This Day in History – March 16

Today is the 75th day of 2021. There are 290 days left in the year.


2003: American activist Rachel Corrie, 23, is crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer while trying to block demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.


1521: Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reaches the Philippines, where he is killed by natives the following month.

1527: Mogul Emperor Barbar defeats Hindu Confederacy at Kanwanha, India.

1534: England severs all relations with Roman Catholic papacy.

1690: France’s King Louis XIV sends troops to Ireland to fight for King James II.

1792: Sweden’s King Gustavus II is shot and killed during a masquerade party at the Royal Opera of Stockholm.

1802: Congress authorises the establishment of the US Military Academy at West Point, New York.

1812: Austria, in alliance with France, agrees to provide army for Napoleon Bonaparte.

1844: Greece adopts constitution with two chambers.

1850: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter is published in the United States.

1851: Spanish Concordat with Papacy goes into effect, whereby Catholicism becomes sole faith in Spain and Church gains control of education and the press.

1906: Japan nationalises its railways.

1910: Magician Harry Houdini becomes the first man to fly an aeroplane in Australia. He also drrves a car for the first time on that trip. After that, he never does either again.

1917: Russia’s Czar Nicholas II abdicates and Prince George Lvov, Paul Milivkov and Alexander Kerensky form ministry.

1922: Britain recognises Kingdom of Egypt under Fuad I, with joint Anglo-Egyptian sovereignty over Sudan.

1926: The first liquid-fuel rocket is successfully launched by Professor Robert Goddard at Auburn, Massachusetts. The rocket travels 56 metres (184 feet) in 2.5 seconds.

1935: Germany repudiates disarmament clauses of Versailles Treaty that ended World War I.

1945: Japanese resistance to US assault on Iwo Jima in Pacific comes to end in World War II.

1968: During the Vietnam War, the My Lai massacre is carried out by US troops under the command of Lieutenant William L Calley Jr.

1978: Italian politician Aldo Moro is kidnapped by left wing urban guerrillas, who later murder him.

1985: American journalist Terry Anderson of The Associated Press is captured by Muslim extremists in Beirut. He is released almost seven years later.

1992: UN troops take up positions in the peacekeeping mission to Croatia.

1993: Bomb in Calcutta, India, kills 69.

1994: Russia agrees to phase out production of weapons-grade plutonium. Figure skater Tonya Harding pleads guilty in Portland, Oregon, to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan, avoiding jail but drawing a US$100,000 fine.

1995: In a first for Russian-American cooperation in space, a Soyuz space capsule carrying an American astronaut docks with the orbiting Russian space station Mir.

1998: The Vatican apologises for the failure of some Christians to deter the mass killings of European Jews before and during World War II; Rwanda, with 125,000 suspects for 500,000 murders, begins mass trials for the country’s 1994 genocide.

1999: The entire European Commission, the top executive body of the European Union, resigns after allegations of corruption and inefficiency.

2002: Two unidentified gunmen shoot and kill Isaias Duarte Cancino, archbishop of the south-western city of Cali, Colombia. The 63-year-old is the highest-ranking clergyman ever assassinated in Colombia.

2003: Anti-war protesters demonstrate across the United States to show their support for peace, including an estimated 10,000 protesters in Chicago.

2005: Syrian military intelligence agents leave Beirut, ending an 18-year presence in Lebanon.

2007: China’s legislators pass a law providing the most sweeping protection for private businesses and property since the nation’s move toward a more capitalist-style economy beginning in the late 1970s.

2008: Four Belgian tourists held hostage by protesting farmers are released after security forces in boats and helicopters locate the group in Guatemala’s eastern jungle.

2009: Iran’s most prominent reformer, former President Mohammed Khatami, pulls out of the race against the country’s hard-line president, saying he does not want to split the pro-reform vote.

2010: Hundreds of Palestinians in east Jerusalem set tires and garbage bins ablaze and hurl rocks at Israeli riot police, who respond with rubber bullets and tear gas in the heaviest clashes in months.

2011: Australia, Britain, and Germany advise their citizens in Japan to consider leaving Tokyo and earthquake-affected areas, joining a growing number of governments and businesses telling their people it may be safer elsewhere.

2012: Apple’s latest iPad draws the lines of diehard fans looking to be first and entrepreneurs looking to make a quick profit.

2013: One of the highest-ranking military officers yet to abandon Syrian President Bashar Assad defects to neighbouring Jordan and says that morale among those still inside the regime has collapsed.

2014: Fireworks explode and Russian flags flutter above jubilant crowds after residents in Crimea vote overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

2017: US President Donald Trump submits his US$1.15-trillion budget to Congress; it proposes generous increases for the military while slashing domestic programmes and riling both fellow Republicans and Democrats by going after favoured programmes. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, visiting Japan, calls on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, saying the isolated nation “need not fear” the United States.


James Madison, US president (1751-1836); Georg Simon Ohm, German physicist (1787-1854); Modest Mussorgsky, Russian composer (1839-1881); Reza Shah Pahlavi, shah of Iran (1878-1946); Jerry Lewis, US comedian (1926-2017); Bernardo Bertolucci, Italian film director (1941-2018); Kate Nelligan, Canadian-born actress (1951- )


– AP

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