ON THIS DAY: March 16, 2020

March 16th is

Black Press Day *

National Panda Day

No Selfies Day *

Saint Urho’s Day *

Freedom of Information Day *


MORE! Caroline Herschel, Laure Pillay and Zhu Chen, click



(NOTE: Since so many festivals are being canceled
because of the Coronavirus pandemic, I will only
be listing national holidays until further notice)

Latvia – Remembrance Day for
the Latvian Legionnaires

Lithuania – Apie Knygnešys
Day of the Book Smugglers *

Spain – Valencia: Las Fallas (canceled)


On This Day in HISTORY

597 BC – Jeconiah, King of Judah, is dethroned and taken into captivity when the Babylonians capture Jerusalem; King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon puts Zedkiah on the throne, who will be the last King of Judah

455 – Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III, practicing archery on the Campus Martius, is assassinated by two Scythian followers of Roman general Aëtius, in retaliation for Valentinian slaying Aëtius the previous year

Valentinian III Soldus

934 – Meng Zhixiang, a general of the Later Tang dynasty, declares himself Emperor Gaozu, and establishes Later Shu as a new independent state, but soon he suffers a stroke, and dies just six months later 

1190 – At Clifford’s Tower, York, England, 150 local Jews die in a pogrom in the castle keep; most of the Jews commit suicide in order not to fall into the hands of the mob

1244 – The Siege of Montségur ends after nine-months; the Château de Montségur is held by Cathars, a Christian splinter movement regarded as heretical by the Roman Catholic Church; when the Cathars surrender to the besieging French royal forces, over 200 of them are burned in a bonfire

1478 – Hieronymus Emser born, German theologian, lecturer, editor and essayist

1521 – Ferdinand Magellan reaches the island of Homonhon in the Philippines

1621 – Samoset, an Abenake sagamore, is the first Native American to make contact with the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony, walking alone into the village and greeting them in English, learned from English fishermen fishing off Monhegan Island in Maine

1689 – The 23rd Regiment of Foot, or Royal Welch Fusiliers, is founded, one of the oldest regiments in the British army

1750 – Caroline Herschel born in Germany, English astronomer, who was the sister of William Herschel, as well as his assistant, and made calculations associated with his studies. She was the first woman to discover a comet, then went on to discover several more; Herschel was the first woman awarded Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1828), and first to be named an Honorary Member of the Royal Astronomical Society (1835, with Mary Somerville)

Caroline Herschel, and one of her many discoveries, Messier 110 Nebula

1751 – James Madison born, 4th U.S. president; “Father of the Bill of Rights” and advocate for government that does not hold secrets from its citizens; Freedom of Information Day * is on March 16 to honor his vision (see 1979 entry below)

1771 – Antoine-Jean Gros born, French Romantic painter

Embarquement de la Duchesse d’Angoulême à Pauillac by Antoine-Jean Gros (1819)

1787 – George Ohm born, physicist and mathematician ; Ohm’s Law, the physical unit of electrical resistance, is named the Ohn in his honor

1799 – Anna Children Atkins born, English botanist and pioneering photographer; in Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, she records all the specimens of algae found in the British Isles, also created Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Flowering Plants and Ferns – they are the first sustained demonstrations that photography could be scientifically useful. She is also credited as the first person to publish a book with photographs

1802 – President Thomas Jefferson signs into law the Military Peace Establishment Act of 1802, in which Congress authorizes funds to build a military academy at West Point NY, and establishes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build it

1808 – Hannah T. King born in England, Mormon pioneer and author; last woman sealed to Brigham Young, who had 55 wives; author of Songs of the Heart

1822 – Rosa Bonheur born, French painter and sculptor, the most well-known and  financially successful woman artist of her day; women were only reluctantly educated as artists, so her success helped to open doors for the women artists who followed her

The Horse Fair, by Rosa Bonheur

1827 – John B. Russwurm and Reverend Samuel Cornish begin publishing Freedom’s Journal, the first Black newspaper in the U.S.

