On this day, March 22

Washed up rubbish near Cape Town. Now imagine a patch of it bigger than South Africa. Picture: Greenpeace

Washed up rubbish near Cape Town. Now imagine a patch of it bigger than South Africa. Picture: Greenpeace

Published Mar 22, 2024


Jews become the whipping boy – again, the first Basuto war begins, the Proteas choke in the World Cup and an explosion so big it measures as an earthquake

1349 The folk of Fulda, Germany, massacre Jews, blaming them for the Black Death.

1858 After discussions fail between President Boshof of the Republic of the Orange Free State and Chief Moshesh and his sons, the Free State declares war on Basutoland, starting the first Basuto war.

1896 Charilaos Vasilakos wins the first modern marathon at the Panhellenic Games.

1907 The new Boer government of the Transvaal passes an Asiatic Registration Bill, restricting Indian immigration.

1914 The St Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line becomes the world’s first scheduled airline.

1920 Azeri and Turkish soldiers, with the participation of Kurdish gangs, attack the Armenian inhabitants of the city Shushi, in the disputed Nagorno Karabakh region.

1942 The Royal Navy confronts Italy’s Regia Marina in the Second Battle of Sirte.

1945 The Arab League is founded in Cairo.

1992 With South Africa needing 22 runs off 13 balls, rain forces players from the field in the World Cup cricket semi-final against England in Durban. When they return, the target has been revised to an 22 runs off 1 ball, all but robbing South Africa of victory and gifting England a path to the final, where they lose to Pakistan.

1995 Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov returns to earth after a record of 438 days in space. That record still stands.

2017 A terrorist attack on London’s Westminster Bridge and Houses of Parliament kills 4 people and injures 40.

2018 The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” between Hawaii and California is estimated to have 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic and is increasing rapidly according to new research. It covers the enormous area of about 1.8 million square kilometres, bigger than South Africa (1.6 million square kilometres).

2019 The “mind-blowing” discovery of a 518 million-year-old fossil site in China, with thousands of well preserved fossils of unknown species is announced.

2019 A blast from a chemical factory so big that it registers as an earthquake, kills at least 78 people with 28 missing in Yancheng, eastern China.

2020 India puts 1 billion people under a daytime curfew to curb Covid-19.

2022 Microplastics are found in human blood for first time through new research conducted at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

2023 Microsoft founder Bill Gates says development of artificial intelligence (AI) is the most important technological advance since the graphical user interface (GUI) in 1980.

2023 New DNA analysis of composer Ludwig van Beethoven's hair reveals that he probably died of cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis B, but doesn't explain his deafness.