History, Holidays & Observances on January 22

Major Events: Battle of Rorke’s Drift, Supreme Court discovers a constitutional right to abortion
Notable Events: Battle of Basing, Swiss Guards, CIA, Apple’s Superbowl commercial, Beit Lid Massacre, Evo Morales,
Born: Ibn Taymiyyah, Ivan the Great, Walter Raleigh, Francis Bacon, John Donne, William Kidd, Lord Byron, D.W. Griffith, Irving Kristol, Linda Blair
Died: Queen Victoria, Lyndon Baines Johnson

Major Events on January 22

1879 – The Battle of Rorke’s Drift

History teaches what is possible, what mistakes others have made, and it gives examples to which to aspire. Ask any U.S. Army Infantry Officer about Rorke’s Drift and they’ll immediately know what you are talking about. Junior officers at Fort Benning in basic and advanced training spend several hours as part of their courses studying the battle. It was a very small battle, but a superb display of smart tactics and leadership.

The Zulu tribe of southern Africa controlled a kingdom approximately an area of 11,500 square miles in size. The British declared war on the Zulu tribe and began an invasion of Zulu territory on 11 January, 1879. The British Commander, Lord Chelmsford, with about 15,000 soldiers, invaded in three non-supporting columns, determined to fix the Zulu and bring them to battle. The entire Zulu Army, if mustered together, amounted to 30,000 men.

The 2nd column of 7,800 soldiers was led by Chelmsford himself. They encamped at Islandawara but did not bother to dig in or prepare defenses. A force of 20,000 Zulu warriors, some armed with guns, others with spears, attacked the British position on 22 January, 1879, all but completely exterminating the British force.

Lord Chelmsford had left a small British camp to the rear at Rorke’s Drift that he was using as a hospital and a supply depot. Word soon arrived in camp of the disaster at Islandawara and that a force of Zulu were heading towards Rorke’s Drift. The officers at the camp met to discuss what to do. Unable to move the hospital patients, they opted to remain in place and defend the camp.

The two “senior” officers in the camp were Lt. John Chard of the Royal Engineers and Lt. Gonville Bromhead of B Co, 2nd Battalion of the 24th Regiment of Foot. Most of the British soldiers at the Drift were under Bromhead’s command, but Chard was the senior of the two officers and took command of the overall defense.

There were 154-156 British soldiers (including in that number 34 hospital patients able to take part in the defense) in the camp and another 400 members of the Native Natal Companies. Lt. Chard directed preparations to defend the camp, building up not only external walls, but an internal wall dividing the camp into two halves if one needed to be abandoned.

By 4 p.m., as a Zulu force of 2.000 to 3,000 men advanced on the camp, the NNC companies fled.

The Zulus began attacking in waves. The battle would rage for the next ten hours, continuing through much of the night, with fighting often devolving to hand to hand / bayonet and knife to spear combat. Within the first hours, the hospital was aflame and breached. The Brits did a fighting withdrawal from the building. By 10 p.m., the cattle kraal was under such sustained attack that the Brits evacuated it as well. The Brits spent the last several hours of the battle defending a small bastion around the storehouse.

By 4 a.m., the Zulu attacks ended. When the sun rose, every surviving British soldier was wounded, exhausted, and low and ammunition. Fourteen of the camp were dead, two were mortally wounded, and eight more seriously wounded. Outside of the walls, the area was littered with Zulu dead and severely wounded.

Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the defenders of Rorke’s Drift, seven of them to soldiers of the 2nd/24th Foot – the most ever received for a single action by one regiment. . . .

Victor Davis Hanson [commented on the battle and the awards] . . . in Carnage and Culture (also published as Why the West Has Won), saying, “Modern critics suggest such lavishness in commendation was designed to assuage the disaster at Isandhlwana and to reassure a skeptical Victorian public that the fighting ability of the British soldier remained unquestioned. Maybe, maybe not, but in the long annals of military history, it is difficult to find anything quite like Rorke’s Drift, where a beleaguered force, outnumbered forty to one, survived and killed twenty men for every defender lost”

The Battle of Rorke’s Drift was the subject of a popular movie, Zulu, made in 1964 and starring Michael Caine and narrated by Richard Burton, a movie that a 2017 poll of actors, critics and directors ranked in the top 100 of British films ever made.

1973 – The Supreme Court of the United States delivers its decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, creating a right to abortion out of whole cloth

Ever since the rise of the progressive movement in the U.S. with Woodrow Wilson, the progressives have turned to the Courts to unlawfully amend the Constitution without reference to Article V and to achieve what they could not achieve lawfully and by the ballot box. The most infamous example case this day in 1973 when the Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade, declared that, hidden deep within a penumbra of the Constitution lay a Constitutional right to abortion.

Whether or not one supports abortion is an argument separate and apart from whether the Supreme Court should have amended the Constitution by fiat on this day in 1973. The Court lacks any Article V power to do so. That the decision still stands continues to be a bleeding wound in the heart of our Constitutional form of government.

