On this day in history, March 11

Before the world’s press, three AWB men are shot dead in retaliation for group’s random killing spree.

Before the world’s press, three AWB men are shot dead in retaliation for group’s random killing spree.

Published Mar 11, 2024


Events that ripple though time, some of which may tickle your fancy, or event your funny bone

1870 King Moshoeshoe, founder of the Basotho nation, dies.

1900 British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury rejects peace overtures from Paul Kruger.

1918 ‘Spanish flu’ first reaches America. One quarter of the US population contracts the virus, resulting in 500 000 deaths. South Africa was the fifth-hardest hit country in the world with deaths almost as high as those in the US, out of a global death toll of almost 22 million. It has been called ‘the single most devastating episode in South Africa’s demographic history.’

1941 The Lend-Lease programme begins allowing embattled Britain to receive an American lifeline of weapons and materials.

1946 Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp, is captured by British troops. Under his watch, Auschwitz became the most efficiently murderous instrument of the ‘Final Solution’ and the Holocaust’s most potent symbol, with 3.5 million people dying in captivity. He was hanged in the camp.

1985 Mikhail Gorbachev becomes the last leader of the USSR. His policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) help end the Cold War.

1994 before the world’s press, AWB General Nicolaas Fourie, Colonel Alwyn Wolfaardt, and Jacobus Stephanus Uys, are executed by a Bophuthatswana policeman. Their deaths came after the right-wing group had randomly killed 42 people in Bophuthatswana, which they invaded after the population had demanded full integration into South Africa so that they could be part of the historic general elections.

2004 Simultaneous explosions on rush-hour trains in Madrid, Spain, kill 192 people.

2011 An earthquake off Japan creates a devastating tsunami that sweeps inland, killing about 16 000 people, causing damage along the North and South American coasts and breaking off icebergs in Antarctica, 13 000km away. The waves surge over the seawalls at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing radioactive leaks.

2020 Covid-19 is declared a pandemic by the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, with 121 564 cases worldwide and 4 373 deaths.

2020 The smallest dinosaur ever discovered is reported on in the journal Nature. It is a skull preserved in a piece of amber, which is smaller than a fingertip. It is found in Myanmar.

2021 British Prince William says the royal family is “very much not a racist family” in his first public comments since an interview on Oprah by his brother, Harry and wife Meghan.

March 10, 2024, Graphics show birthdays and anniversaries on each day for the week. This week features a bank run at the California-based Silicon Valley Bank, terror attacks on commuter trains in Madrid, the “Fosbury Flop”, the U.S. patent for earmuffs, a patent to separate cotton seeds from the raw cotton fibres, the marriage between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and the introduction of antiseptic surgery