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Today in History – September 10

King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga died aged 88. As absolute ruler of the South Pacific island nation for 41 years, he was the world’s fourth longest-serving monarch. He became king in 1965 on the death of his mother, Queen Salote, and began modernizing the archipelago’s education system and infrastructure. In the 1970s he was renowned as the world’s heaviest monarch at over 200kg (440-lb), but in the 1990s he headed a national keep fit campaign and shed a third of his weight

Montenegro, which had voted in May to break away from Serbia, so dismantling the last vestige of former Yugoslavia, held its first general election as a fully independent state

Switzerland joined the United Nations, breaking with its traditional policy of neutrality after the Swiss voted in a referendum to join the international organization

The first attempt to raise London’s Millennium Wheel, the largest of its kind in the world, on the south bank of the River Thames ended ignominiously when cables hoisting the 400-foot structure upright snapped

Pablo Picasso’s monumental painting, Guernica, commemorating the Nazi bombing of the city in the Spanish Civil War, was sent to Madrid. Picasso had vowed it would not enter Spain until after democracy was restored

Canada declared war on Germany at the outset of World War II

The world’s first motorway opened in Berlin, Germany. The 19 km long experimental highway featured two eight-meter wide lanes separated by a nine-meter central section

The Treaty of Saint-Germain was signed by the victorious Allied powers and Austria, by which parts of pre-war German Austria were ceded to Italy and Czechoslovakia; Austria was forbidden to unite with Germany

The Treaty of Nystad was signed in Finland between Sweden and Russia which ended the Great Northern War (1700-21). Sweden was forced to cede Livonia, Estonia and Ingria, part of Karelia

King Leonidas of Sparta and 1,000 Greeks were beaten by the Persians after three days’ of stiff resistance at the Battle of Thermopylae

North Korea conducted its fifth and largest nuclear test to date, drawing sharp international condemnation. The blast was larger than the Hiroshima atom bomb of World War II

Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-serving monarch in British history, overtaking the record of her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years and 216 days from 1837 to 1901. Elizabeth came to the throne on February 6, 1952, and remains the second longest-ruling living monarch, behind only King Bhumibol of Thailand, who has reigned since 1946

The Crown Prince of Brunei, Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah, married 17-year-old student Sarah Salleh in an opulent ceremony in Bandar Seri Bagwan. The bride was the daughter of a distant relative of the Brunei royal family and a Swiss mother, who reportedly initially opposed the marriage but relented after the royal family promised to allow Sarah to complete her education

The U.S. and Cuban governments reached an agreement on stopping the exodus of Cubans to the United States

Israel and its arch foe, the Palestine Liberation Organisation, agreed to recognize each other, an important step on the road to ending the century-old conflict between Arabs and Jews

The Soviet Central Asian republic of Tajikistan declared independence from Moscow

An Israeli teenager showed detectives how he had hacked into U.S. Pentagon computers to find out how the top-secret Patriot anti-missiles worked

Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China, died. Chairman Mao proclaimed the People’s Republic in Beijing in 1949, and initiated many of the policies that transformed modern China

After the withdrawal of Soviet forces from North Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was proclaimed with Pyongyang as its capital and Kim Il-Sung as supreme leader

British novelist James Hilton, who wrote “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” and “Lost Horizon”, was born. In the latter he coined the word Shangri-La, meaning a paradise on Earth

Distinguished British scientist Sir John Herschel took the first photograph using a glass plate. Herschel also coined the word “photography”

The so-called “September Laws” were introduced in France, suppressing the radical movement and censoring the press

The United States was born when the Continental Congress changed the name of the new nation from the United Colonies

King William I of England, known as William the Conqueror, died. William, then Duke of Normandy, launched the Norman Conquest with his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. As king, William instigated the Domesday book, the first exhaustive survey of England

Genetic analysis revealed that the giraffe genus, previously thought to contain one extant species, actually consisted of four, that had not exchanged genetic information between each other for 1-2 million years

Twitter, launched in 2006, announced that it had over 100 million active users. As of January 2018 that number had grown to more than 330 million active users per month, with 500 million tweets sent daily

Israel lifted its air and sea blockades of Lebanon

Donations to the memorial fund set up in memory of Princess Diana were pouring in at over £160,000 a day

Major players in the Yugoslav crisis agreed on principles for peace in Bosnia, taking a significant step towards ending Europe’s worst conflict since World War Two

The last Allied soldiers pulled out of Berlin

The last American, British and French troops left Berlin after occupying the once-divided city for nearly 50 years

The first series of Star Trek premiered on NBC, to mixed reviews. It would become one of the most successful shows in history

