- Christian feast day:
- Minna Canth‘s Birthday (Finland)
- Earliest day on which Maundy Thursday can fall, while April 22 is the latest; celebrated on Thursday before Easter. (Christianity)
- St Joseph’s Day (Roman Catholicism and Church of England) related observances:
- The Kashubians‘ Unity Day.
- The first day of Quinquatria, held in honor of Minerva. (Roman Empire)
In 721, B.C., according to the Greek historian Ptolemy, Babylonian astronomers noted history’s first recorded eclipse: an eclipse of the moon.
In 1452, Frederik III van Habsburg crowned Roman Catholic German Emperor.
In 1524, Giovanni de Varrazano of France sights the coast of the Carolinas.
In 1571, Spanish troops occupy Manila.
In 1628, 90 Puritan merchants (New England Co.) receive New World land patent; Massachusetts Colony founded.
In 1687, French explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle — the first European to navigate the length of the Mississippi River — was murdered by mutineers in present-day Texas.
In 1702, James II’s daughter Anne Stuart becomes queen of England.
In 1734, Thomas McKean, American lawyer and politician, 2nd Governor of Pennsylvania (d. 1817) was born. He was an American lawyer and politician from New Castle, in New Castle County, Delaware and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the American Revolution he was a delegate to the Continental Congress where he signed the United States Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. McKean served as a President of Congress. He was at various times a member of the Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties. McKean served as President of Delaware, Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, and Governor of Pennsylvania.
In 1748, English Naturalization Act passes granting Jews right to colonize US.
In 1813, David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and explorer (d. 1873) was born. He was a Scottish Congregationalist pioneer medical missionary with the London Missionary Society and an explorer in Africa. His meeting with H. M. Stanley on 10 November 1871 gave rise to the popular quotation “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Perhaps one of the most popular national heroes of the late 19th century in Victorian Britain, Livingstone had a mythic status, which operated on a number of interconnected levels: Protestant missionary martyr, working-class “rags to riches” inspirational story, scientific investigator and explorer, imperial reformer, anti-slavery crusader, and advocate of commercial empire. His fame as an explorer helped drive forward the obsession with discovering the sources of the River Nile that formed the culmination of the classic period of European geographical discovery and colonial penetration of the African continent. At the same time his missionary travels, “disappearance” and death in Africa, and subsequent glorification as posthumous national hero in 1874 led to the founding of several major central African Christian missionary initiatives carried forward in the era of the European “Scramble for Africa“.
In 1822, Boston, Massachusetts was incorporated as a city. (Date is a little fuzzy on this one)
In 1831, Edward Smith performed the first bank robbery in the U.S. by robbing $245,000 from the City Bank in New York City.
In 1848, Born this day, Wyatt Earp, American law officer who took part in involved in several gunfights including one at the O.K. Corral.
In 1860, William Jennings Bryan, American politician, 41st United States Secretary of State (d. 1925) was born. He was a leading American politician from the 1890s until his death. He was a dominant force in the populist wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as the Party’s candidate for President of the United States (1896, 1900 and 1908). He served two terms as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Nebraska and was the United States Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson (1913–1915), resigning because of his pacifist position on the World War. Bryan was a devout Presbytreian, an strong advocate of popular democracy, and an enemy of the banks and their gold standard. He demanded “Free Silver” (because it reduce the power of the money power and put more money in the hands of the people at large). He was a peace advocate, a prohibitionist, and an opponent of Darwinism on religious and humanitarian grounds. With his deep, commanding voice and wide travels, he was one of the best known orators and lecturers of the era. Because of his faith in the wisdom of the common people, he was called “The Great Commoner.” In the intensely fought 1896 and 1900 elections, he was defeated by William McKinley but retained control of the Democratic Party. With over 500 speeches in 1896, Bryan invented the national stumping tour, in an era when other presidential candidates stayed home. In his three presidential bids, he promoted Free Silver in 1896, anti-imperialism in 1900, and trust-busting in 1908, calling on Democrats to fight the trusts (big corporations) and big banks, and embrace anti-elitist ideals of republicanism. President Wilson appointed him Secretary of State in 1913, but Wilson’s strong demands on Germany after the Lusitania was torpedoed in 1915 caused Bryan to resign in protest. After 1920 he was a strong supporter of Prohibition and energetically attacked Darwinism and evolution, most famously at the Scopes Trial in 1925. Five days after the end of the case, he died in his sleep
In 1863, The SS Georgiana, said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser, is destroyed on her maiden voyage with a cargo of munitions, medicines and merchandise then valued at over $1,000,000.
In 1895, Los Angeles Railway was established to provide streetcar service.
In 1917, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the eight-hour workday for railroads as the Adamson Act was ruled constitutional.
In 1918, S Potter becomes first US pilot to shoot down a German seaplane.
In 1918, Congress approved Daylight-Saving Time. The act authorized Congress to establish time zones for the U.S. It was also established to save fuel and to promote the economies in a country at war.
In 1920, the U.S. Senate rejected for the second time the Treaty of Versailles by a vote of 49 in favor, 35 against, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed for approval.
