Some of the more interesting things that happened on this day.
1091 A tornado strikes the heart of London, causing untold death and destruction.
1662 King Charles II of England sells Dunkirk to France for £40 000.
1814 The London Beer Flood occurs when a 7m-high wooden vat of fermenting porter (a dark style of beer) bursts, destroying another vessel and the brick rear wall of Meux & Co’s Horse Shoe Brewery. The 4.5m-high wave swept into the surrounding streets, where it destroyed two houses and killed 8 people.
1849 One of music’s earliest superstars, Polish composor Frédéric Chopin, regarded as one of history’s finest composers and pianists, dies. Plagued by illness throughout his short life, fellow composer Hector Berlioz put it in a nutshell, saying of Chopin: ‘He was dying all his life’.
1851 A report in the Durban Observer notes that at a meeting of citizens in the Durban Government School Hall a motion is called for the introduction of indentured labour (the very first Indians, who numbered four), were brought to Natal in 1849).
1887 The Star newspaper’s birthday. It appears for the first time in Johannesburg as The Eastern Star after beginning life in Grahamstown under that title on January 6, 1871. It was moved to the Witwatersrand 16 years later by its owners, brothers Thomas and George Sheffield. In 1889, the name Eastern Star was changed to the one currently in use.
1907 Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi begins the first commercial transatlantic wireless service.
1933 World renowned scientist Albert Einstein flees Nazi Germany because of the persecution of Jews. (Einstein was observant for a time but never had a bar mitzvah.)
1943 The Burma railway is completed, which includes the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai, built by Allied slave labour.
1983 SADF commandos bomb the ANC office in Maputo, Mozambique, and injure 5 people. This was one of many cross border raids by the SADF in the 1980s.
1989 A magnitude 6.9 earthquake shakes central California, killing 63 people.
1998 A petrol pipeline explodes in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, killing about 1 200 villagers, some of whom are scavenging the petrol.
2008 Iran’s attempt to create the world’s largest sandwich (1 500m) fails when crowds eat it before it can be measured.
2008 Sachin Tendulkar becomes the highest run-scorer ever in Test cricket, beating Brian Lara’s record and passing 12 000 runs while batting against Australia in Mohali, India.
2012 American cycling superstar Lance Armstrong, who really set the world alight with his performances in the Tour de France, loses a host of endorsements in the wake of his doping scandal.
2015 Star forward Cristiano Ronaldo becomes Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer across all competitions, overtaking club legend Raul with his 324th goal in a 3-0 win over Levante.
2020 Chicago is declared the 'rattiest city' in America for the sixth year in a row by pest control service Orkin.
2022 Shehan Karunatilka is the second Sri Lankan author to win the Booker Prize for his novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida.