On this day, May 15

Europe’s longest bridge is opened. PIcture: Archives

Europe’s longest bridge is opened. PIcture: Archives

Published May 15, 2023


The bread and cheese rebellion; Chinese immigrants massacred; queen in court because king wants to remarry; teenage girl sets global sailing record; Miss Whiplash calls taxman a pimp of the queen

1492 Cheese & Bread rebellion: German mercenaries kill 232 residents of Alkmaar, NetherlandsCheese & Bread rebellion: German mercenaries, brought in to put down an uprising, kill 232 residents of Alkmaar, Netherlands. The rebellion had been brought about by oppression by land lords and an economic crisis.

1536 Anne Boleyn, the Queen of England, and her brother George, Lord Rochford, stand trial, accused of adultery and incest. She is condemned to death by a specially selected jury, freeing King Henry VIII to marry again because she failed to produce a male heir. Ironically, her daughter became one of England’s great monarchs: Elizabeth I.

1718 James Puckle, a London lawyer, patents the world’s first machine gun. (Why would a lawyer want one?)

1793 Spaniard Diego Marín Aguilera flies a glider for 360m, at a height of 5–6m, in one of the first manned flights.

1900 General Buller’s troops capture Dundee and Glencoe from the Boers.

1911 More than 300 Chinese immigrants are massacred when Mexican revolutionaries take the city of Torreón from the Federales.

1936 Pilot Amy Johnson lands after a record flight of 12 days, 15 hours from London to Cape Town and back.

1945 The Battle of Poljana, the final skirmish of World War II in Europe, is fought in Slovenia.

1948 Neighbouring Arab states simultaneously attack Israel, one day after the Jewish country’s independence.

1988 The Soviet Union begins withdrawing its 115 000 troops from Afghanistan.

1990 London brothel keeper Lindi St Clair, aka Miss Whiplash, loses her 15-year battle against Britain’s taxman, who was prosecuting her because it considered prostitution a trade. In response, Miss Whiplash complains that the taxmen were “nothing more than Her Majesty’s pimps”, a sentiment widely agreed with.

2010 Australian Jessica Watson, 16, becomes the youngest person to sail non-stop and unassisted around the world.

2018 Fifty-eight Palestinians are killed by Israeli forces and 1700 hospitalised on the Gaza border protesting against opening of US embassy in Jerusalem and 70-year anniversary of the founding of Israel.

2018 The 19km-long Kerch bridge (the longest in Europe), linking Russia and annexed Crimea, is opened by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

2019 Findings from China’s Chang’e-4 moon rover suggests a huge asteroid created the giant crater on the moon’s far side with an impact so great that it cracked its crust and reached the mantle below.

2022 Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is elected President of Somalia in a vote restricted to only the country's 328 members of parliament amid security concerns.