On this day in history, July 29

South Africa’s record-breaking Tatjana Schoenmaker. Picture: INL Archives

South Africa’s record-breaking Tatjana Schoenmaker. Picture: INL Archives

Published Jul 29, 2023


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

1715 All 11 galleons of a Spanish treasure fleet sink off Florida during a hurricane. According to Cuban records, many ships, including pirates, took part in the initial salvage.

1848 Ireland’s Tipperary Revolt during the Great Potato Famine – an uprising against British rule – is put down.

1907 In England, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, who fought at Mafikeng, forms the Boy Scouts.

1907 The Orient, loaded with wheat, runs aground at East London. A popular beach is named after the wreck site.

1945 Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi, the Xhosa poet, dies near King William’s Town. His first collection of poems, Imihobe nemiBongo (1927) included Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrica.

1949 Moscow ends the Berlin Blockade.

1954 The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume in the trilogy of The Lord of the Rings by South African-born author JRR Tolkien is published.

1956 French diving pioneer and co-developer of the aqualung, Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso anchors in 7 500m of water – a world record.

1981 A worldwide television audience of more than 700 million people watch the wedding of Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

1988 The government bans the anti-apartheid film Cry Freedom. Starring Denzil Washington, it tells of the friendship between Struggle hero Steve Biko and newspaper editor Donald Woods, who escaped house arrest so that he could tell how Biko really died, something the government didn’t want the world to know.

2013 Diamonds worth €103 million are stolen from a hotel, in Cannes, France.

2015 Wreckage from flight MH370 is found on the island of Reunion. The fate of the plane, which went missing in 2014 with 239 people on board, is one of the most enduring mysteries in aviation history. A 3-year search, the most costly in the history of aviation, yielded nothing.

2019 A riot leaves 16 prisoners decapitated in a battle between factions in a prison in Para state, Brazil. Smoke inhalation kills another 46.

2021 South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker sets a new women’s 200m breaststroke world record of 2:18.95 at the Tokyo Olympics.