On this day in history, March 17

Happy St Patrick’s Day. Picture: wallpaperflare.com

Happy St Patrick’s Day. Picture: wallpaperflare.com

Published Mar 17, 2023


Whites vote to end Apartheid, the first cases of locally transmitted Covid in South Africa, the siege of Mafeking ends, and Katlehong residents gather to bury their dead.

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.

1900 British troops relieve Mafeking, besieged by the Boers since October 13.

A girl looks around displays at the world premiere of the 'Meet Vincent van Gogh' exhibition, which reflects many of his paintings, in Beijing, China, June 15, 2016. Picture: Reuters

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.

1973 The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, Burst of Joy, is taken, depicting a former prisoner of war being reunited with his family, which came to symbolise the end of US involvement in the Vietnam War.

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 that will end apartheid.

2019 Zimbabwe declares a state of emergency after tropical Cyclone Idai tears through eastern Zimbabwe, killing at least 259 people.

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.