March 15th in History

This day in historyMarch 15 is the 74th day of the year (75th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 291 days remaining until the end of the year.

In the Roman calendar, March 15 was known as the Ides of March.



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In 474 BC,  Roman consul Gnaeus Manlius Vulso celebrates an ovation for concluding the war against Veii and securing a forty years’ truce.

In 44 BC,  Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic, is stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus and several other Roman senators on the Ides of March. He was a Roman statesman, general, and notable author of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. In 60 BC, Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey formed a political alliance that dominated Roman politics for several years. Their attempts to amass power through populist tactics were opposed by the conservative ruling class within the Roman Senate, among them Cato the Younger with the frequent support of Cicero. Caesar’s victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BC, extended Rome’s territory to the English Channel and the Rhine. Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both when he built a bridge across the Rhine and conducted the first invasion of Britain.

These achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of Crassus in 53 BC. With the Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate ordered Caesar to step down from his military command and return to Rome. Caesar refused the order, and instead marked his defiance in 49 BC by crossing the Rubicon with a legion, leaving his province and illegally entering Roman Italy under arms. Civil war resulted, and Caesar’s victory in the war put him in an unrivaled position of power and influence.

After assuming control of government, Caesar began a programme of social and governmental reforms, including the creation of the Julian calendar. He centralised the bureaucracy of the Republic and was eventually proclaimed “dictator in perpetuity”, giving him additional authority. But the underlying political conflicts had not been resolved, and on the Ides of March (15 March) 44 BC, Caesar was assassinated by a group of rebellious senators led by Marcus Junius Brutus. A new series of civil wars broke out, and the constitutional government of the Republic was never fully restored. Caesar’s adopted heir Octavian, later known as Augustus, rose to sole power after defeating his opponents in the civil war. Octavian set about solidifying his power, and the era of the Roman Empire began.

In 220,  Cao Cao, Chinese warlord and penultimate Chancellor of the Han dynasty, passes away.

In 221,  Liu Bei, a Chinese warlord and member of the Han royal house, declares himself emperor of Shu-Han and claims his legitimate succession to the Han dynasty.

In 280,  Sun Hao of Eastern Wu surrenders to Sima Yan which began the Jin dynasty.

In 351,  Constantius II elevates his cousin Gallus to Caesar, and puts him in charge of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire.

In 493,  Odoacer, the first barbarian King of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, is slain by Theoderic the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, while the two kings were feasting together.

In 856,  Michael III, emperor of the Byzantine Empire, overthrows the regency of his mother, empress Theodora (wife of Theophilos) with support of the Byzantine nobility.

In 933,  After a ten-year truce, German King Henry I defeats a Hungarian army at the Battle of Riade near the Unstrut river.

In 1147,  Conquest of Santarém: The forces of Afonso I of Portugal capture Santarém.

In 1311,  Battle of Halmyros: The Catalan Company defeats Walter V of Brienne to take control of the Duchy of Athens, a Crusader state in Greece.

In 1360, France invasion army lands on English south coast, conquers Winchelsea, United Kingdom.

In 1493,  Christopher Columbus returns to Spain after his first trip to the Americas.

In 1545,  First meeting of the Council of Trent.

In 1564,  Mughal Emperor Akbar abolishes “jizya” (per capita tax).

In 1670,  John Davenport, English-American clergyman, co-founded the New Haven Colony (b. 1597) dies in Boston of apoplexy  and was buried in the same tomb as John Cotton in King’s Chapel Burying Ground. He was an English Puritan clergyman and co-founder of the American colony of New Haven. Davenport was educated at Oxford University. He matriculated at Merton College in 1613 but migrated to Magdalen College two years later, eventually leaving Oxford before completing his degree. In 1637, he acquired the patent for a colony in Massachusetts and sailed with much of his congregation for Boston. While staying in Boston with Reverend John Cotton in March 1638, he sat during the church trial of Anne Hutchinson which resulted in her excommunication from the Boston church, ending the Antinomian Controversy. Later that month he co-founded the Colony of New Haven along with his classmate, Theophilus Eaton, a wealthy merchant from London who became the colony’s first governor. He was a large proponent of education in his colony and is often credited with the co-founding of Hopkins School As a burgess, he was an important figure in the colony up until his departure to Boston in 1668. He unsuccessfully opposed the incorporation of the New Haven colony into the reorganized colony of Connecticut under a royal charter in 1667.

