July 15 in History
1606 — Rembrandt van Rijn, one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art, is born in Leyden, Dutch Republic. His “Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee” and “A Lady and Gentleman in Black” are among 13 masterpieces stolen (and still missing) from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on March 18 1990. “The Night Watch”, on display in the Rijksmuseum, measures 3.63m x 4.37m.
1815 — Napoleon Bonaparte demands asylum from the British Captain Frederick Maitland on HMS Bellerophon at Rochefort, France, after defeat to the Coalition armies at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18. He is kept in exile on the island of St Helena until his death on May 5 1821, at age 51.
1869 — Margarine is patented by French chemist Hippolye Mège-Mouriès in response to a challenge by Napoleon III to create a butter substitute from beef tallow for the armed forces and lower classes. 1932 — CJ (Cornelis Jacob) Langenhoven, author and writer of the words of “Die Stem van Suid-Afrika”, dies at his home Arbeidsgenot in Oudtshoorn.
1944 — Anne Frank, 15, hiding with her family in concealed rooms in Amsterdam, writes in her diary about the chaos, suffering and death around her.
“And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better ... In the meantime, I must hold on to my ideals. Perhaps the day will come when I’ll be able to realise them!” The family is arrested by the Gestapo in August. She and her sister Margo die of typhus in February or March 1945 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. 1946 — Linda Ronstadt, singer and actress, is born in Tucson, Arizona. Criticised by music critics and listed by the UN as supporting apartheid for playing concerts in South Africa in the early 1980s, she responds: “The last place for a boycott is in the arts.” 1960 — The first Boeing 707 arrives in South Africa, ushering in a new era in aviation in the country.
1992 — Wayde van Niekerk, 2016 Olympic gold medallist in the 400m with a world record time of 43.03 seconds (beating Michael Johnson’s 43.18 set in 1999), is born in Kraaifontein, Cape Town.
1995 — Park Sung-Hyun, 19, a sales clerk, is rescued after being buried for 16 days in the rubble of the collapsed Sampoong Department Store in Seoul.
She asks two things: a drink of water and what day it is. The largest peacetime disaster in South Korean history leaves 502 people dead and 937 injured.
1997 — Gianni Versace, 50, Italian fashion designer, is shot and killed at the entrance to his Miami Beach, Florida, home — the fifth victim (over a three-month period) of spree killer Andrew Cunanan, 27, who uses the same gun to commit suicide on a houseboat eight days later.