1836 – The Republic of Texas approves a constitution

1846 – Rebecca Cole born, second black American woman to become a physician; in 1873, she and fellow physician Charlotte Abbey opened the Women’s Directory Center in Philadelphia  to provide legal and medical services to poor women and children; she was appointed superintendent of the Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children in Washington DC (1899), and continued to practice medicine for 50 years

1870s stethoscope

1846 – Day of the Book Smugglers * – Jurgis Bielinis born, Lithuanian newspaper publisher who was one of the main organizers of book-smuggling during the Russian Empire ban (1865-1904) on all Lithuanian language publications printed in the Latin alphabet, to force Lithuanians to use the Cyrillic alphabet

1850 – The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is first published

1868 – Maxim Gorky born, Russian author of short stories, novels and plays

1871 – The State of Delaware enacts the first fertilizer law

1871 – Hans Merensky born, South African geologist, prospector, and conservationist, Discovered the rich deposit of alluvial diamonds at Alexander Bay in Namaqualand, vast platinum and chrome reefs at Lydenburg, Rustenburg and Potgietersrus, which led to some of the largest platinum mines in the world, phosphates and copper at  Phalaborwa in the Transvaal lowveld, gold in the Free State and the world’s biggest chrome deposit at Jagdlust near Pietersburg. Merensky allotted the larger part of his fortune to the Hans Merensky Trust to ensure that his projects in agriculture,  horticulture and forestry operations on the Westphalia Estate would be continued after his death. He also established the Hans Merensky Library at the University of Pretoria

1881 – Fannie Charles Dillon born, American pianist and composer; known for incorporating bird calls into her scores. In 1924, she founded the Woodland Theatre, and was its general manager (1926-1929), at Big Bear Lake in California. She also taught classes in the 1920s at Los Angeles High School. John Cage was one of her students

1882 – After intensive lobbying by Clara Barton and her allies which began in 1878, President Chester A. Arthur signed the Geneva Convention on March 1, 1882, and the U.S. Senate ratified the convention on this day. The American Red Cross becomes allied with the International Committee of the Red Cross. A new campaign was launched, to obtain a Congressional Charter, which would give the American Red Cross legal protection through federal incorporation, and protection for the Red Cross insignia. This campaign was not won until 1900

1883 – Susan Hayhurst, at the age of 63, graduates from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, the only woman in her class of 150, and the first woman to earn a pharmacy degree in the United States. She had been the head of the pharmaceutical department at the Woman’s Hospital of Philadelphia.since 1876, and served as the department’s head for a total of 33 years. Previously, she had graduated in 1857 from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania with a degree in medicine. Hayhurst was a mentor to at least 65 women pharmacists, and an active member of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the Woman’s Suffrage Society of Philadelphia. She died in 1909 at age 88. The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy held a memorial service in her honor, and commissioned her portrait to be hung in its museum

1883 – Ethel Anderson born in England, Australian author, poet, art critic and painter; founder of the Turramurra Wall Painters Union in New South Wales

Detail: Children’s Chapel mural,  St. James Church, Sydney – designed by Ethel Anderson
and painted by the Turramurra Wall Painters Union

1900 – Eveline M. Burns born, British-born American economist, writer and educator; Columbia Professor of Social Work; helped design the U.S. Social Security system

Franklin Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act in 1935

1909 – Cuba suffers a revolt only six weeks after the inauguration of Jose Miguel Gomez

1913 – The 15,000-ton battleship Pennsylvania is launched at Newport News VA

1915 – The Federal Trade Commission begins operation

1916 – Mercedes McCambridge born, American actress who struggled with alcoholism, and went public with her addiction in order to help others and bring public recognition to alcoholism as a disease; from 1975 to 1982, she devoted her time to the Livengrin Foundation, a treatment and rehabilitation center, first as a volunteer board member, then as President and CEO, responsible for day-to-day operations. She was a staunch liberal Democrat, and campaigned for Adlai Stevenson.  Her memoir The Quality of Mercy: An Autobiography is quite frank about her problems. She was a member of Orson Welles’ Mercury Summer Theatre of the Air company, and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for All the King’s Men, and was nominated again in the same category for Giant

1917 – Laure Pillay born, the first woman barrister and first woman magistrate in Mauritius.  She originally went to London in 1938 to study medicine, but after WWII broke out, she went to work in the British Foreign Office until 1945. She went home after the war, but returned to London to study law, and was admitted to both Lincoln’s Inn, and the bar in Mauritius in 1955. Pillay was a feminist, and became an advocate for women who were victims of domestic violence, and handled many divorce cases. She advocated for women’s rights as a representative of Mauritius at seminars in Addis Ababa and Berlin on women’s roles in Africa. In 1967, she was appointed as a magistrate, and later as a Senior Magistrate, before returning to private practice. She was a founding member of the Mauritius Family Planning Association, and an assessor for the Industrial Relations Comissions. In March 2017, she celebrated her 100 birthday, surrounded by her three children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. At the time, she was the oldest member of the legal profession in Mauritius. She died four months later

