March 16th in History

This day in historyMarch 16th is the 75th day of the year (76th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 290 days remaining until the end of the year.


In the late 19th century, smugglers transported Lithuanian language books printed in the Latin alphabet into Lithuanian-speaking areas of the Russian Empire, defying a ban on such materials in force from 1864 to 1904. Opposing imperial Russian authorities’ efforts to replace the traditional Latin orthography with Cyrillic, and transporting printed matter from as far away as the United States to do so, the book smugglers became a symbol of Lithuanians’ resistance to Russification.


In 597 BC,  Babylonians capture Jerusalem, and replace Jehoiachin with Zedekiah as king.

8095 - Roma - Ara Pacis - Tiberio - Foto Giovanni Dall'Orto - 28-Mar-2008.jpgIn 37,  Tiberius, Roman emperor (b. 46 BC) died. He was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Born Tiberius Claudius Nero, a Claudian, Tiberius was the son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian. Tiberius would later marry Augustus’ daughter Julia the Elder (from his marriage to Scribonia) and even later be adopted by Augustus, by which act he officially became a Julian, bearing the name Tiberius Julius Caesar. The subsequent emperors after Tiberius would continue this blended dynasty of both families for the next forty years; historians have named it the Julio-Claudian dynasty. In relations to the other emperors of this dynasty, Tiberius was the stepson of Augustus, grand-uncle of Caligula, paternal uncle of Claudius, and great-grand uncle of Nero. Tiberius was one of Rome’s greatest generals, conquering Pannonia, Dalmatia, Raetia, and temporarily Germania; laying the foundations for the northern frontier. But he came to be remembered as a dark, reclusive, and sombre ruler who never really desired to be emperor; Pliny the Elder called him tristissimus hominum, “the gloomiest of men.”

In 455,  Emperor Valentinian III is assassinated by two Hunnic retainers while training with the bow on the Campus Martius (Rome).

In 934  Meng Zhixiang declares himself emperor and establishes Later Shu as a new state independent of Later Tang.

In 1190,  Massacre of Jews at Clifford’s Tower, York.

In 1244,  Over 200 Cathars are burned after the Fall of Montségur.

In 1322,  The Battle of Boroughbridge take place in the Despenser Wars.

In 1521,  Ferdinand Magellan reaches the Philippines, where he was killed by natives the following month.

In 1621,  Samoset, a Mohegan, visited the settlers of Plymouth Colony and greets them, “Welcome, Englishmen! My name is Samoset.”

In 1660,  The Long Parliament of England is dissolved so as to prepare for the new Convention Parliament.

In 1689,  The 23rd Regiment of Foot or Royal Welch Fusiliers is founded.

In 1782,  American Revolutionary War: Spanish troops capture the British-held island of Roatán.

In 1792,  King Gustav III of Sweden is shot; he dies on March 29.

James Madison.jpgIn 1751,  James Madison, American politician, 4th President of the United States (d. 1836) was born. He was an American statesman, political theorist and the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817). He is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and as the key champion and author of the United States Bill of Rights. He served as a politician much of his adult life. After the constitution had been drafted, Madison became one of the leaders in the movement to ratify it. His collaboration with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay produced the Federalist Papers (1788). Circulated only in New York at the time, they would later be considered among the most important polemics in support of the Constitution. He was also a delegate to the Virginia constitutional ratifying convention, and was instrumental to the successful ratification effort in Virginia. Like most of his contemporaries, Madison changed his political views during his life. During the drafting and ratification of the constitution, he favored a strong national government, though later he grew to favor stronger state governments, before settling between the two extremes late in his life. In 1789, Madison became a leader in the new House of Representatives, drafting many basic laws. He is notable for drafting the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and thus is known as the “Father of the Bill of Rights“. Madison worked closely with President George Washington to organize the new federal government. Breaking with Hamilton and what became the Federalist Party in 1791, Madison and Thomas Jefferson organized what they called the Republican Party (later called by historians the Democratic-Republican Party).

In 1802,  The Army Corps of Engineers is established to found and operate the United States Military Academy at West Point.

In 1812,  Battle of Badajoz (March 16 – April 6) – British and Portuguese forces besieged and defeated French garrison during Peninsular War.

In 1815,  Prince Willem proclaims himself King of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, the first constitutional monarch in the Netherlands.

In 1818,  In the Second Battle of Cancha Rayada, Spanish forces defeated Chileans under José de San Martín.

In 1827, the first newspaper edited for and by blacks, “Freedom’s Journal,” was published in New York.

In 1830, The New York Stock Exchange experiences its slowest day ever, with just thirty-one shares being traded.

In 1836, the Republic of Texas approved a constitution.

In 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” was first published.

In 1861,  Edward Clark becomes Governor of Texas, replacing Sam Houston, who has been evicted from the office for refusing to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy.

In 1861, the Arizona Territory voted to leave the Union.

In 1864,  American Civil War: During the Red River Campaign, Union troops reach Alexandria, Louisiana.

