On this day in history, December 27

People hold candles against the backdrop of a picture of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. Picture: AFP

People hold candles against the backdrop of a picture of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. Picture: AFP

Published Dec 27, 2023


Today, back in the day

1831 Charles Darwin embarks on his journey aboard HMS Beagle, during which he will begin to formulate his ground-breaking theory of evolution.

1836 The worst avalanche in England occurs at Lewes, in Sussex, killing eight people.

1838 A Voortrekker commando is ambushed by a Zulu impi in the Battle of the White Umfolozi. Pioneer settler Alexander Biggar is one of those killed in the running fight.

1899 Harry Escombe (61), the former premier of Natal and after whom a suburb in Durban is named, dies in Durban.

1918 The Great Poland Uprising, which will significantly effect the Treaty of Versailles that ends World War I, begins against the Germans.

1922 Japan builds the world’s first purpose-built aircraft carrier.

1929 Soviet leader Joseph Stalin orders ‘Dekulakisation’, the liquidation of the Kulaks – wealthy independent farmers – to facilitate farmland expropriations . About 5 million died.

1932 South Africa abandons the Gold Standard, sparking a period of economic expansion.

1934 The Shah of Persia, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, changes Persia’s name to Iran.

1937 Popular actress Mae West performs her racy Adam & Eve skit, which gets her banned from NBC radio.

1939 An earthquake in Turkey kills 32 700.

1945 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are created.

1960 France detonates its third atomic device in the Sahara desert.

1966 The largest cave shaft in the world, the Cave of Swallows, is discovered in Mexico.

1979 After invading Afghanistan two days earlier, Soviet forces pull off a coup in Kabul by killing President Hafizullah Amin.

1983 Pope John Paul II pardons Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who tried to assassinate him.

1985 Palestinian guerrillas kill 18 people inside the airports of Rome, and Vienna.

2002 Truck bombs kill 72 people and wound 200 in Grozny, Chechnya.

2007 Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in Rawalpindi.

2012 Nasa unveils plans to capture a 500 ton asteroid in 2025.

2016 Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) dies of a heart attack, aged 60.

2017 Raheem Sterling scores to give Manchester City a 1-0 win over Newcastle United at St James' Park; thereby setting EPL record 18th consecutive win. City’s winning streak ends with 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on the last day of the year.