In 1672,  Charles II of England issues the Royal Declaration of Indulgence.

In 1781,  American Revolutionary War: Battle of Guilford Courthouse – Near present-day Greensboro, North Carolina, 1,900 British troops under General Charles Cornwallis defeat an American force numbering 4,400.

In 1783,  In an emotional speech in Newburgh, New York, George Washington asks his officers not to support the Newburgh Conspiracy. The plea is successful and the threatened coup d’état never takes place.

In 1820,  Maine becomes the 23rd U.S. state.

In 1848,  A revolution breaks out in Hungary. The Habsburg rulers are compelled to meet the demands of the Reform party.

In 1855, Louisiana establishes first health board to regulate quarantines.

In 1864,  American Civil War: The Red River Campaign : U.S. Navy fleet arrives at Alexandria, Louisiana.

In 1867, Michigan becomes first state to tax property to support a university.

In 1874,  France and Viet Nam sign the Second Treaty of Saigon, further recognizing the full sovereignty of France over Cochinchina.

In 1875,  Archbishop of New York John McCloskey is named the first cardinal in the United States.

In 1877,  First ever official cricket test match is played: Australia vs England at the MCG Stadium, in Melbourne, Australia.

In 1888,  Start of the Anglo-Tibetan War of 1888.

In 1892,  Liverpool F.C. is founded.

In 1892, N.Y. State unveiled the Automatic Ballot Cabinet (The Voting Machine).

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Henry Bessemer

In 1898,  Henry Bessemer, English engineer and businessman (b. 1813) dies. He was an English inventor, whose steelmaking process would become the most important technique for making steel in the nineteenth century. He also established the town of Sheffield as a major industrial centre.

Bessemer had been trying to reduce the cost of steel for military ordnance, when he developed his system for blowing oxygen through pig-iron to remove the impurities. This made steel easier and quicker to manufacture, and revolutionised structural engineering. Bessemer also made over 100 other inventions in the fields of iron, steel and glass. Unlike most inventors, he managed to bring his own projects to fruition and profited financially from their success.

In 1906,  Rolls-Royce Limited is incorporated by Britten Rolls & Royce Johnson.

In 1909,  American Harry G. Selfridge opened his department store in London.

In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson held the first open presidential news conference after being in office for only 11 days. The questions had to be submitted in advance. There were only newspapers at that time.

In 1916,  United States President Woodrow Wilson sends General John “Black Jack” Pershing  and 4,800 United States troops over the U.S.–Mexico border to pursue Pancho Villa and capture revolutionary leader  who had staged several cross- border raids. The two-year expedition was unsuccessful.

In 1917,  Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates the Russian throne and his brother the Grand Duke becomes Tsar.

In 1917, U.S. government recognizes the new government formed in Russia by Aleksandr Kerensky.

In 1921,  Talaat Pasha, former Grand Vizir of the Ottoman Empire and chief architect of the Armenian Genocide is assassinated in Berlin by 23-year-old Armenian, Soghomon Tehlirian.

In 1922,  After Egypt gains nominal independence from the United Kingdom, Fuad I becomes King of Egypt.

In 1926,  The dictator Theodoros Pangalos is elected President of Greece without opposition.

In 1928, Mussolini modifies Italy electoral system (abolishes right to choose).

In 1931,  SS Viking explodes off Newfoundland, killing 27 of the 147 on board.

In 1933,  Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss keeps members of the National Council from convening, starting the austrofascist dictatorship.

In 1935,  Percy Shaw founded his company Reflecting Roadstuds Limited to make cat’s eyes.

