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On this day in history, September 9

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

Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud is assassinated by suicide bombers because he was a thorn in the side of the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan. Picture: Youtube

Published Sep 10, 2023


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

9AD Six Germanic tribes annihilate three of the seemingly invincible Roman legions in the depths of the Teutoburg Forest. To the Romans and the outside world, the legions have just ‘disappeared’, leaving the emperor and senate mystified about their fate. They simply can’t comprehend that anyone could vanquish the ‘glory of Rome’.

1087 William Rufus, the third son of William the Conqueror becomes King of England, taking the title William II. He reigns until 1100 when killed in an apparent hunting ‘accident’.

1868 Born near Mkhuzi in KZN, and a lieutenant of Shaka, Mzilikazi, the founder the Matabele Kingdom dies at his capital, ko-Bulawayo (the place of slaughter).

1873 Xhosa hero Jongumsobomvu Maqoma, a commander of Xhosa forces during the Cape Frontier Wars, dies of old age and poor treatment on Robben Island.

1913 Russian pilot Pyotr Nesterov performs the first-ever aerobatic loop manoeuvre, Nesterov’s loop

1943 German bombers sink the Italian battleship Roma.

1947 The first case of a computer bug is recorded when a moth lodges in the relay of a computer at Harvard University. Ever since then it’s been common to refer to a bug in the system.

1967 First flight of a Saturn V rocket, which would take the first men to the moon.

1983 The former golden boy of tennis, Lithuanian lion Vitas Gerulaitis, one of the most charismatic figures to wield a tennis racket, bets his house – and wins – that Martina Navratilova can’t beat the 100th-ranked male tennis player. It was Gerulaitis, who lived fast and died young, who in 1979 sarcastically quipped after finally beating Jimmy Connors: ‘And let that be a lesson to you all. Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row.’

2001 Ahmad Shah Massoud, leader of the rebel Northern Alliance, is assassinated by two al-Qaeda suicide bombers using explosives hidden in a camera while pretending to interview him, on behalf of the Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers. It is a precursor of what is to come as even more stunning news will originate within days from Afghanistan.

2015 Queen Elizabeth II becomes Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.

2019 The Nigerian government says it will repatriate 600 people from South Africa after two people killed in wave of xenophobic violence in Johannesburg

2019 Australia experiences its earliest and most severe start to the fire season after fighting dozens of bush fires in Queensland and New South Wales.