On this day in history, July 23

Tourists enjoy the sea at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Picture: EPA

Tourists enjoy the sea at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Picture: EPA

Published Jul 23, 2023


Significant and interesting snippets of news, with a South African angle, from this day in history

636 Arabs gain control of most of Palestine from the Byzantine Empire.

1148 The Crusaders attack Damascus.

1253 Jews are expelled from Vienne, France, by order of Pope Innocent IV.

1706 The Dutch East India Company decides that Mauritius be abandoned as a settlement in favour of the Cape. Without this decision South Africa would have had a very different history.

1853 Andries Pretorius, the Voortrekker leader after whom Pretoria was named, dies.

1904 The ice cream cone is created.

1907 The House of Assembly votes for a union of the four provinces of South Africa.

1925 Minister of the Interior DF Malan introduces a Bill, defining Indians as aliens and recommending their repatriation to India.

1929 Italy bans the use of foreign words.

1942 South African Air Force Hurricane fighters shoot down 13 German Ju-87 bombers over the Western Desert, in the north of Africa.

1952 Military officers led by Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrow Egypt’s King Farouk.

1956 The US Bell X-2 rocket plane sets a world aircraft speed record of 3 050kp/h. The current record is Mach 9.6, or 11 800kp/h, set by Nasa’s X-43A scramjet. (The Mach Number is named after the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach. Mach 1 is the speed of sound – 1 225kph at sea level, assuming an air temperature of 15ºC. An airplane flying less than Mach 1 is travelling at subsonic speeds, faster than Mach 1 would be supersonic speeds and Mach 2 would be twice the speed of sound.)

1991 Mozambican rebels rampage through villages, killing and beheading 1 000 people.

1996 Penny Heyns wins gold for SA in the Atlanta Olympics 200m breaststroke final.

2005 Bombs in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, kill 88 people.

2015 Nasa’s Kepler mission announces discovery of the most Earth-like planet yet – “a mere” 1 400 light years distant.

2019 President Donald Trump says the US could win the war in Afghanistan in a week. “I just don’t want to kill 10 million people. If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth.”

2019 An investigation is launched after baby girls were apparently not given birth to during a three-months period in 132 villages in India’s Uttarkashi district, with sex-selective abortions suspected