ON THIS DAY: 26 February 1815


Napoleon Bonaparte, who had been exiled to the Mediterranean island of Elba, escaped. In April 1814, Napoleon had signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau, which allowed him to choose an island to rule. Elba, with its 86 square miles and a population of only 12,000 residents, was his chosen destination. It was not a prison, as … Read more

ON THIS DAY: 14 February 1929

Sir Alexander Fleming, a Scottish physician and microbiologist, discovered benzylpenicillin (penicillin G), an antibiotic originating from the mould Penicillium rubens, a species of fungus. Penicillium rubens was first discovered in 1923 by French microbiologist Philibert Melchior Joseph Ehi Biourge. However, in 1928, Fleming stumbled upon that one of his bacterial cultures, which he was experimenting with, was contaminated … Read more

ON THIS DAY: 8 February 1587

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots, cousin of Queen Elizabeth I, was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire. Mary was implicated in the Babington Plot, which involved the attempted assassination of Elizabeth. She was convicted of treason by a court of 36 noblemen, including The Lord Burghley, William Cecil; George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury; and Francis … Read more

ON THIS DAY: 30 January 1948


Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in the grounds of Birla House (renamed Gandhi Smriti) in New Delhi, India, on his way to conducting a multi-faith prayer meeting. His assassin, Nathuram Godse, a Chitpavan Brahmin from Pune in Maharashtra, was a Hindu nationalist who thought Gandhi was too accommodating in the Partition of India and Pakistan. Godse … Read more

ON THIS DAY: 14 January 1697

Salem Witch Trials

The general court of the Province of Massachusetts Bay ordered a day of public fasting and prayer for atonement because of the legal persecution of witches. Twelve of the jurors of the Court of Ayer and Terminer who investigated over 200 accusations of witchcraft signed a statement of apology for their part in the Salem … Read more

ON THIS DAY: 28 December 1908

Ruins of a church in Messina

At 5:20 am local time an earthquake lasting 30 seconds, with a magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale, devastated parts of Sicily and southern Italy. The epicentre was in the Strait of Messina, between Sicily and Calabria on the ‘toe’ of Italy’s mainland. Due to seismic activity in the area, Sicily and Calabria are … Read more