide Web is proposed by CERN computer scientists Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau.

1996 Saudi Arabian Flight 763 and Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907 collide in midair over Charkhi Dadri in India, killing 349 people.

2003 With a speed of 501km/h, which makes even Japan’s bullet train look pedestrian, the Shanghai Transrapid, a magnetic levitation train (maglev), sets up a world speed record for commercial railways. In 2021 China unveils a maglev system capable of 600km/h.

2011 Colourful Italian Prime Minister, ‘Mr Bunga Bunga’ Silvio Berlusconi has his time in office cut short by the sovereign debt crisis.

2015 Out Magazine names Barack Obama ‘Ally of the Year’. Obama is the first sitting US president to pose for the cover of a gay magazine.

2018 An Israeli secret operation in Gaza kills eight including one Israeli and an Hamas Commander, igniting tensions with retaliatory rocket attacks from Gaza.

2019 Israeli forces kill a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group in the Gaza Strip, with Palestinian militants firing retaliatory rockets at Israel.

2019 The 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak – the founder of Sikhism.

2021 At least 68 inmates killed in fresh fighting at a Ecuadorian prison.