1902 Encyclopedia > Today in History > Gordon dies in Khartoum, the Cullinan diamond is discovered, Captain William Bligh arrested, and more

Today in History - January 16
• General Gordon Dies in Khartoum
• Cullinan Diamond Discovered
• Captain William Bligh Arrested

-- Compiled by James Finlayson-Bald

Gordon of Khartoum image

Charles George Gordon (Gordon of Khartoum)

On this date:

1108 -- St Alberic, founder of the Cistercian Order, died.

1347 -- The University of Prague was authorised by the Pope.

1500 -- Vicente Yanez Pinzon, ex-captain of Columbus's Nina, discovered the Amazon.

1531 -- Lisbon. Portugal, was struck by an earthquake and many died.

1788—Governor Arthur Philip founded Sydney, Australia, with 1030 persons.

1802 -- The American Congressional Library was founded with a librarian and a room in the Capitol.

1808 -- Captain William Bligh, Captain General and Governor of New South Wales, was deposed by a mutiny headed by Major George Johnston of the 102nd foot, and was imprisoned by the mutineers till 1810. He returned to England in 1811 and was promoted to rear-admiral. Major Johnston was tried by court martial at Chelsea Barracks in 1811, and was dismissed the service.

1852 -- Pierre de Brazza, founder of the French Congo, was born on board ship in the harbour of Rio de Janeiro.

1885 -- Khartoum fell to the Mahdists and General Gordon came a cropper. The Mahdists invested Khartoum one month after Gordon arrived but no attempt to take it was made until the relief column of General Wolsey was sighted. Gordon could have left at any time as he had river steamers, he sent four down to meet the relief party, with two notes, one saying he could hold out for months, the other, that the end was nigh. Against the orders of the Mahdi his followers killed Gordon, cut off his head and threw his body down a well. There was a deal of fuss in Britain with Mr Gladstone getting the blame while Queen Victoria muttered away in the background, but any blame that might attach belonged solely to Gordon.

1905 -- Captain Wells discovered the Cullinan diamond at the Premier Mines in Pretoria. The largest in the world, it weighed 3106 carats (over 1 1/4 lb).

1906 -- Marriot, in a Stanley Steamer, set a land-speed record of 127.659 mph.

1947 -- Prince Carl Gustaf. heir to the throne of Sweden, died in an aeroplane crash

1958 -- The Japanese ferry Nankai Maru vanished in the Inland Sea.

Today's birthdays:
-- Miss Eartha Kitt, singer (1928-2008).
-- Jules Feiffer, cartoonist-playright (1929- ).

Thought for today:
"Many Britons a hundred years ago were bursting with good health, and the remarkable thing was that they knew nothing of vitamins." -- Lord Horder

The above article was written by James Finlayson-Bald.
Edited and illustrations added by David Paul Wagner.

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