On this day, April 3

Table Bay, where the fortunes of a shipwreck’s survivors proves to be the catalyst for South Africa’s colonisation.

Table Bay, where the fortunes of a shipwreck’s survivors proves to be the catalyst for South Africa’s colonisation.

Published Apr 3, 2024


How the colonisation of SA began, the first cellphone call, a ‘royal bastard’ dies, and a famous guitarist says he didn’t smoke his father’s ashes.

1648 After being marooned for nearly a year at the Cape, the rescued sailors of the Dutch ship Nieuw-Haerlem leave for home and give a favourable report of their experiences. The story is the “catalyst” that determines which of England, France or the Dutch will be the first to settle in the region and where they would settle. If it had not been for that shipwreck, the history of colonial South Africa would have turned out very differently.

1702 The Merensteijn strands at Jutten Island on the Cape west coast and sinks with a cargo of gold and silver, which is salvaged in 1972.

1839 George Rex (74), allegedly the illegitimate son of England’s King George III and Hannah Lightfoot, dies in Knysna.

1868 A Hawaiian surfs the then-highest wave – a 50-foot tidal wave.

1882 Legendary American Wild West outlaw Jesse James is killed by one of his own gang for a reward.

1888 The first of 11 unsolved brutal murders of women committed in or near the impoverished Whitechapel district in the East End of London, occurs. Jack the Ripper is suspected.

1922 Joseph Stalin is appointed leader of the Soviet Union by an ailing Vladimir Lenin.

1933 The first flight over the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest.

1941 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill warns Soviet leader Joseph Stalin that a German invasion is imminent.

1948 US President Harry Truman signs the Marshall Plan, authorising the rebuilding of European countries ravaged by World War II.

1973 The first portable cellular phone call is made in New York City.

1974 The second biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history occurs in the US. The death toll is 315.

1996 Five members of the AWB are sentenced to 26 years imprisonment each for a bombing campaign that killed 20 people and injured hundreds.

2000 Microsoft is ruled to have violated US antitrust laws by keeping “an oppressive thumb” on its competitors.

2004 Islamic terrorists involved in the Madrid train bombings are trapped by the police in their flat and kill themselves.

2007 Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards denies saying he smoked his father’s ashes.

2007 A French TGV train sets a world speed record (574.8km/h).

2010 Apple releases the iPad.

2020 27 people swept off a ferry and feared dead in the Solomon Islands during Cyclone Harold.

2020 Captain Brett Crozier is cheered by hundreds of his loyal crew as they see him leave the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt after being fired because he sent a four-page letter to Pacific Fleet commanders outlining the seriousness of a Covid-19 outbreak on the ship he was in charge of. The letter was leaked and appeared in the press, embarrassing the navy.

2022 The Taliban government bans cultivation of opium in Afghanistan, with consequences for world supply as it produces 80%.

March 31, 2024, Graphics show birthdays and anniversaries on each day for the week. This week features the Eiffel Tower, the Inuit people of Canada, neon signs, actor Marlon Brando, Finland joining NATO, the French Revolutionary Tribunal and the Swedish band ABBA