March 14th in History

This day in historyMarch 14 is the 73rd day of the year (74th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 292 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 44 BC,  Casca and Cassius decide, on the night before the Assassination of Julius Caesar, that Mark Antony should stay alive.

In 313,  Emperor Jin Huidi is executed by Liu Cong, ruler of the Xiongnu state (Han Zhao).

Ptacnik Mechtilda.jpgIn 968,  Matilda (b. 895) dies. Saint Mathilda (or Matilda, c. 895 – 14 March 968) was the wife of King Henry I of Germany, the first ruler of the Saxon Ottonian (or Liudolfing) dynasty, thereby Duchess (consort) of Saxony from 912 and Queen (consort) of Germany (East Francia) from 919 until her husband’s death in 936. Their eldest son Otto succeeded his father as King of Germany (East Francia) and years later was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 962, thus ending the vacancy of this office begun in 924 with the death of Holy Roman Emperor Berengar I of Italy. Matilda lived to see the imperial crown restored under her son. Matilda’s surname refers to Ringelheim, where her comital Immedinger relatives established a convent about 940.

In 1381,  Chioggia concludes an alliance with Zadar and Trogir against Venice, which becomes changed in 1412 in Šibenik.

An Aubrey Beardsley illustration for Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, “How Sir Bedivere Cast the Sword Excalibur into the Water” (1894)

In 1471,  Thomas Malory, English author (b. 1405) dies.  He was an English writer, the author or compiler of Le Morte d’Arthur. Since the late nineteenth century he has generally been identified as Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel in Warwickshire, a knight, land-owner and Member of Parliament. Previously, it was suggested by the antiquary John Leland, as well as John Bale, that he was Welsh (identifying “Malory” with “Maelor“). Occasionally, other candidates are put forward for authorship of Le Morte d’Arthur, but the supporting evidence for their claim has been described as “no more than circumstantial”.

In 1489,  The Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, sells her kingdom to Venice.

In 1590,  Battle of Ivry: Henry of Navarre and the Huguenots defeat the forces of the Catholic League under the Duc de Mayenne during the French Wars of Religion.

In 1647,  Thirty Years’ War: Bavaria, Cologne, France and Sweden sign the Truce of Ulm.

In 1757,  Admiral Sir John Byng is executed by firing squad aboard HMS Monarch for breach of the Articles of War.

In 1780,  American Revolutionary War: Spanish forces capture Fort Charlotte in Mobile, Alabama, the last British frontier post capable of threatening New Orleans in Spanish Louisiana.

In 1782,  Battle of Wuchale: Emperor Tekle Giyorgis pacifies a group of Oromo near Wuchale.

In 1794,  Eli Whitney is granted a patent for the cotton gin.

John Jervis, Earl of St Vincent by Francis Cotes.jpgIn 1823,  John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent, English admiral (b. 1735) dies. He was Admiral of the Fleet John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent  (9 January 1735 – 14 March 1823) was an admiral in the Royal Navy and Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom. Jervis served throughout the latter half of the 18th century and into the 19th, and was an active commander during the Seven Years’ War, American War of Independence, French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars. He is best known for his victory at the 1797 Battle of Cape Saint Vincent, from which he earned his titles, and as a patron of Horatio Nelson.

Jervis was also recognized by both political and military contemporaries as a fine administrator and naval reformer. As Commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean, between 1795 and 1799 he introduced a series of severe standing orders to avert mutiny. He applied those orders to both seamen and officers alike, a policy that made him a controversial figure. He took his disciplinarian system of command with him when he took command of the Channel Fleet in 1799. In 1801, as First Lord of the Admiralty he introduced a number of reforms that, though unpopular at the time, made the Navy more efficient and more self-sufficient. He introduced innovations including block making machinery at Portsmouth Royal Dockyard. St Vincent was known for his generosity to officers he considered worthy of reward and his swift and often harsh punishment of those he felt deserved it.

Karl Marx 001.jpgIn 1883,  Karl Marx, German philosopher and theorist (b. 1818) dies jointly of bronchitis and pleurisy . He died a stateless person; family and friends in London buried his body in Highgate Cemetery, London, on 17 March 1883.

He  was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Marx’s work in economics laid the basis for much of the current understanding of labour and its relation to capital, and subsequent economic thought. He published numerous books during his lifetime, the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital (1867–1894).

Marx’s theories about society, economics and politics—the collective understanding of which is known as Marxism—hold that human societies progress through class struggle: a conflict between an ownership class that controls production and a dispossessed labouring class that provides the labour for production. States, Marx believed, were run on behalf of the ruling class and in their interest while representing it as the common interest of all; and he predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, capitalism produced internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system: socialism. He argued that class antagonisms under capitalism between the bourgeoisie and proletariat would eventuate in the working class’ conquest of political power and eventually establish a classless society, communism, a society governed by a free association of producers. Marx actively fought for its implementation, arguing that the working class should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio-economic change

In 1885,  The Mikado, a light opera by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, receives its first public performance in London.

In 1900,  The Gold Standard Act is ratified, placing United States currency on the gold standard.

In 1903,  The Hay–Herrán Treaty, granting the United States the right to build the Panama Canal, is ratified by the United States Senate. The Colombian Senate would later reject the treaty.

In 1903,  The Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is established by US President Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1910,  Lakeview Gusher, the largest U.S. oil well gusher near Bakersfield, California, vents to atmosphere.

In 1915,  World War I: Cornered off the coast of Chile by the Royal Navy after fleeing the Battle of the Falkland Islands, the German light cruiser SMS Dresden is abandoned and scuttled by her crew.

In 1926,  El Virilla train accident, Costa Rica: A train falls off a bridge over the Río Virilla between Heredia and Tibás. 248 are killed and 93 wounded.

In 1931,  Alam Ara, India’s first talking film, is released.

GeorgeEastman2.jpgIn 1932,  George Eastman, American inventor and businessman, founded Eastman Kodak (b. 1854) shot himself in the heart, leaving a note which read, “To my friends: my work is done. Why wait?” He was an American innovator and entrepreneur who founded the Eastman Kodak Company and popularized the use of roll film, helping to bring photography to the mainstream. Roll film was also the basis for the invention of motion picture film in 1888 by the world’s first film-makers Eadweard Muybridge and Louis Le Prince, and a few years later by their followers Léon Bouly, Thomas Edison, the Lumière Brothers, and Georges Méliès.

He was a major philanthropist, establishing the Eastman School of Music, and schools of dentistry and medicine at the University of Rochester and in London; contributing to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the construction of several buildings at MIT‘s second campus on the Charles River. In addition he made major donations to Tuskegee and Hampton universities, historically black colleges in the South. With interests in improving health, he provided funds for clinics in London and other European cities to serve low-income residents.

In 1936,  The first all-sound film version of Show Boat opens at Radio City Music Hall. (There had been a part-talkie, part-silent version of Show Boat in 1929.)

In 1939,  Slovakia declares independence under German pressure.

In 1942,  Orvan Hess and John Bumstead became the first in the United States successfully to treat a patient, Anne Miller, using penicillin.

In 1943,  World War II: The Kraków Ghetto is “liquidated”.

In 1945,  World War II: The R.A.F.‘s first operational use of the Grand Slam bomb, Bielefeld, Germany.

In 1946,  Werner von Blomberg, German field marshal (b. 1878) dies of cancer. He was a German Generalfeldmarschall, Minister of War, and Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces until January 1938.

After graduating in 1907, Blomberg entered the General Staff in 1908. Serving with distinction on the Western Front during the First World War, Blomberg was awarded the Pour le Mérite.

In 1920, Blomberg was appointed chief of staff of the Döberitz Brigade, and in 1921 was made chief of staff of the Stuttgart Army Area. In 1925, Blomberg was made chief of army training by General Hans von Seeckt. By 1927, Blomberg was a major-general and chief of the Troop Office, which was the thinly disguised General Staff forbidden to Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. In 1928, Blomberg visited the Soviet Union, where he was much impressed by the high status of the Red Army, and left a convinced believer in the value of totalitarian dictatorship as the prerequisite for military power. This was part and parcel of a broader shift on the part of the German military to the idea of a totalitarian Wehrstaat (Defence State) which had become popular with officers starting in the mid-1920s. The German historian Eberhard Kolb wrote that:

“…from the mid-1920s onwards the Army leaders had developed and propagated new social conceptions of a militarist kind, tending towards a fusion of the military and civilian sectors and ultimately a totalitarian military state (Wehrstaat)”.

In 1933, Blomberg rose to national prominence when he was appointed Minister of Defence in Adolf Hitler‘s government. Blomberg became one of Hitler’s most devoted followers, working feverishly to expand the size and power of the army. Blomberg was made a colonel general for his services in 1933.