The South East Asia Defense Treaty was signed in Manila by representatives of eight nations including New Zealand, the U.S. and the Philippines. The treaty provided for collective response should any signatory be attacked

Treaty of Peace was signed in San Francisco with Japan and representatives of 49 other nations. The treaty came into force in April 1952 when Japanese sovereignty was again recognized

General Eisenhower announced the unconditional surrender of Italy during World War Two

Richard Drew, an engineer for the 3M company, developed the world’s first transparent adhesive tape, known as Scotch tape or sellotape. Drew also invented the first masking tape in 1925

Americans under General Winfield Scott defeated the Mexicans at the Battle of Molino del Rey in the Mexican War

Spaniard Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles founded the first Catholic settlement in America at St Augustine, Florida

King Richard I of England, known as Richard Coeur de Lion (the Lion Heart) born. He became king in 1189 but spent many years out of the country after taking the vow of the crusader and traveling to the Holy Land with Philip II of France, conquering Cyprus on the way

Jerusalem surrendered to the troops of Roman emperor Titus’s army following a six-month siege

The most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in a century struck off the southern coast, near Chiapas state, killing 98 people and injuring more than 300

Drivers in Samoa switched from driving on the right side of the road to the left, despite predictions of chaos. The aim of the new law was to bring the South Pacific island into line with nearby Australia and New Zealand

Ukrainian archaeologists claimed they had found underground pyramids near Luhansk that predated the pyramids at Gaza

The American flag was lowered for the last time over U.S. army headquarters in Berlin, formally ending the U.S. presence in the once-divided city after nearly 50 years

Six former Soviet republics, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Tajikistan, signed a framework agreement to keep the Russian rouble as their common currency

In Pittsburgh, a 35-year-old man who had received a transplant of a baboon liver in June died of a stroke

Bishop Desmond Tutu became the first black head of South Africa’s Anglican congregation when he was enthroned as Archbishop of Cape Town

Taiwan broke off diplomatic relations with Laos, a few hours after Laos had established diplomatic relations with China and North Vietnam

Sir Anthony Quayle born. British actor of stage and screen in films from 1948. Best known for his appearances in “Ice Cold in Alex”, “Lawrence of Arabia” and, as Cardinal Wolsey, in “Anne of a Thousand Days”

China’s Boxer Rising, which attempted to drive all foreigners out of the country, ended with the signing of the Peking Protocol. This imposed an indemnity to be paid to the great powers for Boxer crimes

Brazil proclaimed independence from Portugal; Pedro I was declared the first Emperor of Brazil in December of the same year

Napoleon’s forces defeated the Russian army under General Kutuzov at the battle of Borodino 70 miles west of Moscow. Napoleon entered Moscow a week later

The first submarine to be used in warfare, the American Turtle, made an unsuccessful attempt to attach a mine to British warship HMS Eagle

The War of the Spanish Succession ended with the signing of the Treaty of Baden between France and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. Charles ceded Alsace and Strasbourg to France and in return gained Breisach, Kehl and Freiburg

French troops under the Duke of Orleans besieging Turin were defeated by Austrian forces led by Prince Eugene. The French army was destroyed and efforts to capture northern Italy were abandoned

Queen Elizabeth I of England was born. The daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn, she reigned from 1558-1603, and presided over a period of English dominance in politics, the arts and exploration worldwide

Quentin Bryce was sworn in as the 25th and first female Governor-General of Australia, the representative in Australia of the monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II

The Middle East peace process got back on track as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and new Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak signed an agreement in which the Palestinians promised not to declare unilateral independence and Israel agreed not to permit more settlements in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. A deadline of September 2000 was set for a final peace accord

Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who devoted her life to helping the poor and disadvantaged and was revered by many as a modern-day saint, died in Calcutta at the age of 87

Queen Elizabeth II paid tribute to her late daughter-in-law, Princess Diana, in a television address after a week in which the royals had been sharply criticized for their perceived lack of response to her death

France conducted an underground nuclear test on Mururoa Atoll, provoking worldwide condemnation. Riots by anti-nuclear and independence protesters continued in Tahiti for two days

Ferrari announced that its Formula One division would design and manufacture cars in Britain

After seven decades of certainty, the Soviet Union destroyed its old power structures and virtually abolished the constitution

The 10.5-mile (17km) St Gotthard road tunnel in Switzerland was opened at a cost of 690 million Swiss francs. It was begun in late 1969 and until 2000 was the longest in the world. It has since been overtaken by Norway’s Laerdal Tunnel (15.2 miles / 24.5km) and China’s Zhongnanshan Tunnel (11.2 miles / 18km)

