What happened on this day in history: Pioneering pilot Bessie Coleman is born, the Beaumont children disappear in Australia, and more.
1788: The First English Prisoners Arrive In Australia
Eleven ships carrying more than 700 prisoners arrive in Australia. Originally a penal colony, the convicts were brought to Australia by Captain Arthur Phillip, who was tasked with establishing an agricultural work camp. The colony prospered, however, and Australians consider January 25 as “Australia Day,” though indigenous Australians often call it Invasion Day.
1892: Bessie Coleman Is Born
Bessie Coleman is born in Atlanta, Texas. The first African-American woman and first Native American to hold a pilot license, Coleman had to go to France to get training, as it wasn’t offered for Black people or Native American people in the United States at the time. She made a name for herself performing dangerous flying stunts but tragically died during a practice run for an air show at the age of 34 in Florida.
1905: The World’s Largest Diamond Is Found
The world’s largest diamond is discovered at the Premier No.2 mine in Cullinan, South Africa. The 3,106-carat diamond, weighing about 1.33 pounds, was named the Cullinan Diamond after the owner of the mine. It was cut down into nine large stones and about 100 smaller ones worth millions of dollars, many of which belong to the British royal family’s crown jewels.
1924: Petrograd Is Renamed Leningrad
Petrograd is renamed Leningrad five days after the death of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin. The city hadn’t been called Petrograd for long — Peter the Great had named the city St. Petersburg in the 18th century, but the city was renamed Petrograd in 1914 to remove any connotation with Germany. In 1991, however, voters in Russia decided to change the city’s name again and resorted it to its old name, St. Petersburg.
1966: The Beaumont Children Disappear In Australia
The Beaumont children — nine-year-old Jane, seven-year-old Arnna, and, four-year-old Grant — disappear while on an outing to Glenelg Beach in Australia. The children were unsupervised but had taken the five-minute trip to the beach alone before. Despite a decades-long search and the investigation of numerous suspects, the three siblings were never seen again.