On this day, April 25

A patent for a microchip greatly transforms modern life. Picture: Reuters

A patent for a microchip greatly transforms modern life. Picture: Reuters

Published Apr 25, 2023


Ground is broken for the Suez Canal, strange tale as General Jan Smuts surrenders, Apartheid comes to an end, Microsoft joins elite club, and Mozambique hammered by cyclone

404BC Admiral Lysander and King Pausanias of Sparta blockade Athens and bring the Peloponnesian War to an end. The 29-year war between Athens and Sparta, the leading city-states of ancient Greece, along with their allies, which included nearly every other Greek city-state was principally over a fear of Athenian imperialism. Sparta went easy on the defeated Athenians and offered lenient terms.

799 After mistreatment and disfigurement by the citizens of Rome, Pope Leo III flees to the Frankish court of King Charlemagne.

1684 Patent granted for thimble.

1719 Inspired by Alexander Selkirk’s exploits, Daniel Defoe publishes Robinson Crusoe.

1792 The guillotine is first used, in France, to execute highwayman Nicolas Pelletier.

1850 Paul Julius Reuter sets up a carrier-pigeon service, using 40 pigeons to carry stock market prices between Aachen and Brussels. He forms the Reuters News Agency.

1859 British and French engineers break ground for the Suez Canal.

1902 General Jan Smuts surrenders to the British. Deneys Reitz, who agrees to act as Smuts’ orderly, joins him. On discovering that orderlies are not treated as officers, Reitz is instantly promoted to chief-of-staff.

1915 The ill-fated Battle of Gallipoli begins.

1926 Persian cossack officer Reza Chan becomes Shah Palavi – the last Shah of Iran.

1945 US and Soviet troops meet along the River Elbe, dividing the German army and surrounding Berlin. In Italy, the Nazis leave Northern Italy, the puppet fascist regime dissolves and Benito Mussolini is captured.

1959 The Saint Lawrence Seaway, linking the Great Lakes to the Atlantic, opens to shipping.

1961 Robert Noyce, “The Mayor of Silicon Valley” and co-founder of Intel, is granted a patent for an integrated circuit (microchip), which will greatly transform modern life.

1983 American schoolgirl Samantha Smith is invited to visit the USSR by Soviet leader Yuri Andropov after he read her letter in which she expressed fears about nuclear war.

1994 The last day of white rule in SA.

2015 A massive, 7.9-magnitude earthquake in Nepal kills nearly 9 000 people, including 19 climbers in an avalanche on Mt Everest, which shifts 2.5cm as a result. It was the worst earthquake in the country's history in 80 years and destroyed or damaged 600 000 buildings.

2019 Microsoft becomes the third US firm to be listed with a market worth of $1 trillion, after Apple and Amazon.

2019 Cyclone Kenneth strikes Mozambique with winds of 220km/h killing at least 38 people and damaging nearly 35 000 homes