4 September 1948

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands abdicates for health reasons.

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, full name Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria, reigned as the queen of the Netherlands for nearly six decades, from 1890 to 1948. She was born on August 31, 1880, in The Hague, Netherlands, and was the only child of King William III and his second wife, Queen Emma.

Ascension to the Throne: Queen Wilhelmina became queen at a young age. Her father, King William III, died in 1890 when she was just 10 years old. As a result, she ascended to the throne, and her mother, Queen Emma, served as regent until Wilhelmina came of age.

Longest-Reigning Dutch Monarch: Queen Wilhelmina’s reign spanned over 57 years, making her the longest-reigning Dutch monarch in history.

Marriage and Family: In 1901, Queen Wilhelmina married Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who became Prince Henry of the Netherlands. The couple had one child, a daughter named Princess Juliana, who would later become Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.

World War I: During World War I, Queen Wilhelmina’s leadership and strong-willed character helped maintain Dutch neutrality, despite the country being surrounded by warring nations. Her ability to navigate this difficult period earned her respect and admiration.

World War II: Queen Wilhelmina played a crucial role in rallying the Dutch people during World War II, when the Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany. She fled to London and continued to lead the Dutch government-in-exile, broadcasting radio messages to boost Dutch morale and resistance efforts.

Post-War Years: After World War II, Queen Wilhelmina returned to the Netherlands and played a role in the reconstruction and recovery of her country.

Abdication: In 1948, due to her health and the strain of her long reign, Queen Wilhelmina abdicated in favor of her daughter, Princess Juliana. She was succeeded by her daughter, who became Queen Juliana.

Later Life: After her abdication, Queen Wilhelmina lived in retirement in the Netherlands. She wrote her memoirs and remained involved in charitable and philanthropic activities.

Death: Queen Wilhelmina passed away on November 28, 1962, in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, at the age of 82.

16 July 1948

The storming of the cockpit of the Miss Macao passenger seaplane, operated by a subsidiary of the Cathay Pacific Airways, marks the first aircraft hijacking of a commercial plane.

The Miss Macao was a Catalina flying boat operated by the Cathay Pacific Airways. It was on a regular flight from Macau to Hong Kong with 26 people on board, including crew members and passengers.

During the flight, three armed men, later identified as Wong Yu, Ko Yuen-kan, and Chan Chiu, hijacked the plane. They demanded a ransom of HK$500,000 (Hong Kong dollars) and threatened to destroy the aircraft and harm the passengers if their demands were not met.

The hijackers diverted the Miss Macao to an isolated area in the Pearl River Delta, near Guangzhou (Canton), China. There, they waited for a response from the authorities. Negotiations ensued between the hijackers and the Hong Kong authorities, with Cathay Pacific’s director, Roy Farrell, acting as an intermediary.

The situation took a dramatic turn when the hijackers decided to detonate explosives on board the aircraft as a warning. They detonated a small charge that damaged the aircraft’s fuselage but did not cause it to sink or become fully disabled.

Eventually, the hijackers agreed to release all the passengers in exchange for the ransom money. The money was delivered, but the hijackers only allowed 23 of the 26 hostages to disembark. The remaining three hostages were released later.

The hijackers, however, did not manage to escape the authorities. They were arrested by the Chinese authorities in Guangzhou. The three men were later extradited to Hong Kong, where they faced trial and were subsequently executed for their crimes.

The hijacking of the Miss Macao passenger seaplane was a significant event in aviation history, drawing international attention to the issue of airline security. It highlighted the need for improved security measures and procedures to prevent such incidents in the future.

24 September 1948

The Honda Motor Company is founded.

Soichiro Honda established Honda Motor Co., Ltd., on September 24, 1948, in Itaya-cho, Hamamatsu, with capital of 1 million yen. In October of the following year, Takeo Fujisawa, who became Soichiro Honda’s lifetime partner came aboard as managing director.

The two aimed to build the company into the world’s top motorcycle maker. That goal was realized through the sale of the Super Cub C100 in August 1958, their participation in the Isle of Man TT Race in June 1959, and the opening of Suzuka Factory in April 1960.

The twelve years during which they pursued their dream of becoming number one worldwide was an era of confusion and turmoil for both Honda Motor and the rest of the world. Let’s listen to the words of the people who along with Soichiro and Fujisawa lived their lives to the fullest amid the turbulence of that period, striving toward their dreams with creativity and a burning passion for success. The stories that illustrate the times reveal the “Hondaisms” that Honda and Fujisawa passed on to them.

24 September 1948

The Honda Motor Company is founded.


On this day, motorcycle builder Soichiro Honda incorporates the Honda Motor Company in Hamamatsu, Japan. In the 1960s, the company achieved worldwide fame for its motorcycles in the 1970s, it achieved worldwide fame for its affordable, fuel-efficient cars. Today, in large part because of its continued emphasis on affordability, efficiency and eco-friendliness the company is doing better than most.

Before he founded the company that bore his name, Soichiro Honda was a drifter and a dreamer. He bounced from one mechanic’s job to another, and also worked as a babysitter, a race car driver and an amateur distiller. Even his wife said he was a “wizard at hardly working.” In 1946, he took over an old factory that lay mostly in ruins from wartime bombings, though he did not have much of a plan for what he would do there. First he tried building what he called a “rotary weaving machine”; next he tried to mass-produce frosted glass windows, then woven bamboo roof panels. Finally, after he came across a cache of surplus two-stroke motors, he had an idea: motorbikes.

Honda adapted the motors to run on turpentine and affixed them to flimsy cycle frames built by workers at the Hamamatsu factory. The bikes sold like hotcakes to people desperate for a way to get around in postwar Japan, where there was virtually no gasoline and no real public transit. Soon enough, Honda had sold out of those old engines and was making his own. In 1947, the factory produced its first complete motorbike, the one-half horsepower A-Type. After the company’s incorporation, Honda produced a more sophisticated bike: the 1949 steel-framed, front- and rear-suspended D-Type that could go as fast as 50 miles per hour. At the end of the 1950s, it introduced the Cub, a Vespa clone that was especially popular with women and was the first Honda product to be sold in the United States.

Starting in the 1960s, the company produced a few small cars and sporty racers, but it wasn’t until it introduced the Civic in 1973 that it really entered the auto market. The car’s CVCC engine burned less fuel and could pass American emissions tests without a catalytic converter; as a result, the car was a hit with American drivers frustrated by rising gasoline costs. The slightly larger, plusher 1976 Accord won even more fans, and in 1989 it became the most popular car in the United States.

More recently, the customer base for Honda’s efficient, environmentally friendly cars has grown exponentially. Its tiny Fit car is selling well, and the company has plans to introduce a five-door hybrid model that will compete with Toyota’s Prius.

Soichiro Honda was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1989. He died two years later at the age of 84.