This Day in History

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Saturday, February 13, 1960

France conducted its first nuclear bomb test at Reganne, Algeria, in the Sahara desert. At the time, Algeria was a French protectorate. The test, code named Gerboise Bleue, had a yield of 60-70 kilotons. This test put France in the same atomic league with the United States, the USSR and Britain. The test would be the first of many. Despite protests from the international community and several African states, France continued its nuclear tests for years.

This article was produced for South African History Online on 07-Feb-2013

This Day in History Extra Dates
  • Friday, February 13, 2004
    The Star reports the first human embryos were cloned by a team of South Korean researchers under leadership of Woo Suk Hwang.
    References:
    • The Star. 13 Feb 2004, p. 1.

  • Sunday, February 13, 2000
    In a public repudiation of Mugabe's designs on expanding his presidential powers and expropriating White-owned farms, Zimbabweans defeat his proposed new constitution by 54.6% in a referendum (12-13 February).
    References:

  • Saturday, February 13, 1999
    Osama bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire suspected of being behind the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, is reported to have disappeared from his base in Afghanistan.
    References:

  • Saturday, February 13, 1999
    South African envoy, Parks Makahlana, mediating in the Lockerbie case, reports, "all issues have now been resolved". UK Prime Minister Tony Blair asked President Nelson Mandela on 3 January 1999 to intervene.
    References:

  • Friday, February 13, 1998
    Nigerian-led peacekeepers trying to oust Sierra Leone's military government capture the parliament building in Freetown.
    References:

  • Thursday, February 13, 1997
    Rebels under Laurent Kabila take Zairian town of Faradje while advancing on country's third largest city, Kisangani.
    References:

  • Friday, February 13, 1998
    The first test match between SA and Pakistan starts a day late after the alleged mugging of two Pakistani players in Sandton.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Friday, February 13, 1998
    A Pilate aeroplane crashes into a mountain close to Nairobi, Kenya. Nine South Africans, including the aviation photographer Herman Potgieter, die.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau
    •  https://www.news24.com

  • Sunday, February 13, 1994
    Somali gunmen kidnap two Italian aid workers and an Egyptian UN peacekeeper is killed.
    References:

  • Monday, February 13, 1995
    Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology and ANC Women's League president Winnie Mandela is accused of misusing R500 000 presented to her by Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 1994. The claim is made by eleven members of the League who resigned two days previously in protest at her style of leadership.
    References:

  • Tuesday, February 13, 1996
    Finance Minister Chris Liebenberg announces that the 1995-96 Budget deficit will be R30.1 billion or 6 per cent of G.D.P.
  • Saturday, February 13, 1993
    Angolan government troops break into Unita rebel-held highlands in an attempt to open a supply corridor to the embattled city of Huambo.
    References:

  • Wednesday, February 13, 1991
    Minister of Home Affairs Gene Louw announces that race classification for newborn babies and immigrants has ceased with immediate effect.
    References:

  • Saturday, February 13, 1993
    Newspapers headlines a revitalised, reconciliated ANC-NP emerging from its most recent bosberaad, with a format for a government of National Unity.
    References:
    • Meer, F. (ed)(1993). The Codesa file. Durban: Madiba Publishers, p. 122

  • Tuesday, February 13, 1990
    The cricket tour by Mike Gatting's England team is curtailed by four matches, including the second Test, due to pressure from the African National Congress.
    References:

  • Monday, February 13, 1984
    André Stander, SA bank robber is killed in a shootout in the US.
    References:
    • Pretoria News, 7th Oct. 2003

  • Wednesday, February 13, 1985
    The house of exile Nat Serache in Botswana is blown up in a cross-border operation.
    References:
    • Coleman, M. (ed)(1998). A Crime Against Humanity: analysing the repression of the apartheid state, Johannesburg: Human Rights Committee, p. 133.

  • Friday, February 13, 1976
    General Murtula Ramat Muhammed, Nigerian head of state since a bloodless coup in 1975, is assassinated during a failed military coup.
  • Saturday, February 13, 1982
    15,000 people attend Neil Aggett's funeral in Johannesburg.
  • Tuesday, February 13, 1968
    The Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) commences with lectures in a temporary hall in Braamfontein.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Saturday, February 13, 1965
    The unofficial Dutch mission, under Professor W.G. de Gaay Fortman, coming to South Africa to discuss apartheid, is cancelled. The tour will no longer be undertaken because the government has refused permission for the mission to meet Dr. Albert Luthuli.
  • Monday, February 13, 1961
    Patrice Lumumba, former Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is shot trying to escape from prison.
    References:

  • Saturday, February 13, 1960
    The first French atom bomb is tested in the Sahara desert.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau
    •  https://www.news24.com

  • Monday, February 13, 1961
    UN security council urges use of force to prevent civil war in the Congo.
    References:

  • Sunday, February 13, 1955
    Prof Ahmed Cassim Bawa, academic, director of several companies and winner of scholarships and awards, is born.
    References:
    • Hayes, S. (ed)(2000).  Who's Who of Southern Africa 2001 ..., Graighall: Jonathan Ball.

  • Thursday, February 13, 1941
    WW2: The 12th African Division, with 1st SA Infantry Brigade in command, captures Kismayu in Somaliland.
    References:

  • Wednesday, February 13, 1901
    Lord Kitchener meets with Gen. Louis Botha in an effort to end the Anglo-Boer War, but Botha finds the British conditions unacceptable. The battle of Wolwekuil is fought the same day.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Monday, February 13, 1905
    The theological seminary of the Reformed Church is opened in Potchefstroom with Jan Lion Cachet as professor.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Tuesday, February 13, 1866
    Sir Bernard Oppenheimer, brother of Ernest (of the South African Diamond Corporation), is born in Germany.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Wednesday, February 13, 1850
    The Anti-Convict Association in Cape Town dissolves as a result of an order-in-council rescinding the decision to make the Cape a penal settlement.
    References:

  • Wednesday, February 13, 1861
    The Rev. D. Wilcocks, lecturer at the Wellington Missionary Institute and clergyman in various places in SA, is born.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Thursday, February 13, 1862
    The railway line between Cape Town and Eerste River (34 km) is completed.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Wednesday, February 13, 1850
    A 463-ton British wooden ship, Childe Herold, en route from Bombay to London and carrying more than 1300 pieces of ivory, is wrecked off Dassen Island.
    References:

  • Saturday, February 13, 1779
    An edict is issued in the Cape Colony forbidding any White person from settling beyond the Gamtoos River.
    References:

  • Sunday, February 13, 1785
    Marthinus A. Bergh leaves for the Netherlands to raise the grievances of the Burghers against the Cape government at the States General.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Monday, February 13, 1713
    Smallpox epidemic strikes the refreshment station at the Cape, after arriving with the crew on a Dutch ship. The disease wreaks irreparable havoc amongst the indigenous and colonist population of the Cape Peninsula and adjacent interior. Hardest hit are the indigenous Khoisan people. 
  • Tuesday, February 13, 1601
    John Lancaster leads first East India Company's voyage from London.
    References: