March

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March 1

National Day of Wales. Feast day of St David, St Swithbert, and St Felix III, pope.

Events

1780 Pennsylvania became the first US state to abolish slavery. 1845 The USA annexed Texas. 1940 English actress Vivien Leigh won an Oscar for her performance as Scarlett O'Hara in the film Gone with the Wind. 1949 US heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis retired after successfully defending his title 25 times. 1954 The USA conducted its first hydrogen-bomb test at Bikini Atoll, in the Marshall Islands. 1966 The uncrewed Soviet spacecraft Venus 3 landed on Venus.

Births

Frédéric Chopin, Polish composer, 1810; Lytton Strachey, English biographer, 1880; Glenn Miller, US bandleader, 1904; David Niven, Scottish-born US film actor, 1910; Harry Belafonte, US singer, 1927; Roger Daltrey, English rock musician, singer with The Who, 1945.

Deaths

George Herbert, English poet, 1633; Girolamo Frescobaldi, Italian composer, 1643; George Grossmith, English singer and comedian, 1912; Jackie Coogan, US film actor who in 1921 played the child in Charlie Chaplin's The Kid, 1984.

March 2

Feast day of St Chad and St Joavan.

Events

1717 The first ballet, The Loves of Mars and Venus was performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. 1882 An attempt was made to assassinate Queen Victoria at Windsor. 1949 US Airforce Captain James Gallagher returned to Fort Worth, Texas, after flying non-stop around the world in 94 hours with a crew of 13 men; tanker aircraft refuelled their plane four times during the flight. 1955 Severe flooding in N and W Australia killed 200 people. 1969 The French-built supersonic aircraft Concorde made its first test flight from Toulouse. 1970 Rhodesia proclaimed itself a republic.

Births

Thomas Bodley, founder of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, 1545; Bedrich Smetana, Czech composer, 1824; Kurt Weill, German composer who worked with Bertolt Brecht, 1900; Basil Hume, archbishop of Westminster, 1923; Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet leader, 1931; J P R Williams, Welsh rugby player, 1949; Ian Woosnam, Welsh golfer, 1958.

Deaths

John Wesley, English founder of Methodism, 1791; Horace Walpole, novelist and historian, 1797; D H Lawrence, English novelist, 1930; Howard Carter, English Egyptologist who discovered Tutankhamen's tomb, 1939; Joan Greenwood, English film actress, 1987; Randolph Scott, US film actor, 1987.

March 3

National Day of Morocco. Feast day of St Ailred of Rievaulx, St Cunegund, empress, St Marinus of Caesarea, St Non, St Winwaloe, St Anselm of Nonantola, St Artelais, St Chef, and St Emeterius.

Events

1802 Beethoven's `Moonlight Sonata' published. 1875 The first performance of Bizet's opera Carmen was staged at the Opéra Comique, Paris. 1931 `The Star-Spangled Banner' was adopted as the US national anthem. 1969 US spacecraft Apollo 9 was launched. 1985 British miners voted to go back to work after a year of striking over pit closures. 1991 Latvia and Estonia voted to secede from the Soviet Union.

Births

George Pullman, US designer of luxury railway carriages, 1831; Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-born inventor of the telephone, 1847; Jean Harlow, US film actress, 1911; Ronald Searle, English artist and cartoonist, 1920; Miranda Richardson, English actress, 1958; Fatima Whitbread, English javelin champion, 1961.

Deaths

Robert Hooke, English physicist, 1703; Robert Adam, Scottish architect, 1792; Giandomenico Tiepolo, Italian artist, 1804; Lou Costello, US comedian, 1959; Arthur Koestler, Hungarian-born writer and supporter of euthanasia, committed suicide, 1983; Danny Kaye, US comedian, 1987.

March 4

Feast day of St Peter of Cava, St Casimir of Poland, and St Adrian and his Companions.

Events

1681 King Charles II granted a Royal Charter to William Penn, entitling Penn to establish a colony in North America. 1861 Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as the 16th president of the USA. 1877 The Russian Imperial Ballet staged the first performance of the ballet Swan Lake in Moscow. 1882 Britain's first electric trams came into operation in Leytonstone, East London. 1890 The Forth railway bridge, Scotland was officially opened. 1968 Tennis authorities voted to admit professional players to Wimbledon, previously open only to amateur players.

