On this day in history, September 26

Cuban President Fidel Castro who liked the sound of his own voice. Picture: File

Cuban President Fidel Castro who liked the sound of his own voice. Picture: File

Published Sep 26, 2023


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

1396 Sultan Bajezid I beheads hundreds of crusaders.

1580 Sir Francis Drake finishes his famous global circumnavigation aboard the Golden Hind.

1905 Young theoretical physicist Albert Einstein first publishes his daring theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. Einstein later named South Africa’s General Jan Smuts at a lecture as one of only three people, other than himself, who completely understood the theory.

1918 The Meuse-Argonne Offensive begins. It will last until the surrender of German forces in World War I. The offensive involves more than 1 million American soldiers in the largest and most costly assault of the war.

1938 Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler demands the Czech government give up Sudenten Land. It is one of the events leading up to World War II.

1950 The SA Air Force’s No 2 Squadron, equipped with P-51 Mustangs, leaves Durban to help the UN in the Korean War.

1959 Typhoon Vera, the strongest to hit Japan, makes landfall, killing 4 580 people and leaving nearly 1.6 million homeless.

1960 Cuban leader Fidel Castro delivers a 4 hour and 29 minute-long speech at the UN.

1973 Concorde makes its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in a record-breaking time of 3 hours and 33 minutes.

1984 The UK and China agree to a transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong.

1992 The government and the ANC agree on a Record of Understanding, dealing with a constitutional assembly, interim government, release of political prisoners, and political violence in hostels, among other things.

1996 Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock says Swedish premier Olaf Palme was shot dead by a South African secret agent in 1986.

2002 An ocean ferry owned and operated by Senegal capsizes off Gambia. About 1 030 people perish, 64 are rescued.

2008 Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy becomes first person to fly a jet engine powered wing across the English Channel.

2017 The second-largest gem quality diamond, ‘Lesedi La Rona’, sells for a mere $53 million.

2017 Saudi Arabia says it is overturning its ban on women driving – it is the last country in the world to do so.

2019 The WHO announces that 800 000 children in the Democractic Republic of Congo will be vaccinated in nine days in worlds's largest measles epidemic that has taken over 3 500 lives.

2022 Edward Snowden, the persecuted former US intelligence contractor who exposed the illegal NSA surveillance programme is granted Russian citizenship by Vladimir Putin.

2022 The two Nord Stream pipelines, which deliver Russian gas to Europe, are sabotaged in the Baltic Sea. At first fingers are pointed at Russia, but that story begins to appear more improbable as time goes on and eventually the New York Times published a story that Intelligence suggested that a "pro-Ukrainian group“ had sabotaged the pipelines, creating an energy crisis in Europe. No mention was made about who the “pro-Ukrainian group” might be, or whether it was state-sponsored. Earlier in the year, US President Joe Biden threatened to ‘shut down’ the pipelines if Russia invaded Ukraine. Later, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published a bombshell report in which he said Biden had personally authorised a covert operation to bomb the pipelines.