On this day, May 28

Red Square landing causes commotion; deadly cyclone; moves to end apartheid; Harambe shot; more protection for woman; and mass grave found

Thousands of fans gather at Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium to watch Real Madrid do battle with Atletico Madrid in the 2016 Uefa Champions League Final in Milan, Italy. Picture: EPA:

Published May 28, 2023


Red Square landing causes commotion; deadly cyclone; moves to end apartheid; Harambe shot; more protection for woman; and mass grave found

1431 French liberation heroine Joan of Arc is falsely accused of relapsing into heresy by donning male clothing, giving her English captors an excuse to burn their enemy at the stake.

1709 The Dutch East Indiaman Nagel catches fire and is wrecked at Saldanha Bay.

1874 The first group of Dorsland trekkers leaves Pretoria for south-west Angola. (They had to traverse vast, arid areas which lent the trek its name). Of the 3 000 who started the trip, about 300 survive.

1889 Édouard and André Michelin start the Michelin tyre company.

1900 Paul Kruger, president of the Boer Republic and one of the dominant political and military figures of 19th-century South Africa, flees Pretoria and goes to Watervalboven to evade the advancing British.

1918 The Armenian National Council declares Armenia independent from the Russian Empire.

1936 Wartime code-breaker and polymath Alan Turing submits On Computable Numbers for publication, in which he sets out the theoretical basis for modern computers.

1942 The German occupiers murder 1 800 Czech civilians as retaliation for the assassination of top Nazi Reinhard Heydrich the previous day.

1951 The hugely popular radio programme Crazy People (The Goon Show), created by Spike Milligan, premières on the BBC.

1963 A cyclone in the Bay of Bengal hits Chittagong, Bangladesh, and destroys a million houses and kills 22 000 people.

1987 Mathias Rust, an 18-year-old West German pilot, makes an unauthorised landing in Red Square, Moscow. It embarrasses the Soviet leaders and gives President Mikhail Gorbachev a reason to remove those standing in the way of his reforms of the Soviet Union.

1988 A group of reformist Afrikaners , led by Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, meets the ANC in Frankfurt, Germany, to discuss a post-apartheid South Africa.

1999 In Milan, Italy, after 22 years of restoration, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper is put back on display.

2016 Real Madrid beats cross-town rivals Atlético Madrid, 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the end of extra time; extending their record of Uefa Champions League final wins to 11.

2016 Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla at Cincinnati Zoo, is shot after dragging a 3-year-old boy, who had fallen into the primate’s enclosure, out of the water. A zookeeper who had raised the great ape since he was three weeks old, shot and killed Harambe, because it was thought that a tranquiliser dart might have made him aggressive before the sedative kicked in. The child had been standing on the railing around the enclosure when he fell. The boy’s parents sued the zoo, which counter-sued.

2018 One million French smokers quit in one year after anti-smoking measures are introduced, Public Health France says.

2020 Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declares a state of emergency in Minneapolis city and activates the National Guard after protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody.

2020 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani calls for new protections for women after the 'honour killing' of a 14-year old by her father.

2021 Discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of 215 children on the grounds of a former residential in British Columbia, Canada. The Kamloops school was established in 1890 under the leadership of the Roman Catholic church, and closed in 1978. It was part of a network of schools created to forcibly assimilate Indigenous children by removing them from their homes and communities, and forbidding them from speaking their native languages or performing cultural practices. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse were rampant within these institutions, as was forced labour. At least 150 000 children attended such schools in what a 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission described as a “cultural genocide”. Indigenous communities had long believed that residential school students were buried in unmarked graves, and proving it has been a decades-long process. ‘It matters because the story of secret residential-school mass graves is an urban legend,’ said a column in British Columbia news outlet TheTyee.ca. The TRC says that there were at least 3 200 residential school deaths, although the true total may never be known due to unaccounted deaths and destroyed files.