March 17th in History

This day in historyMarch 17 is the 76th day of the year (77th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 289 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 45 BC,  In his last victory, Julius Caesar defeats the Pompeian forces of Titus Labienus and Pompey the Younger in the Battle of Munda.

In 180,  Marcus Aurelius dies leaving Commodus the sole emperor of the Roman Empire.

In 455,  Petronius Maximus becomes, with support of the Roman Senate, emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

Saint Patrick (window).jpgIn 460,  Saint Patrick, Irish missionary and bishop (b. 387) dies. He was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the “Apostle of Ireland”, he is the primary patron saint of Ireland, along with Saints Brigit and Columba. The dates of Patrick’s life cannot be fixed with certainty but, on a widespread interpretation, he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century. He is generally credited with being the first bishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland. According to the Confessio of Patrick, when he was about 16, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain, and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. In later life, he served as an ordained bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day is observed on 17 March, which is said to be the date of his death. It is celebrated inside and outside Ireland as a religious and cultural holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland, it is both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation; it is also a celebration of Ireland itself.

Legend credits St. Patrick with teaching the Irish about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, using it to illustrate the Christian teaching of three persons in one God. This story first appears in writing in 1726, though it may be older. The shamrock has since become a central symbol for St Patrick’s Day.

In 624,  Led by Muhammad, the Muslims of Medina defeat the Quraysh of Mecca in the Battle of Badr.

In 1001,  The King of Butuan in the Philippines sends a tributary mission to the Song Dynasty of China.

In 1337,  Edward, the Black Prince is made Duke of Cornwall, the first Duchy in England.

In 1452,  The Battle of Los Alporchones is fought in the context of the Spanish Reconquista between the Emirate of Granada and the combined forces of the Kingdom of Castile and Murcia resulting in a Christian victory.

In 1560,  Fort Coligny on Villegagnon Island in Rio de Janeiro is attacked and destroyed during the Portuguese campaign against France Antarctique.

In 1677,  The Siege of Valenciennes, during the Franco-Dutch War, ends with France’s taking of the city.

In 1755, the Transylvania Land Company with Richard Henderson and Daniel Boone met with more than 1,200 Cherokee at Sycamore Shoals (present day Elizabethton in northeastern Tennessee). Present were Cherokee leaders such as Attakullakulla and Oconostota. With the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals, Henderson purchased all the land lying between the Cumberland River, the Cumberland Mountains, and the Kentucky River, and situated south of the Ohio River. The land thus delineated, 20 million acres (81,000 km²), encompassed an area half the size of present-day Kentucky. Henderson had hired Daniel Boone, an experienced hunter, to travel to the Cherokee towns and inform them of the upcoming negotiations. Boone had been in southeast Kentucky long before the founding of any Kentucky settlements.

Afterward, Boone was hired to blaze what became known as the Wilderness Road, which went through the Cumberland Gap and into central Kentucky. During this trail-blazing expedition, Boone and his party suffered several Indian attacks. Along with a party of about thirty workers, Boone marked a path to the Kentucky River, where he established Boonesborough (near present-day Lexington, Kentucky), which was intended to be the capitol of Transylvania. Unknown to Boone, Henderson led another expedition following in Boone’s tracks, widening the path so they could bring through wagons. In addition to Boonesborough, other settlements, notably Harrodsburg, were established at this time. Many of these settlers had come to Kentucky on their own initiative, and some of them refused to recognize Transylvania’s authority.

In 1776,  American Revolution: British forces evacuate Boston, ending the Siege of Boston, after George Washington and Henry Knox place artillery in positions overlooking the city.

In 1780,  American Revolution: George Washington grants the Continental Army a holiday “as an act of solidarity with the Irish in their fight for independence”.