1918 – Tallulah Bankhead makes her New York acting debut in The Squab Farm

1925 – Mary Hinkson born, African American dancer and choreographer; member of the Martha Graham Dance Company (1953-1973); also appeared at the New York City Opera, and worked with Alvin Ailey; taught at the Juilliard School of Music, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and the Ailey School

1926 – Physicist Robert H. Goddard launches the first liquid-fuel rocket

1928 – The U.S. plans to send 1,000 more Marines to Nicaragua

1935 – Adolf Hitler orders a German rearmament in violation of the Versailles Treaty.

1939 – Germany occupies the rest of Czechoslovakia.

1943 – Ursula Goodenough born, Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis where she engages in research on eukaryotic algae; author of best-selling book Sacred Depths of Nature, and presenter of programs Religious Naturalism, and Epic of Evolution in venues around the world, including a Mind and Life dialogue with the Dalai Lama in 2002

1945 – Iwo Jima declared secure by Allies, but pockets of Japanese resistance remain

1946 – Indian leaders call British Premier Attlee’s offer for India’s independence contradictory and a propaganda move

1946 – Mary Kaldor born, English economist and academic; Professor of Governance at the London School of economics; key figure in development of cosmopolitan democracy, which advocates policy decisions being made by those affected, avoiding a single hierarchical form of authority, in a kind of global governance without world government; founding member of European Nuclear Disarmament and the European Council on Foreign Relations; author of Global civil society: an answer to war

1947 – Martial law, imposed on March 1st after attacks and bombings which killed at least 20 people, ends in Tel Aviv and parts of Jerusalem

1948 – Catherine Quéré born, French Socialist politician and wine-grower; Member of Parliament for Charente-Maritime’s 3rd constituency since 2007; Vice-president and Regional Councillor of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council (2004-2007)

1950 – Congress votes to remove federal taxes on oleomargarine

1954 – Nancy Lamoureaux Wilson born, American musician, singer-songwriter and film composer; best known as a member of the rock band Heart, and for her film scores for Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous

1956 – Saint Urho’s Day * is created by Richard Mattson, a Minnesotan of Finnish descent, as a tongue-in-cheek response to all the to-do about St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. The “legend” of St. Urho has now been proclaimed in all 50 states, and there are St. Urho pubs in Finland – An alternate version claims that Dr. Sulo Havumaki, of Bemidji State College, is the true originator of the St. Urho legend. This version has Havumaki claiming that St. Urho drove a plague of grasshoppers out of Finland, saving the Finnish wine crop (adding an unlikely warmer climate to Finnish history), and becoming the Patron Saint of Finnish Vineyard Workers

1956 – Yoriko Shono born as Yoriko Ishikawa, Japanese writer; noted for her short  story collection, Nani mo Shitenai (Not Do Anything), winner of the Noma Literary Prize for New Writers, and her story “Ni Hyaku Kaiki” (roughly translated as “repeated regression”) which won the Mishima Yukio Prize

1956 – Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf born, Swiss politician; President of Switzerland (2012); Vice President of Switzerland (2011); Minister of Finance (2010-2015); Minister of Justice and Police (2008-2010); Member of the Swiss Federal Council (2008-2015)

1958 – Kate Worley, American comic book writer; noted for her work on Omaha the Cat Dancer; she was also a writer and performer for the science fiction comedy show Shockwave Radio Theater. She died of cancer in 2004

1960 – Jenny Éclair born, English comedian, novelist and actress; helped develop and worked on Grumpy Old Women (2004-2007) and was a panelist on Loose Women (2011-2012); author of The Book of Bad Behaviour (non-fiction), the novels Having a Lovely Time, and Life, Death and Vanilla Slices

1963 – Peter, Paul and Mary release “Puff the Magic Dragon”

1963 – Caltech astronomer Maartin Schmidt discovers the first known quasar, 3C273

