On this day in history, December 18

Jubilant fans celebrate with Argentina captain Lionel Messi and the world cup after a dramatic World Cup final in Qatar.

Jubilant fans celebrate with Argentina captain Lionel Messi and the world cup after a dramatic World Cup final in Qatar.

Published Dec 18, 2023


On this day, back in the day

1271 Kublai Khan renames his empire ‘Yuan’, marking the start of the Yuan dynasty of Mongolia and China.

1620 The Pilgrim Fathers first land in what is today Plymouth, and begin to lay the foundation of the US.

1622 Portuguese forces score a military victory over the Kingdom of Kongo, in Angola.

1688 William of Orange makes a triumphant march into London as James II flees.

1737 Antonio Stradivari, the most renowned violin-maker in history, dies in Cremona, Italy. He made about 1 200 violins of great quality, of which half still survive. There is evidence that the quality of sound in Stradivari violins was due to chemicals used to protect them from wood-eating worms.

1898 The first land speed record (63km/h) is set in an electric car.

1899 Field-Marshal Lord Roberts is appointed British supreme commander in South Africa.

1944 Seventy-seven B-29 Superfortress and 200 other aircraft bomb Hankow, China, a Japanese supply base.

1971 Three members of the Irish Republican Army die when the bomb they were transporting explodes in County Derry.

1991 IFP leader iNkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi withdraws from negotiations on ending apartheid, saying that he will not attend the first session of Codesa, as the decision not to invite King Goodwill Zwelethini was an ‘insult’.

1995 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth asks Prince Charles and Princess Diana to divorce.

Up a tall tree for two years to make a point.

1999 After living up an ancient, 1 500 year-old redwood in Humboldt County, California, for two years, activist Julia “Butterfly” Hill sets foot on terra firma, ending her anti-logging protest after reaching an agreement with a logging company not to cut down “Luna”.

2011 The last US troops withdraw from Iraq, formally ending the Iraq War.

2012 Police arrest 17 people for ‘the Great Maple Syrup Heist’ after 3 000 tons is stolen from a storage facility in Quebec, Canada.

2017 Cyril Ramaphosa is chosen to succeed president Jacob Zuma.

2018 A meteor explodes over the Bering Sea.

2020 South Africa announces the detection of a new variant of Covid-19, called 501.V2, which is driving a second wave of infections.

2022 A new take on a much-loved fairy tale: Cinderella’s glass slipper was really a witty literary joke, by Charles Perrault, poking fun at French King Louis XIV’s love of shoes and the palace of Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors, says Scottish professor Genevieve Warwick.

2022 In the Fifa World Cup final in Qatar, Argentina beats France, 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out after the teams were locked at 3-3 after extra time. Lionel Messi – the highest scoring South American international with 102 goals – scores twice for Argentina, while Kylian Mbappé nets a hat-trick for France.