In 1939,  World War II: German troops occupy the remaining part of Bohemia and Moravia; Czechoslovakia ceases to exist.

In 1939,  Carpatho-Ukraine declares itself an independent republic, but is annexed by Hungary the next day.

In 1939,  Luis Barceló, Spanish officer and commander in the Civil War, (b. 1896) is executed. He was professional officer of the Spanish Army, he supported the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War. On 1936 he was a major of the Spanish army. On July 1936 he was one of the officers who set up summary courts to try the rebel officers captured after the failure of the coup in Madrid. On September 1936, he took part in the Siege of the Alcazar. Later he joined to the PCE, and led one mixed brigade of the Modesto‘s division in the Second Battle of the Corunna Road. Later, he was promoted to colonel and, on June 1937 he was one of the republican commanders in the Segovia Offensive. In 1939, he was the commander of the I Corps of the Republican Army of the Centre.

In 1941,  Philippine Airlines, the flag carrier of the Philippines takes its first flight between Manila (from Nielson Field) to Baguio City with a Beechcraft Model 18 making the airline the first and oldest commercial airline in Asia operating under its original name.

In 1943,  World War II: Third Battle of Kharkov – the Germans retake the city of Kharkov from the Soviet armies in bitter street fighting.

In 1944, during World War II, Allied bombers again raided German-held Monte Cassino, an Italian town.

In 1945,  World War II: Soviet forces begin an offensive to push Germans from Upper Silesia.

In 1947, John Lee was appointed as the first black commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy.

In 1952,  In Cilaos, Réunion, 1870 mm (73 inches) of rain falls in a 24-hour period, setting a new world record (March 15 through March 16).

In 1956,  My Fair Lady receives its premiere performance on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre.

In 1960, the Biscayne National Underwater Park was the first undersea national park to open near Key Largo & the Coral Reef Preserve in Florida.

In 1961,  South Africa withdraws from the Commonwealth of Nations.

In 1965,  President Lyndon B. Johnson, responding to the Selma crisis, tells U.S. Congress “We shall overcome” while advocating the Voting Rights Act.

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Saperstein, circa 1950s

In 1966, Abe Saperstein, American basketball player and coach (b. 1902) dies. He was an owner and coach of the Savoy Big Five, which later became the Harlem Globetrotters. He was born in London,England, to a Jewish family.

Saperstein was the commissioner of the American Basketball League, which he founded in 1961 after repeatedly being denied an NBA expansion franchise. He also owned the Chicago Majors team in that league. In an effort to differentiate the ABL from the NBA and promote it, Saperstein introduced the three-point shot.

In the 1988 Harlem Globetrotters documentary 6 Decades of Magic, it was noted that Saperstein chose “Harlem” to indicate that the players were African-American, even though they were actually from Chicago, and the “Globetrotters” moniker to make it seem as though the team had traveled all around the world. Saperstein sewed the team’s first red, white and blue jerseys himself, presumably having learned this skill from his tailor father.

Saperstein, whose 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m) stature may render him as Basketball Hall of Fame‘s shortest member, was elected to the Hall in 1971. In 1979, he was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. He played baseball, basketball, and ran track at Lake View High School. He played as a guard for the Chicago Reds.

In 1971, according to the Tonight Show, chat rooms debut on the Internet; the next day, someone types in “But, how do I know you’re really a woman?”

Aristotle Onassis.JPGIn 1975,  Aristotle Onassis, Greek businessman (b. 1900) dies of respiratory failure, a complication of the myasthenia gravis that he had been suffering from during the last years of his life. Commonly called Ari or Aristo Onassis, was a Greek prominent shipping magnate. He amassed the world’s largest privately owned shipping fleet and was one of the world’s richest and most famous men. He was known for his business success, his great wealth and also his personal life, including his marriage to Athina Livanos, daughter of shipping tycoon Stavros G. Livanos, his affair with opera star Maria Callas and his marriage in 1968 to Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of President John F. Kennedy.

