More than just dates and boring facts.
60 The Bible’s St Paul is shipwrecked on Malta.
1258 Baghdad falls to the Mongols, bringing an end to the Islamic Golden Age.
1535 Forty Anabaptists run naked through Amsterdam because they are fed up with Catholicism in bed with the wealthy, without a thought for the poor. As punishment, city officials have them killed.
1542 Dethroned Queen Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII, is transferred to the Tower of London for her impending execution.
1720 Edmond Halley appointed as the second Astronomer Royal at the Greenwich Observatory. He would lend his name to Halley’s Comet which appears every 75 years.
1837 Russian poet Alexander Pushkin is fatally injured in a duel with his wife’s alleged lover and French officer Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d’Anthès.
1840 Boer Commandant-General MW Pretorius installs Mpande as king of the Zulus after the power of Mpande’s brother, Dingane, is broken at Magongo on the Umkuzi River.
1863 First US fire extinguisher patent granted to Alanson Crane of Virginia.
1890 Boris Pasternak, Russian poet, novelist (author of Doctor Zhivago), literary translator and Nobel Prize laureate, is born.
1901 General Christiaan de Wet invades the Cape Colony at Zanddrif, near Philippolis.
1906 HMS Dreadnought, the first of a new breed of battleships, is christened, rendering all other capital ships obsolete.
1914 In accordance with the understanding reached by General Jan Smuts and Mahatma Gandhi, 60 passive resistance prisoners are released from Pietermaritzburg Prison; 40 from Durban, 8 in Newcastle, and 11 in Port Elizabeth.
1916 The Cerro Azul No. 4 oil well, in Mexico, blows its top and gushes 180m in the air.
1918 Leon Trotsky declares that Russia is leaving World War I.
1954 US President Dwight Eisenhower warns against the US becoming involved in Vietnam.
1962 Captured American U2 spy-plane pilot Gary Powers is exchanged for a Soviet spy.
1964 An Australian aircraft carrier, HMAS Melbourne, collides with and sinks the destroyer HMAS Voyager off New South Wales, Australia, killing 82 seamen.
1984 Kenyan soldiers slaughter 5 000 ethnic Somali Kenyans.
1985 Nelson Mandela rejects President PW Botha’s offer of a conditional release.
1990 President FW de Klerk announces Nelson Mandela will be freed on February 11.
1991 Minister of Law and Order Adriaan Vlok says more than 17 million people were arrested under the country’s influx control laws between 1921 and 1986.
1996 IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov in chess for the first time.
2005 Heir to the British throne, Prince Charles announces his engagement to long-time paramour, Camilla Parker Bowles.
2009 Two communications satellites collide in orbit, destroying each other.
2013 Five people are killed by a falling lifeboat from a cruise ship in the Canary Islands.
2021 Astronomers confirm the planetoid named Farfarout as the most distant orbiting the Sun, almost four times more distant than Pluto
2023 A 250kg World War II era bomb found in Great Yarmouth, England explodes in "unplanned" detonation as experts attempt to disarm it. Since then, several more bombs have been found, including one that a cocker spaniel found two weeks ago.