On this day, May 6

A high-speed Eurostar train leaves the Channel tunnel near Calais, France. Picture: Reuters

A high-speed Eurostar train leaves the Channel tunnel near Calais, France. Picture: Reuters

Published May 6, 2023


Skinny models banned from catwalks; Channel Tunnel opens; Roger Bannister breaks the unthinkable; South Africa gets German colony; and killer knows victim he killed with icepick is ‘waiting on the other side’ for him.

1527 Mutinous troops of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V attack Rome. Pope Clement VII escapes only because of the Stand of the Swiss Guard. Often cited as the end of the Italian Renaissance, the Sack of Rome had lasting ripple effects on world culture and politics.

1682 France’s Sun King, Louis XIV, moves his court to Versailles, 20km south-west of Paris.

1837 John Deere creates the first steel plough, allowing for easier farming.

1877 In the US, Chief Crazy Horse surrenders.

1889 The Eiffel Tower is opened to the public at the Universal Exposition in Paris, with the tower serving as the expo’s entrance arch.

1906 British troops kill 60 Zulus near Durban.

1919 The Paris Peace Conference disposes of German colonies. Britain and France get German East Africa; South Africa gets German South West Africa.

1937 The Hindenburg, a Zeppelin, catches fire and is destroyed while docking in New Jersey, in the US. Thirty-six people are killed.

1940 John Steinbeck wins the Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath.

1945 The Prague Offensive, the last major battle of the Eastern Front, begins.

1954 Roger Bannister becomes the first to run the mile in under four minutes.

1959 Icelandic gunboats open fire on British fishing vessels during the Cod Wars.

1960 Ramón Mercader is released after serving a 20-year sentence for burying an icepick in the skull of Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Mercader’s last words were: “I hear it always. I hear the scream. I know he’s waiting for me on the other side.”

1974 The all-conquering British and Irish Lions rugby team leaves London to begin a 22-match tour of South Africa and Rhodesia.

1994 Queen Elizabeth and French President François Mitterrand open the Channel Tunnel.

2001 During a trip to Syria, Pope John Paul II becomes the first pope to enter a mosque.

2017 France bans “too-thin” fashion models and makes the labelling of digitally enhanced photos mandatory.

2020 Global confirmed cases of Covid-19 reach 3.65 million, US cases pass 70 000 while the UK becomes the most affected in Europe with 29 427 known deaths.