Notable Events on January 22

871 – The West Saxons led by King Æthelred I are defeated by the Danelaw Vikings at the Battle of Basing. It was one of a series of battles that would end with the triumph of King Alfred the Great.

1506 – The tradition of Swiss Guards protecting the papacy dates to Pope Julius II who, in 1503, asked the Swiss Diet to provide him with a permanent corps of 200 Swiss mercenaries. This was made possible through the financing of the German merchants who had invested in the Pope and saw it fit to protect their investment. On this day in 1506, the first contingent of 150 Swiss Guards arrives at the Vatican.

1946 – Though the seeds of our intelligence agencies date to the American Revolution, the CIA had its origins in WWII, with the final preliminary step to creating a central intelligence agency coming on this date in 1946 with the creation of the Central Intelligence Group.

1984 – The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, is introduced during a Super Bowl XVIII television commercial.

1995 – A Muslim terrorist, at a military transit point, near Netanya, Israel blew himself up. When medical responders arrived, a second terrorist blew himself up, murdering and injuring may others. This, the so called Beit Lid massacre,

was the seventh major terror attack after the Oslo “peace” agreement, just sixteen months after the signing. What was supposed to herald a new era of peace was instead bringing the worst wave of terror within Israel in its history. Even dovish then-president Ezer Weizman called for a halt in the “peace” accords in the wake of Beit Lid. Yitzchak Rabin didn’t listen, and the bombings continued, years before the second intifada.

Muslims in the West Bank later celebrate this as an act of “glorious martyrdom” for Allah.

2006 – Evo Morales is inaugurated as President of Bolivia, becoming the country’s first indigenous president. Morales was a Marxist and his policies, predictably, failed as he sought to permanently hold onto power. He is now living in Argentina under a grant of political asylum.

Born on January 22

1263 – Ibn Taymiyyah, the great-great-great-great-great grandsire of modern radical Islam. Taymiyyah was a Muslim cleric born after the glory days of massive Islamic conquest and during the Mongol invasions of Islamic ruled countries. Taymiyyah saw the Mongol success against the Islamic armies as punishment from Allah for failing to strictly adhere to the Koran. His writings would later be the primary influence on Ibn Wahhab, leading to the particularly toxic brand of Islam practiced today in Saudi Arabia and spreading world wide, Wahhabism.

1440 – Ivan III of Russia, known as Ivan the Great. He “he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Mongols/Tatars over Russia, renovated the Kremlin, introduced a new legal codex, and laid the foundations of the Russian state.”

1552 – Walter Raleigh, English soldier, explorer and author, he was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth who popularized Virginia tobacco in England. In the end, he lost his head after plotting against James I.

1561 – Francis Bacon, whose method of scientific experimentation became known as the “scientific method” that defines science itself.

1573 – John Donne, one of the great Elizabethan poets. Donne was an Anglican cleric, but his writing was not confined to religion. “His works are noted for their strong, sensual style and include sonnets, love poems, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons.”

The Good-Morrow


I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

1645 – William Kidd, a Scottish captain and pirate hunter who eventually turned to piracy himself. He became a pawn in British politics of the era and ended up at the end of a Tory rope.

1788 – Lord Byron, perhaps the most well known of the English poets of the Romantic Period. He was also a great dog lover. One of his poems, Epitaph to a Dog, was a poem he wrote as a memoriam for his dog, Boatswain, upon his passing and that appears inscribed on a plaque where his dog is buried.

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.
This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808.

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown to Glory but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below:
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen
Not what he was, but what he should have been.

But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonour’d falls, unnotic’d all his worth,
Deny’d in heaven the Soul he held on earth:

While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debas’d by slavery, or corrupt by power,
Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.

Ye! who behold perchance this simple urn,
Pass on, it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one—and here he lies.

1875 – D. W. Griffith, most noted of the early film directors. Between 1908 and 1931, he directed approximately 500 films. “He pioneered the feature-length movie and many enduring cinematic techniques, such as the close-up.” Probably his most well remembered film is The Birth of a Nation in 1915 a film that glorified the Ku Klux Klan and that progressive President Woodrow Wilson screened in the White House.

1920 – Irving Kristol, a very influential public intellectual and god-father of the Neo-con movement. Kristol famously defined a neo-con as “a liberal who has been mugged by reality.”

1959 – Linda Blair, a movie actress who peaked early, playing a possessed child in the 1973 movie, The Exorcist, arguably the best horror film of all time.

Died on January 22

1901 – Queen Victoria, whose 63 year reign over the United Kingdom is known as the Victorian Era, the height of the British Empire and the period during which the power of the monarchy waned and that of Parliament became paramount.

1973 – Lyndon B. Johnson, who became president following the assassination of J.F.K. He led the U.S. into the twin disasters that were the Great Society and large-scale involvement in the Vietnam War.