President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the neutrality of the United States as World War II broke out in Europe

The Russo-Japanese War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, mediated by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. Under the treaty Russia ceded Port Arthur to Japan but Japan received no war indemnity

U.S. outlaw Jesse James, responsible for many notorious bank and train robberies, was born. He was shot dead in 1882 by Robert Ford, one of his own gang

Louis XIV, the Sun King, was born. King of France from 1643-1715, the longest reign in European history, he built the Palace of Versailles and presided over an age of great French literature, art and music

Hong Kong’s legislative elections saw the highest voter turnout in the territory’s history. A new wave of pro-independence activists won seats in a “strong signal” to Beijing that the spirit of the 2014 protests lived on

Ethiopia celebrated the unveiling of the reassembled Obelisk of Axum, one of its greatest treasures. The obelisk, at least 1,700 years old, was looted by Italian troops in the 1930s and returned to Ethiopia in 2005

The opposition Jamaica Labour Party, led by Bruce Golding, won power in Jamaica’s general election, ending an 18-year reign by the ruling People’s National Party. The result meant a quick end to the tenure of Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s first woman prime minister

A Eurostar train set a new record of two hours, three minutes and 39 seconds for rail travel between Paris and London, on the inaugural journey from Gare du Nord to St Pancras International

A burial cave dating back to the 1st century BC was discovered beneath a high school in Tel Aviv, Israel

The UN World Summit on Sustainable Development concluded with a pledge to halve the number of the world’s population lacking safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. The summit, which was highly critical of the Bush administration, also pledged to increase use of renewable energy sources, minimize adverse effects of chemicals, replenish global fish stocks, and protect endangered species

Declaring “united Jerusalem is ours”, Israel launched a 15-month celebration of the 3,000th anniversary of King David’s proclamation of the city as the capital of the Jewish people

The Fourth World Conference on Women, the biggest UN gathering in history, began in China’s Great Hall of the People with a UN declaration that sexual equality was the last great project of the 20th century

Indian widow Roop Kanwar committed sati (suttee), the act of burning herself to death on her husband’s funeral pyre, at Deorala village in Rajasthan. The death led to the Prevention of Sati Act 1987 in India

Egypt and Israel signed an agreement in Geneva providing for Israeli withdrawal from Sinai and establishment of a new UN buffer zone

East Germany and the United States established formal diplomatic relations for the first time

Laos accused North Vietnam of aggression and requested a U.N. emergency force

Egypt and Syria signed an agreement establishing economic union between their two countries

Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands from 1890 and throughout World Wars One and Two abdicated in favor of her daughter Juliana

British and Canadian troops liberated the Belgian cities of Brussels and Antwerp during World War Two

Apache Indian chief Geronimo, leader of the last great Native American rebellion, finally surrendered to General Nelson Miles at Skeleton Canyon in Arizona

In France, the Second Empire was ended and Napoleon III was deposed after his surrender two days earlier in the Franco-Prussian war

Spanish settlers founded Los Angeles, giving it the somewhat unwieldy name of El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles (The Town of Our Lady The Queen of The Angels). Fortunately this was later abbreviated

Work began on the expansion of the Panama Canal in the first stage of a $5.25 billion project to double the capacity of the 93-year-old waterway. The expansion of the canal, which handles 40 percent of shipping between Asia and the U.S. east coast, was due to be completed in 2014

Europe’s first lunar probe, SMART-1, successfully crash-landed onto the moon, ending its 16-month mission. It was a spectacular end for the robotic craft, which was used to test innovative and miniaturized space technologies, and also produced detailed maps of the Moon’s chemical make-up to help refine theories about its birth

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was unanimously re-elected for another five-year term, accompanied by orchestrated expressions of euphoria in Pyongyang

The U.S. and Israel walked out of the UN conference on racism in South Africa following the unwillingness of many delegates to compromise on language in a draft resolution which equated Zionism with racism and denounced Israeli policy towards the Palestinians

The controversial Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet finally began full-scale production, built by a four-nation Eurofighter consortium comprising Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain

Russia and China formally ended decades of confrontation at a summit meeting in Moscow at which they agreed to cease aiming nuclear missiles at each other

Cambodia’s government agreed that the country should become a constitutional monarchy, with Norodom Sihanouk returning to the throne

The biggest hoard of Roman coins and gold and silver artifacts ever found in Britain was declared to be treasure trove, entitling Suffolk metal detector Eric Lawes to its full-market value, valued at £1.75 million

A new South African constitution came into effect, setting up a three-chamber, racially divided parliament for white, Indian and colored (mixed race) people