Births

Prince Henry the Navigator, Portuguese patron of explorers, 1394; Antonio Vivaldi, Italian composer, 1678; Patrick Moore, English astronomer, 1928; Bernard Haitink, Dutch conductor, 1929; Miriam Makeba, South African singer, 1931; Kenny Dalgleish, Scottish footballer, 1951.

Deaths

Saladin, Kurdish-born Muslim leader who defeated the Crusaders, 1193; Thomas Malory, English writer of the Morte d'Arthur, 1470; Jean-François Champollion, French Egyptologist, 1832; Nikolai Gogol, Russian novelist and playwright, 1852; William Carlos Williams, US poet, 1963.

March 5

Feast day of St Piran, St Gerasimus, Saints Adrian and Eubulus, St Eusebius, St John Joseph of the Cross, St Kieran of Saighir, St Phocas of Antioch, and St Virgil of Arles.

Events

1461 King Henry VI of England was deposed; he was succeeded by Edward IV. 1770 British troops killed five civilians when they fired into a crowd of demonstrators in Boston; the incident became known as the `Boston Massacre'. 1850 English engineer Robert Stephenson's tubular bridge was opened, linking Anglesey with mainland Wales. 1933 The Nazi Party won almost half the seats in the elections. 1936 The British fighter plane Spitfire made its first test flight from Eastleigh, Southampton. 1946 The term `iron curtain' was first used, by Winston Churchill in a speech in Missouri, USA.

Births

King Henry II of England, 1133; Gerardus Mercator, Flemish cartographer, 1512; Augusta Gregory, Irish playwright, 1852; Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazilian composer, 1887; Rex Harrison, English actor, 1908; Elaine Page, English musical actress, 1952.

Deaths

Antonio Correggio, Italian painter, 1534; Friedrich Mesmer, Austrian physician and founder of mesmerism, or `animal magnetism', 1815; Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist, 1827; Joseph Stalin, Soviet dictator, 1953; Sergei Prokofiev, Russian composer, 1953; Tito Gobbi, Italian operatic baritone, 1984.

March 6

National Day of Ghana. Feast day of Saints Baldred and Billfrith, St Chrodegang, St Colette, St Conon, St Cyneburga, St Fridolin, and St Tibba.

Events

1836 The 12-day siege of the Alamo ended, with only six survivors out of the original force of 155. 1899 Aspirin was patented by chemist Felix Hoffman. 1930 Clarence Birdseye's first frozen foods went on sale in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. 1957 Ghana became independent, the first British colony to do so. 1987 A cross-channel ferry left Zeebrugge, Belgium, with its bow doors open; it capsized suddenly outside the harbour, killing over 180 passengers. 1988 British SAS men shot dead three IRA members in a street in Gibraltar, claiming that they had been about to attack a military parade.

Births

Cyrano de Bergerac, French novelist and playwright, 1619; Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English poet, 1806; Frankie Howerd, English comedian, 1922; Andrzej Wajda, Polish film director, 1926; Valentina Tereshkova, Soviet astronaut, 1937; Kiri Te Kanawa, New Zealand soprano, 1944.

Deaths

Louisa May Alcott, US novelist, 1888; Gottlieb Daimler, German motor engineer who invented the motorcycle, 1900; Ivor Novello, Welsh composer and actor, 1951; George Formby, English entertainer, 1961; Pearl Buck, US novelist, 1971; Donald Maclean, English-born Soviet spy, 1984.

March 7

Feast day of St Eosterwine, St Perpetua, and St Felicitas.

Events

1838 Swedish singer Jenny Lind gave her debut performance in Der Freischutz. 1876 Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone. 1912 French aviator Henri Seimet made the first non-stop flight from Paris to London. 1926 A radio-telephone link was established between London and New York. 1969 The Victoria line was opened as part of London's underground railway. 1971 Women in Switzerland achieved the right to vote and hold federal office.

Births

Tomas Masaryk, Czech leader, 1850; Piet Mondrian, Dutch painter, 1872; Maurice Ravel, French composer, 1875; Viv Richards, Antiguan cricketer, 1952; Ivan Lendl, Czech tennis player, 1960; Rik Mayall, English comedian, 1958.

Deaths

Antoninus Pius, Roman emperor, ad 161; St Thomas Aquinas, Christian philosopher, 1274; Herman Mankiewicz, US screenwriter, 1953; Percy Wyndham Lewis, English writer and artist, 1957; Stevie Smith, English poet and novelist, 1971.

March 8

Feast day of St Felix of Dunwich, St Duthac, St Julian of Toledo, St Pontius of Carthage, St Veremund, St Senan, and St John of God.

Events

1702 Anne became queen of Britain after William III died in a riding accident. 1910 The first pilot's licences were issued, to an Englishman, J T C Moore Brabazon, and a Frenchwoman, Elise Deroche. 1917 The February Revolution began in Petrograd (St (Petersburg), Russia. 1930 In India, a campaign of civil disobedience began, led by Mahatma Gandhi. 1965 3,500 US marines landed in South Vietnam. 1971 US boxer Muhammad Ali was defeated by Joe Frazier.

Births

Kenneth Grahame, Scottish author of The Wind in the Willows, 1859; Otto Hahn, German physicist and chemist, 1879; Douglas Hurd, British politician, 1930; James Dean, US film actor, 1931; Lynn Seymour, Canadian ballet dancer, 1939; Norman Stone, English historian, 1941.

Deaths

Abraham Darby, English ironmaster, the first to use coke for smelting iron, 1717; Hector Berlioz, French composer, 1869; John Ericsson, Swedish-born US inventor of the screw propeller, 1889; William Howard Taft, 27th president of the USA, 1930; Thomas Beecham, English conductor, 1961; Harold Lloyd, US comedian and silent-film actor, 1971.

March 9

Feast day of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, St Frances of Rome, St Bosa, St Constantine, St Gregory of Nyssa, St Pacianus, and St Dominic Savio.

Events

1074 Pope Gregory VII excommunicated all married priests. 1796 French army commander Napoleon Bonaparte married Josephine de Beauharnais. 1831 The French Foreign Legion was founded in Algeria; its headquarters moved to France in 1962. 1918 The Russian capital was transferred from Petrograd (St Petersburg) to Moscow. 1923 Lenin retired as Soviet leader after suffering a severe stroke; he died the following year. 1956 Archbishop Makarios of Cyprus was deported to the Seychelles to prevent his involvement in terrorist activities. 1961 Russian dog Laika was launched into space aboard the spacecraft Sputnik 9.

Births

William Cobbett, author and politician, 1763; Vita Sackville-West, English novelist, 1892; Yuri Gagarin, Soviet astronaut, the first man in space, 1934; Bobby Fischer, US chess champion, 1943; Vyacheslav Molotov, Soviet politician, 1890; Bill Beaumont, English rugby player, 1952.

Deaths

David Rizzio, secretary to Mary Queen of Scots, murdered 1566; Jules Mazarin, French cardinal and politician, 1661; Frank Wedekind, German playwright, 1918; Wilhelm I of Prussia, 1888; Bob Crosby, US bandleader, 1993.

March 10

Feast day of St Kessog, St John Ogilvie, St Attalas, St Hymelin, St Macarius of Jerusalem, St Simplicius, pope, and St Anastasia Patricia.

Events

1801 The first census was begun in Britain. 1886 Cruft's Dog Show was held in London for the first time since 1859 it had been held in Newcastle. 1906 The Bakerloo line was opened on the London underground railway. 1914 English suffragette Mary Richardson slashed Velasquez' Rokeby Venus with a meat cleaver. 1969 James Earl Ray was sentenced to 99 years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to the murder of civil-rights leader Martin Luther King. 1974 A Japanese soldier was discovered hiding on Lubang Island in the Philippines. He was unaware that World War II had ended, and was waiting to be picked up by his own forces.

Births

Marcello Malpighi, Italian physiologist, 1628; Tamara Karsavina, Russian ballet dancer, 1885; Arthur Honegger, French composer, 1892; Bix Beiderbecke, US jazz musician and composer, 1903; Prince Edward, youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II, 1964.

Deaths

Giuseppe Mazzini, Italian nationalist, 1832; Mikhail Bulgakov, Russian novelist and playwright, 1940; Jan Masaryk, Czech politician, allegedly committed suicide after Communist takeover, 1948; Konstantin Chernenko, Soviet leader, 1985; Ray Milland, US film actor, 1986.

March 11

Feast day of St Oengus, St Vindician, St Sophronius of Jerusalem, St Constantine of Cornwall, St Eulogius of Cordova, St Aurea, St Benedict of Milan, and St Teresa Margaret Redi.

Events

1682 The Royal Chelsea Hospital for soldiers was founded by Charles II. 1702 The first successful English daily newspaper, the Daily Courant was published in London. 1941 US Congress passed the Lend-Lease Bill, authorising huge loans to Britain to finance World War II. 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the USSR. 1988 The Bank of England replaced pound notes with pound coins. 1990 US tennis player Jennifer Capriati, aged 13, became the youngest-ever finalist in a professional contest.

Births

Urbain Leverrier, French astronomer, 1811; Malcolm Campbell, English speed record holder, 1885; Harold Wilson, British politician, 1916; Rupert Murdoch, Australian newspaper proprietor, 1931; Douglas Adams, English author of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 1952; Nigel Lawson, British politician, 1932.

Deaths

Rolf Boldrewood, Australian author, 1915; David Beatty, British admiral, 1936; Alexander Fleming, Scottish bacteriologist who discovered penicillin, 1955; Richard Evelyn Bird, US aviator and explorer, 1957; Erle Stanley Gardner, US lawyer and crime writer, 1970.

March 12

Feast day of St Alphege, St Bernard of Winchester, St Gregory, St Maximilian of Theveste, St Mura, St Paul Aurelian, St Theophanes, and St Pionius.

Events

1609 Bermuda became a British colony. 1881 France made Tunisia a protectorate. 1904 Britain's first mainline electric train ran from Liverpool to Southport. 1912 The Girl Guides movement (later called Scouts) was founded in the USA. 1930 Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi began his walk to the sea, known as the Salt March, in defiance of the British government's tax on salt and monopoly of the salt trade in India. 1938 Germany annexed Austria. 1940 The Russo-Finnish war ended with Finland signing over territory to the USSR.

Births

John Aubrey, English antiquary and author of Brief Lives, 1626; Thomas Arne, English composer who wrote `Rule Britannia', 1710; Kemal Ataturk, Turkish leader, 1881; Vaslav Nijinsky, Russian ballet dancer, 1890; Max Wall, English actor and comedian, 1908; Liza Minelli, US film actress and singer, 1946.

Deaths

St Gregory, pope, 604; Cesare Borgia, Italian cardinal and politician, 1507; Sun Yat-sen, Chinese revolutionary leader, 1925; Anne Frank, Dutch Jewish diarist, died in a Nazi concentration camp, 1945; Charlie Parker, US jazz saxophonist, 1955; Eugene Ormandy, US conductor, 1985

March 13

Feast day of St Gerald of Mayo, St Mochoemoc, St Nicephorus of Constantinople, Saints Roderic and Salomon, St Ansovinus, and St Euphrasia.

Events

1781 German-born British astronomer William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus. 1881 Tsar Alexander II of Russia died after a bomb was thrown at him in St Petersburg. 1894 The first public striptease act was performed in Paris. 1928 450 people drowned when a dam burst near Los Angeles, USA. 1930 US astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered the planet Pluto; its existence had been predicted 14 years earlier by US astronomer Percy Lowell. 1979 A Marxist coup led by Maurice Bishop took place in Grenada while Prime Minister Edward Gairy was in New York at a meeting of the United Nations.

