Today in African History

Today in African History: February 2

Greetings and shalom, everyone! On this day of the Gregorian calendar, February 2, we remember the following events in global African history:


Year Territory Event
1494 Caribbean Christopher Columbus began the practice using Native Americans as slaves.
1848 USA; Mexico US and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexico ceded one-third of its territory to the US including California, agreed to the Rio Grande as the boundary between Texas and Mexico and was awarded $15 million. 25,000 Mexicans and 12,000 Americans lost their lives in the 17-month old conflict.
1852 France Alexandre Dumas Jr.’s “Le Dame aux Camelias,” premiered in Paris.
1971 Uganda Idi Amin replaces President Milton Obote as leader of Uganda.
1990 South Africa Apartheid: F. W. de Klerk announces the unbanning of the African National Congress and promises to release Nelson Mandela.
1990 South Africa Benedict Daswa, as Catholic schoolteacher, was beaten to death in a spasm of violence born of a flash of lightning and a witch hunt. In 2012 a movement was under way to have the Vatican declare Daswa South Africa’s first saint. Daswa was beatified on Sep 13, 2015.
1992 Haiti; Cuba The U.S. Coast Guard shipped home 250 more Haitian refugees from the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, a day after repatriating a shipload of about 150 Haitians.
1993 USA In a speech to the National Governors’ Association, President Clinton pledged to transform welfare into a “hand up, not a handout” by giving recipients training and then requiring them to work.
2001 DR Congo Congo’s Pres. Joseph Kabila called for the armies of Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi to withdraw and promised that troops from Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe would leave after stability was restored.
2001 DR Congo Hutu militiamen backing Joseph Kabila ambushed a bus in rebel-controlled eastern Congo and killed 11 passengers.
2002 Nigeria In Lagos, Nigeria, fighting broke out between militants of the Yoruba and Hausa tribes. At least 55 people were killed over the next 2 days as fighting spread.
2003 Nigeria A powerful explosion destroyed a bank and dozens of apartments above it on Lagos Island, and relief workers reported at least 46 killed and many more trapped.
2004 Uganda In western Uganda, a boat overloaded with passengers and cargo capsized in stormy weather on Lake Albert and more than 40 people were feared drowned.
2005 Senegal; France French Pres. Jacques Chirac planned to visit Senegal for the first time in a decade, hoping to boost ties with a former West African colony at a time when the US was raising its military profile in the region.
2007 Central African Republic Abdoulaye Miskine, the head of one of the Central African Republic‘s main rebel groups, inked in Libya a peace deal described as “historic” by the government. Under the deal, which CAR’s other main rebel factions are expected to sign up to, there will be an immediate ceasefire and Miskine’s rebels will be integrated into civilian life or absorbed into the army. Rebel prisoners are to be freed.
2008 African Union African Union leaders condemned the latest unrest in Chad and Kenya at the close of a summit overshadowed by new crises on the continent and which saw little headway achieved on older ones. Hundreds of rebels penetrated the capital of Chad, clashing with government troops and moving on the presidential palace after a three-day advance through the oil-producing central African nation.
2009 USA President Barack Obama promised to establish a review board to oversee the government’s $700 billion rescue package aimed at averting a financial meltdown, declaring that some of the nation’s banks would have to write down bad debts, while other banks may fail.
2009 USA Eric Holder won US Senate confirmation as the nation’s first African-American attorney general, after supporters from both parties touted his dream resume and easily overcame Republican concerns over his commitment to fight terrorism and his unwillingness to back the right to keep and bear arms.
2009 African Union In Ethiopia, Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi was elected to head the 53-nation African Union at a summit amid concerns over deadly unrest in Madagascar and a bid to indict Sudan’s president for war crimes.
2009 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe’s central bank revalued its dollar again, lopping another 12 zeros off its battered currency to try to tame hyperinflation and avert total economic collapse.
2012 DR Congo CongoDRC officials from the discredited electoral commission announced the last of the winning legislators in results it has issued piecemeal and following a suspension of the count from the Nov. 28 balloting. Kabila still will command a majority in parliament, where his coalition of several parties has won about 260 of the 500 seats, down from more than 300 in the previous assembly.
2012 Gambia Gambian President Yahya Jammeh dissolved his cabinet, two months after he was reelected to a fourth term as the head of Africa mainland’s smallest country.
2012 South Africa Impala Platinum, the world’s number two producer, fired 13,000 miners who went on an illegal strike. Over the past month, the Johannesburg-based company has sacked a total of about 17,200 workers at its mine in the northwestern town of Rustenburg, more than half of the 30,000 people employed in the town.
2014 Central African Republic In the Central African Republic witnesses said international forces have retaken Sibut, a strategic town occupied for days by Muslim Seleka fighters.
2014 Mauritania Mauritania’s PM Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf and his cabinet resigned, a move that had been expected after the ruling party scored a sweeping victory in legislative and local elections the previous year.
2015 USA President Barack Obama proposed a $3.99 trillion budget for fiscal year 2016 that sets up a battle with Republicans over programs to boost the middle class that are funded by higher taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans.
2015 Liberia Large-scale human testing of two potential Ebola vaccines got under way in Monrovia, part of a global effort to prevent a repeat of the epidemic that had now claimed nearly 9,000 lives in West Africa.
2015 Nigeria Nigerian warplanes started bombing runs in the Sambisa Forest, where Boko Haram extremists have camps and kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls last April.
2015 South Sudan South Sudan’s warring factions signed another peace deal in the latest effort to end hostilities that have raged for more than a year.
2017 DR Congo; Belgium Congo DRC’s opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi (84) died in Brussels, where he had been flown for medical treatment January 24 just as talks were scheduled to end the nation’s months-long political crisis.
2017 Cuba; USA American Airlines formally opened an office in Havana, and an executive said the company will move ahead with its plans for Cuba despite uncertainty over what President Donald Trump’s administration will bring.
2017 Guyana Guyana sentenced to death two men for a 2008 massacre in which nine civilians and three police officers were killed. Prosecutors said Dennis Williams and Royden Williams were part of a group that went to the jungle community of Bartica to steal from gold miners and wound up killing the 12 people.
2017 Nigeria Nigeria’s government said it will soon pay all the overdue cash stipends it owes former militants who signed up for an amnesty in 2009 in the Niger Delta oil hub.
2017 DR Congo; Vietnam Wildlife anti-trafficking organization Freeland said that almost three tons of scales from endangered African pangolins, hidden in sacks, were seized last December at Bangkok’s main airport. The haul was worth more than $1 million dollars on the illegal market, and represented as many as 6,000 dead animals. The scales were sent from Kinshasa in Congo, via Turkey with a final destination listed as Vientiane, Laos.
2017 Kenya; Somalia The United Nations’ highest court ruled that it has the authority to adjudicate in a maritime boundary dispute between Kenya and Somalia over stretches of the Indian Ocean potentially rich in oil and gas.

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