This Day in History — March-20

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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Today is the 79th day of 2018. There are 286 days left in the year.


1899: Martha M Place of Brooklyn, New York, becomes the first woman to be executed in the electric chair in the United States.


1413: England's King Henry IV dies; he is succeeded by Henry V.

1616: Sir Walter Raleigh is released from Tower of London to seek gold in Guyana.

1760: A 10-hour fire erupts in Boston, destroying 349 buildings and burning 10 ships, but claiming no lives.

1784: Holland cedes Negapatama and Madras, India, to Britain.

1815: Napoleon Bonaparte returns to Paris after escaping his exile on Elba, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.

1816: US Supreme Court affirms its right to review state court decisions.

1849: Second Sikh War between Sikhs and Britain begins in India; Ludwig I, King of Bavaria, abdicates.

1850: Another Anglo-Kaffir war breaks out in South Africa.

1852: Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential novel about slavery, Uncle Tom's Cabin, is published in the United States.

1854: The Republican Party of the United States is founded by slavery opponents at a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin.

1896: Marines land in Nicaragua to protect US citizens in the wake of a revolution.

1916: Allies agree on partition of Turkey.

1922: The decommissioned USS Jupiter, converted into the first US Navy aircraft carrier, was re-commissioned as the USS Langley .

1942: US General Douglas MacArthur declares: “I shall return” to the Philippines after leaving for Australia in the face of a Japanese invasion.

1948: Gentleman's Agreement wins the Academy Award for best picture of 1947; Ronald Colman is named best actor for A Double Life, while Loretta Young won best actress for The Farmer's Daughter.

1952: The US Senate ratifies, 66-10, a Security Treaty with Japan.

1956: France recognises independence of Tunisia, with Habib Bourguiba as its first president.

1969: John Lennon marries Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.

1972: Nineteen mountain climbers on Japan's Mount Fuji are killed in avalanche.

1976: Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is convicted of armed robbery for her part in a San Francisco bank hold-up.

1977: Voters in Paris choose former French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac to be the French capital's first mayor in more than a century.

1985: Libby Riddles of Teller, Alaska, becomes the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race.

1987: US Food and Drug Administration approve the sale of AZT, a drug shown to prolong the lives of some AIDS patients. Italian air force General Livio Giorgieri is shot dead by two youths on motorcycle. The attack is attributed to the Red Brigades terrorist group.

1988: Honduran warplanes bomb Nicaraguan troops who chased Contra rebels into Honduras.

1989: PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat blames Israeli government for escalating violence in West Bank and Gaza Strip.

1990: Namibia becomes an independent nation, marking the end of 75 years of South African rule.

1991: Khaleda Zia is elected prime minister in the first peaceful, democratic transfer of power in Bangladesh. US forces shoot down an Iraqi warplane saying it was violating a ceasefire agreement; Khaleda Zia is elected prime minister in the first peaceful, democratic transfer of power in Bangladesh.

1992: Iraq backs down under threat of possible air raids and admits far larger ballistic and chemical arsenals than disclosed earlier.

1993: Russian President Boris Yeltsin declares emergency rule until he can conduct a referendum on whether the people trust him or the hard-line Congress to govern.

1994: Tunisians elect first multi-party parliament.

1995: In Tokyo, 12 people are killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the poisonous gas sarin leak on five separate subway trains.

1997: The Swiss National Bank confirms that it helped other neutral European countries to buy millions of dollars worth of Nazi gold during World War II.

1998: The Trans-Kalahari Highway, sub-Saharan Africa's first road connecting the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, is opened.

2000: President Abdou Diouf concedes defeat in Senegalese elections, marking a rare victory for democratic change in Africa and bringing a fiery opposition leader to power.

2003: Former US Air Force Sergeant Brian Regan accepts a sentence of life in prison for attempting to sell US defence secrets to China and Iraq.

2004: Thousands of people march in cities across the globe to mark the first anniversary of the war in Iraq, demanding an end to the US occupation — which some blamed for spawning more terrorism — and the withdrawal of international troops.

2005: Iraq recalls its ambassador to neighbouring, Sunni-dominated Jordan in a growing dispute over Shiite Muslim claims that Amman is failing to block terrorists from entering Iraq.

2006: About 1,000 pro-democracy activists march in the Nepalese capital of Katmandu, demanding King Gyanendra free political detainees and give up powers he seized in 2005.

2007: Fire engulfs a nursing home in Kamyshevatskaya, a small town in south Russia, killing 62 frail and elderly residents after the night watchman ignores two alarms and rescue workers take nearly an hour to arrive.

2008: Australia commits US$17 million to train Aboriginal nurses and doctors, as part of efforts to close a 17-year gap in the life expectancies of indigenous and other Australians. In a setback for Democrat candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, a drive for a second Michigan presidential primary collapses as the state Senate adjourned without taking up a measure calling for a do-over contest. (Michigan had held an early primary in January 2008 in violation of Democratic Party rules, and was stripped of its delegates as a result.) Mao Asada of Japan wins the women's title at the World Figure Skating Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

2009: France submits a formal request to rejoin NATO's command structure after a 43-year absence.

2010: Visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says that Israeli settlement building anywhere on occupied land is illegal and must be stopped, while a Palestinian teenager is killed in clashes with Israeli troops elsewhere in the West Bank. Visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that Israeli settlement building anywhere on occupied land is illegal and must be stopped.

2011: Moammar Gadhafi vows a “long war” as allied forces launch a second night of strikes on Libya, and jubilant rebels who only a day before were in danger of being crushed by his forces now boast they will bring him down.

2013: President Barack Obama, on his first visit to Israel as president, affirms the Jewish state's sovereign right to defend itself from any threat and vows to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Five former elected officials of Bell, California, are convicted of misappropriating public funds by paying themselves huge salaries while raising taxes on residents; one defendant was acquitted. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signs Bills that put sweeping new restrictions on sales of firearms and ammunition. Opera singer Rise Stevens, 99, dies in New York.

2017: US Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch pledges to be independent or “hang up the robe” as the Senate begins confirmation hearings on President Donald Trump's conservative pick for the nation's highest bench. President Trump meets for the first time with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the White House. David Rockefeller, guardian of the Rockefeller fortune and billionaire philanthropist, dies at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York, at age 101.

— AP


Ovid, Latin poet (43 BC-17 AD); Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian dramatist (1828-1906); Lauritz Melchior, Danish-American operatic tenor (1890-1973); Fred Rogers, US children's TV personality (1928-2003); Carl Reiner, US producer (1922- ); Spike Lee, US film-maker (1957- ); Holly Hunter, US actress (1958- )

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