Births

Joseph Priestley, English scientist, 1733; Percy Lowell, US astronomer, 1855; Hugh Walpole, English novelist, 1884; Henry Hathaway, US film director, 1898; Neil Sedaka, US singer and songwriter, 1939; Joe Bugner, Hungarian-born British boxer, 1950.

Deaths

Richard Burbage, English actor who built the Globe Theatre, 1619; Susan Anthony, US feminist, 1906; Stephen Benet, US poet who wrote `John Brown's Body', 1943; Angela Brazil, English writer of stories about girls' schools, 1947; John Middleton Murry, English writer and critic, 1957.

March 14

Feast day of St Matilda, St Eutychius, and St Leobinus.

Events

1492 Queen Isabella of Castile ordered the expulsion of 150,000 Jews from Spain, unless they accepted Christian baptism. 1757 British admiral John Byng was executed by firing squad at Plymouth, for having failed to relieve Minorca from the French fleet. 1864 English explorer Samuel Baker was the first European to see the lake he named Lake Albert. 1885 Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado was first performed at the Savoy Theatre, London. 1891 The submarine Monarch laid the first underwater telephone cable.

Births

Georg Telemann, German composer, 1681; Mrs Isabella Beeton, English cookery writer, 1836; Maxim Gorky, Russian playwright and novelist, 1868; Albert Einstein, German-born Swiss physicist, 1879; Michael Caine, English film actor, 1933; Jasper Carrott, English comedian, 1946.

Deaths

John Jervis, English admiral, 1823; Karl Marx, German philosopher, 1883; George Eastman, inventor of the Kodak camera, 1932; Nikolai Bukharin, Russian politician, 1938; Busby Berkeley, US film choreographer, 1976.

March 15

Feast day of St Longinus, St Louise de Marillac, St Zacharias, pope, St Lucretia, St Matrona, and St Clement Mary Hofbauer.

Events

1892 US inventor Jesse Reno patented the first escalator. 1909 US entrepreneur G S Selfridge opened Britain's first department store in Oxford Street, London. 1917 Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicated. 1933 Nazi leader Adolf Hitler proclaimed the Third Reich in Germany; he also banned left-wing newspapers and kosher food. 1949 Clothes rationing in Britain ended. 1964 Actors Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were married in Montreal.

Births

Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the USA, 1767; William Lamb, Viscount Melbourne, British prime minister, 1779; John Snow, English physician who pioneered the use of ether as an anaesthetic, 1813; Emil von Behring, German bacteriologist, 1854; Mike Love, US pop singer, member of the Beach Boys, 1941; Ry Cooder, US guitarist, 1947.

Deaths

Julius Caesar, Roman emperor, assassinated, 44 BC; Henry Bessemer, English metallurgist who invented the Bessemer converter, 1898; Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping tycoon, 1975; Rebecca West, English novelist, 1983; Tommy Cooper, English comedian, 1984; Farzad Barzoft, Iranian-born journalist working for the Observer, hanged as a spy in Iraq, 1990.

March 16

Feast day of St Finan Lobur, St Abraham Kidunaia, St Julian of Antioch, St Eusebia of Hamage, St Heribert of Cologne, and St Gregory Makar.

Events

1660 The Long Parliament of England was dissolved, after sitting for 20 years. 1802 The US Military Academy was established at West Point, New York State. 1872 The Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1 0 in the first FA Cup Final, at Kennington Oval. 1926 The first rocket fuelled by petrol and liquid oxygen was successfully launched by US physicist Robert Goddard. 1973 The new London Bridge was opened.

Births

Matthew Flinders, English navigator who explored the coast of Australia, 1774; Georg Ohm, German physicist, 1787; Leo McKern, Australian actor, 1920; Jerry Lewis, US comedy actor, 1926; Bernardo Bertolucci, Italian film director, 1941.

Deaths

Tiberius Claudius Nero, Roman emperor, ad 37; Aubrey Beardsley, English illustrator, 1898; Miguel Primo de Rivera, Spanish politician and dictator, 1930; Austen Chamberlain, British politician who negotiated the Locarno Pact, 1937; William Henry Beveridge, English economist who wrote the report on which the British welfare state was founded, 1963.

