What happened today, back in the day
1838 A Voortrekker commando under Andries Pretorius and Sarel Celliers make a solemn promise: Should they be victorious against the Zulu, they and their descendants will dedicate the day of the battle to the glory of God. This is repeated nightly until the Battle of Blood River.
1900 Russia’s czar rejects exiled President Paul Kruger’s plea for aid against Britain. Still, many Russians volunteer to fight with the Boers.
1937 Japanese troops attack Nanjing, which will culminate in the bloody ‘Rape of Nanking’.
1940 Illegal Jewish immigrants to Haifa are deported to Mauritius.
1941 The American air force bombs Japanese ships off Luzon, in the Philippines.
1968 Douglas Engelbart gives ‘The Mother of All Demos’, publicly debuting the computer mouse, hypertext, and the bit-mapped graphical user interface (GUI) – basics that we cannot do without on most, if not all, computer systems.
1979 The eradication of the smallpox virus is certified, making it the first of only two diseases that have been made extinct (rinderpest in 2011 being the other).
1992 As part of Operation Restore Hope, US Marines storm ashore in Somalia, only to be met on the beach by television cameras.
1995 South Africa’s Francois “the White Buffalo” Botha, wins the IBF world heavyweight boxing title.
2000 Tottenham’s Ledley King scores fastest goal in the English Premier League when he nets after 9.82 seconds at Bradford City
2019 At 2.11pm, the White Island volcano off New Zealand’s North Island erupts, creating a hell on Earth for 47 unsuspecting tourists. Had it not been for the quick thinking of two of the tour guides, no-one would have survived the hellish scenario, which kills 16 people on the island and another 8 in the days and weeks that follow. A very long, painful road to recovery awaits the badly burned survivors.
2019 A Chilean Air Force plane with 38 people is lost over the icy waters of the Drake Passage while on a maintenance trip to a base on King George Island, off the Antarctic Peninsula.
2021 Over 40 camels are disqualified from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Camel Festival beauty contest after Botox injections and other cosmetic enhancements are found to have been used on the beasts.