On this day in history, December 8

Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi. Picture: Supplied

Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 8, 2023


What happened today, back in the day

877 Louis the Stammerer (son of Charles the Bald) is crowned king of the West Frankish Kingdom.

1485 Bartholomew Dias anchors for a few days at the present day Walvis Bay, and calls it Golfo de Santa Maria da Conceiçao. He was probably the first European to reach the bay.

1504 Ahmad ibn Abi Jum’ah pens his Oran fatwa, arguing for the relaxation of Islamic law requirements for the forcibly converted Muslims in Spain.

1895 At the Battle at Amba Alag, Ethiopian emperor Menelik II routs Italian forces.

1906 Britain threatens to intervene in the Congo because of atrocities.

1914 General Christiaan Beyers, one of the leaders of the rebellious Boers, drowns.

1915 John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields, appears anonymously in Punch magazine.

1941 US President Franklin Roosevelt delivers his “Day of Infamy” speech to the US Congress a day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and both the US and Britain declare war on Japan. For Britain it is a relief because the industrial might of America will now fight alongside it.

1941 Japanese forces invade Shanghai, Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies. The attack happens at the same time as the assault on Pearl Harbor, but is recorded as a day later because they happened on the other side of the International Date Line.

1963 A Boeing 707 is struck by lightning and crashes in Maryland, killing 81 people.

1966 The Greek ship SS Heraklion sinks in a storm in the Aegean Sea, killing over 200.

1980 Beatle John Lennon is assassinated.

1991 The Soviet Union is dissolved.

1998 The petrified skeleton of a 3.5 million-year-old hominid is found in the Sterkfontein Caves in what is regarded as the biggest archaeological discovery of the century.

2006 Reports surface of ebola killing 5 000 gorillas in north-western Republic of Congo.

2010 Elon Musk’s SpaceX is the first company to launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.

2019 South African-born Swiss Mike Horn and fellow polar explorer Børge Ousland complete an epic 1 800km journey on drifting ice in darkness in the Arctic.

South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi is crowned by her predecessor, Catriona Gray of the Philippines. Picture: Reuters

2019 South African Zozibini Tunzi crowned Miss Universe in Atlanta, US.

2022 Canadian singer Celine Dion reveals via Instagram that she has been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS), a rare neurological disorder.

2022 Iran announces first known execution of a protester from recent anti-government unrest, after convicting a man in a revolutionary court of moharebeh (enmity against God).