March 17

National Day of Ireland. Feast day of St Patrick, St Withburga, St Gertrude of Nivelles, St Joseph of Arimathea, St Paul of Cyprus, and the Martyrs of the Serapaeum.

Events

1897 English-born New Zealand boxer Bob Fitzsimmons won the heavyweight title from US champion Jim Corbett. 1899 The first-ever radio distress call was sent, summoning assistance to a merchant ship aground on the Goodwin Sands, off the Kent coast. 1921 English doctor Marie Stopes opened The Mothers' Clinic in London, to advise women on birth-control. 1969 Golda Meir, aged 70, took office as prime minister of Israel, the first woman to do so. 1978 The oil tanker Amoco Cadiz ran aground on the coast of Brittany, spilling over 220,000 tons of crude oil and causing extensive pollution. 1990 The Bastille opera house, Paris, was opened.

Births

Edmund Kean, English actor, 1787; Kate Greenaway, English children's book illustrator, 1846; Nat `King' Cole, US singer, 1919; Penelope Lively, English children's novelist, 1933; Rudolf Nureyev, Russian ballet dancer, 1938; Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail single-handed, non-stop around the world, 1939.

Deaths

Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor, ad 180; Daniel Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician and physicist 1782; Christian Doppler, Austrian physicist, 1853; Lawrence Oates, English Antarctic explorer, a member of Scott's expedition, who walked into a blizzard, saying `I am just going outside, and may be some time', 1912; George Wilkins, Australian polar explorer, 1958; John Glubb (Glubb Pasha), English soldier, founder of the Arab Legion, 1986.

March 18

Feast day of St Cyril of Jerusalem, St Alexander of Jerusalem, St Christian, St Edward the Martyr, St Finan of Aberdeen, St Anselm of Lucca, St Frigidian, and St Salvator of Horta.

Events

1662 The first public bus service began operating, in Paris. 1834 Six farm labourers from Tolpuddle, Dorset, were sentenced to transportation to Australia for forming a trade union. 1891 The London Paris telephone link came into operation. 1922 Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi was jailed for six years for sedition. 1931 The first electric razors were manufactured in the USA. 1965 Soviet astronaut Alexei Leonov made the first `walk' in space.

Births

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Russian composer, 1844; Rudolf Diesel, German engineer who invented the engine named after him, 1858; Neville Chamberlain, British prime minister who tried unsuccessfully to make peace with Hitler, 1869; Lavrenti Beria, Soviet chief of secret police, 1889; Wilfred Owen, English World War I poet, 1893; Robert Donat, English film actor, 1905.

Deaths

Edward the Martyr, king of England, murdered at Corfe Castle, 978; Fra Angelico, Italian monk and painter, 1455; Ivan IV, `the Terrible' 1584; Robert Walpole, first prime minister of Britain, 1745; Laurence Sterne, Irish novelist, 1768; Percy Thrower, English gardener and broadcaster, 1988.

March 19

Feast day of St Alcmund, St Joseph, St John of Panaca, and St Landoald.

Events

721 BC The first-ever recorded solar eclipse was seen from Babylon. 1628 The New England Company was formed in Massachusetts Bay. 1913 Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunov was first performed in full at the Metropolitan Opera, New York. 1932 The Sydney Harbour Bridge, New South Wales, Australia, was opened; it was the world's longest single-span arch bridge, at 503 m/1,650 ft. 1969 British troops landed on the Caribbean island of Anguilla, after the island declared itself a republic; they were well received, and the island remained a UK dependency.

Births

Georges de la Tour, French painter, 1593; Tobias Smollett, Scottish physician and author, 1721; David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and explorer, 1813; Richard Burton, English explorer and scholar, 1821; Wyatt Earp, US law officer, 1848; Sergei Diaghilev, Russian ballet impresario, 1872.

Deaths

Thomas Killigrew, English playwright, 1683; Mary Anning, English paleontologist who discovered the first ichthyosaurus, 1847; Arthur James Balfour, British prime minister, 1930; Edgar Rice Burroughs, US novelist who wrote the Tarzan stories, 1950; Alan Badel, English actor, 1965.