In 1865,  American Civil War: The Battle of Averasborough began as Confederate forces suffer irreplaceable casualties in the final months of the war (1,500 casualities).

In 1869, Hiram R Revels makes the first official speech by a black in the Senate.

In 1872,  The Wanderers F.C. won the first FA Cup, the oldest football competition in the world, beating Royal Engineers A.F.C. 1-0 at The Oval in Kennington, London.

In 1882, the Geneva Convention of 1864 for the care of wounded war personnel is ratified by the Senate.

In 1883, Susan Hayhurst, MD graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy as the first woman pharmacy graduate at the age of 63.

In 1884, John Montgomery becomes the first man to fly a glider when he traveled approximately 600 feet across a California valley.

In 1897, Start of Sherlock Holmes “The Adventure of The Devil’s Foot”. It is one of eight stories in the cycle collected as His Last Bow.

In 1900,  Sir Arthur Evans purchased the land around the ruins of Knossos, the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete.

Roybean2.jpgIn 1903,  Roy Bean, American jurist (b. 1825) dies. He was an eccentric U.S. saloon-keeper and Justice of the Peace in Val Verde County, Texas, who called himself “The Law West of the Pecos“. According to legend, Judge Roy Bean held court in his saloon along the Rio Grande in a desolate stretch of the Chihuahuan Desert of southwest Texas. After his death, Western films and books cast him as a hanging judge, though he is known to have sentenced only two men to hang, one of whom escaped. Roy Bean was born in 1825 in Mason County, Kentucky, the youngest of five (four sons and a daughter) of Phantly Roy Bean, Sr., and the former Anna Henderson Gore. The family was extremely poor, and at age sixteen Bean left home to ride a flatboat to New Orleans and possible work. After getting into trouble there, Bean fled to San Antonio, Texas to join his older brother Sam. In 1848, the two brothers opened a trading post in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Soon after, Roy Bean shot and killed a Mexican desperado who had threatened “to kill a gringo.’ To escape being charged with murder by Mexican authorities, Roy and Sam Bean fled west to Sonora. By the spring of 1849, Bean had moved to San Diego, California, to live with his older brother Joshua. The older Bean was elected the first mayor of the city the following year. Read More

In 1912,  Lawrence Oates, an ill member of Robert Falcon Scott‘s South Pole expedition, left his tent to die, saying: “I am just going outside and may be some time.”

In 1912, The first cherry tree is planted in Washington, D.C., by Mrs. William Howard Taft.

In 1915, The Federal Trade Commission began operating on this day. The U.S. government appointed five commissioners to receive $10,000 each year to regulate commerce and prohibit unlawful trade.

In 1916,  The 7th and 10th US cavalry regiments under John J. Pershing cross the US-Mexico border to join the hunt for Pancho Villa.

In 1924,  In accordance with the Treaty of Rome, Fiume becomes annexed as part of Italy.

In 1926,  History of Rocketry: Robert Goddard launches the first liquid-fueled rocket, at Auburn, Massachusetts. The rocket traveled for 2 1/2 seconds, covering 184 feet at a speed of 60 mph and attaining a maximum height of 41 feet.

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Sergeant Stubby

In 1926,  Sergeant Stubby, American dog (b. 1916) dies. He was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat. America’s first war dog, Stubby served for 18 months and participated in seventeen battles on the Western Front. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, found and comforted the wounded, and even once caught a German spy by the seat of his pants, holding him there until American soldiers found him. Back home his exploits were front page news of every major newspaper.

In 1930, the newly restored U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides) is floated out of drydock to become a national shrine (permanently berthed May 7, 1934).

In 1933, Hitler names Hjalmar Shaft, president of German Republic.

In 1935,  Adolf Hitler orders Germany to rearm herself in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Conscription is reintroduced to form the Wehrmacht.

In 1936,  Warmer-than-normal temperatures rapidly melt snow and ice on the upper Allegheny and Monongahela rivers and lead to a major flood in Pittsburgh.

In 1939,  From Prague Castle, Hitler proclaims Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate.

In 1939,  Marriage of Princess Fawzia of Egypt to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran.

In 1940,  First person killed in a German bombing raid on the UK in World War II during a raid on Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, James Isbister.

In 1942,  The first V-2 rocket test launch. It exploded at lift-off.

In 1943, (thru the 20th), Battle of Atlantic climaxes with 27 merchant ships sunk by German U-boats.

In 1945,  World War II: The Battle of Iwo Jima ended, but small pockets of Japanese resistance persisted.

In 1945,  Ninety percent of Würzburg, Germany is destroyed in only 20 minutes by British bombers. 5,000 are killed.

In 1950,  Communist Czechoslovakia‘s ministry of foreign affairs asks nuncios of Vatican to leave the country.

In 1950, Congress voted to remove federal taxes — on oleomargarine, sorry.

In 1958,  The Ford Motor Company produces its 50 millionth automobile, the Thunderbird, averaging almost a million cars a year since the company’s founding.

