Significant and interesting snippets of news, with a South African angle, from this day in history
1405 Chinese Admiral Zheng He, with an impressive fleet of junks, some of them with nine masts, sets sail on the first of seven voyages to map the world. They visit almost all of the world long before Europeans do and have an enormous effect on the civilisations outside of China, but little is made known of it in the West.
1895 The first automobile race, from Paris to Bordeaux (1 178km), takes place.
1899 Giovanni Agnelli founds Fiat, the parent company of Ferrari.
1915 The German cruiser Königsberg is scuttled in the Rufiji River, near Dar-es-Salam, after being cornered in dense mangroves by an English fleet. Durban civilian pilot Denis Cutlerd makes his seaplane available as a spotter for the naval gunners. Wilbur Smith wrote a best-selling novel, Shout at the Devil, about it.
1924 Scot Eric Liddell wins the 400m gold medal at the Paris Olympics, after refusing to run on a Sunday in the 100m heat. He dies in a Japanese civilian internment camp in 1945.
1952 SA’s Bobby Locke wins the British Golf Open – his third title in four years.
1963 Security police raid Lilliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, arresting the nucleus of the leadership of the ANC’s armed wing.
1978 A truck carrying liquid gas blows up at a Spanish camp site, killing 216 tourists.
1979 America’s first space station, Skylab, burns up over the Indian Ocean.
1984 Britain orders that air bags or seat belts become mandatory in cars.
1995 The Srebrenica massacre – the mass murder of more than 8 000 Bosnian Muslims and the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II – begins after Dutch peacekeeping forces turn away thousands of civilians from safety during the UN-led war in the former Yugoslavia.
2006 Mumbai bomb attacks kill 209 people.
2010 Spain beats the Netherlands, 1-0 in the World Cup final in Johannesburg.
2019 The last VW Beetle leaves the factory, 80 years after the iconic car was first produced.
2021 Wholesale looting, vandalism and arson spreads from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng. The police are overwhelmed by the scale and speed of events and residents man blockades, preventing outsiders from entering suburbs. Panic buying causes the restricted sale of items because it is too dangerous to resupply shops. Fuelled by inflammatory statements over former president Jacob Zuma’s arrest, the violence will cause the deaths of 354 people and billions of rand in damages by the time it ends on July 18.