Motorists in Sweden switched to driving on the right-hand side of the road rather than the left

Eduard Benes, Czech prime minister from 1921-22 and president from 1935-38 and 1946-48, died; he also headed the Czech government-in-exile during the war

Allied forces invaded Italy; the British Eighth Army invaded Italy from Sicily

Great Britain and France declared war on Germany two days after its invasion of Poland. The liner Athenia became the first British ship to be sunk in World War II, when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat on the first day of the war

The French Constitution was passed by the National Assembly, making France a constitutional monarchy

The Treaty of Paris, ending the American War of Independence, was signed by Britain and the United States

The expulsion of Jesuits began in Portugal following a conspiracy of 1758

The coronation of King Richard I of England, popularly known as Richard the Lionheart, took place at Westminster Abbey in London

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was removed from office by the Senate on charges that she violated the nation’s budget laws. Vice President Michael Temer was sworn in as president

Reports emerged from Libya that Colonel Gaddafi’s daughter, believed killed in a U.S. airstrike in 1986, was living in Tripoli and working as a surgeon, until her father’s overthrow when she vanished from the city

French road cyclist Laurent Fignon, winner of the Tour de France in 1983 and 1984, died from lung cancer, aged 50. He just missed winning a third Tour by eight seconds, the closest margin in the race’s history, in 1989. He also won the Giro d’Italia in 1989, having been the runner-up in 1984, and the classic Milan-San Remo race in 1988 and 1989

The United Kingdom Meteorological Office confirmed that the 2007 British summer was the wettest since rainfall records began in 1914. Britain had 358.5mm of rain, just beating the 1956 record of 358.4mm, due primarily to the unusually southerly position of the jet stream, a band of strong winds high in the atmosphere

Norwegian police announced they had recovered the Edvard Munch paintings The Scream and Madonna, which had been stolen from an Oslo museum in 2004

Over 960 people were killed in a stampede of Shia pilgrims on a bridge over the River Tigris in Baghdad, Iraq. The disaster was triggered when panic spread over rumours of suicide bombers as around a million Shias marched to the Kadhimiya mosque for a religious festival. Many victims, mostly women, children or the elderly, were crushed or drowned when railings on the bridge gave way and they plunged 30 feet into the river

Sir Joseph Rotblat, one of the scientists recruited to build the atomic bombs which ended World War II, died at age 96. Born in Poland, Rotblat was marooned in Britain in 1939 when his homeland was invaded by the Nazis and said he became involved in the development of the atomic bomb because he was afraid Hitler might use it first. After the war he campaigned actively against nuclear weapons, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995

The United Nations staged its first World Conference against Racism in South Africa, in a bid to address the “growing complexity of racial discrimination and ethnic violence”

Diana, Princess of Wales, her friend Dodi Fayed and their driver were killed in a high-speed car crash in Paris while being pursued by paparazzi photographers

China voted to disband Hong Kong’s legislature and other elected institutions on resuming sovereignty in 1997

East and West Germany signed a treaty to harmonize their legal and political systems after merging on October 3

U.S. boxer Rocky Marciano was killed in an air crash in Iowa. He remains the only undefeated world heavyweight champion, winning all 49 of his professional bouts

Trinidad and Tobago became an independent nation within the Commonwealth

Malaya became the last of Britain’s major Asian colonies to gain independence, as 170 years of colonial rule came to an end. The newly-independent Malaysia became a member of the British Commonwealth

The first model of a solar-powered car, a 15-inch Sunmobile built using 12 selenium photoelectric cells, was demonstrated to the public in Chicago

The first ever news program was broadcast by the radio station 8MK in Detroit, Michigan. The station had opened its service on August 20

The Anglo-Russian Convention was signed in St Petersburg, settling differences between the two over Persia, Afghanistan and Tibet

Coca-Cola first went on sale in Britain

The body of Mary Ann Nichols, first victim of the notorious British murderer ‘Jack the Ripper‘, was found in Whitechapel in the East End of London

U.S. inventor Thomas Edison received a patent for his Kinetoscope, a device which produced moving pictures

German scientist Herman von Helmholtz, inventor of the opthalmoscope, was born. The instrument is used to examine the inside of the eye, including the retina and the optic nerve.