Daniel Bernoulli 001.jpgIn 1782,  Daniel Bernoulli, Dutch-Swiss mathematician and physicist (b. 1700) dies. He was a Swiss mathematician and physicist and was one of the many prominent mathematicians in the Bernoulli family. He is particularly remembered for his applications of mathematics to mechanics, especially fluid mechanics, and for his pioneering work in probability and statistics. His name is commemorated in the Bernoulli principle, a particular example of the conservation of energy, which describes the mathematics of the mechanism underlying the operation of two important technologies of the 20th century: the carburetor and the airplane wing. Daniel Bernoulli was born in Groningen, in the Netherlands, into a family of distinguished mathematicians. The Bernoulli family came originally from Antwerp, at that time in the Spanish Netherlands, but emigrated to escape the Spanish persecution of the Huguenots. After a brief period in Frankfurt the family moved to Basel, in Switzerland. Daniel was the son of Johann Bernoulli (one of the “early developers” of calculus), nephew of Jacob Bernoulli (who “was the first to discover the theory of probability“), and older brother of Johann II.  Daniel Bernoulli was described by W. W. Rouse Ball as “by far the ablest of the younger Bernoullis”. He is said to have had a bad relationship with his father. Upon both of them entering and tying for first place in a scientific contest at the University of Paris, Johann, unable to bear the “shame” of being compared as Daniel’s equal, banned Daniel from his house. Johann Bernoulli also plagiarized some key ideas from Daniel’s book Hydrodynamica in his own book Hydraulica which he backdated to before Hydrodynamica. Despite Daniel’s attempts at reconciliation, his father carried the grudge until his death

In 1805,  The Italian Republic, with Napoleon as president, becomes the Kingdom of Italy, with Napoleon as King.

In 1842,  The Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is formed;

In 1845, the rubber band is patented by Stephen Perry of London.

In 1860,  The First Taranaki War begins in Taranaki, New Zealand, a major phase of the New Zealand land wars.

In 1861,  The Kingdom of Italy is proclaimed.

In 1884, John J. Montgomery , a native of Yuba City, California made a single manned flight in a heavier-than-air flying machine in the United States in Otay Mesa near San Diego, California., although Montgomery later claimed to have made other successful flights. Although not publicized at the time, this flight was first described by Montgomery as part of a lecture delivered at the Conference on Aerial Navigation at Chicago, 1893 and published by Octave Chanute in Progress in Flying Machines. These independent advances came after flights by European pioneers such as George Cayley‘s coachman in England (1853) and Jean-Marie Le Bris in France (1856). While Montgomery himself never claimed firsts, his flight experiments of the 1880s are considered by several historians and organizations to have been the first controlled flights in America, or in the Western Hemisphere depending on source.

In 1891,  SS Utopia collides with HMS Anson in the Bay of Gibraltar and sinks, killing 562 of the 880 passengers on board.

In 1910, with efforts by Mrs. Charles Farnsworth in Thetford, Vermont and Luther Gulick M.D. and his wife Charlotte Vedder Gulick on Sebago Lake, near South Casco, Maine, the Camp Fire Girls organization was formed. (It was formally presented to the public exactly two years later).

Lawrence Oates c1911.jpgIn 1912, Lawrence Oates, an English explorer with Scott’s expedition to Antarctica, left the tent on his 32nd birthday, saying “I am just going outside, and may be some time.” He never returned. He was an English cavalry officer with the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, and later an Antarctic explorer, who died during the Terra Nova Expedition. Oates, afflicted with gangrene and frostbite, walked from his tent into a blizzard. His death is seen as an act of self-sacrifice when, aware that his ill health was compromising his three companions’ chances of survival, he chose certain death.

In 1921,  The Second Republic of Poland adopts the March Constitution.

In 1939,  Second Sino-Japanese War: Battle of Nanchang between the Kuomintang and Japan begins,

In 1941,  In Washington, D.C., the National Gallery of Art is officially opened by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1942,  Holocaust: The first Jews from the Lvov Ghetto are gassed at the Belzec death camp in what is today eastern Poland.

In 1942, Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrived in Australia to become supreme commander of Allied forces in the southwest Pacific theater during World War II.

In 1945,  The Ludendorff Bridge in Remagen, Germany, collapses, ten days after its capture.

In 1945, Although the Pacific island of Iwo Jima was declared secure at on early morning of 17 March (26 days after the landings), the 5th Marine Division still faced Kuribayashi’s stronghold in a gorge 640 m (700 yd) long at the northwestern end of the island. On 21 March, the Marines destroyed the command post in the gorge with four tons of explosives and on 24 March, Marines sealed the remaining caves at the northern tip of the island. However, on the night of 25 March, a 300-man Japanese force launched a final counterattack in the vicinity of Airfield No. 2. Army pilots, Seabees and Marines of the 5th Pioneer Battalion and 28th Marines fought the Japanese force for up to 90 minutes but suffered heavy casualties (53 killed, 120 wounded). Two Marines from the 36th Depot Company, an all-African-American unit, received the Bronze Star. 1st Lieutenant Harry Martin of the 5th Pioneer Battalion was the last Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor during the battle. Although still a matter of speculation because of conflicting accounts from surviving Japanese veterans, it has been said that Kuribayashi led this final assault, which unlike the loud banzai charge of previous battles, was characterised as a silent attack. If ever proven true, Kuribayashi would have been the highest ranking Japanese officer to have personally led an attack during World War II. Additionally, this would also be Kuribayashi’s final act, a departure from the normal practice of the commanding Japanese officers committing seppuku behind the lines while the rest perished in the banzai charge, as happened during the battles of Saipan and Okinawa. The island was officially declared secure at 09:00 on 26 March..

In 1947,  First flight of the B-45 Tornado strategic bomber.

In 1948,  The Benelux, France, and the United Kingdom sign the Treaty of Brussels, a precursor to the North Atlantic Treaty establishing NATO.

In 1950,  Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley announce the creation of element 98, which they name “californium“.

In 1957, A plane crash in Cebu, Philippines kills Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay and 24 others.

In 1958,  The United States launches the Vanguard 1 satellite.

In 1959,  Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, flees Tibet for India.

In 1960,  U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the National Security Council directive on the anti-Cuban covert action program that will ultimately lead to the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

In 1963,  Mount Agung erupted on Bali killing more than 1,100 people.

In 1966,  Off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean, the DSV Alvin submarine finds a missing American hydrogen bomb.

In 1967, Snoopy and Charlie Brown of the comic strip “Peanuts” made the cover of “LIFE” magazine.

In 1968,  As a result of nerve gas testing in Skull Valley, Utah, over 6,000 sheep are found dead.

In 1969,  Golda Meir becomes the first female Prime Minister of Israel.

In 1970,  My Lai Massacre: The United States Army charges 14 officers with suppressing information related to the incident.

In 1973,  The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph Burst of Joy is taken, depicting a former prisoner of war being reunited with his family, which came to symbolize the end of United States involvement in the Vietnam War.

In 1979,  The Penmanshiel Tunnel collapses during engineering works, killing two workers.

In 1985,  Serial killer Richard Ramirez, aka the “Night Stalker”, commits the first two murders in his Los Angeles, California murder spree.

In 1988,  A Colombian Boeing 727 jetliner, Avianca Flight 410, crashes into a mountainside near the Venezuelan border killing 143.

In 1988,  Eritrean War of Independence: The Nadew Command, an Ethiopian army corps in Eritrea, is attacked on three sides by military units of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front in the opening action of the Battle of Afabet.

In 1992,  Israeli Embassy attack in Buenos Aires: Suicide car bomb attack kills 29 and injures 242.

In 1992,  A referendum to end apartheid in South Africa is passed 68.7% to 31.2%.

In 1998, The first coeducational class at the once all-male Virginia Military Institute celebrated the end of seven months of hazing that transformed the “rats” into full-fledged cadets. 23 of the 30 women admitted to the Lexington, Virginia, military college the previous year crawled up a mud-soaked hill in near freezing temperatures in a tradition known as “breakout,” ending months of torment by upperclassmen.

In 2000,  530 members of the Ugandan cult Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God die in a fire, considered to be a mass murder or suicide orchestrated by leaders of the cult. Elsewhere another 248 members are later found dead.

In 2003,  Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Robin Cook, resigns from the British Cabinet in disagreement with government plans for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In 2004,  Unrest in Kosovo: More than 22 are killed and 200 wounded. Thirty-five Serbian Orthodox shrines in Kosovo and two mosques in Belgrade and Niš are destroyed.

In 2013,  The largest meteorite (since NASA started observing the moon in 2005) hit the moon.

In 2014, Adrian Eddleman, Madison County Commission, Tennessee explains his vote in opposition of to Tommy Cunningham which fell one vote short of being elected interim sheriff at Monday’s Madison County Commission meeting. Cunningham will continue to serve as interim sheriff for now. (A good and honest vote)

In 2015, Gist gets a little nasty…. Candidates for Jackson, TN mayor, city council meet in forum.  Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist, Lowe Finney, James Baxter, Charles Motton and Tim York are vying for the mayor’s seat in the May 5 election, and they were joined by Johnny Lee Dodd, who is seeking re-election in District 2 and challenger Corliss Mercer-Johnson. “You will hear quite a bit about crime in the next six weeks,” Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist said. “But, for the period 2008 to 2014, full calendar years, there was a 21.1 percent decrease in totals of all reported offenses.” Editor’s note: Jackson do you feel safer?

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