On this day, January 3

Not bad for a day’s work.

Not bad for a day’s work.

Published Jan 3, 2024


Real people, real stories – more than just dates and boring facts

1521 Pope Leo X excommunicates rebellious priest Martin Luther, who begins the break-away protestant movement.

1777 American General George Washington, head of the rebel colonial army, defeats British General Lord Cornwallis’ forces at the Battle of Princeton in a minor victory, but one that rescued the Patriot cause from one of its darkest hours. The disastrous defeats in the 1776 New York Campaign and the precipitous retreat across the Delaware River had left the prospects for American independence in tatters. This victory help stem the tide and boost the morale of the patriot cause, leading many recruits to join the Continental Army in the spring.

1833 The UK claims sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.

1892 Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit author JRR Tolkien is born in Bloemfontein.

1924 British Egyptologist Howard Carter finds the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor after several years of searching.

1925 Benito Mussolini announces he is taking dictatorial powers over Italy.

1946 An Englishman known during World War II as “Lord Haw Haw” (William Joyce) is hanged for treason in London. Joyce had broadcast Nazi propaganda via radio from Germany to Britain during the war.

1957 The Hamilton Watch Company introduces the first electric watch.

1959 Alaska is admitted as the 49th US state, with a land mass almost one-fifth of the size of the lower 48 states combined.

1961 A protest by agricultural workers in Baixa de Cassanje, Portuguese Angola, turns into a revolt, starting the Angolan War of Independence, the first of the Portuguese colonial wars.

1977 Apple Computer is incorporated.

1980 The author of the world-renowned book Born Free, Joy Adamson, is murdered in Kenya.

1987 Rev Allan Hendrikse and 150 supporters swim at a Whites Only beach in Port Elizabeth in defiance of Apartheid laws.

1990 US invasion of Panama: after a manhunt, Manuel Noriega, its former leader, surrenders.

1994 More than 7 million people from the former apartheid Homelands receive South African citizenship.

2018 For the first time in history all five major storm surge gates in the Netherlands are closed simultaneously in the wake of a storm.

2019 China’s Chang’e 4 makes the first soft landing on the far side of the Moon.

2020 Iranian General Qasem Soleimani is killed by a drone-fired missile in an American airstrike near Baghdad International Airport, igniting global concerns of a potential armed conflict.

2023 Portugal stirker and captain, Cristiano Ronaldo joins Saudi Arabian soccer club Al Nassr for the “biggest salary ever in football”, leaving Manchester United after criticizing it publicly. His fee, $200 million a year for two years – that works out to just over half a million dollars a day.