On this day, April 22

Deadly mistake for amaXhosa in the Battle of Grahamstown, first use of poison gas in warfare, Wild West land rush, record Covid numbers

For once, corruption had a positive affect – and not just for the person who was feathering his nest. Buildings along the waterfront in Curacao, where white paint was banned. Picture: ANA Archives

Published Apr 22, 2024


Deadly mistake for amaXhosa in the Battle of Grahamstown, first use of poison gas in warfare, Wild West land rush, record Covid numbers

1529 The Treaty of Zaragoza divides the eastern hemisphere between Spain and Portugal.

1817 Curacao prohibits the use of white paint owing to fierce sunlight, but in reality the governor who made the rule was a shareholder in the island’s only paint store. Nevertheless, the tradition endured and the brightly coloured buildings are one of the most stunning sights in the Caribbean.

1819 Ndlambe, regent of the AmaRarabe, orders a full frontal attack on Grahamstown in broad daylight. Having accepted the advice of Xhosa prophet Makhanda ka Nxele that the bullets of the white defenders would change into water and not harm them, the attackers lose 1 000 men to the defenders’ 3. The battle site continues to be called Egazini (Place of Blood), and a monument was erected there for the fallen Xhosa in 2001. Grahamstown was renamed Makhanda in 2018.

1873 The three villages clustered about the mouth of the Buffalo River: East London West Bank; East London East Bank, and Panmure, merge into a single municipality, East London.

1889 At noon, thousands rush to claim land in the first land rush into the Unassigned Lands of the American Wild West. Within hours, Oklahoma City and Guthrie spring up with populations of at least 10 000.

1911 At least 28 people die when a train from Port Alfred plunges off the Blaauwkrantz bridge in the Eastern Cape.

1915 First use of chemical weapons in World War I during the Second Battle of Ypres.

1945 After learning that Soviet forces have taken Eberswalde (50km north-east of Berlin) without a fight, Adolf Hitler admits defeat and states that suicide is his only recourse.

1969 The first eye transplant is performed.

1969 British yachtsman Robin Knox-Johnston completes the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the world, in 312 days.

1992 About 8km of street blocks are destroyed by explosions from a leak in an oil and gas pipeline in Guadalajara, Mexico. Hundreds of people are killed.

1994 7 000 Tutsis are slaughtered by Hutu in the stadium at Kibuye, Rwanda,

1998 Kitch Christie (58), 1995 Rugby World Cup winning coach, dies of cancer in Pretoria.

2004 Two fuel trains collide in Ryongchon, North Korea, killing up to 150 people.

2016 The Paris Agreement is signed, an agreement to help fight global warming.

2020 Sudan bans female genital mutilation and makes it a criminal offence.

2021 India sets a world record for daily Covid-19 cases, recording 314 835 new cases with 2 104 deaths.

April 21, 2024, Graphics show birthdays and anniversaries on each day for the week. This week features Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, the comedian Barry Humphries of Australia, marathon runner Kelvin Kiptum, U.S. actress Shirley MacLaine, U.S. singer Harry Belafonte, the first non-racial general election in South Africa, and the building of the Freedom Tower in New York