In 1921, Irish War of Independence: One of the biggest engagements of the war takes place at Crossbarry, County Cork. About 100 Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteers escape an attempt by over 1,300 British forces to encircle them.
In 1931, Nevada legalized gambling.
In 1932, The Sydney Harbour Bridge is opened.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered that men between the ages of 45 and 64 register for non-military duty. Even Bugs Bunny showed up when served a draft notice.
In 1943, Canadian Stars 1 sunk by the German Submarine U-221 , when southeast of Cape Farewell, Greenland in position 53.24N, 28.34W (25). She was on a voyage from Sydney, N.S.W. and New York to Liverpool with 7,806 tons of refrigerated cargo. Twenty crew and nine passengers were lost.
In 1945, World War II: Off the coast of Japan, a dive bomber hits the aircraft carrier USS Franklin, killing 724 of her crew. Badly damaged, the ship is able to return to the U.S. under her own power. (“The Ship That Wouldn’t Sink” makes the 12,000- mile trip home to Brooklyn.).
In 1945, British 36th division conquers Mogok (ruby mine).
In 1945, US Task Force of 58 attack ships near Kobe/Kure.
In 1945, Adolf Hitler issued his so-called “Nero Decree,” ordering the destruction of German facilities that could fall into Allied hands.
In 1949, the first museum devoted exclusively to atomic energy opened in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (the American Museum of Atomic Energy).
In 1950, Edgar Rice Burroughs, American author (b. 1875) dies of a heart attack. He was an American writer, best known for his creations of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter, although he produced works in many genres. Aiming his work at the pulps, Burroughs had his first story, Under the Moons of Mars, serialized by Frank Munsey in the February to July 1912 issues of The All-Story —under the name “Norman Bean” to protect his reputation. Under the Moons of Mars inaugurated the Barsoom series. It was first published as a book by A. C. McClurg of Chicago in 1917, entitled A Princess of Mars, after three Barsoom sequels had appeared as serials, and McClurg had published the first four serial Tarzan novels as books. Burroughs soon took up writing full-time and by the time the run of Under the Moons of Mars had finished he had completed two novels, including Tarzan of the Apes, published from October 1912 and one of his most successful series. In 1913, Burroughs and Emma had their third and last child, John Coleman Burroughs (1913–79). Burroughs also wrote popular science fiction and fantasy stories involving Earthly adventurers transported to various planets (notably Barsoom, Burroughs’s fictional name for Mars, and Amtor, his fictional name for Venus), lost islands, and into the interior of the hollow earth in his Pellucidar stories, as well as westerns and historical romances. Along with All-Story, many of his stories were published in The Argosy magazine.
In 1951, Herman Wouk’s war novel “The Caine Mutiny” was published.
In 1954 – Willie Mosconi sets a world record by running 526 consecutive balls without a miss during a straight pool exhibition at East High Billiard Club in Springfield, Ohio. The record still stands today.
In 1958, The Monarch Underwear Company fire leaves 24 dead and 15 injured.
In 1965, The wreck of the SS Georgiana, valued at over $50,000,000 and said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser, is discovered by teenage diver and pioneer underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence, exactly 102 years after its destruction.
In 1973, “POWs Return from Vietnam” Shortly after the Paris cease-fire agreement was signed, North Vietnam began releasing American prisoners of war. The most touching reunion seen on TV took place at California’s Travis Air Force Base, as Lt. Col. Robert Stirm stepped onto the tarmac. His eldest daughter, Lorrie, 15, beamed as she rushed at her father with arms outstretched, followed closely by her brothers, her sister, and her mother, Loretta. The scene personified Operation Homecoming, during which 591 serviceman were released.
In 1975, Pennsylvania became the first state to allow girls to compete with boys in high school sports.
In 1985, IBM announced that it was planning to stop making the PCjr consumer-oriented computer. The machine had been expected to dominate the home computer market but didn’t quite live up to those expectations. In the 16 months that the PCjr was on the market, only 240,000 units were sold. I had one of the first units. No Hard Drive, two floppy disk drives with MS-DOS operation system. Cost was about $2400.00. My first upgrade was 40 MB Hard Card drive, some additional memory and 3.5 floppy disk drive. WOW.
In 1985, in a legislative victory for President Reagan, the Senate voted, 55-45, to authorize production of the MX missile.
In 1992, Democrat Paul Tsongas pulled out of the presidential race, leaving Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton the clear favorite to capture their party’s nomination.
In 1993, Justice Byron White, the only member of the U.S. Supreme Court appointed by a Democrat, announced he would retire, opening the way for President Clinton to make his first high judicial nomination. White’s departure paved the way for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to become the court’s second female justice.
In 1994, In his weekly radio address, President Clinton promised to tell people “all across America about our health reform plan and what it really means.”
In 2004, A Swedish DC-3 shot down by a Russian MiG-15 in 1952 over the Baltic Sea is finally recovered after years of work. The remains of the three crewmen are left in place, pending further investigations.
In 2008 – GRB 080319B: A cosmic burst that is the farthest object visible to the naked eye is briefly observed.