1964 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson submits $1 billion ‘War on Poverty’ program to Congress

1967 – Lauren Graham born, American actress and author; best known for her role on the television series Gilmore Girls (2000-2007); she also published a novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe in 2013, which made the NY Times bestseller list; a memoir in 2016, Talking as Fast as I Can: from Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between); and In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It, in 2018. In 2017, she wrote a screenplay based on the novel The Royal We, by Heather Cocks

1968 – U.S. troops in Vietnam under the command of  Lt. William L. Calley destroy a village consisting mostly of women and children, known as the My-Lai massacre

1969 – The musical 1776 opens on Broadway

1976 – Zhu Chen born in China, Qatari Chess Grandmaster; in 2001, she became Women’s World Chess Champion, and had previously been the World Junior Girls Chess Champion in 1994 and 1996. Her FIDE rating as of March 2019 is 2423, and her highest rating was 2548, in 2008. In 2001, she married Qatari Grandmaster Mohammed Ahmed Al-Modiahki, and she became a Qatari citizen in 2006

1978 – Italian politician Aldo Moro is kidnapped, then later murdered, by left-wing urban guerrillas

1979 – Freedom of Information Day * is proposed by Jim Bohannon, talk show host, to the Society of Professional Journalists to honor James Madison’s birthday (see 1751 entry above) and the Freedom of Information Act

1982 – Russia announces they will halt deployment of new nuclear missiles in Western Europe

1984 – Mozambique and South Africa sign a pact banning support for one another’s internal enemies

1984 – Aisling Bea born, Irish comedian, writer and actress; co-writer of the BBC Radio 4 comedy folklore series Micks and Legends, and since 2018, she’s been the co-host on the BBC Radio 2 show, What’s Normal? Bea was a vocal supporter in 2018 of the ‘Repeal the Eighth’ campaign to make abortion legal in Ireland, and also campaigned for the Irish same-sex marriage referendum in 2015

1985 – The 4,000th performance of A Chorus Line

1987 – Bostonia magazine prints an English translation of Albert Einstein’s last high school report card

1988 – Indictments are issued for Lt. Colonel Oliver North and Vice Admiral John Poindexter of the National Security Council for their Iran-Contra involvement

1989 – U.S.S.R. Central Committee approves Gorbachev’s large-scale agricultural reforms, and elects the party’s 100 members to the Congress of People’s Deputies

1993 – In France, ostrich meat is officially declared fit for human consumption

1994 – Russia agrees to phase out production of weapons-grade plutonium

1998 – Rwanda begins mass trials for 1994 genocide with 125,000 suspects for 500,000 murders

1999 – The 20 members of the European Union’s European Commission announce their resignations amid allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement

2003 – Vice President Dick Cheney predicts on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that American troops will be “greeted as liberators” by the Iraqi people

2003 – Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American woman involved with the International Solidarity Movement, is killed trying to prevent a Palestinian home from being destroyed by a bulldozer in Rafah

2010 – A UCLA study finds 1 in 4 Californians have no health insurance, almost two million more than in 2007, mainly due to job loss

2014 – A referendum on the Ukranian region of Crimea joining Russia sparks claims of election rigging and wide-spread pro-Ukrainian protests

2015 – The first No Selfies Day, started by the staffs of the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, at the suggestion of Khoi Ha, who said, “With all of the social media nowadays, we’re turning a lot of people into narcissists,” and warned that, once posted, the picture sharing quickly spreads beyond the control of their originators

2015 – Black Press Day * is launched by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), originally the National Negro Publishers Association, founded in 1940 when John H. Sengstacke of the Chicago Defender organized a Black publishers meeting; the organization was re-named in 1956, and now has  over 200 African-American newspaper members in the U.S. and the Virgin Islands

2019 – The death toll following the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand rose to 50 after police discovered another victim. Police have not released an official list of names of the dead, though some identities have been made known. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the lone suspect in the shootings, a 28-year-old Australian, will be tried in New Zealand, though she is seeking advice on whether he should be extradited to Australia. He appeared in court the day after the shootings, and was charged with murder. Police say he will face additional charges. Ardern also said that her government would discuss changes to New Zealand’s gun regulation laws. On April 10, 2019, New Zealand’s Parliament voted 119-1 to ban most semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles from the country

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – Mark Tantrum photo


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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