On this day in history, January 11

Diego, the giant tortoise, is carried home on the back of a ranger after being away for 100 years.

Diego, the giant tortoise, is carried home on the back of a ranger after being away for 100 years.

Published Jan 11, 2024


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

532 In one of the first recorded incidents of mass crowd violence at a sporting event, the Nika Riots break out between supporters of different chariot teams in Constantinople’s Hippodrome.

630 The Prophet Muhammad and his followers conquer the city of Mecca.

1569 The first recorded lottery in England is drawn in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

1693 Mt Etna in Sicily erupts, killing about 60 000 people.

1794 US Marshal Robert Forsyth is killed in Augusta, Georgia, while trying to serve court papers. He is the first to die in the line of duty.

1903 Alan Stewart Paton, founder of the Liberal Party, anti-Apartheid activist and author of Cry, the Beloved Country, is born in Pietermaritzburg.

1904 Samuel Maharero orders all Ovaherero chiefs to take up arms against the Germans, but orders them to ‘refrain from touching missionaries, English, Basters, Berg-Damaras, Namas and Boers’.

1927 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) film studio head, Louis B Mayer announces the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, which awards Oscars.

1935 Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

1962 An avalanche on the Peruvian mountain Huascarán kills about 4 000 people.

1964 The US surgeon general publishes a landmark report saying that smoking may be hazardous to health, sparking national and worldwide anti-smoking efforts.

1972 East Pakistan becomes Bangladesh.

1974 The Rosenkowitz sextuplets are born in Cape Town, and are the first in the world in which all six babies survive.

2013 A French soldier and 17 militants are killed in a failed attempt by commandos to free a French hostage in Somalia.

2013 Twenty-nine people are killed and 12 are injured when a bus veers off a road in Nepal.

2020 Diego the giant 100-year-old tortoise, whose legendary libido is credited with saving his species, retires to the Galapagos islands after.

2021 Ireland becomes the country with the world’s highest Covid-19 infection rate after a surge results in a seven-day rolling average of 1 394 cases per million.