On this day in history, August 14

It’s raining plastic! Picture: Supplied

It’s raining plastic! Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 14, 2023


Significant and interesting snippets of news with a South African angle, from this day in history

1040 King Duncan I falls in battle against his first cousin, Macbeth, who succeeds him as King of Scotland.

1281 During Kublai Khan’s second attempted invasion of Japan, his fleet of 3 500 vessels sinks in a typhoon near Japan.

1880 Cologne Cathedral is finally completed after work began in 1248 – after 632 years of on-and-off building.

1882 Deposed Zulu King Cetshwayo goes to London to ask to be restored to the throne.

1901 The first claimed powered flight – by Gustav Whitehead, three years before the Wright brothers took to the skies.

1937 Six Japanese bombers are shot down by Chinese fighters, marking the start of air-to-air combat in the Second Sino-Japanese War, and of World War II in general.

1945 V-J Day: Japan surrenders bringing to an end World War II, in which millions of people, among them 11 000 South Africans, died.

1945 Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh movement launches an uprising against French rule across Vietnam following Japan’s surrender.

1987 The pivotal 8-month-long Battle of Cuito Cuanavale starts. Fourteen Angolan and Cuban brigades under a Russian commander begin a large-scale attack on Unita in the largest engagement of the Angolan conflict and the biggest conventional battle on the continent since World War II.

1991 The chauffeur of Chief Mhlabunzima, and a witness at the inquest into the chief’s death, is killed in the Natal Midlands. Mhlabunzima was chief of the Maphumulo people, the first president of the Contralesa (Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa) and a strong supporter of the ANC, which went very much against the grain with the party’s opponents, and he paid for it with his life.

1994 Terrorist Carlos the Jackal is captured in Khartoum, Sudan, by French intelligence agents who sedate and kidnap him.

2004 Germany apologises for the massacre of 65 000 Herero in Namibia during the 1904 rebellion, but rules out compensation.

2017 Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is found to be a New Zealander.

2018 The Morandi Bridge collapses in Genoa, Italy, taking 30 vehicles with it and killing 43 people.

2019 ‘It is raining plastic,’ survey is published in the US with microplastics found to be in 90% of the rain samples taken in Colorado by the US Department of the Interior and US Geological Survey. (Particles smaller than approximately 5mm are deemed to be microplastics).

2021 A 7.2 magnitude earthquake strikes south-west Haiti near city of Les Cayes, killing at least 2 200 people, injuring many more and destroying 52 000 homes.

2021 It rains for the first time at the Greenland ice sheets’ highest point, at Summit Station research facility, above freezing conditions create some melting for 337 000 square miles of ice.

2022 A fire at the Abu Sefein Church in Giza, Egypt, causes 41 deaths.