Blomberg was chosen personally by President Hindenburg as a man he trusted to safeguard the interests of the Defence Ministry, and as a man who could be expected to work well with Hitler. Above all, Hindenburg saw Blomberg as a man who would safeguard the German military’s traditional “state within the state” status dating back to Prussian times, under which the military did not take orders from the civilian government headed by the chancellor, but rather co-existed as an equal alongside the civilian government, owning its allegiance owning only to the head of state (not the chancellor, who was the head of the government). Up to 1918, the head of state had been the Emperor, and since 1925 had been President Hindenburg himself. Defending the military “state within the state” while trying to reconcile the military to the Nazi system was to be one of Blomberg’s major concerns as a defence minister.

In 1938 Blomberg was forced to resign. A few days later, Göring and Himmler accused Commander-in-Chief of the Army Werner von Fritsch of being a homosexual. Hitler used these opportunities for major reorganization of the Wehrmacht. Fritsch was later acquitted; together the events became known as the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair.

In 1951,  Korean War: For the second time, United Nations troops recapture Seoul.

In 1964,  A jury in Dallas finds Jack Ruby guilty of killing Lee Harvey Oswald, the assumed assassin of John F. Kennedy.

Marion Jones Farquhar.jpgIn 1965,  Marion Jones Farquhar, American tennis player (b. 1879) dies. She won the women’s singles titles at the 1899 and 1902 U.S. Championships. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006. Marion Jones was the first Californian to reach the finals at the women’s U.S. Tennis Championships in 1898. She won the U.S. women’s tennis title in 1899 and 1902, and the U.S. mixed doubles title in 1901. At the 1900 Summer Olympics, she was the first American woman to win an Olympic medal. Her sister, Georgina also competed in the 1900 Olympic tennis events. In 1900, Marion Jones was the first non-British woman to play at Wimbledon.

In 1967,  The body of U.S. President John F. Kennedy is moved to a permanent burial place at Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1972,  Italian publisher and former partisan Giangiacomo Feltrinelli is killed by an explosion near Segrate.

Susan Hayward - 1940s.jpgIn 1975,  Susan Hayward, American actress (b. 1917) dies of brain cancer. She had worked as a fashion model in New York, and in 1937 Hayward traveled to Hollywood where she secured a film contract, and played several small supporting roles over the next few years.

By the late 1940s, the quality of her film roles had improved, and she achieved recognition for her dramatic abilities with the first of five Academy Award nominations for Best Actress for her performance as an alcoholic in Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman (1947). Her career continued successfully through the 1950s and she received subsequent nominations for My Foolish Heart (1949), With a Song in My Heart (1952) and I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955). She finally won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of death row inmate Barbara Graham in I Want to Live! (1958).

After Hayward’s second marriage and subsequent move to Georgia, her film appearances became infrequent, although she continued acting in film and television until 1972.

In 1978,  The Israeli Defense Force invades and occupies southern Lebanon, in Operation Litani.

In 1979,  In China, a Hawker Siddeley Trident crashes into a factory near Beijing, killing at least 200.

In 1980,  In Poland, a plane crashes during final approach near Warsaw, killing 87 people, including a 14-man American boxing team.

In 1984,  Gerry Adams, head of Sinn Féin, is seriously wounded in an assassination attempt in central Belfast.

In 1988,  Johnson South Reef Skirmish: Chinese forces defeat Vietnamese forces in Johnson South Reef, disputed Spratly Islands.

In 1994,  Timeline of Linux development: Linux kernel version 1.0.0 is released.

In 1995,  Space Exploration: Astronaut Norman Thagard becomes the first American astronaut to ride to space on board a Russian launch vehicle.

In 2006,  Members of the Chadian military fail in an attempted coup d’état.

In 2007,  The Left Front government of West Bengal sends at least 3,000 police to Nandigram in an attempt to break Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee resistance there; the resulting clash leaves 14 dead.

In 2007,  The first World Maths Day was celebrated

In 2008,  A series of riots, protests, and demonstrations erupt in Lhasa and elsewhere in Tibet.

Black & White photo of Hawking at NASAIn 2018,  Stephen Hawking, English astrophysicist and author (b. 1942) dies at his home in CambridgeEngland, early in the morning of 14 March 2018, according to a family spokesman. His family issued a statement expressing their grief.They did not reveal the cause of his death, only stating that he “died peacefully”. He was a British theoretical physicistcosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. His scientific works include a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He was a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

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