Saturday May 18, 2013
On 18 May 1291, after a siege of six weeks (starting on 5 April) the last major Latin city in Palestine, fell to the Mamluk army of the Sultan of Egypt. Sultan Al-Ashraf Khalil's army had included seventy-two siege engines and numerous engineers who mined under the walls.
Acre had been the effective capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem since Jerusalem's fall to the Muslim leader Saladin in 1187. King Henry II and a number of the defenders escaped to Cyprus, but the majority were slaughtered during the siege and in the aftermath. Two hundred Templers retired to their fort at the southern most tip of the city, where they continued to hold out until the 28th, but they too ultimately fell to the Mamluk forces.
Sultan al-Ashaf Khalil took a lesson from the history of the great Mulsim leader Saladin, a hundred odd years before, and systematically destroyed all the Latin towns and ports on the coast of Palestine and Syria to prevent them being used in the future by Christian crusaders.
The fall of Acre, however, ended an era - signaling the end of crusades to liberate the Holy Lands.
Tuesday May 14, 2013
On 14 May 1991 Winnie Nomzamo Mandela was sentenced to six years for her 'complicity' in the kidnapping and beating of four youths, one of whom, 14-year-old Stompie Moeketsi Seipei, was later found dead. The actual crime was committed by her 'thuggish' bodyguards, the 'Mandela United Football Club'. Winnie Mandela was released on bail pending an appeal. She would, eventually, only receive a fine for her role in the crime.
The heavy sentence was unexpected since Winnie Mandela was only found guilty of conspiracy to kidnap and accessory after the fact to assault.
On passing sentence Mr Justice Michael Stahl Stegmann said she was an "unblushing and unprincipled liar" and that although she had not been a participant in the kidnapping and beatings, she had shown a "complete absence of compassion for the victims"
When she emerged from court, Winnie Mandela told reporters that she had "been found guilty by the media and went on to thank those people who "not been influenced by the misleading reports we had to face during the past two years."
Find out more about what has happened in African history on 14 May.
Monday May 13, 2013
At 2:15 pm on 13 May 1943 British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, received the following report from Allied C-in-C General Harold Alexander in North Africa: "Sir, it is my duty to report that the Tunisian campaign is over. All enemy resistance has ceased. We are the masters of the North African shores."
Friday May 10, 2013
One of the most significant things to have happened on the 10th of May
in African history was the inauguration in 1994 of Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa, following the first-ever democratic elections. Addressing the crowds at the Union Buildings in Pretoria Mandela said: "We saw our country tear itself apart in terrible conflict ... The time for healing of wounds has come ... Never, never again will this beautiful land experience the oppression of one by another.
Biography of Nelson Mandela
Quotes from Mandela
Quotes on Mandela
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