In 1978,  Somalia and Ethiopia signed a truce to end the Ethiopian-Somali War.

In 1985,  The first Internet domain name is registered (

In 1985,  Brazilian military government ends.

In 1986,  Collapse of the Hotel New World: Thirty-three people die when the Hotel New World in Singapore collapses.

In 1988, Paul Simon defeated Jesse Jackson in the Illinois Democratic presidential primary, while George Bush won a ringing victory over Bob Dole in the Republican contest.

In 1990,  Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as the first President of the Soviet Union.

In 1990, Iraq executed London-based journalist Farzad Bazoft, whom it accused of spying.

In 1990,  Tom Harmon, American football player and sportscaster (b. 1919) suffered a heart attack at the Amanda Travel Agency in West Los Angeles after winning a golf tournament at Bel Air Country Club. He was taken to UCLA Medical Center where he died at age 70. He was sometimes known by the nickname “Old 98”, was an American football player, military pilot, and sports broadcaster. Harmon grew up in Gary, Indiana, and played college football at the halfback position for the University of Michigan from 1938 to 1940. He led the nation in scoring and was a consensus All-American in both 1939 and 1940 and won the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, and the Associated Press Athlete of the Year award in 1940. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954. During World War II, Harmon served as a pilot in the United States Army Air Corps. In April 1943, he was the sole survivor of the crash of a bomber he piloted in South America en route to North Africa. Six months later, while flying a Lockheed P-38 Lightning, he was shot down in a dogfight with Japanese Zeros near Kiukiang in China.

In 1991,  The Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany comes into effect, granting full sovereignty to the Federal Republic of Germany.

In 1992, Investigators report that pieces of an old airplane have been found on a remote Pacific Island which are believed to be associated with the mysterious disappearance of American aviator Amelia Earhart.

In 1996, the Liggett Group agreed to repay more than $10 million in Medicaid bills for treatment of smokers, settling lawsuits with five states. (The settlement came two days after Liggett, the nation’s fifth-largest tobacco company, made history by settling a private class-action lawsuit alleging cigarette makers manipulated nicotine to hook smokers.) The states now learn how to steal directly from companies and find it profitable.

In 2008, Gov. Phil Bredesen’s proposal to allow the state to sell confiscated items like booze and cars in online auctions has begun advancing in the Legislature. Online liquor sales would be limited to licensed retailers in Tennessee.

In 2011,  Beginning of the Syrian Civil War.

In 2013, The Jackson Press got its first camera … well, it is new to us…. Years ago we swore we would never go to digital but that ended with the ease and versatility of these new cameras. We are starting simple with an Olympus E510 and a couple of different lenses, a couple of sets of batteries and lots of memory. This means a lot of reading this weekend ….. and little practice. We felt a little sad putting my Pentax up on the shelf. Where it does have a lot of company.

In 2013,  Jerry Bastin, who is the Jackson-Madison County Library Board treasurer, said last week that the library ended its contract with private management company Library Systems and Services because the board realized it could do the job “just as well and not have to pay (LSSI) a profit.” Until Feb. 28, the library was under LSSI’s direction for seven years. “The money being sent to (LSSI) could be better spent toward trying to make the library better,” Bastin said. He also said the improvements the library wanted to make, such as technology upgrades and layout changes, weren’t going to get done through LSSI.

Editor’s Note: The city and county each select board members with the city Mayor  appointing  a majority of those members (and drone majority of the council approving those appointments). From the beginning, with the removal of quality staff and management, the county realized that the influence of the city Mayor and majority board was not in the best interest of those that the used library services. This has cost the good citizens of Madison County hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of quality service because a city Mayor’s political promise to campaign contributors. Nothing could be more asinine. This turn around is only because of the foresight of the majority members of the County Commission.

In 2019,  Fifty-one people are killed in the Christchurch mosque shootings.

In 2019,  Approximately 1.4 million young people in 123 countries go on strike to protest climate change.

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