On this day, March 29

Melton Prior’s painting of the Battle of Kambula, the decisive battle of the Anglo-Zulu War. Picture: Wikipedia

Melton Prior’s painting of the Battle of Kambula, the decisive battle of the Anglo-Zulu War. Picture: Wikipedia

Published Mar 29, 2024


Ireland stubs out smoking in public, divided politicians spark the Hyphen War, Mandela acquitted of treason, the Terracotta Army is found, and Dulcie September is murdered

1803 Henry Francis Fynn, the Natal pioneer and settler and a member of an expedition to the Zulu chief Shaka in the 1820s, is born in London.

1848 Niagara Falls stops flowing for 30 hours owing to an ice jam.

1879 Having routed the mounted element of the British force at the Battle of Hlobane the day before, 20 000 Zulu warriors attack the British camp at Kambula deep in Zululand. Kambula was the decisive battle of the Anglo-Zulu War and in a period of four hours the British had fired 138 000 rounds and 1 077 shells, demonstrating that shield and assegai were no match for an entrenched force with artillery and the Martini-Henry rifle. Never again would an impi fight against a prepared position with the ferocity, courage and resolution displayed at Kambula.

1886 Coca-Cola, which was originally developed by Dr John Pemperton as a brain tonic, is sold for the first time in Atlanta, Georgia, after being brewed in Pemperton’s backyard. It goes on to become the world’s most popular soft drink.

1912 Doomed polar explorer, Captain Robert Scott, storm-bound in a tent near South Pole, makes last entry in his diary, ‘the end cannot be far’.

1932 Jim Mollison completes an epic flight from England to Cape Town in just over 114 hours. Today the trip takes less than a 10th of that.

1936 Nazi propaganda claims that 99% of Germans voted for Nazi candidates.

1941 The British Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy defeat the Italian Regia Marina off the Peloponnesian coast of Greece in the Battle of Cape Matapan.

1942 Astonishingly, the British cruiser HMS Trinidad torpedoes herself in the Barents Sea.

1961 After a 4½ -year trial in Pretoria, Nelson Mandela is acquitted of treason.

1973 The Vietnam War draws to a close at the last US combat soldiers leave South Vietnam.

1974 The Terracotta Army is discovered in Shaanxi province, China, when farmers find the 8 000 clay statues guarding the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang .

1979 Idi Amin, the despotic Ugandan dictator, flees Uganda after a reign of seven years.

1988 Dulcie September, the main representative of the ANC in France, is murdered in Paris.

1990 The Czechoslovak parliament is unable to reach an agreement on what to call the country after the fall of communism, sparking the so-called Hyphen War.

2004 Ireland becomes the first country in the world to ban smoking in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

2023 Researchers warn that crucial deep Antarctic ocean currents could collapse by 42% by 2050, stopping nutrient-dense water from flowing north, accelerating ice melt and further warming the world's oceans.