On this day in history, January 31

But for David Draper, Jozi wouldn’t be what it is today.

But for David Draper, Jozi wouldn’t be what it is today.

Published Jan 31, 2024


More than just dates and boring facts.

1606 Guy Fawkes is executed for trying to blow up England’s king and its parliament, in London, England.

1849 David Draper, prospector and geologist is born in Cape Town. He found underground water at Zuurbekom in 1898, thus alleviating frequent water shortages in Johannesburg.

1851 American Gail Borden invents condensed milk and has it patented 4 months later.

1901 Boer generals Smuts and Liebenberg capture Modderfontein, Transvaal.

1915 Germany is the first country to make large-scale use of poison gas in warfare.

1930 3M begins marketing Scotch Tape.

1943 German Field-Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrenders to the Soviets at Stalingrad, ending one of World War II’s fiercest battles.

1945 About 3 000 inmates from the Stutthof concentration camp are marched into the Baltic Sea and shot so they can’t be liberated.

1968 Nauru gains independence from Australia and becomes the smallest republic and third-smallest state in the world, behind only Vatican City and Monaco.

1971 Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell lift off for the Moon with a South African flag, albeit the old one.

1983 A new law in the UK requires drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seatbelts. The idea catches on globally.

1985 President PW Botha offers to free Nelson Mandela if he renounces violence.

1996 An explosives-filled truck rams the gates of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in Colombo, killing 86 people and injuring 1 400.

2012 The Toyota Corolla is recognised as the best-selling car of all time (37.5 million sold).

2015 Lydia Ko at 17, becomes the youngest person in golf to be ranked No 1 in the world.

2019 Colonisation of the America’s in the late 1500s killed so many people it cooled the planet and led to a ‘Little Ice Age’, says a report in Quaternary Science Reviews.

2020 The UK withdraws from the EU (Brexit).

2022 A British government report finds that ‘a failure of leadership’, led to boozy parties at Downing Street while the rest of the UK was under a strict Covid-19 lockdown. Prime minister Boris Johnson is forced to resign and is replaced by Liz Truss, who makes a name for herself – she lasts just 45 days in the job., the shortest in history.