Today in History: 24th of January


On this day in history...

Emily Hobhouse reports on British concentration camp during the Second Anglo-Boer War 

On the 24th of January 1901, the British social activist, Emily Hobhouse, bore witness to the appalling conditions at a British concentration camp in Bloemfontein.

She would continue to investigate the conditions within various camps alongside her campaigning in opposition to them, criticising the British government for its negligence and ill-treatment of Boer women and children.

Hobhouse would later be awarded honorary South African citizenship for her efforts against the camps.

The British concentration camps, which housed Boer women and children, were formed in the wake of the infamous British strategy to end the Boer guerrilla-warfare by completely demoralising the Boers.

The British “Scorched Earth” policy devastated Boer farms, which included livestock and crops, by utterly destroying them and, in addition, placing Boer women and children in poorly-kept camps.

In these camps, as many as 25 000 perished.


Chilean earthquake

On the 24th of January 1939, an earthquake, with a rating of 8.3 on the Richter scale, laid waste to much of the South American nation of Chile.

The quake lasted only three minutes, yet took the lives of approximately 30 000 people, whilst leaving 50 000 injured.

The destruction was huge, leaving little standing in many areas.

America and Britain would send in support to help amid the destruction, a destruction which would soon be man-made in September, that year, when the Second World War broke out in Europe.


50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death 

On the 24th of January 1965, one of the most famous British politicians in history, namely Winston Churchill, passed away.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the former British Prime Minister’s death.

Winston Churchill served as Prime Minister of Britain throughout the vast majority of the Second World War, and saw the nation to victory in Europe.

Churchill’s speech after the evacuation of Dunkirk in France, which included his famous words “we will fight them on the beaches...”, would see the island ride out Germany’s attempt at taking it in the well-known Battle of Britain, before marching into Europe after the D-Day invasion of 1944 and, in the end, claiming victory, alongside their allies, in 1945, over their German aggressor, namely the Nazi regime.  

His death was followed by a massive funeral procession in which thousands of people lined the streets to witness his coffin, covered by the Union Jack, be carried off to its resting place at Westminster.