On this day in history, September 12

A man in a suit and tie stands next to a board that reads: It is not unusual to own a slave in many parts of the world.

Moctar Teyeb, an escaped slave from Mauritania, addresses a news conference in Boston, US. Modern day slavery is on the rise. Picture: File

Published Sep 12, 2023


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

490BC Traditional date for the Battle of Marathon, where the Greek army inflicted a crushing defeat on the more numerous Persians. The messenger Pheidippides ran 42.2km to Athens in intense heat to tell of the victory. Exhausted, he exclaimed ‘Nike!’ – or Victory! – and promptly dropped dead from exhaustion. That’s where the name Nike and also the name of the marathon come from.)

1755 Venetian adventurer Giacomo Casanova, famous for his promiscuity, is sentenced to 5 years in jail for offending religion and common decency.

1857 The SS Central America sinks off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with about 15 tons of gold from the California Gold Rush.

1933 Leó Szilárd, waiting in his car for a red light, figures out the nuclear chain reaction.

1943 Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is rescued from a remote mountaintop hotel by German commandos in a daring raid.

1977 Civil rights leader Steve Biko, 30, is beaten to death while in police custody.

1989 Advocate Anton Lubowski, 37, a Swapo activist, is assassinated outside his Windhoek home by the notorious CCB (South Africa’s Civil Co-operation Bureau).

1995 In an incident recalling the most violent excesses of the Cold War, Belarusian combat aircraft shoot down a balloon that flew over the border from Poland while competing in a race. The two American crewmen are killed.

2005 The bodies of more than 40 patients are found in a flooded hospital in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in August.

2012 Excavators announce that they may have found the remains of King Richard III of England under a car park in Leicester.

2015 12 tourists mistaken for militants are killed by Egyptian forces in the Western Desert.

2017 A monster fatburg, 250m long – the length of two football pitches, and weighing 130 tons – is found in London sewers. The stinky job of removing the solid mass of putrid waste, composed of fat and household disposables such as nappies and wet wipes, takes three weeks.

2018 The oldest known human drawing – 73 000 years old – is discovered in Blombos Cave, east of Cape Town.

2021 World’s largest container ship, the Ever Ace, 400m-long and carrying 240 00 containers, arrives in Felixstowe, UK, on its maiden voyage.

2022 Modern slavery (forced labour and forced marriages) has increased by 10 million to 50 million people in the past five years according to the UN's International Labour Organization.