In 1961, “The Agony and the Ecstasy“, by Irving Stone is published.

In 1962,  A Flying Tiger Line Super Constellation disappears in the western Pacific Ocean, with all 107 aboard missing and presumed dead.

In 1966,  Launch of Gemini 8, the 12th manned American space flight and first space docking with the Agena Target Vehicle.

In 1968,  Vietnam War: In the My Lai massacre, between 347 and 500 Vietnamese villagers (men, women, and children) are killed by American troops.

In 1968,  General Motors produces its 100 millionth automobile, the Oldsmobile Toronado.

In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy announced his presidential campaign.

In 1969,  A Viasa McDonnell Douglas DC-9 crashes in Maracaibo, Venezuela, killing 155.

ThomasDewey.pngIn 1971,  Thomas E. Dewey, American politician, 47th Governor of New York (b. 1902) dies. He was the 47th Governor of New York (1943–1954). In 1944 and 1948, he was the Republican candidate for President, but lost both times. He led the liberal/moderate faction of the Republican Party, in which he fought conservative Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft. Dewey was an advocate for the professional and business community of the Northeastern United States, which would later be called the “Eastern Establishment.” This group supported most of the New Deal social-welfare reforms enacted during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and it consisted of internationalists who were in favor of the United Nations and the “Cold War” fight against communism and the Soviet Union. In addition, he played a large part in the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower as President in 1952. Dewey’s successor as leader of the liberal Republicans was Nelson Rockefeller, who became governor of New York in 1959. The New York State Thruway is named in Dewey’s honor.

In 1976,  British Prime Minister Harold Wilson resigns, citing personal reasons.

In 1977,  Assassination of Kamal Jumblatt, the main leader of the anti-government forces in the Lebanese Civil War.

In 1978,  Former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro is kidnapped and later killed by his captors.

In 1978,  Supertanker Amoco Cadiz splits in two after running aground on the Portsall Rocks, three miles off the coast of Brittany, resulting in the 5th-largest oil spill in history.

In 1978, the U.S. Senate approved the first of two Panama Canal pacts. The treaty guaranteed neutrality of the canal after Panama assumes control at the end of 1999.

In 1979,  Sino-Vietnamese War: The People’s Liberation Army crosses the border back into China, ends the war.

In 1983,  Demolition of the radio tower Ismaning, the last wooden radio tower in Germany.

In 1984,  William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, Lebanon, is kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalists and later died in captivity.

In 1985,  Associated Press newsman Terry Anderson is taken hostage in Beirut. He is released on December 4, 1991.

In 1988,  Iran-Contra Affair: Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and Vice Admiral John Poindexter are indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

In 1988,  Halabja poison gas attack: The Kurdish town of Halabjah in Iraq is attacked with a mix of poison gas and nerve agents on the orders of Saddam Hussein, killing 5000 people and injuring about 10000 people.

In 1988,  The Troubles: Ulster loyalist militant Michael Stone attacks a Provisional IRA funeral in Belfast with pistols and grenades. Three people are killed and more than 60 wounded. The attack was filmed by news crews.

In 1995,  Mississippi formally ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment was officially ratified in 1865.

In 2003,  Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American woman involved with the International Solidarity Movement, is killed trying to prevent a Palestinian home from being destroyed by a bulldozer in Rafah.

In 2005,  Israel officially hands over Jericho to Palestinian control.

Donald Hillman.jpg

Donald Hillman

In 2012,  Donald E. Hillman, American colonel and pilot (b. 1918) dies at the age of 93. He  was an American World War II flying ace and prisoner of war credited with five enemy aircraft destroyed. He was also the first American pilot, in 1952, to make a deep-penetration overflight of Soviet territory for the purpose of aerial reconnaissance. Hillman joined up in October 1940, and underwent his flight training with the Army Air Corps. In 1943, he deployed to Europe as commander of the 386th Fighter Squadron. He flew P-47 escort missions initially with the Eighth Air Force, and then in 1944 with the Ninth Air Force. Later that year he was shot down and held as a POW in Stalag Luft III. After an unsuccessful escape attempt, he was transferred to another camp, where he managed to successfully escape, aided and accompanied by a disillusioned German officer. After the war the two became good friends. On October 15, 1952, a Boeing B-47B Stratojet piloted by then Colonel Hillman, deputy commander of the 306th Bombardment Wing, left Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. It crossed over the Arctic ocean, turned eastwards back over Siberia, and returned to Eielson via Provideniya. It was the United States’ first deep-penetration reconnaissance mission against the Soviet Union.

In 2014,  Crimea votes in a controversial referendum to secede from Ukraine to join Russia.

In 2016,  A bomb detonates in a bus carrying government employees in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing 15 and injuring at least 54.

In 2016,  Two suicide bombers detonate their explosives at a mosque during morning prayer on the outskirts of Maiduguri, Nigeria, killing 22 and injuring 18.

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