On This Day in History: January 9

What happened today in history? January 9 saw Christopher Columbus make a big mistake in identifying sea creatures, among other things.

1493: Christopher Columbus Thinks He Sees Mermaids

Christopher ColumbusIn 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue. A year later, close to Dominican Republic, he thought he saw mermaids. It turned out that they were really manatees, but Columbus made a big deal about how they were “not half as beautiful” as others had painted them. It is likely not the only time that a sailor saw a “mermaid.” Many reported sightings over the years, but most turned out to be either false reports or manatees.

1776: The Publishing of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense

On this day in history, Thomas Paine published his scathing attack on King George III of Great Britain. It was a pamphlet called Common Sense, which put forward arguments for an independent America. It played an important role in the American Revolution, despite being published anonymously originally. Despite being against British rule, he was a Briton, born in England in 1737!

1806: The Burial of Horatio Nelson

Today in history, Lord Horatio Nelson was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral. In October the year earlier he had helped to withstand a French and Spanish attack to prevent Napoleon Bonaparte from conquering Britain. Unfortunately, Nelson was injured and died soon after. A column in Trafalgar Square now stands in memory of him and his achievements.

1965: James Bond Drove the Aston Martin in a Movie

Now, most people connect James Bond to the Aston Martin. It wasn’t until this day in 1965 that the character drove one in movies. This was the day that Goldfinger premiered in theaters across the United States. Soon after, the sale of the brand of car increased considerably. The car has been seen in a number of movies since, including Skyfall with Daniel Craig.

1972: Queen Elizabeth Destroyed in a Fire

The former RMS Queen Elizabeth was destroyed in a fire on this day in history. Named after King George VI’s wife, Elizabeth, the ship had a strong history for the British. Originally a commercial ship, it served during World War II and carried the thousands of fallen soldiers back home. After it returned to commercial service, it was sold and later declared a fire hazard. Despite this, C.Y. Tung, a Hong Kong businessman, bought it with the intention of turning it into a water-based university. It was renamed Seawise University but caught fire while docked on January 8. Efforts to put out the fire were in vain and on January 9 it was completely destroyed from the blaze. There were no victims.

Famous Birthdays on January 9

Pope Gregory XV—1554

Watercolorist Cassandra Austen–1773

Winston Churchill’s mother Jennie Jerome–1854

Author Simone de Beauvoir–1908

President Richard Nixon, the first to resign—1913

Gilligan’s Island actor Bob Denver–1935

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page—1944

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (better known as Kate Middleton)—1982


Featured image from Deposit Photos

Birthdays from HistoryNet.com and OnThisDay.com

Image thought to be of Christopher Columbus from the public domain (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus#/media/File:Portrait_of_a_Man,_Said_to_be_Christopher_Columbus.jpg)

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