This Week in History

March 23

1775: Patrick Henry delivered his speech, “Give me liberty or give me death!” at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, Va.
1857: Elisha Otis’ first elevator was installed at 488 Broadway, New York City.
1868: The University of California was founded in Oakland, when the Organic Act was signed into law.
1989: Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced their discovery of cold fusion at the University of Utah.
2001: The Russian Mir space station was allowed to re-enter the atmosphere, where if broke apart and fell into the southern Pacific Ocean near Fiji.

March 24

1765: The Kingdom of Great Britain passed the Quartering Act that required the 13 colonies to house British troops in private homes.
1837: Canada granted African Canadian men the right to vote.
1854: Slavery was abolished in Venezuela.
1882: German physician and microbiologist Robert Koch (1843-1910) announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis.
1900: Groundbreaking was held for New York’s first subway train line, that would link Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1958: Elvis Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army.
1965: Sen. Robert F. Kennedy became the first person to reach the peak of Mount Kennedy in the Yukon Territory.
1972: The United Kingdom imposed direct rule over Northern Ireland.
1973: Kenyan athlete Kip Keino defeated Jim Ryun at the first-ever professional track meet in Los Angeles.
1989: The Exxon Valdez spilled 240,000 barrels of crude oil after running aground in Prince William Sound in Alaska.

March 25

1584: Sir Walter Raleigh was granted a patent to colonize Virginia.
1948: The first successful tornado forecast predicted that a tornado would strike Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.
1979: The first fully functional space shuttle orbiter, Columbia, was delivered to the John F. Kennedy Space Center to be prepared for its first launch.
1995: WikiWikiWeb, the world’s first wiki (user-editable website), and part of the Portland Pattern Repository, was made public by founder Ward Cunningham (born 1949) in Portland, Ore.
1996: An 81-day-long standoff began between the anti-government group Montana Freemen and law enforcement near Jordan, Montana.
2006: Protesters demanding a new election in Belarus, following the rigged Belarus election, clashed with riot police.

March 26

1484: William Caxton produced the first printed version of Aesop’s Fables in London.
1812: A political cartoon in the Boston Gazette coined the term “gerrymander” to describe oddly shaped electoral districts designed to help incumbents win re-election.
1934: The first driving test was introduced in the United Kingdom.
1977: The NBC show known as Saturday Night was renamed Saturday Night Live.
1982: A groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was held in Washington, D.C.
1999: The “Melissa worm” infected Microsoft word processing and email systems around the world.

March 27

1794: The U.S. government established a permanent navy and authorized the building of six frigates.
1851: Yosemite Valley was first seen by Europeans.
1915: Typhoid Mary (Mary Mallon, 1869-1938), the first healthy carrier of disease ever identified in the United States, was put in quarantine, where she remained until she died.
1975: Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System began.
1980: “Silver Thursday” occurred as a steep fall in silver prices, resulting from the Hunt Brothers attempting to corner the market in silver, led to panic on commodity and futures exchanges.
1998: The Food and Drug Administration approved Viagra for use as a treatment for male impotence, the first pill to be approved for this condition in the United States.
2009:  The dam forming Situ Gintung, an artificial lake in Indonesia, fails.

March 28

845: Paris was sacked by Viking raiders, who collected a huge ransom in exchange for leaving.
1814: The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom defeated the U.S. Navy in the Battle of Valparaiso, Chile, during the War of 1812.
1862: Union forces stopped the Confederate invasion of New Mexico, in the Battle of Glorieta Pass, which began two days earlier.
1910: Henri Fabre (1882-1984) became the first person to fly a seaplane, the Fabre Hydravion, after taking off from a water runway near Martigues, France.
1930: Constantinople, Turkey, changed its name to Istanbul, signaling the end of the Ottoman Empire.
1969: Dwight David Eisenhower (34th U.S. president, 1953-1961) died in Washington, D.C., age 78.
1979: The worst nuclear power plant accident in American history occurred at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pa.
1990: President George H. W. Bush posthumously awarded Jesse Owens the Congressional Gold Medal.
2006: Massive protests are mounted against France’s first employment contract law, meant to reduce youth unemployment.

March 29

1638: Swedish colonists established the first European settlement in Delaware, naming it New Sweden.
1806: Construction was authorized of the Great National Pike, better known as the Cumberland Road, which became the first U.S. federal highway.
1867: Queen Victoria gave Royal Assent to the British North America Act, which would establish the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867.
1882: The Knights of Columbus were established in New Haven, Conn.
1886: Dr. John Pemberton (chemist) brewed the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta, Georgia.
1911: The M1911 .45 ACP pistol became the official U.S. Army side arm.
1919: The first Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was held.
1945: The last World War II V-1 flying bomb attacks in England occurred.
1957: The first major U.S. railroad abandonment in its entirety occurred when the New York, Ontario and Western Railway made its final run.
1961: The 23rd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, allowing residents of Washington,  D.C., to vote in presidential elections.
1984: The Baltimore Colts loaded its possessions onto 15 Mayflower moving trucks in the early morning hours and transferred its operations to Indianapolis.
1993: Catherine Callbeck became premier of Prince Edward Island, as well as the first woman elected in a general election as premier of a Canadian province.
1999: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the 10,000 mark (10,006.78) for the first time, during the height of the dot-com bubble.
2004: The Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in all work places, including bars and restaurants.