More than just dates and boring facts.
1647 The Scots agree to sell the exiled King Charles I, who had lost the English civil war, to England’s parliament for £400.
1649 King Charles I of England is beheaded. On his execution he insisted on wearing an extra shirt because he did not want his shivers of cold to be misinterpreted as those of fear.
1661 Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, is ritually executed two years after his death, on the 12th anniversary of the execution of King Charles I. Cromwell and two others are dug up at Westminster Abbey and ‘executed’ for killing Charles. Hanged in chains before being beheaded, the bodies, or what was left of them, were thrown into common graves, while their heads were placed on spikes above Westminster Hall. During a storm in 1685, Cromwell’s head reportedly fell from the spike and was thrown to the ground. It has since been through numerous hands, in various private and museum collections before being buried at Cambridge University.
1703 The 47 rōnin avenge the death of their master in Japan.
1883 The Ashes Test series comes about when the England team is presented with the ashes of a bail after playing Australia in Sydney.
1943 Adolf Hitler promotes Friedrich Paulus, commander of the 6th Army trapped in Stalingrad, to Field Marshal in the hope that he will not surrender.
1945 The Wilhelm Gustloff, full of German refugees, is torpedoed in the Baltic by a Soviet submarine, killing 9 500 people.
1948 Indian independence leader Gandhi is assassinated.
1959 The MS Hans Hedtoft, said to be the safest ship afloat and ‘unsinkable’, strikes an iceberg on her maiden voyage and sinks, with the loss of all 95 aboard. Shades of the Titanic.
1981 Twenty-four people die in Operation Beanbag – an attack by the South African army on the ANC and PAC in Maputo.
1982 Richard Skrenta writes the first PC virus code, which is 400 lines long.
2019 Scientists reveal the discovery of cavity 10km long, 1 000 feet deep beneath Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica, leading to fears that it might collapse and raise the world’s oceans by 65cm, which might not sound like a lot, but will have enormously far-reaching effects on society. The glacier, which is comparable to the size of Great Britain, is now melting faster than predicted in 2019.