Today in History
1769 – Captain James Cook and astronomer Charles Green observe the transit of Mercury at Mercury Bay, on Coromandel Peninsula.
1799 – Napoleon Bonaparte seizes power in France, making himself one of three consuls. 1918 – Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, right, abdicates and a republic is declared. Two days later, Germany signs an armistice ending World War I.
1920 – New Zealand introduces the Immigration Restriction Amendment Act to allow officials to prevent entry of Indians and other non-white British subjects.
1938 – Nazis launch Kristallnacht, a campaign of terror against Jewish people, homes and businesses. About 100 Jews were killed and an estimated 30,000 arrested.
1952 – Police and British troops arrest more than 400 Kikuyu tribesmen and women in an effort to apprehend Mau Mau cult members in Kenya.
1987 – Bomb explodes during rush hour in crowded neighbourhood of Colombo, Sri Lanka, with at least 32 people killed and 105 wounded.
1989 – Stunned East German border guards watch as jubilant Germans dance on the Berlin Wall. Thousands cross the border on one memorable night.
2011 – Italy’s president promises emphatically that Silvio Berlusconi will step down soon as premier and lavishes honours on a leading economist, who instantly became Berlusconi’s presumed successor.
Jean Monnet, French president of European Coal and Steel Community, the precursor of the EU (1888-1979); Hedy Lamarr, Austrian-born US actess and inventor (1914-2000); Colin Gray, NZ WWII fighter pilot (1914-95); Carl Sagan, US astronomer (1934-96); Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazilian World Cup-winning football coach (1948-); Parekura Horomia, NZ politician (1950-2013); Lou Ferrigno, US bodybuilder and actor (1951-); Delta Goodrem, Australian singer (1984-).