March 20

Feast day of St Cuthbert, St Wolfram, St Herbert of Derwentwater, St Martin of Braga, St Photina and her Companions, and the Martyrs of Mar Saba.

Events

1602 The Dutch government founded the Dutch East India Company. 1806 The foundation stone of Dartmoor Prison was laid. 1815 Napoleon returned to Paris from banishment on the island of Elba to begin his last 100 days of power that ended with defeat and exile. 1852 US author Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was published. 1956 Tunisia achieved independence from France. 1980 Pirate radio ship Radio Caroline sank.

Births

Ovid, Roman poet, 43 BC; Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian playwright, 1828; Beniamino Gigli, Italian operatic tenor, 1890; Michael Redgrave, English actor, 1908; Vera Lynn, English singer, 1917; Madan Lal, Indian cricketer, 1951.

Deaths

King Henry IV of England, 1413; Thomas Seymour, Lord High Admiral of England, executed, 1549; Isaac Newton, English scientist, 1727; Lajos Kossuth, Hungarian revolutionary leader, 1894; Ferdinand Foch, French Army marshal, 1929; Brendan Behan, Irish playwright, 1964.

March 21

Feast day of St Benedict, St Enda, St Nicholas of Flue, St Fanchea, and St Serapion of Thmuis.

Events

1933 Germany's first Nazi parliament was officially opened in a ceremony at the garrison church in Potsdam. 1946 British minister Aneurin Bevan announced the Labour government's plans for the National Health Service. 1952 Kwame Nkrumah was elected prime minister of the Gold Coast (later Ghana). 1960 The Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa a peaceful demonstration against the pass laws ended with about 70 deaths when police fired on demonstrators. 1963 Alcatraz, the maximum-security prison in San Francisco Bay, USA, was closed. 1990 A demonstration in London against the poll tax became a riot, in which over 400 people were arrested.

Births

Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer, 1685; Paul Tortelier, French cellist, 1914; Peter Brook, English stage and film director, 1925; Michael Heseltine, British politician, 1933; Brian Clough, English footballer and manager, 1935; Ayrton Senna, Brazilian racing driver, 1960.

Deaths

Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, burned at the stake, 1556; James Ussher, Irish theologian and archbishop of Armagh, who fixed the date of the Creation at 4004 BC, 1656; Robert Southey, English poet, 1843; Alexander Glazunov, Russian composer, 1936; Philip Wilson Steer, English painter, 1942; Harry H Corbett, English actor, 1982.

March 22

The earliest possible date for Easter. Feast day of St Deogratius, St Basil of Ancyra, St Paul of Narbonne, St Nicholas Owen, and St Benvenuto of Osimo.

Events

1824 The British parliament voted to buy 38 pictures at a cost of 57,000, to establish the national collection which is now housed in the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London. 1888 The English Football League was formed. 1895 French cinema pioneers Auguste and Louis Lumière gave the first demonstration of celluloid film, in Paris. 1942 The BBC began broadcasting in morse code to the French Resistance. 1945 The Arab League was founded in Cairo. 1946 Jordan achieved independence from British rule.

Births

Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, 1459; Anthony van Dyck, Flemish painter, 1599; Karl Malden, US film actor, 1913; Marcel Marceau, French mime, 1923; Stephen Sondheim, US composer and lyricist, 1930; Andrew Lloyd Webber, English composer of musicals, 1948.

Deaths

Jean Lully, French composer, 1687; John Canton, English physicist, 1772; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, novelist, and playwright, 1832; Thomas Hughes, English author of Tom Brown's Schooldays, 1896; Mike Todd, US film producer, 1958.

March 23

National Day of Pakistan. Feast day of St Gwinear, St Turibius, St Benedict the Hermit, St Victorian, St Ethelwald the Hermit, and St Joseph Oriol.

Events

1765 The British parliament passed the Stamp Act, imposing a tax on all publications and official documents in America. 1861 London's first trams began operating, in Bayswater. 1891 Goal nets, invented by Liverpudlian J A Brodie, were used for the first time in an FA Cup Final. 1919 The Italian Fascist Party was formed by Benito Mussolini. 1925 Authorities in the state of Tennessee, USA, forbade the teaching of Darwinian theory in schools. 1956 Pakistan was declared an Islamic republic within the Commonwealth.

Births

Juan Gris, Spanish painter, 1887; Joan Crawford, US film actress, 1904; Akira Kurosawa, Japanese film director, 1910; Wernher von Braun, German-born US rocket engineer, 1912; Jimmy Edwards, English comedian, 1920; Roger Bannister, English neurologist who, as a student, was the first person to run a mile in under four minutes (3 min 59.4 sec), 1929.

Deaths

Stendhal, French novelist, 1842; Steve Donoghue, English jockey, 1945; Raoul Dufy, French painter, 1953; Peter Lorre, Hungarian-born US film actor, 1964; Claude Auchinleck, British Field Marshal, 1981; Mike Hailwood, English champion motor cyclist, 1981.

March 24

Feast day of St Dunchad, St Hildelith, St Macartan, St Aldemar, St Simon of Trent, St William of Norwich, St Catherine of Vadstena, and St Irenaeus of Sirmeum.

Events

1401 Tamerlane the Great captured Damascus. 1603 The crowns of England and Scotland were united when King James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English throne. 1877 The Oxford Cambridge boat race ended in a dead heat, the only time this has happened. 1922 Only three of the 32 horses in the Grand National Steeplechase finished the race. 1942 The national loaf was introduced in Britain. 1976 Isabel Perón, president of Argentina, was deposed.

Births

William Morris, English socialist and craftsman, 1834; Roscoe `Fatty' Arbuckle, US silent film actor, 1887; Ub Iwerks, US animator who worked with Walt Disney on the creation of Mickey Mouse, 1901; Steve McQueen, US film actor, 1930; Malcolm Muggeridge, English writer and broadcaster, 1903; Archie Gemmill, Scottish footballer, 1947.

Deaths

Elizabeth I, queen of England, 1603; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, US poet, 1882; Jules Verne, French novelist, 1905; J M Synge, Irish playwright, 1909; Orde Charles Wingate, British general, 1944; Bernard, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, British Field Marshal, 1976.

March 25

National Day of Greece. Feast day of St Barontius, St Alfwold, St Dismus, St Lucy Filippini, St Hermenland, and St Margaret Clitherow.

Events

1306 Robert I `the Bruce' was crowned king of Scots. 1609 English explorer Henry Hudson set off from Amsterdam, on behalf of the Dutch East India Company, in search of the North West Passage. 1807 The British parliament abolished the slave trade. 1843 A pedestrian tunnel was opened beneath the Thames in London, linking Wapping with Rotherhithe. 1876 In the first football international between Wales and Scotland, played in Glasgow, Scotland won 4 0. 1957 Six European countries (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, West Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands) signed the Treaty of Rome, establishing the European Community.

Births

Henry II, 1133; Arturo Toscanini, Italian conductor, 1867; Béla Bartók, Hungarian composer, 1881; A J P Taylor, English historian, 1906; David Lean, English film director, 1908; Aretha Franklin, US singer, 1942; Elton John, English pop singer and songwriter, 1947.

Deaths

Anna Seward, English novelist who wrote Black Beauty, 1809; Nicholas Hawksmoor, English architect, 1836; Frédéric Mistral, French poet, 1914; Claude Debussy, French composer, 1918; King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, assassinated by his nephew, 1975.

March 26

Feast day of St William of Norwich, St Liudger, St Felix of Trier, St Castulus of Rome, St Braulio, and St Basil of Rome.

Events

1839 The annual rowing regatta at Henley-on-Thames was established. 1886 The funeral of the first person to be officially cremated in Britain took place in Woking, Surrey. 1920 The British special constables known as the Black and Tans arrived in Ireland. 1934 Driving tests were introduced in Britain. 1973 The first women were allowed on the floor of the London Stock Exchange. 1979 Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat signed a peace treaty after two years of negotiations.

Births

A E Housman, English poet, 1859; Robert Frost, US poet, 1874; Pierre Boulez, French conductor and composer, 1925; