March 8th In History

This day in historyMarch 8 is the 67th day of the year (68th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 298 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 1010,  Ferdowsi completes his epic poem Shāhnāmeh.

In 1126,  Following the death of his mother Urraca, Alfonso VII is proclaimed king of Castile and León.

In 1576,  Spanish explorer Diego García de Palacio first sights the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Copán.

In 1579,  An English expedition sets out from Galway to hunt down and kill pirate and clan chieftain Grace O’Malley (anglicised as Granuaile)

In 1618,  Johannes Kepler discovers the third law of planetary motion.

In 1655,  John Casor becomes the first legally-recognized slave in England’s North American colonies where a crime was not committed.

In 1658,  Treaty of Roskilde: After a devastating defeat in the Northern Wars (1655–1661), Frederick III, the King of Denmark-Norway is forced to give up nearly half his territory to Sweden to save the rest.

In 1702,  Anne Stuart, sister of Mary II, becomes Queen regnant of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

In 1717,  Abraham Darby I Leading hand of the Industrial revolution (b1678) dies. He was the first and most well known of three generations of that name. Born into an English Quaker family that played an important role in the Industrial Revolution, he developed a method of producing pig iron in a blast furnace fuelled by coke rather than charcoal. This was a major step forward in the production of iron as a raw material for the Industrial Revolution. Abraham Darby made an important step towards the Industrial Revolution. His method of casting pits in sand provided his successors with a viable business that operated for over two centuries. Smelting iron with coke ultimately released the iron industry from the limitation imposed by the speed of growth of trees. Coke-smelted cast iron went into steam engines, bridges, and many of the inventions of the 19th century. Only with coke smelting could there be produced the great quantities of iron made to meet the requirements of the Industrial Revolution.

In 1722,  The Safavid Empire of Iran is defeated by an army from Afghanistan at The Battle of Gulnabad, pushing Iran into anarchy.

In 1736,  Nader Shah, founder of the Afsharid dynasty, is crowned Shah of Iran.

In 1754, Marquis of Ensenada becomes premier of Spain.

In 1775,  An anonymous writer, thought by some to be Thomas Paine, publishes “African Slavery in America”, the first article in the American colonies calling for the emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery.

In 1777,  Regiments from Ansbach and Bayreuth, sent to support Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War, mutiny in the town of Ochsenfurt.

In 1782,  Gnadenhütten massacre: Ninety-six Native Americans in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, who had converted to Christianity are killed by Pennsylvania militiamen in retaliation for raids carried out by other Indians.

In 1801,  War of the Second Coalition: At the Battle of Abukir, a British force under Sir Ralph Abercromby lands in Egypt with the aim of ending the French campaign in Egypt and Syria.

In 1817,  The New York Stock Exchange is founded.

In 1820, James Monroe’s daughter Maria marries in the White House.

In 1838, the U.S. mint in New Orleans began operation (producing dimes).

In 1844,  King Oscar I ascends to the thrones of Sweden and Norway.

In 1849, Thomas Ewing of Ohio was appointed by U.S. President Zachary Taylor as the first Secretary of the Interior Department.

In 1854, Commodore Perry, representing the U.S., and Japan sign a treaty ending Japan’s isolation policy and opening two ports for trade with the U.S.

In 1862,  American Civil War: The iron-clad CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) is launched at Hampton Roads, Virginia. The ship sinks two wooden Union ships then battles the Union Ironclad ‘Monitor’ to a draw. Naval warfare is thus changed forever, making wooden ships obsolete.
Engraving of the Battle The Monitor at dock, showing damage from the battle.

In 1862, Nat Gordon, the last of the pirates, was hanged in New York City for stealing a cargo of about 1,000 slaves.

In 1862, Battle of Elkhorn Tavern ends with Confederate withdrawal.

In 1868,  Sakai incident: Japanese samurai kill 11 French sailors in the port of Sakai near Osaka.

Fillmore.jpgIn 1874,  Millard Fillmore, American politician, 13th President of the United States (b. 1800) dies. He the last Whig President, and the last President not to be affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties. He is consistently included in the bottom 10 of historical rankings of Presidents of the United States. As Zachary Taylor‘s Vice President, he assumed the presidency after Taylor’s death. Fillmore was a lawyer from western New York state, and an early member of the Whig Party. He served in the state legislature (1829–1831), as a U.S. Representative (1833–1835, 1837–1843), and as New York State Comptroller (1848–1849). He was elected Vice President of the United States in 1848 as Taylor’s running mate, and served from 1849 until Taylor’s death in 1850, at the height of the “Crisis of 1850” over slavery. As an anti-slavery moderate, he opposed abolitionist demands to exclude slavery from all of the territory gained in the Mexican War. Instead he supported the Compromise of 1850, which briefly ended the crisis. In foreign policy, Fillmore supported U.S. Navy expeditions to “open” Japan, opposed French designs on Hawaii, and was embarrassed by Narciso López’s filibuster expeditions to Cuba. He sought re-election in 1852, but was passed over for the nomination by the Whigs.

Henry Ward Beecher - Brady-Handy.jpgIn 1887,  Henry Ward Beecher, American clergyman (b. 1813) dies. He was an American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, known for his support of the abolition of slavery, his emphasis on God’s love, and his 1875 adultery trial. Henry Ward Beecher was the son of Lyman Beecher, a Calvinist minister who became one of the best-known evangelists of his age. Several of his brothers and sisters became well-known educators and activists, most notably Harriet Beecher Stowe, who achieved worldwide fame with her abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Henry Ward Beecher graduated from Amherst College in 1834 and Lane Theological Seminary in 1837 before serving as a minister in Indianapolis and Lawrenceburg, Indiana. In 1847, Beecher became the first pastor of the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York. He soon acquired fame on the lecture circuit for his novel oratorical style, in which he employed humor, dialect, and slang. Over the course of his ministry, Beecher developed a theology emphasizing God’s love above all else. He also grew interested in social reform, particularly the abolitionist movement. In the years leading up to the Civil War, he raised money to purchase slaves from captivity and to send rifles—nicknamed “Beecher’s Bibles“—to abolitionists fighting in Kansas and Nebraska. He toured Europe during the Civil War speaking in support of the Union. After the war, Beecher supported social reform causes such as women’s suffrage and temperance. He also championed Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution, stating that it was not incompatible with Christian beliefs. In 1874, Beecher’s former associate Theodore Tilton filed adultery charges against him for an alleged affair with Tilton’s wife Elizabeth. The subsequent trial, which resulted in a hung jury, was one of the most widely reported American trials of the century. Beecher’s long career in the public spotlight led biographer Debby Applegate to call him “The Most Famous Man in America“.

In 1887, The telescopic steel tube fishing rod — made of steel tubes inside one another — was patented by Everett Horton.

In 1896, Volunteers of America was founded in New York City by Christian reformers Ballington Booth and his wife and Maud Booth.

In 1897, Reno, Nevada, was incorporated as a city. It became the state’s only town of notable size, then 4,500.

In 1910, French aviatrix Raymonde de Laroche becomes the first woman to receive a pilot’s license.

In 1911,  International Women’s Day is launched in Copenhagen, Denmark, by Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany.

In 1911, New York City Police introduce a new tool, the latent-fingerprint evidence.

In 1913, The Internal Revenue Service begins to levy & collect income taxes.

In 1915, first US navy minelayer, Baltimore, commissioned.

In 1916,  World War I: A British force unsuccessfully attempts to relieve the siege of Kut (present-day Iraq) in the Battle of Dujaila.

In 1917,  International Women’s Day protests in St. Petersburg mark the beginning of the February Revolution (so named because it was February on the Julian calendar).

In 1917,  The United States Senate votes to limit filibusters by adopting the cloture rule.

In 1917, (New Style calendar), Russia’s “February Revolution” (so-called because of the Old Style calendar being used by Russians at the time)
began with rioting and strikes in St. Petersburg.

In 1920,  The Arab Kingdom of Syria, the first modern Arab state to come into existence, is established.

In 1921,  Spanish Premier Eduardo Dato Iradier is assassinated while exiting the parliament building in Madrid.

In 1921, after Germany failed to make its first war reparation payment, French troops occupied Dusseldorf and other towns on the Ruhr River in Germany’s industrial heartland.

In 1924,  The Castle Gate mine disaster kills 172 coal miners near Castle Gate, Utah.

William Howard Taft 1909.jpg

A progressively bad Republican

In 1930,  William Howard Taft, American politician, 27th President of the United States (b. 1857) dies. Taft also served as the tenth Chief Justice of the United States (1921–1930). He is the only person to have served in both of these offices. A Republican, he was appointed to serve on the Superior Court of Cincinnati in 1887. In 1890, Taft was appointed Solicitor General of the United States and in 1891 a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1900, President William McKinley appointed Taft Governor-General of the Philippines. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Taft Secretary of War in an effort to groom Taft, then his close political ally, into his handpicked presidential successor. Taft assumed a prominent role in problem solving, assuming on some occasions the role of acting Secretary of State, while declining repeated offers from Roosevelt to serve on the Supreme Court. Riding a wave of popular support for fellow Republican Roosevelt, Taft won an easy victory in his 1908 bid for the presidency. In his only term, Taft’s domestic agenda emphasized trust-busting, civil service reform, strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission, improving the performance of the postal service, and passage of the Sixteenth Amendment. Abroad, Taft sought to further the economic development of nations in Latin America and Asia through “Dollar Diplomacy“, and showed decisiveness and restraint in response to revolution in Mexico. The task-oriented Taft was oblivious to the political ramifications of his decisions, often alienated his own key constituencies, and was overwhelmingly defeated in his bid for a second term in the presidential election of 1912. In surveys of presidential scholars, Taft is usually ranked near the middle of lists of all American Presidents.

In 1934, an Edwin Hubble photograph shows as many galaxies as Milky Way stars.

In 1936,  Daytona Beach Road Course holds its first oval stock car race.

In 1937,  Spanish Civil War: The Battle of Guadalajara begins.

In 1942,  World War II: The Dutch surrender to Japanese forces on Java. Japanese forces captured Rangoon, Burma.

In 1943, Limited gambling legalized in Mexico.

In 1945, Phyllis M. Daley becomes the first black nurse to be sworn in as an ensign in the U.S. Navy.

In 1947,  Thirteen thousand troops sent by the Kuomintang government of China arrived in Taiwan after the 228 Incident and launched crackdowns which killed at least thousands of people, including many elites. This turned into a major root of the Taiwan independence movement.

In 1948, the Supreme Court rules religious instructions in public schools is unconstitutional.

In 1949,  Mildred Gillars (“Axis Sally”) is condemned to prison for treason.

In 1950, Marshall Voroshilov of the U.S.S.R. announced they have developed the atomic bomb.

In 1950, the first woman medical officer is assigned to a naval vessel, B.R. Walters.

In 1957,  Egypt re-opens the Suez Canal after the Suez Crisis.

In 1957,  The 1957 Georgia Memorial to Congress, which petitions the U.S. Congress to declare the ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution null and void, is adopted by the U.S. state of Georgia.

In 1957,  Ghana joins the United Nations.

In 1958, The Chinese government imposed martial law on the restive Tibetan capital of Lhasa.

In 1961, the U.S. nuclear submarine Patrick Henry arrived in Holy Loch, Scotland, from Charleston, S.C., to become the first American sub to use the Scottish naval base.

In 1963,  The Ba’ath Party comes to power in Syria in a coup d’état by a clique of quasi-leftist Syrian Army officers calling themselves the National Council of the Revolutionary Command.

In 1965, the United States landed about 3,500 Marines in South Vietnam. The last leave 10 years later.

In 1966,  A bomb planted by Irish Republicans destroys Nelson’s Pillar in Dublin.

In 1973, The Eisenhower Tunnel, the highest in the world and the longest in the U.S., is opened through the continental divide.

In 1974,  Charles de Gaulle Airport opens in Paris, France.

In 1978,  The first radio episode of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, is transmitted on BBC Radio 4.

In 1979,  Philips demonstrates the Compact Disc publicly for the first time.

In 1983,  U.S. President Ronald Reagan calls the Soviet Union an “evil empire“.

In 1983, IBM released PC DOS version 2.0.

In 1985,  A failed assassination attempt on Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah in Beirut, Lebanon, kills at least 45 and injures 175 others.