Roman emperor Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus, notorious for his brutality, was born in Lanuvium, Italy. His character was portrayed by actor Joaquin Phoenix in the Ridley Scott-directed movie Gladiator

Caligula (Gaius Caesar), Emperor of Rome, notorious for his brutality and his debauched lifestyle, was born. He succeeded Tiberius in 37AD and squandered his treasury. He was assassinated at the Palatine Games

The new Queensferry Crossing was opened in Scotland. The 2.7km structure over the Firth of Forth is the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world

The ancient temple of Bel in Palmyra was destroyed by so-called Islamic State militants, one week after they also blew up the temple of Baalshamin

Veteran British broadcaster Sir David Frost died at the age of 74 after suffering a heart attack. His career spanned TV presenting, comedy writing and journalism, most notably his revealing interviews with former U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1977

Italy pledged $5 billion over 25 years to Libya in compensation for the occupation of the country in the 30 years before World War II

Hollywood stalwart Charles Bronson died from pneumonia at age 81. A star of films like The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape and The Dirty Dozen, his tough guy persona was given full rein in the Death Wish series

Over 300 million Europeans saw their new currency for the first time when euro notes and coins were officially unveiled

East Timor held its first democratic elections since throwing off 23 years of Indonesian rule in 1999. The primary function of the newly-elected assembly was to draft the constitution to take the impoverished half-island territory to full independence

An Isle of Wight stamp collector who paid £1 for an album at a car boot sale revealed he had sold two of the stamps, dated 1847, to a private collector for £95,000

Azerbaijan declared independence from the Soviet Union

Kenya officially banned the hunting of elephants and the trade in ivory, although poaching remains widespread in many areas. The ban was extended in 1977 to include all animal hunting without a permit

Hong Kong was liberated when the British navy under Rear-Admiral Cecil Harcourt sailed into Victoria harbor to accept the Japanese surrender

Jawaharlal Nehru founded the Independence of India League to work towards freedom from British rule

Turkey declared war on Romania

Scotsman Hubert Cecil Booth patented the vacuum cleaner

Clement Ader patented the first stereophonic sound system in Germany

New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford, the first man to split the atom, was born

Melbourne, the capital of the Australian state of Victoria and the second most populous city in Australia, was founded

Mary Shelley, English novelist best known as the author of Frankenstein, was born. She was the wife of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley


North Korea fired a Hwasong-12 missile over Japan in a move Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called an “unprecedented” threat. The rocket flew nearly 2,000 miles over Hokkaido island before crashing into the sea



Thousands of people were evacuated as the Mount Sinabung volcano in Sumatra, Indonesia, erupted for the first time in 400 years



Kenyan athlete David Rudisha broke the world 800m record for the second time in a week. His time of 1:41.01, set in Rieti, Italy, bettered the 1:41.09 he ran at a meet in Berlin on Aug 22. The previous record, held by Kenyan-born Danish runner Wilson Kipketer, had stood since 1997



A baiji, or Yangtze River dolphin, a species declared functionally extinct earlier the same month, was spotted in Anhui, China. The decline of the freshwater mammal was attributed to human activity



Michael Schumacher won a record seventh Formula One Drivers’ championship. It was also his fifth consecutive title, beating the 47-year-old record held by Juan Manuel Fangio, who won four successive titles from 1954-57



South Korean company Samsung said it had developed a computer chip with enough memory to hold the equivalent of 2,000 newspaper pages



The Sunday Trading Act came into force in Britain; shoppers spent millions of pounds on the first day



Peruvian president Juan Velasco Alvarado was overthrown in a coup by Francisco Morales Bermudez



The Beatles played their last live concert to a 25,000-strong crowd at Candlestick Park, California



Jordanian prime minister Hazza El-Majali and 10 others were assassinated in an explosion set off by a time-bomb



Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser became the first woman to retain the Olympic 100 metres freestyle title



Troubled superstar Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop”, was born in Gary, Indiana. He died from an accidental overdose of sleeping drugs in June 2009, shortly before a series of planned comeback concerts in London



The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, though the news did not emerge until September 22, when Britain, Canada, and the U.S. announced they had detected it



U.S. scientists announced the discovery of plutonium fission suitable for the generation of nuclear power



Albert Lebrun, 14th president of France from 1932-40, was born. The last president of the Third Republic, he was forced to surrender his powers in 1940 during World War Two to Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain



Britain and China signed the Treaty of Nanking, ending the first Opium War and ceding the island of Hong Kong to Britain



British scientist Michael Faraday successfully demonstrated the first electrical transformer



Portugal formally recognized the independence of Brazil. Independence is celebrated on September 7 each year



The Truce of Picquigny was signed, under which Edward IV of England agreed to withdraw his invading army from France in return for gold and a yearly pension



In the Hundred Years war a Spanish fleet under La Carda was defeated by the English at the battle of Winchelsea after they entered the English Channel to support the French


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