ON THIS DAY: March 31, 2019

March 31st is

Bunsen Burner Day *

Cesar Chavez Day *

Crayola Crayon Day *

Eiffel Tower Day *

World Backup Day

International Hug A Medievalist Day *

International Transgender Day of Visibility *


MORE! Bianca Visconti, Kamala Suraiyya and Nyamko Sabuni, click



Azerbaijan –
1918 Genocide Remembrance Day

Malta – Jum il-Helsien *
(Freedom Day)

Micronesia – Pohnpei:
(Culture and Traditions Day)

Thailand –
King Nangklao Memorial Day

U.S. Virgin Islands – Transfer Day *


On This Day in HISTORY

397 – Kʼukʼ Bahlam I born, founder and ajaw (king) of the ruling dynasty of the Maya city of Palenque; he reigned from 431 to 435

1425 – Bianca Maria Visconti born, Duchess of Milan, active in the administration of the Duchy, known as a “warrior woman” for her defense of Cremona against the Venetians

Marriage of Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti, 1464

1492 – Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand issue the Alhambra Decree which expels all Jewish and Muslim subjects from their Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon unless they convert to Christianity

1521 – Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan takes possession of Homohon, Archipelago of St Lazarus, Philippines

1596 – Rene Descartes born, French mathematician, scientist and philosopher

1621 – Andrew Marvell born, English poet

1657 – English Parliament makes the Humble Petition to Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell offering him the crown: he declines

1685 – Johann Sebastian Bach born, influential German organist and composer

1732 – Franz Joseph Haydn born, a leading Austrian Classical composer

1745 – Jews are expelled from Prague

1776 – Abigail Adams writes to her husband John who is helping to frame the Declaration of Independence and cautions: “…remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

1796 – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Egmont premieres in Weimar

1808 – The French-created Kingdom of Westphalia orders Jews to adopt family names

1809 – Edward Fitzgerald born, English writer-translator; Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

1811 – Bunsen Burner Day *- Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen born, German chemist; discoverer of caesium and rubidium; developed Bunsen Burner with Peter Desaga

1822 – The massacre of the people of the Greek island Chios by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire following a rebellion attempt, is depicted by the French artist Eugène Delacroix

1823 – Mary Chesnut born, South Carolina American Civil War diarist; notable for her attention to detail, and portrait of South culture, including white planters’ fathering mixed-race children with slave women; daughter of a plantation family, she married James Chesnut, a politician who became an aide to Jefferson Davis during the war, enabling her to be an eyewitness to a number of important wartime events

1833 – Mary Abigail Dodge born as Gail Hamilton, American author, noted for promotion of women’s equality in education and occupation


1854 – Treaty of Kanagawa: Commodore Perry forces Japan to opens ports to US

1861 – The Confederacy takes over the U.S. mint at New Orleans

1865 – Anandibai ‘Anandi’ Gopal Joshi born, the first Indian woman to become a physician. Though she was married at age nine to Gopalrao Joshi, a postal clerk who was twenty years older, she was fortunate that her husband was a believer in education for women, and encouraged her in her studies. She was only fourteen when her first child was born, but he only lived ten days because of the lack of medical care, which inspired her to become a physician. In 1880, Gopalrao wrote a letter to Royal Wilder, an American missionary, about his wife’s interest in studying medicine in the U.S. and inquiring about a suitable post for himself there. Wilder published the letter in his Princeton’s Missionary Review, where it was read by Theodicia Carpenter, who wrote to Anandi, the beginning of what became a close friendship. Anandi began to have health problems, and Gopalrao decided to send her to America on her own as soon as possible. The Thrinborns, an American couple who were doctors, suggested she apply to the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. The orthodox Indian community censured her for wanting to go to college in the West, but she addressed them in a meeting in the hall at Serampore College, stressing the need for women doctors in India, saying that a Hindu woman doctor could better serve the needs of Hindu women. When her speech was publicized, contributions came in from all over India. In 1883, she travelled to New York by ship, chaperoned by 2 Englishwomen missionaries known by the Thornborns. Theodicia Carpenter welcomed her, and she stayed in Carpenter’s home while she was at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, beginning her training at age 19. The climate did was too cold, and the food was unfamiliar. She developed tuberculosis, but still graduated with an M.D. in 1886. Returning to India, the princely state of Kolapur appointed her as physician-in-charge of the female ward of the local Albert Edward Hospital. But in 1887, only a few months after her return, she died of tuberculosis at age 21. Her death was mourned throughout India

Anandibai Joshee, with Kei Okami from Japan (center) and Sabat Islambouli from Syria (right). All three completed their medical studies at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and each of them was the first woman from their respective countries to obtain a degree in Western medicine

1870 – Thomas Mundy of Perth Amboy NJ becomes the first U.S. black man to vote

1872 – Serge Diaghilev born, Russian impresario; created Ballets Russes (1909)

1880 – Wasbash Indiana is the first U.S. town illuminated fully by electric lighting

1888 – National Council of Women of the U.S. is organized by Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Julia Ward Howe, and Sojourner Truth, among others, the oldest non-sectarian women’s organization in the U.S.

1889 – Eiffel Tower Day * – French engineer Alexandre Eiffel unfurls the French flag atop the completed Eiffel Tower as it is opened to the world; at 300 meters high (just over 984 feet), it will be the tallest man-made structure in the world for four decades

1885 – Great Britain establishes the Bechuanaland Protectorate (now Botswana)

1889 – Muriel Hazel Wright born, Choctaw Indian, teacher, historian, author, editor of The Chronicles of Oklahoma, quarterly journal of the Oklahoma Historical Society (1955-73), co-authored 4-volume history of Oklahoma, textbooks of Oklahoma history, and A Guide to the Indian Tribes of Oklahoma(1951)

1890 – William Lawrence Bragg born in Australia, British physicist; discoverer (1912) of Bragg’s law of X-ray diffraction; joint winner (with his father, William Henry Bragg) of the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics

1903 – Crayola Crayon Day * – Binney & Smith Co begins making Crayolas

1909 – Gustav Mahler conducts the New York Philharmonic for the first time

1913 – Etta Baker born, American singer and Piedmont blues guitarist

1914 – Octavio Paz born, Mexican poet, author and diplomat; 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature; entered the Mexican diplomatic service in 1945, assigned to New York City, Paris, Tokyo, and Switzerland, before returning to Mexico City in 1954, and then sent again to Paris in 1959. In 1962, he became Mexico’s ambassador to India. In 1968, he resigned from the diplomatic service in protest over the massacre by government troops of student demonstrators in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco. He was Simón Bolivar Professor at Cambridge University (1969-1970), then founded the literary magazine Plural (1970-1976) in Mexico. Among many other works, he is noted for  El Laberinto de la Soledad (The Labyrinth of Solitude), and his poetry collection Piedra de Sol (Sunstone)

Octavio Paz

1914 – Maria Lange born as Dagmar Lange, Swedish crime fiction author, one of the first mystery writers in the Swedish language, whose 40 detective novels helped make the genre popular in Sweden

1917 – Transfer Day * – the Danish West Indies are transferred from Denmark to the U.S. for $25 million, and renamed the Virgin Islands

1918 – First Daylight Savings time goes into effect in the U.S.

1920 – British Parliament accepts Irish Home Rule

1920 – Deborah Cavendish born, Duchess of Devonshire, sister of Nancy and Jessica Mitford; author primarily of non-fiction books, many of them about seat of the Duje of Devonshire, Chatsworth House, and its history

Duchess of Devonshire feeds chickens – possible “day in the life” spoof

1921 – British coal miners goes on strike

1926 – John Fowles born, English novelist and poet; best known for his novel, The French Lieutenant’s Woman 

1927 – Cesar Chavez Day * – Cesar Chavez born, leader of United Farm Workers of America, the first union of migrant American farm workers; organized the California grape boycott; worked tirelessly for the 1975 collective bargaining act for farm workers passed by the California legislature, only the second in the nation after Hawaii

1929 – Liz Claiborne born in Belgium, American fashion designer, first woman to be to found and serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company

1930 – The Motion Pictures Production Code is instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film for the next 38 years

1932 – Ford publicly unveils its V-8 engine

1933 – Congress authorizes the Civilian Conservation Corps

1934 – Kamala Suraiyya born, Indian author in Malayalam of short stories and her autobiography, while publishing poetry in English, often under the pen names; syndicated columnist who often wrote on women’s issues and politics

