1918 — Nelson Mandela born

One of the greatest political figures of the Twentieth Century, Nelson Mandela was born in the village of Mvezo, in the Umtata district of South Africa. He was descended from a cadet branch of the ruling clan of Umtata, the Thembu dynasty, and his father served for a time as village cheif in Mvezo.

From these not exactly humble beginnings, Mandela would go on to become a prominent anti-aparthied activist who engaged in acts of violent sabotage against the ruling white regime in South Africa; to serve 27 years in prison as a result of this; and finally, to become the first Prime Minister of a racially equal South Africa when apartheid was finally dismantled. For his long life of work, and his influence in promoting peaceful change (at least, after his imprisonment he did), he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, which he shared with Frederik Willem de Klerk, the white leader with whom Mandela had successfully ended apartheid.

Referenced in:

Born fe Rebel — Steel Pulse

1984 – James Huberty goes on a shooting spree

James Oliver Huberty was a survivalist living in San Ysidro, New Mexico. A man who never felt at home in America, and felt that it was in a state of moral decay, but shared that all-too-common delusion that murder is apparently not a moral failing.

On July 18, 1984, he strode into a McDonalds three blocks away from his residence, and opened fire. He wounded 19 people, and killed 21 more, before he was finally killed himself. The massacre lasted 77 minutes. In the aftermath, McDonalds demolished the restaurant, and donated the site to the city as a memorial to the victims.

Referenced in:

McMassacre — Macabre
McMurder — Ethnic Cleansing
James Oliver Huberty — LoNNNIe
Shotgun Boogie (James Oliver Huberty) — Church of Misery

64 — Nero fiddles while Rome burns

It’s an iconic image, symbolising madness, decadence and a corrupt lust for power. But did it actually happen?

In all probability, it didn’t. For a start, the fiddle would not be invented for another thousand years – Nero played the lyre. And according to Tacitus, Nero not only wasn’t in Rome when the fire occurred, but raced back to organise the relief efforts and funded a large portion of the reconstruction of the city from his own purse. Hardly a picture of a depraved monster, is it?

The fire is believed to have started near the Circus Maximus. It burned for seven days and five nights – on the fifth day, it was nearly quelled before flaring up with renewed strength. Of the city’s 14 districts, seven were damaged and three destroyed outright.

Referenced in:

Downfall — Exodus
Procession Commence — This Is Hell
Ain’t That Just Like A Woman — Louis Jordan