On this day in history, September 19

Record-breaking swimmer Natalie du Toit does South Africa proud. Picture: INL Archives

Record-breaking swimmer Natalie du Toit does South Africa proud. Picture: INL Archives

Published Sep 19, 2023


Some of the more interesting things that happened on this day.

1356 English forces led by The Black Prince defeat the French at Battle of Poitiers and capture the French King during the Hundred Years War.

1715 France takes possession of Mauritius and renames it l’Ile de France (The Island of France).

1888 One of the first known modern beauty contests is held in Spa, Belgium.

1890 The Turkish frigate Ertogrul burns off Japan, with the loss of 540 ratings.

1893 New Zealand becomes the first country to grant all women the vote, decades before any other country.

1940 Polish resistance fighter Witold Pilecki, on a virtual suicide mission, allows himself to be caught and sent to the Auschwitz death camp to smuggle out information about the Holocaust. Three years later he makes a daring escape, rejoins the Polish Home Army and takes part in the Warsaw Uprising.

1945 Lord Haw Haw (William Joyce) is sentenced to death for treason almost 6 years after his first Nazi propaganda broadcast.

1975 Fawlty Towers, a comedy starring John Cleese, premières in the UK. It is also popular in South Africa.

1982 Scott Fahlman posts the first documented emoticons :-) and :-( on the Carnegie Mellon University bulletin board.

1989 A bomb destroys UTA Flight 772 above the Tùnùrù Desert, Niger, killing 171 people.

1991 Ötzi the Iceman, a mummy from 3 300BC, is discovered by tourists in the Alps.

2004 Pretoria schoolboy Oscar Pistorius, falls coming out of the start of his 200m heat for leg amputees, then shows mind-blowing speed and tenacity to surge from last to victory in a world record 23.42sec for double-amputees at the Athens Paralympic Games.

2004 Swimmer Natalie du Toit, South Africa’s star performer at the Athens Paralympics wins her second gold medal in the 100m freestyle in a record time.

2010 The Deepwater Horizon well is sealed after a costly 87-day spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

2015 Japan beats South Africa 34-32 in Brighton, England, during the world cup. It is the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history.

2017 The Puebla earthquake in Mexico kills 370 people.

2021 The US apologises for an Afghan airstrike that killed 10 civilians, including seven children.

2022 British monarch Queen Elizabeth II interned at Windsor Castle after a state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London with an unprecedented 500 world leaders in attendance.

2022 Nigerian authorities says over 300 people have died and 100 000 have been displaced by the worse floods in many years.

2022 Scientists discover site of the Amazon's tallest tree, an angelim vermelho at 88.5 meters (290 feet) tall and 9.9 meters (32 feet) wide, Iratapuru River Nature Reserve, northern Brazil.