1935 – Judith Rossner born, American novelist; Looking for Mr. Goodbar

1936 – Marge Piercy born, American poet, novelist, anthology editor and social activist; associate of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP)

1938 – Sheila Dikshit born, Indian politician, serves as Chief Minister of Delhi

1939 – The Hound of Baskervilles is released, the first Holmes film starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson

1942 – Ulla Hoffmann born, Swedish Vänsterpartiet (Left Party) politician; member of the Riksdag (1994-2006); she briefly served as interim leader of her party in 2003

1943 – Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! premieres on Broadway

1943 – Deirdre Clancy born, British costume designer for theatre, ballet, opera and film. Winner of two Olivier Awards for Best Costume Design in 1995 and 2005, and a BAFTA Award for her costumes for the 1997 movie Mrs. Brown. She is the author of Costume since 1945: Couture, street style and anti-fashion, and co-author of Colonial America

1944 – Hungary orders all Jews to wear yellow stars

1945 – Premiers of Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie on Broadway

1948 – U.S. Congress passes Marshall Aid Act to rehabilitate war-torn Europe

1950 – Sandra Morgen born, American feminist anthropologist; director of the University of Oregon Center for the Study of Women in Society

1953 – U.S. Department of Health, Education & Welfare is established

1958 – U.S. Navy forms atomic sub division; meanwhile, the USSR suspends nuclear weapons tests, urging U.S. and Britain to do the same

1963 – Los Angeles CA ends streetcar service after 90 years

1965 – U.S. orders first combat troops to Vietnam

1966 – Labour Party under Harold Wilson wins British parliamentary election

1967 – In London, Jimi Hendrix burns his guitar for the first time


1968 – President Lyndon Johnson announces he will not seek re-election

1969 – Nyamko Sabuni born in Burundi, Swedish politician, member of the Liberal People’s Party; Minister for Gender Equality (2006-2013), the first person of African descent to be appointed as a Minister ; her outspoken opinions on genital mutilation, honor killings, against wearing of the hijab by girls under 15 and statement that praying five times a day “limited opportunities” for Muslims brought accusations of Islamophobia

1972 – Black Tot Day: last day of the rum ration in the Royal Canadian Navy

1979 – The last British soldier leaves the Maltese Islands. Malta declares its Freedom Day, Jum il-Helsien *

1980 – President Jimmy Carter begins deregulation of U.S. banking industry

1982 – Audrey Kawasaki born, Japanese-American artist based in Los Angeles; noted for her paintings of young women, often combining elements from Art Nouveau with Japanese Manga

1983 – Marsha Norman’s ‘night, Mother premieres in NYC; winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; the original production ran for 380 performances on Broadway

1988 – Toni Morrison awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for her novel Beloved

1991 – The musical Will Rogers Follies premieres on Broadway

1992 – The U.N. Security Council votes to ban flights and arms sales to Libya, branding it a terrorist state for shielding the six men suspected of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 and a French airliner

1992 – The USS Missouri, the last active U.S. Navy battleship, is decommissioned in Long Beach, California

1997 – Zairian rebels, in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, order 20,000 Rwandan refugees camped on the outskirts of Kisangani to move south, and relief workers begin the arduous transfer

2009 – International Transgender Day of Visibility * is launched by Transgender activist Rachel Crandall of Michigan, now spearheaded by Trans Student Educational Resources

2011 – International Hug A Medievalist Day * is started by Sarah Laseke, who was studying Medieval Literature at Oxford

2014 – A 6,200-page report by the Senate Intelligence Committee finds that so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” do not provide information which led to the death of Osama Bin Laden. Most of the useful information about bin Laden’s whereabouts was collected using standard intelligence gathering methods


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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4 Responses to ON THIS DAY: March 31, 2019

  1. Malisha says:

    Is Sojourner Truth in that portrait of the NCW women? I can’t figure out if she is, but it doesn’t seem so. If she’s there, which woman is she?

    • wordcloud9 says:

      No, she is not – this was the only picture I could find, and I was frustrated that she wasn’t included. I hope it was taken on a day when she had a speaking engagement or some other commitment, and not that she was excluded. There have been too many times that women of color have been left out deliberately.

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