On this day March Events

March 21st

1804 - The French civil code, the Napoleonic Code, was adopted.

1806 - Lewis and Clark began their trip home after investigating Mississippi basin and the Pacific Coast.

1826 - The Rensselaer School in Troy, New York was incorporated. Known today as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, it was the first engineering college in the U.S.

1946 - The United Nations set up temporary headquarters at Hunter College in New York City.

1961 - The Beatles made their debut in an appearance at Liverpool's The Cavern.

1963 - The Alcatraz federal prison island in San Francisco Bay was emptied of its last inmates at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

1965 - More than 3,000 demonstrators led by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. began their march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

March 22nd

1638 - Religious dissident Anne Hutchinson was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1765 - Britain enacted the Stamp Act to raise money from the American colonies.

1790 - Thomas Jefferson became the first U.S. Secretary of State.

1882 - The U.S. Congress outlawed polygamy.

1893 - The first women's collegiate basketball game was played at Smith College in Massachusetts.

1894 - Hockey's first Stanley Cup championship game was played, between Montreal and Ottawa.

1895 - Auguste Lumiere and Louis Lumiere showed their first movie to an invited audience in Paris.

1933 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill legalizing the sale and possession of beer and wine containing up to 3.2 percent alcohol.

1935 - Persia was renamed Iran.

1941 - The Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State went into operation.

1945 - The Arab League was formed -- Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Yemen, in Egypt. Fifteen more Arab nations eventually joined the organization.

1960 - The first laser was patented by Arthur Schawlow and Charles Townes.

1968 - President Lyndon Johnson named General William Westmoreland as Army Chief of Staff.

1972 - Congress sent the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to the states for ratification; it fell three states short of the 38 needed for approval.

1990 - A jury in Alaska found former tanker captain Joseph Hazelwood innocent of major charges in connection with the Exxon Valdez oil spill, but convicted him of a minor charge of negligent discharge of oil.

March 23rd

1743 - George Frederic Handel's "Messiah" had its London premiere.

1775 - Patrick Henry made his famous call for America's independence from Britain, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" at a political convention.

1794 - Josiah G. Pierson patented a rivet machine.

1848 - Hungary proclaimed its independence of Austria.

1857 - Elisha Otis installed the first modern passenger elevator in a public building, in New York City.

1858 - Eleazer A. Gardner of Philadelphia patented the cable streetcar.

1880 - John Stevens patented the device called a grain crushing mill.

1903 - The Wright brothers obtained an airplane patent.

1909 - British Lt. Ernest Shackleton found the magnetic South Pole.

1919 - Benito Mussolini founded his Fascist political movement in Italy. The name Fasci di Combattimento, came from the Italian peasant revolutionaries, or "Fighting Bands," from the 19th century.

1942 - The U.S. Army started moving Japanese-Americans to internment camps.

1956 - Pakistan became an independent republic within the British Commonwealth.

1981 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could require, with some exceptions, parental notification when teen-age girls seek abortions.

2001 - Russia's orbiting Mir space station ended its 15-year trip with a fiery plunge into the South Pacific.

March 24th

1401 - Tamerlane the Great captured Damascus in Syria.

1664 - Roger Williams was granted a charter to colonize Rhode Island.

1765 - Britain enacted the Quartering Act, requiring American colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers.

1882 - German scientist Robert Koch announced the discovery of the bacillus responsible for tuberculosis.

1883 - Long-distance telephone service was started between Chicago and New York.

1900 - Mayor Van Wyck of New York broke ground for the New York subway tunnel that would link Manhattan and Brooklyn.

1934 - The Philippines were granted independence, which did not take effect until July 4, 1946.

1958 - Elvis Presley was inducted into the U.S. Army.

1976 - The president of Argentina, Isabel Peron, was deposed by the country's military.

1989 - The super-tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on a reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound and began leaking eleven million gallons of crude, the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

1999 - NATO launched air-strikes against Yugoslavia, marking the first time in its 50-year existence that it had ever attacked a sovereign country. The NATO offensive came in response to a new wave of ethnic cleansing launched by Serbian forces against the Kosovar Albanians.

