Real people, real stories – more than just dates and boring facts
1709 The Great Frost begins during the night, a sudden cold snap during Europe’s coldest winter. Thousands die and crops fail.
1914 Sensing drastic measures are necessary if they are to keep up with production targets, Henry Ford’s Ford Motor Co hikes wages from $2.40 for a 9-hour day to $5 for an 8-hour day.
1941 Pilot Amy Johnson, 37 – the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia – disappears after bailing out over the River Thames. Her body is never recovered.
1950 In the Sverdlovsk air disaster, almost the entire national ice hockey team (VVS Moscow) of the Soviet Air Force is wiped out.
1971 The body of US world-ranked heavyweight boxer and former world champion Charles “Sonny” Liston, 36, is found; he had been dead for about 6 days. Underworld connections and his unrecorded dates of birth and death add to the mystery.
1976 In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot announces a new constitution which legalises the Communist government and renames the country as Kampuchea. During Pot’s reign, more than 1 million people die in “the killing fields” as he forced people out of the cities into the countryside to create an idyllic agrarian society. Educated and professional city people are especially targeted for murder and are almost annihilated.
2016 The first batsman to score 1 000 runs in an innings, Mumbai schoolboy Pranav Dhanawade, 15, carries his bat to 1 009. On day two of their first innings, with only 5 of 11 players having batted, Dhanawade’s KC Gandhi team declare their innings closed on 1 465/3, also a world record. The match was one-sided, with Arya Gurukul School scoring 31 runs in their first innings, followed by 52.
2020 Chinese professor Zhang Yongzhen publishes the first SARS-CoV-2 genome map online, allowing health professionals worldwide to identify Covid-19 . It was a choice he made at some personal risk, considering the political sensitivity of information surrounding the coronavirus at the time.
2022 A state of emergency is declared across Kazakhstan because of fuel price hike protests, with 164 people killed.
2023 The funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is presided over by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome.