Today in History …
by Robert Joseph Baker | March 12, 2016 12:00 am
Last Updated: March 9, 2016 at 8:09 pm
538 – Vitiges, king of the Ostrogoths ends his siege of Rome and retreats to Ravenna, leaving the city in the hands of the victorious Byzantine general, Belisarius.
1550 – Several hundred Spanish and indigenous troops under the command of Pedro de Valdivia defeat an army of 60,000 Mapuche at the Battle of Penco during the Arauco War in present-day Chile.
1622 – Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier, founders of the Jesuits, are canonized as saints by the Catholic Church.
1689 – The Williamite War in Ireland begins.
1811 – Peninsular War: A day after a successful rearguard action, French Marshal Michel Ney once again successfully delayed the pursuing Anglo-Portuguese force at the Battle of Redinha.
1864 – American Civil War: The Red River Campaign begins as a US Navy fleet of 13 Ironclads and 7 Gunboats and other support ships enter the Red River.
1868 – Henry O’Farrell attempts to assassinate Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.
1868 – Basutoland, today called Lesotho, is annexed by the United Kingdom.
1881 – Andrew Watson makes his Scotland debut as the world’s first black international football player and captain.
1885 – Tonkin Campaign: France captures the citadel of Bắc Ninh.
1894 – Coca-Cola is bottled and sold for the first time in Vicksburg, Mississippi, by local soda fountain operator Joseph Biedenharn.
1910 – Greek cruiser Georgios Averof is launched at Livorno.
1912 – The Girl Guides (later renamed the Girl Scouts of the USA) are founded in the United States.
1913 – Canberra Day: The future capital of Australia is officially named Canberra. (Melbourne remains temporary capital until 1927 while the new capital is still under construction.)
1918 – Moscow becomes the capital of Russia again after Saint Petersburg held this status for 215 years.
1920 – The Kapp Putsch begins when the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt is ordered to march on Berlin.
1921 – İstiklâl Marşı is adopted in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
1922 – Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan form The Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic
1928 – In California, the St. Francis Dam fails; the resulting floods kill over 600 people.
1930 – Mahatma Gandhi leads a 200-mile march, known as the Salt March, to the sea in defiance of British opposition, to protest the British monopoly on salt
1933 – Great Depression: Franklin D. Roosevelt addresses the nation for the first time as President of the United States. This is also the first of his “fireside chats”.
1934 – Konstantin Päts and General Johan Laidoner stage a coup in Estonia, and ban all political parties.
1938 – Anschluss: German troops occupy and absorb Austria.
1940 – Winter War: Finland signs the Moscow Peace Treaty with the Soviet Union, ceding almost all of Finnish Karelia. Finnish troops and the remaining population are immediately evacuated.
1942 – Pacific War: The Battle of Java ends with an Allied surrender to the Japanese Empire.
1947 – The Truman Doctrine is proclaimed to help stem the spread of Communism.
1950 – The Llandow air disaster occurs near Sigingstone, Wales, in which 80 people die when their aircraft crashed, making it the world’s deadliest air disaster at the time.
1961 – First winter ascent of the North Face of the Eiger.
1967 – Suharto takes over from Sukarno to become Acting President of Indonesia.
1968 – Mauritius achieves independence from the United Kingdom.
1971 – The March 12 Memorandum is sent to the Demirel government of Turkey and the government resigns.
1992 – Mauritius becomes a republic while remaining a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
1993 – Several bombs explode in Bombay (Mumbai), India, killing about 300 and injuring hundreds more.
1993 – North Korea nuclear weapons program: North Korea says that it plans to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and refuses to allow inspectors access to its nuclear sites.
1993 – The Blizzard of 1993: Snow begins to fall across the eastern portion of the US with tornadoes, thunder snow storms, high winds and record low temperatures. The storm lasts for 30 hours.
1993 – Janet Reno is sworn in as the United States’ first female attorney general.
1994 – The Church of England ordains its first female priests.
1999 – Former Warsaw Pact members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland join NATO.
2003 – Zoran Đinđić, Prime Minister of Serbia, is assassinated in Belgrade.
2004 – The President of South Korea, Roh Moo-hyun, is impeached by its National Assembly: The first such impeachment in the nation’s history.
2005 – Karolos Papoulias becomes President of Greece.
2009 – Financier Bernard Madoff pleads guilty in New York to scamming $18 billion, the largest in Wall Street history.
2011 – A reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant melts and explodes and releases radioactivity into the atmosphere a day after Japan’s earthquake.
2014 – An explosion in the New York City neighborhood of East Harlem kills 8 and injures 70 others.