Today in history, December 29

Published Dec 30, 2023


Today, back in the day

1170 Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is murdered at the altar by knights acting on orders from England’s King Henry II.

1851 The YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) opens in Boston, Massachusetts.

1852 Emma Snodgrass is arrested in Boston, US, for wearing pants.

1860 The launch of HMS Warrior, with her screw propeller, iron hull and iron armour, renders all previous warships obsolete.

1890 Members of the US 7th Cavalry massacre more than 200 native American (Sioux) men, women and children at Wounded Knee Creek, in South Dakota.

1895 Leander Starr Jameson crosses the border into Transvaal, leading 500 hand-picked policemen of the Chartered Company on their way to Johannesburg to support an expected uprising by Uitlanders.

1923 The first private broadcasting station in South Africa is put up by the South African Railways in Johannesburg.

1926 Australia’s Victoria state cricket team scores 1 107 (which includes a triple century, a double century and two centuries) to beat New South Wales by an innings and 656 runs.

1983 Codenamed ‘Felix’ by his handlers, Commodore Dieter Gerhardt, the former Officer Commanding of Simonstown naval base, and his wife, Ruth, are sentenced to life imprisonment and 10 years’ in jail respectively for spying for the Soviet Union. She is released in 1990 following a request by the Swiss government and he follows her to Switzerland 1n 1992 after Russian premier Boris Yeltsin intervened to secure his freedom. He stated upon his release that: "I did not feel like a traitor or someone who was betraying his colleagues. I was a political activist fighting the evil regime of apartheid. It was nothing personal." Gerhardt was subsequently granted amnesty in 1999 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and his rank of rear admiral was restored.

1994 A B737-400 flies into a mountain at Edremit, in east Turkey, killing 54 people.

1998 Leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologise for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed more than one million lives.

2003 The last known speaker of Akkala Sami dies, rendering the language, spoken in Russia’s remote Kola Peninsula, extinct.

2011 Samoa and Tokelau, in the Pacific, skip straight to December 31, missing out December 30 all together when the International Date Line is moved.

2013 Seven-time world Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher is seriously injured while skiing in the French Alps.

2018 The record lowest temperature ever recorded, -111ºC, is registered by American satellite Noaa-20 at the top of a large storm in the western Pacific.

2022 Social medial personality and influencer Andrew Tate is arrested in Romania on charges of sex trafficking and rape, following an exchange with Greta Thunberg over Twitter, now called X.