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.
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.
Biography of Nelson Mandela
Quotes from Mandela
Quotes on Mandela
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc
Stanley had been living full time in Britain since 1890, becoming Member of Parliament for Lambeth between 1895 and 1900. He was knighted in 1899.
In April 1904 Stanley contracted pleurisy and by early May it was clear he would soon die. On the evening of 9 May he reportedly told his wife "I have done all my work, I have circumnavigated...I want to be free! I want to go into the woods to be free." On the morning of the 10th, as Big Ben struck six, Stanley died.
Stanley had expected to be buried in Westminster Abbey next to Livingstone, but in the end his coffin was just driven past it to be cremated - the Dean of Westminster, Reverend Joseph Armitage Robinson had ruled against his interment in the Abbey. The granite headstone, in the churchyard at Pirbright, reads "Henry Morton Stanley, Bula Matari, 1841-1904, Africa."
Image Source in Public Domain: The Autobiography of H.M. Stanley, Ed. Dorothy Stanley, London, 1909.
It was only five days after Italian forces under the command of General Pietro Badoglio entered Addis Ababa back in 1936, at the end of the 2nd Italo-Abyssinian War, that Mussolini declared the country part of the Italian Empire. "It is a Fascist empire because it bears the indestructible sign of the will and power of Rome." Abyssinia (as it was known) was joined with Italian Eritrea and Italian Somaliland to form the Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East Africa, AOI). Haile Selassie fled to Britain where he remained in exile until the second World War gave him the opportunity to return to his people.
Haile Selassie had made an impassioned appeal to the League of Nations on 30 June 1936, which gained great support with the United States and Russia. However, many other League of Nations members, especially Britain and France, continued to recognize the Italian possession of Ethiopia.
The fact that the Allies ultimately fought hard to return independence to Ethiopia was a significant step on the path to African independence. That Italy, like Germany after World War I, had its African Empire taken away, signaled a major change in European attitude towards the continent.
More on the Groote Schurr Minute:
Text of the Groote Schuur Minute
New Resources for Togo
Having been colonized by Germany in 1894, the larger region of Togoland was divided between the French and British at the end of the First World War. On independence in 1960, French Togoland became the Togolese Republic, while British Togoland became part of Ghana. The Republic of Togo was ruled for almost 38 years (14 April 1967 to 5 February 2005) as a one-party state by one man, Gnassingbé Eyadéma. Find out more about the history of Togo with this timeline.
Timeline for Togo
• Part 1: From Prehistory to the Assassination of Sylvanus Épiphanio Olympio (13 January 1963)
• Part 2: From the Assassination of Sylvanus Épiphanio Olympio (13 January 1963) to President Gnassingbé Eyadéma's 20th Anniversary as President (January 1987)
• Part 3: From President Gnassingbé Eyadéma's 20th Anniversary as President (January 1987) to the Death of Gnassingbé Eyadéma (5 February 2005)
• Part 4: From the Death of Gnassingbé Eyadéma (5 February 2005) to the Present Day
Recorded as the first land engagement of American troops outside the American continent, the battle at Derna (27 April 1805) has a particular place in the memory of the United States Marine Corps. The trek across the desert is commemorated in the first verse of the Marines' Hymn: "to the shores of Tripoli". Find out more about the Tripolitan War.