In 1988, Vice President George H.W. Bush was the big winner in the “Super Tuesday” Republican presidential primaries. Among Democrats, Michael S. Dukakis, Jesse Jackson and Albert Gore split the lion’s share of delegates.

In 1993, the siege at the Branch Davidian religious cult compound near Waco, Texas, dragged on with no sign of surrender.

In 1998,  Ray Nitschke, American football player (b. 1936) died of a heart attack in Venice, FL, at the age of 61. He was a professional football player who played his entire career as a middle linebacker for the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. Wearing #66, he played fifteen seasons, from 195872. He was selected, at age 20, in the third round of the 1958 NFL Draft, the 36th overall pick. This draft, held on December 2, 1957, included two other significant Packers of the 1960s: fullback Jim Taylor of LSU (2nd rd., 15th overall) and right guard Jerry Kramer of Idaho (4th rd., 39th overall). Their rookie season in 1958 was dismal, recording just one win (and one tie), finishing with the worst record in the 12 team league. Ray wore the number 66 on his jersey his entire career with the Packers. A month after the 1958 season ended, Vince Lombardi was hired as head coach. Nitschke became a full-time starter in 1962, the anchor of a disciplined defense that helped win five NFL titles and the first two Super Bowls in the 1960s. He was the MVP of the 1962 NFL Championship Game, accepting the prize of a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette. In the game, Nitschke recovered 2 fumbles and deflected a pass that was intercepted. The Packers won the game, 16-7, and finished the season with a 14-1 record. In Super Bowl I, Nitschke contributed 6 tackles and a sack. In Super Bowl II, Nitschke led Green Bay’s defense with 9 tackles. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978.

In 1998, James McDougal, a former business partner of then-Gov. Bill Clinton, died while serving a prison sentence in Texas. He had been convicted in connection with the Whitewater scandal.

Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe staying at Imperial Hotel in Tokyo on their honeymoon.

In 1999,  Joe DiMaggio, American baseball player (b. 1914) dies of lung cancer. He born Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio, nicknamed “Joltin’ Joe” and “The Yankee Clipper“, was an Italian- American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record that still stands.  DiMaggio was a three-time MVP winner and an All-Star in each of his 13 seasons. During his tenure with the Yankees, the club won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships. At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in career home runs (361) and sixth in career slugging percentage (.579). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955, and was voted the sport’s greatest living player in a poll taken during the baseball centennial year of 1969. His brothers Vince and Dom also became major league center fielders.

In 2004,  A new constitution is signed by Iraq‘s Governing Council.

In 2008, Tellers at the Kitsap (Wash.) Credit Union called police to say that they had opened an envelope deposited into their ATM and found a suspicious plastic packet. Tests showed the contents to be methamphetamine, and officers got the name and address associated with the account. The unnamed 18-year-old woman told police she “may have” accidentally deposited the meth into the ATM, and was arrested on a charge of drug possession. (Kitsap Sun).

In 2008,  Smyrna police confirmed that bones of a small child found in January in a quarry belong to Analyce Guerra. The 2-year-old vanished in April 2006 from a Smyrna apartment. When her mother Eva Guerra awoke at 4 a.m., the child was missing. The front door was also unlocked, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Web site. The child lived in the Meadow Wood Apartments on Nissan Boulevard.

In 2014,  Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The aircraft is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean off the coast of Australia with the loss of all 239 people aboard.

In 2015, Kentucky Wildcats complete undefeated regular season. The Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team on Saturday put the finishing touch on a perfect regular season with a 67-50 drubbing of Florida. The top-ranked Wildcats are the first team from a major conference to go undefeated since Indiana in 1976. (Wichita State, of the Missouri Valley Conference, went undefeated last season.) After the win, Kentucky coach John Calipari praised his team’s selfless play, saying, “In this society, instead of me, me, me, it’s us, us, us.” [Sports Illustrated, USA Today]

In 2016,  A total solar eclipse occurs, with totality visible from Indonesia and the North Pacific.

In 2017,  The Azure Window, a natural arch on the Maltese island of Gozo, collapsed in stormy weather.

May God Bless and  Keep You This Day Till Tomorrow

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