On this day in history, December 22

The Dusi canoe marathon begins: Picture: Archives

The Dusi canoe marathon begins: Picture: Archives

Published Dec 23, 2023


Today, but back in the day

609 The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) receives his first revelation.

856 An earthquake near the Persian city of Damghan kills about 200 000 people.

1135 Stephen of Blois becomes King of England after the White Ship Disaster in which the heir to the throne drowns, and from which Stephen escapes. His reign is blighted by a civil war with his cousin the Empress Matilda, whose son, Henry II, succeeds Stephen.

1882 The first string of Christmas tree lights is created by Thomas Edison.

1938 Marjorie Courtney-Latimer and Professor JLB Smith of Rhodes University identify the first coelacanth – a ‘living fossil’ thought to have become extinct 50 million years ago.

1944 During the Battle of the Bulge, German troops demand the surrender of US troops, prompting the famous laconic reply by General Anthony McAuliffe: ‘Nuts!’

1959 The Dusi Canoe Marathon starts with eight individuals agreeing to canoe from Alexandra Park in Pietermaritzburg to Durban. The eight – Ian Player (brother of golfer Gary), Denis Vorster, Miles Brokensha, Fred Schmidt, Ernie Pearce, Basil Halford, John Naudé, and Willie Potgieter – had to make their way down the Umsindusi, through the Valley of a Thousand Hills to the mouth of the Umgeni. Player was the only one who reached the finish 6 days, 8 hours and 15 minutes later – on December 28.

1988 South Africa signs an accord granting independence to South-West Africa.

1989 Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opens after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.

1999 Thomas Adolf Florin is found guilty in Windhoek of killing his wife, Monika, after she refused to return to Germany. He had beaten her to death with a hammer and boiled and baked her carved-up body at their home while their two small children were in the house.

2001 Richard ‘shoebomber’ Reid tries to blow up an airliner with explosives in his shoes.

2018 A tsunami hits Indonesia’s Sunda Strait killing over 400 people as the Anak Krakatau volcano slips into the sea. | The Historian

2022 The US Drug Enforcement Administration says it seized enough fentanyl in 2022 to kill every American, more than 379 million doses of of the narcotic.