On this day, April 21

Cape Town and Table Mountain, pencil and watercolour heightened with bodycolour, (28 x 50.3cm) by Sir Jahleel Brenton.

Cape Town and Table Mountain, pencil and watercolour heightened with bodycolour, (28 x 50.3cm) by Sir Jahleel Brenton.

Published Apr 21, 2024


Dawn of the Mughal and Roman empires, luck runs out for the Red Baron, prostitutes off the hook and doomed submarine crew’s farewell video

753BC Suckled by a wolf at birth, according to mythology, Romulus and Remus found Rome, the beginnings of the Roman Empire.

1506 The Lisbon Massacre, which started when congregants turn on and kill 'new Christians’ – Jews who had been forcibly converted, as per law. The three-day, anti-Semitic bloodbath claimed the lives of 4 000 people, not all of them necessarily Jews or ‘new Christians’.

1526 India’s Mughal Empire begins with the defeat of Ibrahim Lodi by Babur at the First Battle of Panipat.

1806 While cruising off Natal, a French frigate escapes more heavily armed British forces during the Napoleonic Wars thanks to superior seamanship.

1836 Sam Houston’s and General Santa Anna’s troops fight the Battle of San Jacinto, with the Texans decisively defeating the Mexicans thereby achieving independence.

1844 Vice-Admiral Sir Jahleel Brenton, artist, naval commissioner at the Cape of Good Hope after whom two islands in Algoa Bay are named, is born in British America (Rhode Island). The town of Brenton-on-Sea is also named after him, as is a striking butterfly endemic to the area, the rare Brenton Blue.

1858 David Livingstone arrives at the Cape to begin his expedition into Africa’s interior.

1894 Norway’s armed forces adopt the long-serving Krag–Jørgensen bolt-action rifle. About 300 are delivered to the Boer forces.

1918 The Red Baron, German World War I fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, is shot down and killed over France.

1934 The Surgeon’s Photograph, the most famous photo of the Loch Ness Monster, is published in Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.

1960 Brasília is inaugurated, taking over from Rio de Janeiro as Brazil’s capital city.

1964 A satellite fails to reach orbit after launch; as it re-enters the atmosphere, 1kg of radioactive plutonium is widely dispersed.

1966 About 100 000 Rastafari flock to Kingston, Jamaica to see Ethiopia’s Haile Selassie, whom they consider a god. The event gains rastafarianism a measure of respectability, opening the way for the commercialisation of reggae.

1967 Svetlana Alliluyeva, the daughter of Russian tyrant Josef Stalin, defects to the US.

2019 Terrorist attacks on churches and hotels on Easter Sunday in three Sri Lankan cities kill at least 253 people and injure hundreds more.

2021 The Manhattan district attorney’s office, in New York, US, says it will no longer prosecute prostitution, dismissing 914 open cases, part of growing movement to change the approach to prostitution.

2021 The Indonesian submarine RI Nanggala sinks off the coast of Bali with the loss of all 53 people on board, despite an international effort to rescue them. They leave an unintended poignant video saying goodbye.