1644 – In Virginia the Opechancanough Indians rise up against the settlers but after two years they will be defeated decisively. They will be forced to give up all the land between the James and York Rivers. The resulting peace will last until 1675.
1692 – Following the accession of William III to the English throne, Pennsylvania is declared a royal colony and New York governor Benjamin Fletcher is declared governor of Pennsylvania, depriving William Penn of his proprietary powers. The Crown takes over Pennsylvania because the pacifist Quakers refused to involve themselves in the war against France and because William Penn had maintained friendly relations with the former English monarch, James II.
1741 – New York governor George Clarke’s complex at Fort George is burned in an arson attack, starting the New York Conspiracy of 1741. The Conspiracy of 1741, also known as the Negro Plot of 1741 or the Slave Insurrection of 1741, was a supposed plot by slaves and poor whites in the British colony of New York in 1741 to revolt and level New York City with a series of fires. Historians disagree as to whether such a plot existed and, if there was one, its scale. During the court cases, the prosecution kept changing the grounds of accusation, ending with linking the insurrection to a Popish plot of Spanish and other Catholics.
1766 – After four months of widespread protest in America, the British Parliament repeals the Stamp Act, a taxation measure enacted to raise revenues for a standing British army in America. The Stamp Act was passed on March 22, 1765, leading to an uproar in the colonies over an issue that was to be a major cause of the Revolution: taxation without representation. Enacted in November 1765, the controversial act forced colonists to buy a British stamp for every official document they obtained. The stamp itself displayed an image of a Tudor rose framed by the word “America” and the Latin phrase Honi soit qui mal y pense–“Shame to him who thinks evil of it.” The colonists, who had convened the Stamp Act Congress in October 1765 to vocalize their opposition to the impending enactment, greeted the arrival of the stamps with outrage and violence. Most Americans called for a boycott of British goods, and some organized attacks on the customhouses and homes of tax collectors. After months of protest, and an appeal by Benjamin Franklin before the British House of Commons, Parliament voted to repeal the Stamp Act in March 1766. However, the same day, Parliament passed the Declaratory Acts, asserting that the British government had free and total legislative power over the colonies.
1781 – British General Cornwallis retreats to Willmington to wait for reinforcements from General Clinton.
1818 – Congress passes the first Pension Act, which provides lifetime pensions authorized for veterans of the War for Independence with nine months Continental service in need of assistance.
1837 – Stephen Grover Cleveland was born in Caldwell, N.J. He was the 22nd (1885-1889) and 24th (1893-1897) president of the United States, the only President elected for two nonconsecutive terms.
1863 – Confederate women rioted in Salisbury, N.C. to protest the lack of flour and salt in the South.
1864 – The U.S. Sanitary Commission Fair in Washington, D.C., closes with President Lincoln commending the organization for its fine work. The Sanitary Commission formed in 1861, the creation of northern civilians concerned for Union troops’ medical care. The voluntary association raised more than $22 million in donations and medical supplies, and it represented a major contribution by Yankee women to the war effort. Although administered by men, the vast majority of its volunteers were women. The commission raised supplies and provided lodging and meals to wounded soldiers and troops returning home on furlough. It gathered medicine and bandages for the army and sent inspectors to the camps to oversee the set up of clean water supplies, latrines, and cooking facilities. Volunteers worked on the front lines as doctors and nurses helped evacuate wounded soldiers to the rear. Some generals and army doctors found commission workers to be annoying and troublesome, especially when they criticized army medical practices. One doctor complained about what he saw as “sensation preachers, village doctors, and strong-minded women” interfering with the doctors’ work. Some of these women included noted reformer Dorthea Dix and Mary Ann Bickerdyke, a tough no-nonsense church volunteer who became the commission’s agent to the Army of the Tennessee before the Battle of Shiloh. She was completely dedicated to caring for common soldiers, and she was not afraid to challenge doctors and officers when she thought their care was being compromised. At Chattanooga, she ordered timbers for breastworks burned to keep wounded soldiers warm–when military police asked her who had authorized the burning, she replied, “Under the authority of God Almighty. Have you got anything better than that?” The commission’s work fit 19th century women’s socially proscribed roles as caretakers and nurturers of men, but the work also allowed women to carve out their own careers, and it could be seen as a step forward for the women’s rights movement. Lincoln said at the closing of the Sanitation Commission Fair, “if all that has been said by orators and poets since the creation of the world in praise of women applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during this war.”
1865 – The Congress of the Confederate States of America adjourned for the last time.
1865 – Battle of Wilson’s raid to Selma, AL.
1874 – Hawaii signed a treaty giving exclusive trading rights with the islands to the United States.
1880 – A Frenchman, Ferdinand de Lesseps is asked to testify before a House committee regarding the French Canal Company which is building the Panama Canal. De Lesseps attempts to assure the House that France has no official connection with the canal. Born on November 19, 1805 in Versailles, France. His Family was long distinguished in the French diplomatic service. At age 19, having studied law, he was appointed eleve-counsel to his uncle, then the French ambassador to Lisbon. He served in Tunis later with his father, until 1832 the year of his fathers death. Then came 7 years in Egypt, later Rotterdam, Malaga, Barcelona and Madrid. With the new Viceroy Mohammed Said in Egypt, whom de Lesseps had befriended years ago, he rushed to Cairo and soon the construction of the Suez Canal under his command began. November 17, 1869 the Gran Opening with luxuries ceremonies, a Cairo opera house had been built for the occasion and Verdi had been commissioned to write Aida. De Lesseps became a hero presented with many decorations. In 1875 de Lesseps made his first public declaration of interest in an interoceanic canal. On the first day of the new year of 1880, on board a steam launch standing of the mouth of the Rio Grande, de Lesseps young daughter Fernanda dug the first shovel of sand into a champagebox and the Panama Canal was symbolically begun. By the end of January 1881, the first group of French engineers of the Compagnie Universelle du Canal Interoceanique arrived at Colon and the great task of construction commenced. In the years to follow men and machinery poured into Panama to confront the geographical obstacles of the Isthmus: the backbone of the continental divide at the Culebra Cut and the mighty Chagres river.At this time the French stood at the pinnacle of 19th century engineering. Their finest engineers and machinery were sent to work. For 8 years a valiant and determined effort was made on the isthmus. The climate, with its torrential rains, incessant heat and fatal disease, took its toll. Financial mismanagement, stock failure and bad publicity eventually forced the failure of the company. The official end came on February 4th 1889 and the companies assets went into the hands of the liquidator. By may all work was halted on the isthmus. De Lesseps died in France in 1894.
1890 – The 1st US state naval militia was organized in Massachusetts.
1906 – Roy L. Johnson, US admiral (WW II-Pacific Ocean), was born.
1909 – Einar Dessau of Denmark used a short-wave transmitter to converse with a government radio post about six miles away in what is believed to have been the first broadcast by a “ham” operator.
1917 – The Germans sank the U.S. ships, City of Memphis, Vigilante and the Illinois, without any type of warning.
1924 – The Soldier’s Bonus Bill is passed by the House. It offers 20-year annuities for veterans and will cost $2,000,000,000. The Senate will concur in 23 April, but Coolidge will veto it. Congress will override the veto.
1938 – Mexico nationalizes all oil properties of the US and other foreign-owned companies. There will be no financial settlement until 1941.
1939 – Georgia finally ratified the Bill of Rights, 150 years after the birth of the federal government. Connecticut and Massachusetts, the only other states to hold out, also accepted the Bill of Rights in this year.
1942 – War Relocation Authority is created to “Take all people of Japanese descent into custody, surround them with troops, prevent them from buying land, and return them to their former homes at the close of the war.” Anger toward and fear of Japanese Americans began in Hawaii shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; everyone of Japanese ancestry, old and young, prosperous and poor, was suspected of espionage. This suspicion quickly broke out on the mainland; as early as February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered that German, Italian, and Japanese nationals-as well as Japanese Americans-be barred from certain areas deemed sensitive militarily. California, which had a significant number of Japanese and Japanese Americans, saw a particularly virulent form of anti-Japanese sentiment, with the state’s attorney general, Earl Warren (who would go on to be the chief justice of the United States), claiming that a lack of evidence of sabotage among the Japanese population proved nothing, as they were merely biding their time. While roughly 2,000 people of German and Italian ancestry were interned during this period, Americans of Japanese ancestry suffered most egregiously. The War Relocation Authority, established on March 18, 1942, was aimed at them specifically: 120,000 men, women, and children were rounded up on the West Coast. Three categories of internees were created: Nisei (native U.S. citizens of Japanese immigrant parents), Issei (Japanese immigrants), and Kibei (native U.S. citizens educated largely in Japan). The internees were transported to one of 10 relocation centers in California, Utah, Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, and Wyoming. The quality of life in a relocation center was only marginally better than prison: Families were sardined into 20- by 25-foot rooms and forced to use communal bathrooms. No razors, scissors, or radios were allowed. Children attended War Relocation Authority schools. One Japanese American, Gordon Hirabayashi, fought internment all the way to the Supreme Court. He argued that the Army, responsible for effecting the relocations, had violated his rights as a U.S. citizen. The court ruled against him, citing the nation’s right to protect itself against sabotage and invasion as sufficient justification for curtailing his and other Japanese Americans’ constitutional rights. In 1943, Japanese Americans who had not been interned were finally allowed to join the U.S. military and fight in the war. More than 17,000 Japanese Americans fought; the all-Nisei 442nd Regiment, which fought in the Italian campaign, became the single most decorated unit in U.S. history. The regiment won 4,667 medals, awards, and citations, including 1 Medal of Honor, 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 560 Silver Stars. Many of these soldiers, when writing home, were writing to relocation centers. In 1990, reparations were made to surviving internees and their heirs in the form of a formal apology by the U.S. government and a check for $20,000.
1943 – The US 2nd Corps (commanded by General Patton) captures Gafsa and advances toward El Guettar.
1943 – The CGC Ingham rescued all hands from the torpedoed SS Matthew Luckenbach.
1944 – Allied destroyers bombard the Japanese base at Wewak during the night (March 18-19).
1944 – On Manus, the village of Lorengau is captured by US forces. On Los Negros American and Japanese forces engage near Papitalai.
1944 – US Task Group 50.10 (Admiral Lee) bombards Mili Atoll. Two battleships and the carrier Lexington are involved. The USS Iowa is damaged by fire from a Japanese coastal battery.
1945 – About 1300 American bombers, with some 700 escorting fighters, drop 3000 tons of bombs on Berlin, despite heavy anti-aircraft defenses, including numerous jet fighters. The US fleet loses 25 bombers and 5 fighters.
1945 – Forces of US 3rd Army capture Bingen and Bad Kreuznach as the advance to the southwest continues. To the south, the progress of US 7th Army is beginning to accelerate, with most of its forward units having now crossed the German border.
1945 – There are American landings on Panay by 14,000 men of US 40th Infantry Division (General Brush) in the area near Iloilo. There is little initial opposition from the Japanese garrison.
1945 – US Task Force 58 (Admiral Mitscher) conducts air raids on airfields on Kyushu. There are Japanese Kamikaze attacks by about 10 planes which hit Intrepid, Yorktown and Enterprise but fail to disable any of the aircraft carriers. Admiral Spruance, command the US 5th Fleet, is present for the operations.
1950 – In a surprise raid on the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC), military forces of the Nationalist Chinese government on Taiwan invade the mainland and capture the town of Sungmen. Because the United States supported the attack, it resulted in even deeper tensions and animosities between the U.S. and the PRC. In October 1949, the leader of the communist revolution in China, Mao Zedong, declared victory against the Nationalist government of China and formally established the People’s Republic of China. Nationalist troops, politicians, and supporters fled the country and many ended up on Taiwan, an island off the Chinese coast. Once there, they declared themselves the real Chinese government and were immediately recognized as such by the United States. Officials from the United States refused to have anything to do with the PRC government and adamantly refused to grant it diplomatic recognition. Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek bombarded the mainland with propaganda broadcasts and pamphlets dropped from aircraft signaling his intention of invading the PRC and removing what he referred to as the “Soviet aggressors.” In the weeks preceding the March 18, 1950 raid, Chiang had been particularly vocal, charging that the Soviets were supplying the PRC with military advisors and an imposing arsenal of weapons. On March 18, thousands of Nationalist troops, supported by air and sea units, attacked the coast of the PRC, capturing the town of Sungmen that lay about 200 miles south of Shanghai. The Nationalists reported that they killed over 2,500 communist troops. Battles between the raiding group and communist forces continued for weeks, but eventually the Nationalist forces were defeated and driven back to Taiwan. Perhaps more important than the military encounter was the war of words between the United States and the PRC. Communist officials immediately charged that the United States was behind the raid, and even suggested that American pilots and advisors accompanied the attackers. (No evidence has surfaced to support those charges.) American officials were cautiously supportive of the Nationalist attack, though what they hoped it would accomplish beyond minor irritation to the PRC remains unknown. Just eight months later, military forces from the PRC and the United States met on the battlefield in Korea. Despite suggestions from some officials, including the commander of U.S. troops Gen. Douglas MacArthur, that the United States “unleash” the Nationalist armies against mainland China, President Harry S. Truman refrained from this action, fearing that it would escalate into World War III.
1951 – Following the withdrawal of communist forces, Seoul was again in U.N. hands.
1952 – There was a Communist offensive in Korea.
1953 – The Eisenhower Administration protests the Soviet Union’s firing on a US bomber over international water.
1959 – President Eisenhower signed the Hawaii statehood bill.
1963 – The US Supreme Court made its Gideon ruling which said poor defendants have a constitutional right to an attorney. Gideon had been forced to defend himself in Florida in Jan 1962, and petitioned the Supreme Court to hear his complaint.
1968 – The U.S. Congress repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back US currency.
1969 – U.S. B-52 bombers are diverted from their targets in South Vietnam to attack suspected communist base camps and supply areas in Cambodia for the first time in the war. President Nixon approved the mission–formally designated Operation Breakfast–at a meeting of the National Security Council on March 15. This mission and subsequent B-52 strikes inside Cambodia became known as the “Menu” bombings. A total of 3,630 flights over Cambodia dropped 110,000 tons of bombs during a 14-month period through April 1970. This bombing of Cambodia and all follow up “Menu” operations were kept secret from the American public and the U.S. Congress because Cambodia was ostensibly neutral. To keep the secret, an intricate reporting system was established at the Pentagon to prevent disclosure of the bombing. Although the New York Times broke the story of the secret bombing campaign in May 1969, there was little adverse public reaction.
1970 – Returning to Cambodia after visits to Moscow and Peking, Prince Norodom Sihanouk is ousted as Cambodian chief of state in a bloodless coup by pro-western Lt. Gen. Lon Nol, premier and defense minister, and First Deputy Premier Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak, who proclaim the establishment of the Khmer Republic. Sihanouk had tried to maintain Cambodian neutrality, but the communist Khmer Rouge, supported by their North Vietnamese allies, had waged a very effective war against Cambodian government forces. After ousting Sihanouk and taking control of the government, Lon Nol immediately set about to defeat the communists. Between 1970 and 1975, he and his army, the Forces Armees Nationale Khmer (FANK), with U.S. support and military aid, would battle the Khmer Rouge communists for control of Cambodia. When the U.S. forces departed South Vietnam in 1973, both the Cambodians and South Vietnamese found themselves suddenly fighting the communists alone. Without U.S. support, Lon Nol’s forces succumbed to the Khmer Rouge in April 1975. The victorious Khmer Rouge evacuated Phnom Penh and began reordering Cambodian society, which resulted in a killing spree and the notorious “killing fields.” Eventually, hundreds of thousands of Cambodians were murdered or died from exhaustion, hunger, and disease. During the five years of bitter fighting for control of the country, approximately 10 percent of Cambodia’s 7 million people died.
1970 – The U.S. postal strike of 1970 begins, one of the largest wildcat strikes in U.S. history. The U.S. postal strike of 1970 was a groundbreaking two-week strike by federal postal workers in March 1970. The strike was unique both because it was against the government and because it was the largest wildcat strike in U.S. history. President Richard Nixon called out the United States armed forces and the National Guard in an attempt to distribute the mail and break the strike. The strike influenced the contents of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, which transformed the Post Office into the more corporate United States Postal Service and guaranteed collective bargaining rights (though not the right to strike.)
1971 – U.S. helicopters airlifted 1,000 South Vietnamese soldiers out of Laos.
1974 – Navy sent to sweep mines from Suez Canal.
1975 – South Vietnam abandoned most of the Central Highlands of Vietnam to Hanoi.
1977 – US restricted citizens from visiting Cuba, Vietnam, N. Korea and Cambodia.
1977 – Vietnam handed over MIA to US.
1980 – A congressman claims many U.S. combat planes can’t fly for lack of spare parts.
1981 – The U.S. disclosed that there were biological weapons tested in Texas in 1966.
1989 – The space shuttle Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, completing a five-day mission.
1991 – The CGC Cape Hatteras (WPB 95305) was decommissioned on 18 March 1991. She was the last 95-foot patrol boat in the Coast Guard. She was then transferred to Uruguay.
1994 – The space shuttle Columbia returned from a two-week mission.
1996 – In New York, the United Nations and Iraq end a second round of negotiations over the sale of Iraq’s oil. While both sides have reached agreement on several key issues, the details concerning distribution of aid to Kurds in northern Iraq remains unresolved. Due in part to market uncertainty surrounding the talks, oil prices rise to their highest levels since the 1991 Gulf War. The U.N.-Iraq talks are scheduled to restart on April 8.
1997 – Iraq grants Russia most favoured nation status to receive Iraqi oil exports in exchange for humanitarian goods. Of the first 37 contracts approved by the United Nations in the oil-for-food sale,7 went to Russian companies representing almost 20% of the volume of oilin the sale.
1999 – A US federal judge ordered US telephone companies to pay $6.2 million owed to Cuba to the families of 3 Cuban Americans killed in 1996.
1999 – In Paris the ethnic Albanians signed the peace proposal, which the Serbian delegation rejected. The Kosovar Albanian delegation signed a U.S.-sponsored peace accord following talks in Paris; the Clinton administration warned NATO would act against Serb targets if Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic didn’t accept the agreement.
2001 – US National Reconnaissance Office was planning a $25 billion project for some 12 satellites to be deployed by 2005.
2002 – Britain planned to send 1,700 troops to Afghanistan to join the 6,300 US forces.
2003 – US President George W. Bush gives a televised speech saying “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing”.
2003 – Some $900 million was taken from Iraq’s Central Bank by Saddam Hussein and his family. The New York Times reported on May 5 that Saddam ordered the money taken from the Central Bank and sent his son Qusai in the middle of the night.
2003 – In Australia PM John Howard said his government would commit 2,000 military personnel to any U.S.-led strike aimed at disarming Iraq.
2004 – In Kosovo Albanians set fire to Serb Orthodox churches as NATO scrambled to deploy up to 1,000 more troops to stifle an explosion of ethnic violence. The death toll reached 31 with hundreds injured in fighting between Serbs and ethnic Albanians as violence continued for a 2nd day.
2006 – The USS Cape St. George, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser and the USS Gonzalez, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, engaged pirate vessels after receiving fire from them.
2006 – USS Winston Churchill engages pirates off the coast of Somalia, killing one, capturing 12, after the U.N. Security Council on March 15, encouraged any naval forces near Somalia to take action against suspected piracy. This occurred after an attack on a UN World Food Program-chartered ship bringing drought-relief food supplies on March 13.
2007 – The Coast Guard made the largest cocaine seizure in its history (to date) when CGCs Hamilton and Sherman seized 42,845 pound of cocaine aboard the Panamanian-flagged M/V Gatun off the coast of Panama. The Gatun was first located by a HC-130 on 17 March.
2013 – M23 Movement leader Bosco Ntaganda surrenders himself at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, having been wanted by the ICC since 2006 on war crimes charges.
2014 – The United States expels all Syrian diplomats and closes the Syrian embassy in Washington D.C.
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