March 25th

1609 - English explorer Henry Hudson set off from Amsterdam, on behalf of the Dutch East India Company, in search of the Northwest Passage.

1634 - Maryland was founded by English colonists sent by Lord Baltimore; they arrived at St. Clement's Island and called the settlement St. Mary's.

1751 - This was the old New Year's Day for Great Britain and its North American colonies up through 1751, when the Gregorian calendar was adopted and the beginning of the year changed to January 1.

1775 - George Washington planted the first pecan trees at Mount Vernon; this is celebrated as Pecan Day.

1807 - British Parliament abolished the slave trade.

1913 - The Palace Theatre, home of vaudeville, opened in New York City.

1937 - The first perfumed ad appeared in the Washington, D.C. "Daily News."

1954 - RCA manufactured its first colour TV set and began mass production.

1957 - France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg signed a treaty in Rome establishing the European Economic Community (EEC), also known as the Common Market.

1982 - The Canada Act was signed by Queen Elizabeth II, ratifying the Canadian Constitution and making it wholly independent.

2002 - A strong earthquake rocked Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan, killing up to 1,000 people.

March 26th

1804 - The Louisiana Purchase was divided into the Territory of Orleans and the District of Louisiana.

1885 - The Eastman Dry Plate and Film Co. of Rochester, New York, manufactured the first commercial motion picture film.

1953 - Dr. Jonas Salk announced the success of his vaccine against poliomyelitis.

1971 - East Pakistan proclaimed its independence, taking the name Bangladesh.

1979 - At the White House, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed an historic peace agreement.

1982 - Groundbreaking ceremonies took place in Washington, D.C. for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

2000 - Vladimir Putin was elected Russia's second democratically-chosen president.

March 27th

1512 - Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted Florida.

1703 - Czar Peter the Great founded the city of St. Petersburg.

1794 - President George Washington and Congress authorized creation of the U.S. Navy.

1860 - The corkscrew was patented by M. L. Byrn of New York.

1884 - The first long-distance telephone call was made, between Boston and New York City.

1899 - Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio signals, across the English Channel.

1912 - The wife of President William Howard Taft planted cherry trees on the bank of the Potomac River, in an event celebrating a gift by the Japanese government of 3,020 cherry trees to the U.S. government.

1917 - The Seattle Metropolitans became the first U.S. team to win the Stanley Cup as they defeated the Montreal Canadians.

1920 - Film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were married.

1958 - Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier in addition to First Secretary of the Communist Party.

1964 - The strongest earthquake in American history, measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale, occurred in southern Alaska, creating a deadly tsunami; 114 people were killed and thousands injured.

1998 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the impotency drug Viagra, made by Pfizer.

March 28th

1797 - Nathaniel Briggs of New Hampshire patented a washing machine.

1854 - During the Crimean War, Britain and France declared war on Russia.

1881 - P.T. Barnum and James Bailey merged their circuses to form the "Greatest Show on Earth."

1898 - The Supreme Court ruled that a child born in the United States to Chinese immigrants was a U.S. citizen.

1922 - Bradley A. Fiske of Washington, D.C. patented a microfilm reading device.

1930 - The names of the Turkish cities of Constantinople and Angora were changed to Istanbul and Ankara.

1939 - The three-year Spanish Civil War ended as Madrid fell to the forces of Francisco Franco.

1979 - America's worst commercial nuclear accident occurred as the Unit-2 reactor suffered a meltdown in its core at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania.

2002 - The Arab League agreed on a peace plan that offered Israel normal relations in exchange for a full withdrawal from lands taken in war and establishing a Palestinian state.

March 29th

1638 - Swedish colonists settled in present-day Delaware.

1812 - The first White House wedding took place, when Lucy Payne Washington (First Lady Dolly Madison's sister) married Supreme Court Justice Thomas Todd.

