On this day in history, December 19

The world commits to saving our biodiversity

The world commits to saving our biodiversity

Published Dec 19, 2023


Today’s happenings, back in the day

1783 William Pitt the Younger becomes the youngest British Prime Minister at age 24.

1900 British General and Secretary of War Horatio Kitchener offers protection to all Boers who surrender and asks the Dutch community of Pretoria to convey this offer. Leaders in the field refuse to surrender.

1941 Limpet mines heavily damage the British battleships HMS Valiant and HMS Queen Elizabeth in Egypt’s Alexandria harbour.

1941 Adolf Hitler takes complete command of the German Army.

1942 Robert Stroud, aka the Birdman of Alcatraz, is transferred to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. A convicted murderer, author and respected ornithologist, he is said to have been ‘possibly the best-known example of self-improvement and rehabilitation’.

1942 War hero general Dan Pienaar is killed when his aircraft crashes into Lake Victoria at Kisumu while returning to South Africa. The suburbs Danville (in Pretoria) and Dan Pienaar (in Bloemfontein) are named after him.

1946 War breaks out in French Indochina, after Ho Chi Minh, having already seen off the Japanese with help from the US, attacks the French, who want to reclaim their colony. A 30-year conflict begins and sees the French ousted, and eventually the US, and it ends with a Communist political victory.

1983 The original Fifa World Cup trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, is stolen, for the second time, from the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Never recovered, it is widely believed to have been melted down and sold.

1998 US President Bill Clinton is impeached, becoming the country’s second president (after Andrew Johnson) to be impeached. They were both acquitted by the Senate, like Donald Trump in 2020.

2009 Former Welsh and Lions captain Gareth Thomas is the first international rugby player to reveal that he is gay.

2016 48 people die after drinking bath lotion in Irkutsk, Siberia, thinking it contains alcohol.

2018 Drones flying over Gatwick airport in London, England, cause delays and cancellations for 800 flights and 110 000 people.

2022 Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte formally apologies for the slave trade on behalf of the Dutch state during a speech at the national archives in The Hague.

2022 190 countries agree to protect 30% of the world's land and oceans by 2030 and other measures to halt declining global biodiversity at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada.