This Day in History – March 26
Today is the 85th day of 2021. There are 280 days left in the year.
1997: The bodies of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate techno-religious cult, who committed suicide, are found inside a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
1793: Holy Roman Empire declares war on France.
1837: The new Burchell Memorial Baptist Church is dedicated. The original church building, in which Jamaican National Hero Sam Sharpe was a deacon, was established in 1824. It was destroyed during the 1831 to 1832 Emancipation War, also known as the Baptist War and the Christmas Rebellion. The new cornerstones were laid on February 7, 1835 and it was completed at a cost of £7000.
1881: Romania becomes a monarchy and King Carol I, of the German house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, is proclaimed king.
1885: The Eastman Dry Plate and Film Co of Rochester, New York, forerunner of Eastman Kodak, manufactures the first commercial motion picture film.
1895: Japan occupies Pescadores Islands in Formosa Strait.
1913: More than 1,400 people perish in floods in US states of Ohio, Indiana and Texas.
1931: Treaty of friendship is signed between Iraq and Transjordan.
1953: American Dr Jonas E Salk announces new vaccine to immunise against polio.
1970: Foreign ministers of Islamic countries decide at Jordan meeting to establish permanent secretariat.
1971: East Pakistan proclaims its independence, taking the name Bangladesh.
1975: South Vietnamese Government announces arrest of several people for plotting to overthrow President Nguyen van Thieu.
1977: A KLM Boeing 747, attempting to take off, crashes into a Pan Am 747 on the Canary Island of Tenerife, killing 582 people.
1979: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat sign the Camp David peace treaty at the White House.
1981: Ground-breaking ceremonies take place in Washington, DC, for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
1986: Libyan radio calls for Arab suicide squads to strike US embassies and other interests “wherever they may be”.
1987: Greece and Turkey come to brink of war when Turkey sends exploratory vessel into disputed waters in Aegean Sea.
1991: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay sign Treaty of Asuncion in the Paraguayan capital, launching the Southern Cone Common Market.
1993: UN Security Council votes to set up the largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation so far – 30,000 troops and civilians are to go to Somalia.
1994: Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agrees to freeze oil production for the rest of the year after failing to find a formula to cut output and push prices up.
1995: Tens of thousands in Manila line the funeral route of a 42-year-old housemaid executed in Singapore for murder, despite recent evidence that she was innocent.
1996: The International Monetary Fund agrees to offer Russia new loans worth US$10.2 billion over the next three years, nearly doubling what Russia owes to the organisation.
1998: US President Bill Clinton becomes the first American head of state to visit South Africa.
2000: Pope John Paul II crowns his Holy Land sojourn with a stunning gesture to Jews at their holiest site: he places a plea for forgiveness in a nook in the Western Wall in Jerusalem, expressing sorrow for past errors of his church.
2001: A boarding school fire in Kenya kills 58 boys and seriously injures 28 others.
2006: Somali radical Islamic militiamen and rivals bury their dead and bring in more fighters, during a lull after four days of combat on Mogadishu’s outskirts that witnesses say killed at least 93 people and wounded nearly 200.
2007: Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams, the leaders of Northern Ireland’s major Protestant and Catholic parties, open face-to-face relations after four decades of conflict and announce a stunning deal to create a power-sharing Administration.
2008: Italy temporarily shuts down production at more than 80 cow farms after detecting higher-than-permitted levels of dioxin – a dangerous toxin – in 25 mozzarella-making facilities out of the 130 it checked. The space shuttle Endeavour landed at Cape Canaveral, Florida, making a rare night-time touchdown that ended a 16-day mission.
2009: The prime minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolanek formally resigns, two days after his three-party coalition government lost a vote of confidence in parliament.
2010: A jubilant Ayad Allawi claims victory for his secular, anti-Iranian coalition as final parliamentary returns show him edging out the bloc of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who angrily vowed to fight the results.
2011: More than 250,000 people take to London’s streets to protest the toughest spending cuts since World War II – one of the largest demonstrations since the Iraq war – as riot police clash with a small groups. More than 200 people are arrested.
2012: Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Cuba in the footsteps of his more famous predecessor, saying he holds great affection for Cubans on both sides of the Florida Straits and has heartfelt hopes for reconciliation.
2013: A year and a half after being freed from an Italian prison, American Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend face the prospect of another trial as Italy’s highest court overturns their acquittals in the gruesome 2007 slaying of her British room-mate. US President Obama names veteran Secret Service agent Julia Pierson as the agency’s first female director.
2014: Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the Egyptian military chief who last summer removed the elected Islamist president, announces that he has resigned from the military and will run for president.
2017: US President Donald Trump takes to Twitter to attack conservative lawmakers for the failure of the Republican Bill to replace former President Barack Obama’s health-care law. A man was fatally shot and 16 other people were hurt when a dispute escalates into a gunbattle at the Cameo club in Cincinnati; police arrest two men on murder charges.
Robert Frost, US poet (1874-1963); Syngman Rhee, South Korea’s founding president (1875-1965); Chips Rafferty, Australian actor (1909-1971); Tennessee Williams, US playwright (1911-1983); Leonard Nimoy, US actor (1931-2015); Erica Jong, US writer (1942- ); Diana Ross, US singer (1944- ); Steven Tyler, US singer (1948- ); Keira Knightley, British actress (1985- )