On this day, June 7

Extreme smog smothers New Dehli, India. Picture: Reuters

Extreme smog smothers New Dehli, India. Picture: Reuters

Published Jun 7, 2023


1494 Spain and Portugal divide the new world up between them.

1692 An earthquake and tsunami devastate the notorious pirate haunt of Port Royal, Jamaica, where famous buccaneers like Henry Morgan and Roche Brasiliano launched raids. The once-thriving town never recovers.

1909 Queen of the silver screen, Mary Pickford, 16, makes her screen debut.

1917 Allied soldiers detonate mines beneath German trenches at Messines Ridge, with devastating results, killing 10 000 German troops. It was then the largest man-made explosion – about a half a kiloton. Londoners felt the blast 225km away

1917 Chicago businessmen found Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest service organisation, which is active in South Africa.

1924 British mountaineers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine disappear 240m from the top of Mt Everest. Their bodies are found in 1999. It is not known if they made it all the way up.

1929 The Vatican becomes a sovereign state, the world’s smallest country at just 0.44km2.

1942 Six months after Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Midway ends in a decisive American victory.

1944 Franklin D Roosevelt is re-elected President of the United States for a record fourth term, defeating Republican candidate Thomas E Dewey.

1944 A train crashes in a tunnel at Aguadilla Spain; about 500 people die.

1972 The musical Grease opens at New York’s Broadhurst Theatre for 3 388 performances. The romcom inspires a successful 1978 film.

1981 The Israeli Air Force destroys an Iraqi nuclear reactor in a daring aerial raid.

1989 Barefoot Olympic runner Zola Budd, 23, retires from international athletics.

1991 Mount Pinatubo, in the Philippines, erupts, sending up an ash column 7km high.

1993 Gifted but eccentric singer Prince, celebrating his birthday, changes his name to an unpronounceable symbol.

2017 Extreme smog in Delhi, India, leads the Indian Medical Association to declare ‘a state of medical emergency’.

2019 Song lyrics have gotten sadder with the passing of years, say researchers at the University of Exeter who studied 50 years of lyrics.