Some of the more interesting things that happened on this day.
1000 Leif Ericson, an explorer from Iceland discovers ‘Vinland’. He and his men are the first-known Europeans to reach North America, turning on its head the belief that Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus – who only discovered the outlying islands – ‘discovered’ America, some 400 years later.
1799 Laden with a fortune in silver and gold bullion, the British Navy frigate HMS Lutine founders in a storm off the West Frisian Islands in North Sea with the loss of all hands, bar one. Although most of the Lutine’s cargo, worth about £100m in today’s terms, stubbornly remains beneath the waves, some items and artefacts were recovered. One of these was the ship’s bell, which was taken to London and installed in the vast underwriting room at Lloyd’s, where it remains. The bell was struck whenever a ship was overdue – once for the vessel’s loss and twice for her recovery. Thus all brokers and underwriters would simultaneously know the fate of an insured ship and its cargo. The bell’s function and has been replaced by modern technology.
1899 The first British troops reach Durban to take part in Second Anglo-Boer War.
1940 John Lennon is born in Liverpool. He was a member of The Beatles, an influential rock group that captivated audiences around the world, and said the group was more popular than Jesus. He is killed in New York in 1980.
1941 US President Franklin Roosevelt green lights an atomic programme – leading to the Manhattan Project and the first atom bomb.
1963 The Vajont Dam disaster occurs as a landslide creates a 50-million cubic metre wave that kills 2 000 people in northern Italy.
1967 Che Guevara is shot dead on the orders of the Bolivian president. Remembered as a romantic freedom fighter, an expert in guerrilla warfare, and a thoughtful philosopher who died young for his cause, Guevara has always been the revolutionaries’ revolutionary. Considered by the West, especially the US, as the most dangerous ‘terrorist’ in the world, he was a powerful symbol of struggle against tyranny and a hero to many.
2012 For daring to speak out about the rights of girls to attend school, Malala Yousafzai is shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while on a school bus in Pakistan. Almost to the day she wins the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest person to do so.