The Independent on Saturday - - NATION -

1616 The city of Belém in Brazil (the gate­way to the Ama­zon) is founded on the Ama­zon River delta by Por­tuguese Cap­tain-Ma­jor Fran­cisco Branco.

1904 Sev­eral hun­dred mounted Herero in­vade Oka­handja in Ger­man South-West Africa, set­ting fire to build­ings and killing 123 peo­ple, mostly Ger­mans.

1907 Bri­tain grants re­spon­si­ble gov­ern­ment to its for­mer colony of Transvaal.

1913 Af­ter us­ing other pseu­do­nyms over the years, Josef Dzhugashvili signs him­self as Stalin (“man of steel”) in a let­ter to the pa­per, So­cial Demo­crat.

1915 South African forces in­vade Ger­man South-West Africa at Ra­mans­drift.

1945 Ger­man forces in Bel­gium re­treat in the Bat­tle of Bulge.

1948 Ma­hatma Gandhi be­gins his fi­nal fast.

1954 Aus­tria’s worst avalanche kills 200, and nine hours later a sec­ond kills 115. 1962 Op­er­a­tion Chop­per, the first Amer­i­can com­bat mis­sion of the Viet­nam War, be­gins.

1967 Dr James Bed­ford be­comes the first per­son to be cryo­geni­cally pre­served for fu­ture re­sus­ci­ta­tion. He is still in this state. 1970 Bi­afra ca­pit­u­lates, end­ing the Nige­rian Civil War.

1990 A seven-day pogrom breaks out against the Ar­me­nian civil­ian pop­u­la­tion of Baku, Azer­bai­jan, dur­ing which they were beaten, tor­tured and ex­pelled.

2004 The world’s largest ocean liner, RMS Queen Mary 2, makes its maiden voy­age.

2006 A stam­pede dur­ing the Hajj in Mina, Saudi Ara­bia, kills at least 362 pil­grims. 2010 An earth­quake in Haiti kills more than 100 000 peo­ple and de­stroys much of the cap­i­tal, Port-au-Prince.

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