This Day in History – March 3

Today is the 60th day of 2021. There are 305 days left in the year.


2002: US space shuttle Columbia carries out a mission to repair and refurbish the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope, so that the observatory would have enough power to operate fully for the rest of its projected 20-year life.


1553: League of Heidelberg is formed by Catholic and Protestant princes in Germany to prevent election of Philip of Spain as Holy Roman Emperor.

1562: Some 1,200 French Huguenots are slain at Massacre of Vassy, provoking first War of Religion in France.

1565: The city of Rio de Janeiro was founded by Portuguese knight Estacio de Sa.

1692: The Salem witch trial begins in the American colony of Massachusetts.

1767: King Charles III expels Roman Catholic Jesuits from Spain.

1790: President George Washington signs a measure authorising the first United States Census. (Census Day was August 2, 1790.)

1799: Turks and Russians complete conquest of Ionian Islands in Greece.

1829: Brigadier General Juan Manuel de Rosas is sworn in as governor of Buenos Aires, rules Argentina until 1852.

1867: Nebraska becomes the 37th state as President Andrew Johnson signed a proclamation.

1870: War ends between Paraguay and combined forces of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

1893: Inventor Nikola Tesla first publicly demonstrates radio during a meeting of the National Electric Light Association in St Louis by transmitting electromagnetic energy without wires.

1896: Ethiopian forces defeat Italians at Adwa, northern Ethiopia, ending Italy’s quest to create a substantial African colony.

1919: Korean Independence is declared in Seoul and two million people rally, leading to brutal Japanese repression.

1940: Native Son by Richard Wright is first published by Harper & Brothers.

1943: Britain’s Royal Air Force begins systematic bombing of European railway systems in World War II.

1952: Britain returns the North Sea island of Helgoland, occupied since World War II, to West Germany.

1954: First conference of Organization of American States opens in Caracas, Venezuela; Puerto Rican nationalists open fire in the US House of Representatives, wounding five congressmen. The United States detonates a dry-fuel hydrogen bomb, codenamed Castle Bravo, at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

1957: A severe earthquake shakes Kingston and western parishes of Jamaica.

1961: US President John F Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps.

1966: Soviet Union lands one-ton spacecraft on planet Venus after three-and-a-half month flight.

1981: Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands begins a hunger strike at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland; he dies 65 days later.

1985: Julio Sanguinetti is sworn in as constitutional president of Uruguay, ending nine years of military rule.

1988: South African Government introduces Bill to outlaw foreign funding of political activity.

1989: UN General Assembly approves $416 million for UN’s one-year plan to free Namibia from 74 years of South African rule.

1990: The controversial Seabrook, New Hampshire, nuclear power plant wins federal permission to go on line after two decades of protests and legal struggles.

1991: Colombia’s third-largest rebel group, the Popular Liberation Army, formally lays down its arms.

1992: Muslims and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina vote for independence from Yugoslavia, enraging Serb nationalists.

1993: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin closes the occupied Gaza Strip “for a number of days” after a Gaza Palestinian stabs to death two Israelis and wounds nine others.

1994: Israel releases more than 500 Palestinian prisoners to coax the Palestinian Liberation Organisation back to peace talks.

1995: The director of Russia’s only national television network, Vladislav Listyev, is shot and killed as he enters his apartment building.

1996: The United States approves a visa for Irish Republican Army political leader Gerry Adams.

1997: About 5,000 neo-Nazis march through Munich to protest an exhibit on the army’s involvement in World War II atrocities.

1999: Rwandan Hutu rebels, claiming they oppose American and British support of the Tutsi Government in Rwanda, abduct eight foreign tourists from camps in the Ugandan rain forest and hack them to death.

2003: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described planner and organiser of the September 11 attacks is captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

2004: Exiled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in a phone interview says he was abducted from Haiti by US troops who accompanied him on a flight to the Central African Republic.

2006: Authorities regain control of Afghanistan’s most notorious prison after four days of rioting allegedly sparked by al-Qaeda and Taliban convicts. Six inmates are reported killed in the revolt.

2007: Japan’s nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denies Tokyo’s military forced women into sexual slavery during World War II, backtracking from a past government apology.

2008: Prince Harry returns to Britain after news of his secret deployment as a forward air commander with the military in Afghanistan was leaked to the press. President George W Bush, speaking at his Texas ranch, declines to promise more US troop withdrawals from Iraq before leaving, underscoring the need for a strong military presence during Iraqi provincial elections. The USS New York, an amphibious assault ship built with scrap steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center, is christened at Avondale, Louisiana.

2009: Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resigns after the country’s attorney general informs him that he plans to indict him on suspicion of illicitly taking cash-stuffed envelopes from a Jewish-American businessman.

2010: Russia’s president says Moscow is ready to consider new sanctions on Iran for its nuclear defiance and the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency warns that he cannot confirm that all of Tehran’s atomic activities are peaceful.

2011: Yemen’s embattled president accuses the US, his closest ally, of instigating the mounting protests against him, but it fails to slow the momentum for his ouster as hundreds of thousands rally in cities across the country against him.

2012: French President Nicolas Sarkozy takes refuge from a crowd of several hundred angry protesters in a caf while campaigning in the country’s south-west Basque country.

2013: President Barack Obama, still deadlocked with Republican congressional leaders, formally enacts US$85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts a few hours before the midnight deadline required by law.

2017: The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, tells The Associated Press that the two accountants responsible for the best-picture flub at the Academy Awards (in which La La Land was initially named the winner instead of Moonlight) would never work the Oscars again.


Frederic Chopin, Polish romantic pianist and composer (1810-1849); Theophile Delcasse, French statesman (1852-1923); Giles Lytton Strachey, English author (1880-1932); Yitzhak Rabin, former Israeli prime minister (1922-1995); Harry Belafonte, US singer/actor (1927- ); Dirk Benedict, US actor/director (1945- ); Ron Howard, US director/actor (1954- ); Roger Daltrey, British singer/songwriter (1944- ); Javier Bardem, Spanish actor (1969- ); Lupita Nyong’o, actress (1983- ); Justin Bieber, pop singer (1994- ); Winston “Burning Spear” Rodney OD, Jamaican roots reggae singer-songwriter (1945- ); Melaine Walker, Jamaican 400 metres hurdler (1983- )

— AP

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