On this day in history, March 17

Top of the morning to you. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya / Independent Newspapers

Top of the morning to you. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya / Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 17, 2024


Today, only back in the day

461 St Patrick’s Day: Death of the saint, who although not Irish and whose name was Maewyn Succat, went on to become revered as Ireland’s greatest saint following his burial in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick. Aged 16 he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain and taken to Ireland as a slave. Escaping six years later, he went to France and became a monk. By 432 he had become a bishop and returned to Ireland as a missionary, where he met one of the druid chiefs, who tried to have him killed. The druid became the first of many converts.

1820 The first British Settlers arrive in Table Bay, aboard the ships Nautilus and Chapman.

1894 Pondo king Sigcau, son of Umquikela, agrees to become a British subject, placing Pondoland under the Crown.

1901 At a show in Paris, 71 paintings by Vincent van Gogh cause a sensation, 11 years after his death.

1905 Albert Einstein finishes his scientific paper detailing his Quantum Theory of Light, one of the foundations of modern physics.

1948 Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK sign the Treaty of Brussels, a precursor to Nato.

1959 Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dalai Lama, flees Tibet for India.

Burst of Joy

1973 The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, Burst of Joy, is taken, depicting a former prisoner of war being reunited with his family after six years of captivity. The picture came to symbolise the end of US involvement in the Vietnam War. Although a happy image, it was far from it in reality.

1990 More than 10 000 mourners gather in strife-torn Katlehong township near Alberton to bury 14 victims of the taxi war.

1992 White voters in a referendum support reforms to end apartheid.

2019 Zimbabwe declares a state of emergency after tropical Cyclone Idai kills at least 259 people.

2020 Chad begins repaying a $100 million debt to Angola with cattle, as more than 1 000 cows arrive in Luanda

2020 The first confirmed cases of the local transmission of Covid-19 are announced by government laboratories, with four in Gauteng, three in KwaZulu-Natal, and one in the Western Cape