On this day in history, January 20

Proving that sistas are doing it for themselves.

Proving that sistas are doing it for themselves.

Published Jan 20, 2024


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

1356 Edward Balliol surrenders his claim to the Scottish throne to Edward III in exchange for an English pension.

1694 The Dageraad, with salvaged treasure from the Gouden Buis – which had run ashore at St Helena Bay – is wrecked on the reefs off Robben Island. Nine of the Dageraad’s 17 salvaged chests of silver coins are recovered.

1697 Notorious pirate Captain William Kidd is reported off Cape Town.

1835 Xhosa warriors overrun the Eastern Cape frontier.

1841 Hong Kong Island is occupied by the British.

1879 British troops under Lord Chelmsford pitch camp on the slopes of Isandlwana, where Zulu warriors attack them two days later.

1900 In the Battle of Tabanyama, on the Natal front of the Anglo-Boer War, a group of Indian stretcher bearers, among them the young Durban attorney Mohandas Gandhi, becomes intermingled with fighting troops. Six are killed and 12 wounded in the crossfire. The battle continues for two more days.

1942 Nazi officials hold the infamous Wannsee conference in Berlin to organise the “final solution” – the extermination of Europe’s Jews.

1944 The Royal Air Force drops 2 300 tons of bombs on Berlin, capital of Nazi Germany.

1945 Franklin D Roosevelt is sworn-in for an unprecedented (and never to be repeated) fourth term as US president.

1961 John F Kennedy becomes the 35th president of the US, and the second youngest man to take the office (after Theodore Roosevelt), and is also the first Catholic.

1981 Ronald Reagan inaugurated the 40th President of the US. Twenty minutes later, Iran releases 52 American hostages.

1982 Heavy metal musician Ozzy Osbourne bites the head off a bat while performing on stage in Des Moines, Iowa.

1986 Military coup in Lesotho.

2014 The credit cards of at least 20 million South Koreans are hacked.

2002 Photographs showing al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects shackled and masked are published by the US military.

2022 19-year-old Belgian-British Zara Rutherford becomes the youngest woman to fly solo around the world. She said part of her drive to make the ambitious trip was to encourage young women and girls to follow their passions and serve as role models.

“When I grew up, there weren't many girls in aviation, or STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), So I'm hoping that with my flights, I can show girls that: 'Look, here's a girl flying, you're not alone, there's someone else out there who loves the same things that you do," she said.

Her 51 000km flight took in 41 nations and five continents after leaving on August 18. She had to steer clear of Californian wildfires, deal with bitter temperatures over Russia, weather and visa delays in Australia, and narrowly avoided North Korean airspace.