1848 - An ice jam at the source of the Niagara River stopped the flow of Niagara Falls for the first time.

1867 - The British Parliament passed the British North America Act to create the Dominion of Canada.

1882 - The Knights of Columbus was chartered, in Connecticut.

1886 - Coca-Cola went on sale; it was marketed as a "brain tonic" and claimed to relieve exhaustion. It was invented by Dr. John Pemberton.

1943 - Meat, butter, and cheese rationing began during World War II.

1951 - Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage; they were executed in 1953.

1961 - The 23rd Amendment, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote for president, was ratified.

1971 - Army Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr. was convicted of murdering at least 22 Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai massacre; he spent three years under house arrest.

1973 - America's involvement in the Vietnam War ended when, two months after the signing of the Vietnam peace agreement, the last U.S. combat troops left South Vietnam. Hanoi freed the remaining American prisoners of war held in North Vietnam at the same time.

1974 - U.S. space probe Mariner 10, launched by NASA in November 1973, became the first spacecraft to visit the planet Mercury.

1976 - Eight Ohio National Guardsmen were indicted for shooting four Kent State students during an anti-war protest on May 4, 1970.

1976 - The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Transit Authority ran its first Metro-rail passenger train.

March 30th

1775 - The British Parliament passed an act forbidding its North American colonies to trade with anyone other than Britain.

1814 - The European forces (Allies) against Napoleonic France captured Paris, formally ending a decade of French domination on the Continent.

1822 - Florida became a United States territory.

1842 - Dr. Crawford W. Long of Georgia, was the first to use ether as an anesthetic during an operation.

1856 - The Crimean War was brought to an end by the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

1858 - Hyman L. Lipman of Philadelphia patented the pencil with an eraser attached on one end.

1867 - U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward reached agreement with Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for $7.2 million. At the time, many called it "Seward's Folly."

1870 - Texas was readmitted to the Union, the last of the Confederate states to be readmitted.

1870 - The 15th Amendment, granting African-American men the right to vote, went into effect.

1909 - The Queensboro Bridge -- the first double-decker bridge -- linking the New York boroughs of Manhattan and Queens, opened.

1945 - The Soviet Union invaded Austria during World War II.

1981 - President Ronald Reagan was shot and seriously injured outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by John W. Hinckley, Jr. White House press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a District of Columbia police officer were also wounded.

1998 - Rolls-Royce was purchased by German automaker BMW.

March 31st

1492 - King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain issued an edict expelling Jews from Spanish soil, except those willing to convert to Christianity.

1836 - The first monthly installment of "The Pickwick Papers" by Charles Dickens was published in London.

1880 - The first electric street lights installed by a municipality are turned on in Wabash, Indiana.

1889 - The Eiffel Tower officially opened in Paris. It was designed by French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel.

1896 - The first zip fastener was patented in the U.S. by its inventor, Whitcomb Judson.

1916 - U.S. General John Pershing and his army routed Pancho Villa's army in Mexico.

1917 - The United States purchased the Virgin Islands from Denmark for $25 million.

1918 - Daylight Saving Time went into effect throughout the United States for the first time.

1923 - The first U.S. dance marathon was held, in New York City.

1933 - Congress authorized the Civilian Conservation Corps, to relieve unemployment.

1940 - La Guardia Airport in New York officially opened to the public.

1949 - Newfoundland became Canada's 10th province.

1954 - The U.S. Air Force Academy was established at Colorado Springs, Colorado.

1959 - The (14th) Dalai Lama reached India after fleeing Chinese suppression in Tibet, was granted political asylum and began his exile.

1968 - U.S. President Lyndon Johnson stunned the country by announcing he would not run for another term of office.

1976 - The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that coma patient Karen Anne Quinlan could be disconnected from her respirator. (Quinlan, who remained comatose, died in 1985.)

1995 - Baseball players agreed to end their 232-day strike after a judge granted a preliminary injunction against club owners.


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