A fight to the death; enter the humble ice-cream cone; Luthuli’s damning assessment of Pixley Ka Seme; Rand Daily Mail closes its door; and a 43-year-old spider dies prematurely
1349 The Jewish community at Radolszell, Germany, is exterminated because they were thought responsible for the Black Death. Such massacres were accompanied by looting.
1789 George Washington becomes the first president of the US.
1803 The US buys the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation.
1859 Charles Dickens’ celebrated novel, A Tale Of Two Cities is first published.
1863 A 65-man French Foreign Legion patrol fights 2 000 Mexican soldiers to the death in Hacienda Camarón in a battle that becomes synonymous with bravery and a never-say-die attitude. It’s the Legion’s most celebrated fight.
1900 74kg Robert Fitzsimmons knocks out 140kg Ed Dunkhost in a boxing match.
1904 The ice-cream cone makes its debut.
1928 Josiah Gumede is voted out of office as ANC president for being too close to the communist party, and is replaced by Pixley ka Seme. Chief Albert Luthuli, a future ANC president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, said later of the latter: “With his ascendancy, the African National Congress shifted several degrees rightwards into almost total moribundancy.”
1945 Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide to avoid capture after being married for less than 40 hours.
1975 The Vietnam War ends with the fall of Saigon.
1982 Zambia’s President Kenneth Kaunda meets Prime Minister PW Botha in the first meeting between a Frontline State leader and a South African premier since Kaunda met BJ Vorster in 1976. Kaunda is criticised.
1985 South Africa’s largest daily morning newspaper and the one best-known internationally, the Rand Daily Mail, ceases publication after 25 years of breaking news stories the government would rather not have seen the light of day and of championing the rights of Blacks to equal opportunities.
1989 The World Wide Web (WWW) is launched by its inventor, Cern scientist Tim Berners-Lee.
2004 Photos surface of US soldiers abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.
2018 The world’s oldest known spider, a female trapdoor, dies, aged 43, after being killed by a wasp in Western Australia.
2018 Nawabshah, Pakistan, sets a global record for April – a sweltering 50.2°C.
2020 British Captain Tom Moore, who raised more £30 million for the National Health Service by walking in his garden, turns 100 and is made an honorary colonel by Queen Elizabeth II.