11 AUGUST IN HISTORY
1786: Captain Francis Light establishes the British colony of Penang in Malaysia.
1917: Grocott’s Mail reports the outcome of the British Board of Trade enquiry into the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi: that the captain of the cargo ship Darro was at fault, “having travelled at a dangerously high speed in thick fog, and of having failed to ensure that his ship emitted the necessary fog sound signals”. His licence is suspended for a year. 617 Southern Africans and 30 members of the ship’s crew are killed when the Mendi sinks.
1921: Alex Haley, the author of Roots: the Saga of an American Family, is born in Ithaca, New York, US.
1942: Actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil receive the patent for a “frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system” – technology that later leads to wireless internet.
1960: The Republic of Chad declares independence from France.
1965: Embeth Davidtz, Hollywood actress and Rhodes University alumnus, is born in Lafayette, Indiana, US.
1972: Max Theiler, South African-born virologist, dies. Theiler received the 1951 Nobel Prize in Medicine for developing the yellow-fever vaccine.
11 August is Independence Day in Chad, in Flag Day in Pakistan, and Mountain Day in Japan.
- Today in History is compiled by Kylie van Zyl, Archivist, Rhodes University Archives Project. Grocott’s Mail readers can look forward to this feature in coming editions.