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This Month in History March

March 1, 1974

Seven former high-ranking officials of the Nixon White House were indicted for conspiring to obstruct the investigation into the Watergate break-in. Among those indicted were former chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, former top aide John Ehrlichman, and former attorney general John Mitchell.

March 2, 1943 – During World War II in the Pacific, a Japanese convoy was attacked by 137 American bombers as the Battle of Bismarck Sea began. The convoy included eight destroyers and eight transports carrying 7,000 Japanese soldiers heading toward New Guinea. Four destroyers and all eight transports were sunk, resulting in 3,500 Japanese drowned, ending Japanese efforts to send reinforcements to New Guinea.

March 3, 1847 – Telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell  was born in Edinburgh, Scotland.

March 3, 1913 – A women’s suffrage march in Washington D.C. was attacked by angry onlookers while police stood by. The march occurred the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. Many of the 5,000 women participating were spat upon and struck in the face as a near riot ensued.

March 4, 1933 – Newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office and delivered his first inaugural address attempting to restore public confidence during the Great Depression, stating, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”

March 5, 1770 – The Boston Massacre occurred as a group of Americans harassed British soldiers who then opened fire, killing five and injuring six. The first man killed was Crispus Attucks, an African American. British Captain Thomas Preston and eight of his men were arrested and charged with murder. Their trial took place in October, with colonial lawyer John Adams (the second president and first vice president of America) defending the British.

March 6, 1475 – Renaissance genius Michelangelo was born in Caprese, Italy. He was a painter, sculptor, architect, poet and visionary best known for his fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and his sculptures David and The Pieta.

March 6, 1836 – Fort Alamo fell to Mexican troops led by General Santa Anna. The Mexicans had begun the siege of the Texas fort on February 23rd, ending it with the killing of the last defender. “Remember the Alamo” became a rallying cry for Texans who went on to defeat Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto in April.

March 7, 1707 – Stephen Hopkins was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He was the state’s colonial governor and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

March 8, 1863 – During the American Civil War, Confederate Colonel John Mosby, leader of Mosby’s Rangers, captured Union General E.H. Stoughton at his headquarters in Fairfax County Courthouse, Virginia.

March 9, 1451 – Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence, Italy. He explored South America and the Amazon River, believing he had discovered a new continent. In 1507, a German mapmaker first referred to the lands discovered in the New World as America.

March 10, 1880 – The Salvation Army was founded in the United States. The social service organization was first founded in England by William Booth and operates today in 90 countries.

March 11, 1918 – The ‘Spanish’ influenza first reached America as 107 soldiers became sick at Fort Riley, Kansas. One quarter of the U.S. population eventually became ill from the deadly virus, resulting in 500,000 deaths. The death toll worldwide touched 22 million by the end of 1920.

March 12, 1609 – The island of Bermuda was colonized by the British after a ship on its way to Virginia was wrecked on the reefs.

March 12, 1881 – The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was born in Salonika, Greece. Following World War I, he led the Turkish revolution and became Turkey’s first president.

March 12, 1938 – Nazis invaded Austria and absorbed the country into Hitler’s Reich.

March 12, 1994 – The Church of England ordained 32 women as its first female priests. In protest, 700 male clergy members and thousands of church members left the church and joined the Roman Catholic Church which does not allow women priests.

March 13, 1943 – A plot to kill Hitler by German army officers failed as a bomb planted aboard his plane failed to explode due to a faulty detonator.

March 14, 1879 – Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany. His theory of relativity led to new ways of thinking about time, space, matter and energy. He received a Nobel Prize in 1921 and emigrated to the U.S. in 1933. He was an outspoken critic of Nazi Germany. Believing the Nazis might develop an atomic bomb, he warned President Roosevelt and urged the development of the U.S. Atomic bomb.

March 15, 44 B.C. – Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Senate chamber in Rome by Brutus and fellow conspirators. After first trying to defend himself against the murderous onslaught, Caesar saw Brutus with a knife and asked “Et tu, Brute?” (You too, Brutus?) Caesar then gave up the struggle and was stabbed to death.

March 16, 1968 – During the Vietnam War, the My Lai Massacre occurred as American soldiers of Charlie Company murdered 504 Vietnamese men, women, and children. Twenty-five U.S. Army officers were later charged with complicity in the massacre and subsequent cover-up, but only one was convicted, and later pardoned by President Richard Nixon.

March 17, 1776 – Early in the American Revolutionary War the British completed their evacuation of Boston following a successful siege conducted by Patriots. The event is still commemorated in Boston as Evacuation Day.

March 18, 1974 – The five-month-old Arab oil embargo against the U.S. was lifted. The embargo was in retaliation for American support of Israel during the Yom Kipper War of 1973 in which Egypt and Syria suffered a crushing defeat. In the U.S., the resulting embargo had caused long lines at gas stations as prices soared 300 percent amid shortages and a government ban on Sunday gas sales.

March 19, 2003 – The United States launched an attack against Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein from power.

March 20, 1995 – A nerve gas attack occurred on the Tokyo subway system during rush hour resulting in 12 persons killed and 5,000 injured.

March 21, 1943 – A suicide/assassination plot by German Army officers against Hitler failed as the conspirators were unable to locate a short fuse for the bomb which was to be carried in the coat pocket of General von Gersdorff to ceremonies Hitler was attending.

March 22, 1972 – The Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. Senate and then sent to the states for ratification. The ERA, as it became known, prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender, stating, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” and that “the Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

March 23, 1775 – Patrick Henry ignited the American Revolution with a speech before the Virginia convention in Richmond, stating, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

March 23, 1940 – The Lahore resolution was actually adopted on March 24, but officially in Pakistan March 23 is considered the date of its adoption.

March 24, 1934 – The Philippine Islands in the South Pacific were granted independence by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after nearly 50 years of American control.

March 25, 1807 – The British Parliament abolished the slave trade following a long campaign against it by Quakers and others.

March 26, 1979 – The Camp David Accord ended 30 years of warfare between Israel and Egypt. Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the treaty of mutual recognition and peace, fostered by US President Jimmy Carter.

March 27, 1977 – The worst accident in the history of civil aviation occurred as two Boeing 747 jets collided on the ground in the Canary Islands, resulting in 570 deaths.

March 28, 1979 – Near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident occurred in which uranium in the reactor core overheated due to the failure of a cooling valve. A pressure relief valve then stuck causing the water level to plummet, threatening a catastrophic nuclear meltdown. The accident resulted in the release of radioactive steam into the atmosphere, and created a storm of controversy over the necessity and safety of nuclear power plants.

March 29, 1979 – In the U.S. Congress, the House Select Committee on Assassinations released its final report regarding the killings of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy.

March 30, 1981 – Newly elected President Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest while walking toward his limousine in Washington, D.C., following a speech inside a hotel. The president was then rushed into surgery to remove a 22-caliber bullet from his left lung. “I should have ducked,” Reagan joked.

March 30, 1853 – Vincent Van Gogh was born in Groot Zundert, Holland. He was a Postimpressionist painter, generally considered the greatest Dutch painter after Rembrandt. During his life, Van Gogh suffered from despair and bouts of mental illness, at one point cutting off part of his own left ear. He committed suicide in 1890 by gunshot.

March 31, 1991 – The Soviet Republic of Georgia, birthplace of Josef Stalin, voted to declare its independence from Soviet Russia, after similar votes by Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. Following the vote in Georgia, Russian troops were dispatched from Moscow under a state of emergency.

By: Numan Ahmed

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