30 years ago today, one of the oldest ever found in Egypt, a 4400-year-old mummy, was unearthed in a shallow pit at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. The young woman, her smile frozen in time, surprised Egyptologists because the Giza pyramids area has been looted repeatedly since antiquity and excavated by some of the greatest archeologists of the last two centuries.
The grave (likely for a princess) was still sealed when an antiquities inspector accidentally found the burial shaft. Adorning the mummy was a bronze crown covered with gold leaf and jewelry around the neck. (1989)
MORE Good News on this Date:
- Frank Sinatra made his first recording, a song called ‘Our Love’, with the Frank Mane band (1939)
- Singer-songwriter Wilson Pickett, whose best-known hits are ‘In the Midnight Hour’ (which he co-wrote), and ‘Mustang Sally’, was born (1941–2006)
- South Africa voted for political reforms to end apartheid (1992)
- The first-ever Muslim Friday prayer led by a woman (in a mixed-gender New York mosque) marked a break with 1426-year Islamic tradition (2005)
And, on this day in 1893, Lord Stanley pledged to donate a silver cup to the best Canadian hockey team, establishing the Stanley Cup. The oldest existing trophy awarded to a professional sports franchise, it is given to the National Hockey League playoff winner each year. The original was a bowl made of silver, a copy of which now adorns the top of the current Stanley Cup, a huge 35-pound piece of silver and nickel alloy 35 inches high. Unlike the trophies awarded by the other major professional sports leagues, a new Stanley Cup is not made each year—it is passed between the former and new champions.
And, on this date in 1965, Alexei Leonov became the first human to float in space, exiting his Soviet capsule, the Voskhod 2, for a 12-minute spacewalk. He almost did not make it back through the door after his suit unexpectedly inflated and stiffened, but boldly let out some of the air in his suit and forcibly squeezed back through the small entrance to safety. Welcomed back as a hero, Leonov completed man’s first spacewalk just ten weeks before the Americans. A decade later in 1975 Leonov commanded the Soyuz 19 in the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, which marked the end of the Space Race between the two nations, a symbol of détente, a policy which both governments were pursuing at the time.
He was the first to demonstrate that a flying apparatus could rise into the air by running on wheels upon an ordinary road. His monoplane is credited with a powered hop of 11 meters/36 feet. Though unsuccessful in sustained flight, the invention influenced Louis Blériot in building monoplanes. Later, Vuia also designed helicopters.
“I have never sought for glory, as I know that glory often makes a man lose himself,” said Vuia. “I do not work for my own personal glory, but for the glory of the human genius. What difference does it make, who did these things?…Really important is that they exist.”