On this day in history, February 22

A sad end for the emperor who built the white-marble Taj Mahal for his wife.

A sad end for the emperor who built the white-marble Taj Mahal for his wife.

Published Feb 22, 2024


More than just dates and boring facts

1707 A young man on horseback races through the hamlet of Stellenbosch shouting ‘Victorie! Victorie!’ as news spreads that the burghers had scored a resounding victory against Cape Governor Adrian Willem van der Stel, with his bosses in Amsterdam siding with the burghers as the sole suppliers of food in the Cape. Hendrik Biebouw and his friends stage a celebration in Stellenbosch, where Biebouw is the first to call himself an Afrikaner.

1857 A thatched roof church is inaugurated on the square in Pretoria, hence Church Square.

1911 A report is released in London about the disappearance of the SS Waratah between Durban and Cape Town with 211 people, blaming a storm for its loss. Theories endure about its fate and resting place.

1983 The notorious Broadway flop Moose Murders opens, and closes. One of the reviewers, New Yorker art critic Brendan Gill, said that the play, ‘would insult the intelligence of an audience consisting entirely of amoebas’.

2002 The survivor of over a dozen assassination attempts, Angolan rebel Jonas Savimbi, 67, is killed in an ambush after leading his forces through 27 years of civil war. A charismatic figure, Savimbi had seemed forever clad in combat fatigues, a felt beret with four gold stars atop his head, a swagger stick in one hand and his trademark pearl-handled revolver at his hip. A tool of the Cold War, feted by the West and supported by the CIA and South Africa, he struggled to adjust to the changing world order once the Soviet Union fell and, with the US wooing Angola for its oil, he became an embarrassment to US and South African interests. So Savimbi was shot 15 times, and killed together with 21 of his bodyguards, all with weapons in hand, on the banks of the Luvuei River in Moxico province.

2011 An powerful earthquake strikes Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 181 people.

2018 Neanderthals, not humans, were the first artists on Earth, producing red cave paintings 65 000 years ago in Spain, according to new research, published in Science.

2022 US women soccer players settle their lawsuit with the US soccer federation for $24 million and a promise to equalise pay The Historian