More than just dates and boring facts.
1556 William I of Orange becomes a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
1591 Scottish schoolmaster Dr John Fian is burned for witchcraft at Castle Hill, Edinburgh, by order King James VI, part of the Berwick witch trials.
1606 The trial of Guy Fawkes and other conspirators accused of trying to blow up England’s king and parliament, begins. It ends with their execution on January 31.
1649 English High Court of Justice finds King Charles I “guilty of the crimes of which he had been accused”. It judged him to be “tyrant, traitor, murderer, and public enemy to the good people of the nation, to be put to death by the severing of his head from his body”.
1820 Confirming myths and speculation about a Terra Australis (Southern Land), the last region on Earth to be discovered, the polar desert of Antarctica – the coldest, driest, and windiest continent and the one with the highest average elevation – is sighted by a Russian expedition, but it is another 65 years before anyone sets foot on it. There is, however, evidence that the coastline of the Antarctic was mapped when it was without ice and was, therefore, discovered much earlier, giving rise to the possibility that our perception and understanding of history is incomplete.
1880 Thomas Edison patents electric incandescent lamp.
1914 A petition is signed by black and coloured women of the Orange Free State against the carrying of passes by non-white women.
1924 Lenin placed in mausoleum in Red Square, Moscow.
1924 The Natal Indian Congress and the Natal Indian Association organise a mass meeting in Durban in opposition to the Class Areas Bill.
1944 The Siege of Leningrad is lifted after 880 days and the death of 2 million Russians.
1945 The Soviet 322nd Rifle Division liberates the remaining, emaciated inmates of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
1956 RCA records releases Elvis Presley’s single Heartbreak Hotel, his first million-seller (written by Mae Boren Axton and Tommy Durden).
1967 The USSR, US and UK sign a treaty banning nuclear weapons in space.
1973 The Paris Peace Accords end the bloody Vietnam War and signals US defeat.
1984 SA’s most wanted criminal, André Stander, a suave policeman who robs banks for kicks, flees to the US using a false passport.
2002 Munitions at an army base in Lagos, Nigeria, explode, forcing hundreds of people to flee. At least 580 drown in a canal.
2013 A fire in a Brazilian nightclub kills 240.
2018 A bomb in an ambulance kills more than 100 people in Kabul, Afghanistan.
2020 After lying about it for years, the former king of Belgium, Albert II admits fathering a love child after DNA tests confirm his paternity.
2023 An urgent search is announced fora tiny, pea-sized radioactive capsule (used as a density gauge in the mining industry), which dropped out of a Rio Tinto truck on its 1 400km journey, roughly the length of Britain, in Western Australia.