On this day, May 22

Severe drought hits the Western Cape, and it shows in the levels of the Lower Steenbras Dam. Picture: Enver Essop

Severe drought hits the Western Cape, and it shows in the levels of the Lower Steenbras Dam. Picture: Enver Essop

Published May 22, 2023


A pact of steel; Nixon comes clean; the first rugby world cup; Inter Milan bag the treble; and concert goers slaughtered

334BC Alexander the Great defeats Darius III of Persia. Alexander remains undefeated in battle until his death in 323BC, by which time he had constructed one of the largest empires in ancient history and forged a reputation for being one of the most successful military commanders ever.

1176 The Hashshashin (from whom we get the word ‘assassins’) attempt to assassinate Saladin, the first sultan of Egypt and Syria.

1455 Richard, Duke of York, captures King Henry VI of England at St Albans, beginning the War of Roses.

1840 The transportation of British convicts to the New South Wales colony is abolished.

1849 Abraham Lincoln is issued a patent for an invention to lift boats. He is the only US president to hold a patent.

1859 Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes author, Boer War medic, and editor at Bloemfontein’s The Friend, is born.

1919 Dendrochronology – using growth ring patterns in wood to date sites – comes into being.

1927 An earthquake near Xining, China, causes 200 000 deaths.

1939 Germany and Italy sign the Pact of Steel, a co-operation agreement.

1973 US President Richard Nixon confesses to his role in Watergate cover-up.

1977 The storied Orient Express makes its final, scheduled European run, after 94 years.

1987 The first Rugby World Cup kicks off with New Zealand beating Italy in Auckland.

2010 Inter Milan becomes the only team to win the treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia, and Champions League.

2012 Tokyo Skytree opens to the public. It is the tallest tower in the world, at 634m.

2017 Twenty-two people are killed by an Islamist extremist suicide bomber at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

2017 Donald Trump becomes the only sitting US president to visit Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

2017 Researchers report on the birth of mice from frozen sperm stored on the International Space Station.

2017 The Western Cape declares a drought disaster – the worst for 113 years. The drought was caused by an exceptional 3-year rainfall deficit, and the the drought led to a severe decline in tourist arrivals at the major tourist attractions in the province as well as a decline in tourist spending and hotel occupancy, resulting in a loss of potential revenue and jobs.

2021 Mount Nyiragongo erupts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sending rivers of lava towards the nearby city of Goma, prompting evacuations.