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1413 Mar 20
Henry IV (b.1367), King of England (1399-1413), died in the house of the Abbot of Westminster. He was succeeded by Henry V (b.1387).
Links: Britain     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1602 Mar 20
The Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) was chartered to carry on trade in the East Indies. The VOC traded to 1798 whereupon its possessions were dissolved into the Dutch empire. In 2010 a student found a share in the company issued to an official named Pieter Harmenz dating to Sep 9, 1606. As a result, continuous trade in company stock emerged on the Amsterdam Exchange.
Links: Netherlands, Money     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1616 Mar 20
Walter Raleigh was released from Tower of London to seek gold in Guiana. He took along his son Wat (22), who was killed during an attack on a Spanish outpost.
Links: Britain, Guyana     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1727 Mar 20
Sir Isaac Newton (b.1642), physicist, mathematician and astronomer, died in London. Michael White wrote the 1998 biography "Isaac Newton" in which he revealed Newton’s passion for alchemy. In 2003 James Gleick authored the biography "Isaac Newton." In 2011 Edward Dolnick authored “The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World.” In 2014 Sarah Dry authored “The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts.”
Links: Britain, Physics     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1800 Mar 20
French army defeated Turks at Heliopolis, Turkey, and advanced to Cairo.
Links: Turkey, France, Egypt     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1811 Mar 20
George Caleb Bingham (d.1879), Missouri painter, was born in Virginia. His paintings included "Fur Traders on the Missouri."
Links: Artist, USA, Missouri     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1836 Mar 20
At Coleto Creek, Texas, Colonel James Fannin after being surrounded by Mexican forces under General Urrea, agreed to surrender to Colonel Juan Jose Holzinger. Fannin was unaware that General Santa Anna had decreed execution for all rebels. Urrea negotiated the surrender "at the disposal of the Supreme Mexican Government," falsely stating that no prisoner taken on those terms had lost his life.
Links: USA, Mexico, Texas     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1852 Mar 20
Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was first published in book form after being serialized. It was based on the theme that slavery is incompatible with Christianity. In 2011 David S. Reynolds authored “Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America.”
Links: USA, Writer, Black History, Books     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1890 Mar 20
Lauritz Melchior, baritone, tenor (Met Opera), was born in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Links: Denmark     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1894 Mar 20
Lajos Kossuth (91), Hungarian freedom fighter, president (1849), died.
Links: Hungary     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1907 Mar 20
A San Francisco grand jury returned a 66-count indictment against Abe Ruef and two executives of a Bell system telephone company who had bribed him.
Links: USA, SF, Corruption     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1908 Mar 20
Michael Redgrave (d.1985), actor (Browning Version, Lady Vanishes), was born in Bristol, England.
Links: Britain, Filmstar, Theater     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1913 Mar 20
It was reported that Alcatraz island is to be abandoned as an Army prison and will be turned over to the Dept. of Justice for use as a federal penitentiary. It was deactivated as a military prison in 1933.
Links: USA, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1924 Mar 20
The Virginia Legislature passed two closely related eugenics laws: SB 219, entitled "The Racial Integrity Act" and SB 281, "An ACT to provide for the sexual sterilization of inmates of State institutions in certain cases", henceforth referred to as "The Sterilization Act". The Racial Integrity Act (one drop law) required that a racial description of every person be recorded at birth, and felonized marriage between "white persons" and non-white persons. The law was the most famous ban on miscegenation in the US, and was overturned by the US Supreme Court in 1967, in Loving v. Virginia. Virginia repealed the sterilization in 1979. In 2001 the House of Delegates voted to express regret for the state’s selecting breeding policies that had forced sterilizations on some 8,000 people. The Senate soon followed suit.
Links: USA, Virginia, Black History, AmerIndian     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1939 Mar 20
Franklin D. Roosevelt named William O. Douglas to the Supreme Court. He replaced Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941), appointed in 1916, who retired. Douglas left the court in 1975, holding the record as the longest serving Supreme Court justice.
Links: USA, RooseveltF, Supreme Court     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1941 Mar 20
Nazi German-Yugoslav pact was drawn.
Links: Yugoslavia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1944 Mar 20
Pierre Pucheu (b.1899), French industrialist, fascist and member of the Vichy government, was executed following his arrest a year earlier in Casablanca. He was the first of the leading collaborationist figures to be executed directly under de Gaulle's jurisdiction.
Links: France, WWII     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1946 Mar 20
The Tule Lake Segregation Camp in northern California was closed. It had housed Japanese internees who refused to swear a loyalty oath to the US or who caused disruptions at other camps.
Links: USA, Japan, California     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1948 Mar 20
A severe tornado moved through Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City destroying 52 aircraft.
Links: USA, Oklahoma, Tornado, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1953 Mar 20
In the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev became the head of a five-man group called the Secretariat, although for all intents and purposes, he is in a leadership role that will gradually push Malenkov aside. In September Khrushchev was officially given the title of First Secretary of the Communist Party.
Links: Russia, USSR     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1955 Mar 20
Count Mihaly Karolyi (b.1875), a nationalist who helped form modern Hungary’s 1st government (1918), died.
Links: Hungary     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1956 Mar 20
Tunisia was granted independence by France. Tunisia became an independent nation under the leadership of Habib Bourguiba, a Francophone lawyer. He launched a campaign advocating birth control. By 2003 the fertility rate plunged from 7.2 in the 1960s to 2.08. Bourguiba created a paternalistic and monopolistic ruling party that continued for 3 decades.
Links: Tunisia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1957 Mar 20
Britain accepted a NATO offer to mediate in Cyprus, but Greece rejected it.
Links: Cyprus     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1959 Mar 20
In SF Harry Bridges spoke to a crowd at the Commonwealth Club luncheon regarding his recent trip to Russia. The Longshore Union president gave his audience the challenge he received in Russia: Within 10 years the Soviet Union will give its workers the highest standard of living in the world, the highest wages, the shortest work week, the best free medical care, the best education, and no unemployment.
Links: Russia, USA, SF, USSR     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1964 Mar 20
Brendan Behan (b.1923), Irish playwright and author, died in Dublin.
Links: Ireland, Writer, Playwright     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1968 Mar 20
Pres. Lyndon Johnson held talks with Paraguay’s Pres.-Gen. Alfredo Stroessner in Washington DC.
Links: Paraguay, USA, JohnsonL     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1969 Mar 20
Senator Edward Kennedy called on the U.S. to close all bases in Taiwan.
Links: USA, Taiwan     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1969 Mar 20
The Chicago 8 were indicted in aftermath of Chicago Democratic convention.
Links: USA, Chicago     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1969 Mar 20
John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.
Links: Gibraltar, Beatles     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1974 Mar 20
Chet Huntley (b.1911), newscaster (NBC Huntley-Brinkley Report), died of lung cancer.
Links: USA, TV, Journalism     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1976 Mar 20
Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was convicted of armed robbery for use of a firearm in the San Francisco Hibernia Bank holdup. In Sept she was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
Links: USA, SF, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1977 Mar 20
Voters in Paris chose former French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac to be the French capital's first mayor in more than a century.
Links: France     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1977 Mar 20
Premier Indira Gandhi lost her election in India.
Links: India     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Mar 20
In Rome, Italy, the Mafia killed Mino Pecorelli, a magazine editor. In 1996 Premier Giulio Andreotti went on trial for allegedly turning to the Mafia to kill the troublesome journalist. Andreotti was acquitted by a jury in 1999. 5 others were also acquitted. In 2002 an appeal court in Perugia sentenced Giulio Andreotti to 24 years imprisonment for ordering the murder of Pecorelli.
Links: Italy, Mafia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Mar 20
Argentine ex-president Isabel Peron was sentenced to 8 years in a convent.
Links: Argentina     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1981 Mar 20
Former girls’ school headmistress Jean Harris (1923-2012) was sentenced in White Plains, New York, to 15 years to life in prison for slaying "Scarsdale Diet" author Dr. Herman Tarnower. Harris was released in 1993 following a grant of clemency by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo.
Links: USA, New York, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Mar 20
Michael Donald (b.1961), a black teenager in Mobile, Alabama, was abducted, tortured and killed in what prosecutors charged was a Ku Klux Klan plot. Henry Hays (d.1997) murdered Michael Donald in a random abduction. Donald was beaten, cut, strangled and his body was strung up a tree. Hays was convicted and sentenced to death. He was executed Jun 6, 1997. In 1987 A wrongful death suit filed by Donald’s mother gave a $7 million verdict against the United Klans of America, led by Robert Shelton (d.2003 at 73).
Links: USA, Black History, Murder, Alabama, KKK     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982 Mar 20
U.S. scientists returned from Antarctica with the first land mammal fossils found there.
Links: USA, Antarctica     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1984 Mar 20
An indictment was unsealed against Denny McLain, former Detroit Tiger pitching star, on various charges of racketeering. McLain was named in all the indictment's five counts, which accused him of racketeering, conspiracy, extortion, possession and distribution of cocaine, and conspiracy to import cocaine. He would face up to 90 years in prison if convicted of all the charges.
Links: USA, Baseball, Michigan     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985 Mar 20
Libby Riddles of Teller, Alaska, became the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race.
Links: USA, Women, Alaska     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1987 Mar 20
The Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of AZT, a drug shown to prolong the lives of some AIDS patients. Jerome Horwitz of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine first synthesized AZT in 1964 under a US National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant. It was developed by Burroughs-Welcome (later part of GlaxoSmithKline).
Links: USA, Microbiology, AIDS, Pharma, FDA     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Mar 20
David Henry Hwang's "M. Butterfly" premiered in NYC.
Links: USA, NYC, Theater     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Mar 20
Eight-year-old DeAndra Anrig found herself airborne when the string of her kite was snagged by an airplane flying over Shoreline Park in Mountain View, Calif. Not seriously hurt, she was lifted 10 feet off the ground and carried 100 feet until she let go.
Links: USA, Aviation, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 Mar 20
Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth confirmed that his office was investigating "serious allegations" involving Cincinnati Reds Manager Pete Rose. Ueberroth's successor, A. Bartlett Giamatti, later banned Rose from baseball for betting on games.
Links: USA, Ohio, Baseball     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 Mar 20
In Northern Ireland Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan, two senior Northern Ireland police officers, were murdered by the Irish Republican Army outside the village of Jonesborough, County Armagh. On Dec 3, 2013, a judge-led inquiry in London found that Irish police colluded in the murder.
Links: Britain, Ireland, Northern Ireland     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1990 Mar 20
Namibia became an independent nation, marking the end of 75 years of South African rule. The South African colony gained independence after 25 years of guerrilla war. Namibians began petitioning the U.N. as early as 1947, developing political parties, most notably SWAPO (South West Africa People‘s Organization) to voice opposition to South African rule. Armed resistance to South African rule began in earnest in the 1970s and continued into the 1980s, which combined with drought and other factors, contributed to an overwhelming drain to South Africa‘s economy. The UN Security Council eventually demanded independence for Namibia, but transition elections were not agreed to by South Africa until December 1988 after a military disaster involving Angola. The UN Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) started work in April 1989 with elections giving SWAPO 57% of the vote. On March 21 of the following year, the South African flag was lowered and the Namibian flag raised in Namibia‘s National Stadium.
Links: South Africa, Namibia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1990 Mar 20
The last Indian peacekeepers left Sri Lanka.

Links: India, Sri Lanka     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Mar 20
Pres. Bush announced the US would reduce Poland’s indebtedness by a full 70%. The Paris Club, an informal grouping of the world's 17 leading industrial countries, announced a week earlier that it would halve Poland's enormous debt and reduce accumulated interest by 80 percent. The US portion of the forgiven debt was approximately $2.4 billion.
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1991 Mar 20
The US Supreme Court ruled employers could not adopt "fetal protection" policies barring women of child-bearing age from certain hazardous jobs.
Links: USA, Supreme Court     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Mar 20
A US jet fighter shot down an Iraqi warplane in the first air attack since the Gulf War cease-fire.
Links: Iraq, USA     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1991 Mar 20
April Glaspie, the US ambassador to Iraq, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Saddam Hussein had lied to her by denying he would invade Kuwait.
Links: Iraq, USA, Kuwait     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1992 Mar 20
The US Congress passed, and President Bush immediately vetoed, a Democratic tax cut for the middle class that would have been funded by a tax hike on the rich.
Links: USA, BushHW     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 Mar 20
An Irish Republican Army bomb exploded in Warrington, England, killing 3-year-old Jonathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry.
Links: Britain, Northern Ireland     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 Mar 20
Russian President Boris Yeltsin declared emergency rule, setting a referendum on whether the people trusted him or the hard-line Congress to govern.
Links: Russia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 Mar 20
Pope John Paul II declared Duns Scotus (1266-1308) a saint.
Links: Vatican     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1994 Mar 20
El Salvador held its first presidential election following the country's 12-year-old civil war. Armando Calderon Sol of the ARENA party led the vote, but needed to win a run-off to achieve the presidency.
Links: El Salvador     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1994 Mar 20
Ilaria Alpi (32), Italian journalist, was shot and killed in Somalia along with her cameraman, Miran Hrovatin, on the same day that Italian troops left the country. She had collected evidence of brutality by Italian officers against Somalis along with evidence of illegal gun-running.
Links: Italy, Somalia, Journalism     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 Mar 20
The Bosnian army, having gained strength despite an arms embargo, launched a major offensive in the northeast against Serb positions.
Links: Bosnia, Serbia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 Mar 20
Commentator Pat Buchanan formally launched his presidential campaign in New Hampshire.
Links: USA, New Hampshire     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 Mar 20
Sidney Kingsley, US playwright (Pulitzer prize 1934), died.
Links: USA, Playwright     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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