On this day in history, January 28

The doomed space shuttle Challenger soars aloft, seconds before exploding. Picture: AFP

The doomed space shuttle Challenger soars aloft, seconds before exploding. Picture: AFP

Published Jan 28, 2024


More than just dates and boring facts.

1393 King Charles VI of France is nearly killed when several dancers’ costumes catch fire during a ball.

1671 Welsh pirate Henry Morgan captures Panama City from its Spanish defenders.

1754 Sir Horace Walpole coins the word, ‘serendipity’, in a letter to a friend.

1846 The Battle of Aliwal, India, is won by British troops commanded by Sir Harry Smith. Both he and his wife, Juana Maria de Los Dolores de León, had South African towns (Harrismith, Ladysmith and Ladismith. Aliwal North and Smithfield) named after them.

1881 The Boers beat the numerically superior British in the battle of Laing’s Nek.

1887 The world’s largest snowflakes are reported in Montana. They were 38cm wide and 8 inches (20cm) thick.

1896 Walter Arnold of East Peckham, Kent, becomes the first person to be convicted of speeding. His fine? One shilling, plus costs, for speeding at 8mph (13kp/h), four times the limit.

1933 The name ‘Pakistan’ – an acronym, for Punjab, Afghan, Kashmir, Indus and Sind, with the “Tan” representing Baluchistan – is coined and used to push for a Muslim homeland in South Asia.

1942 Five power stations are blown up in an attempt to destabilise the Rand gold mines.

1984 Tropical Storm Domoina makes landfall in southern Mozambique. It causes 214 deaths and some of the most severe flooding recorded in the region.

Underwater explorer and marine biologist Mike Barnette and wreck diver Jimmy Gadomski exploring a 20-foot segment of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger discovered in the waters off the coast of Florida during the filming of the new series “The Bermuda Triangle: Into Cursed Waters”. Divers searching for a World War II-era aircraft in the Bermuda Triangle have found a piece of an entirely different sort of vessel: part of the US Challenger space shuttle that exploded after takeoff in 1986. Picture: AFP

1986 Space shuttle Challenger blows up 73 seconds after liftoff, killing all seven astronauts, including Christa McAuliffe who was to have been the first teacher in space. Space shuttle Challenger pilot Michael Smith was heard on radio saying, ‘Uh-oh’ just before the explosion. Some of the crew lived long enough to turn on emergency air packs.

2002 A Boeing 727-100 crashes in the Andes mountains in southern Colombia, killing 92.

2006 The roof of one of the buildings at the Katowice International Fair in Poland, collapses due to the weigh to of snow, killing 65 people and injuring more than 170 others.

2018 Seven survivors from a missing Kiribati ferry, carrying 100 people, are rescued after a week at sea.

2023 Australian Open Women's Tennis: Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka beats Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 for her first major title.

But wait, there’s more....