The Star Late Edition
ON THIS DAY, MAY 17
1527 Pánfilo de Narváez leaves Spain to explore Florida with 600 men, only 4 survive.
1536 Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s marriage is annulled and she and her so-called four ‘lovers’ are set to be beheaded.
1659 The Free Burghers sign a petition asking Cape govennor Jan van Riebeeck to act against the ‘Kaapmans’ (Khoi-Khoi).
1787 The English slave ship, Sisters, en route to Cuba, capsizes killing hundreds. 1792 Two dozen merchants and brokers establish the New York Stock Exchange. In good weather they operated under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street. In bad weather inside to a coffee house.
1824 Described as ‘the greatest crime in literary history’, the diaries of Lord Byron are burnt by six of the poet’s friends in London. 1895 Cricketing great Dr WG Grace completes his 100th 100, playing for Gloucestershire against Somerset at Bristol. He goes on to score 1 000 runs in the month, the first time it had been done.
1900 After seven months, Boer forces abandon the siege of Mafeking and the first ‘Mafeking night’ takes place amid displays of public emotion across Britain, giving rise to a new phrase, ‘to Maffick’, meaning, ‘to celebrate with riotous rejoicings’.
1948 The Soviet Union recognises Israel. 1961 Fidel Castro offers to exchange the Bay of Pigs prisoners for 500 bulldozers.
1970 Thor Heyerdahl sets sail for Latin America on a papyrus boat to prove that Egyptians might have done the same 4 000 years before.
1973 Stevie Wonder releases You Are the Sunshine of My Life.
1984 Britain’s Prince Charles calls a proposed addition to London’s National Gallery, a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend”, sparking an uproar.
1987 An Iraqi fighter jet fires missiles at USS Stark, killing 37 and injuring 21 of her crew.
1988 Brigadier J Bosman tells Parliament that 65% of the soldiers serving in the operational area were “people of colour”.
2015 A gun fight between biker gangs and police in Waco, Texas, leaves 9 people dead and 18 injured. | THE HISTORIAN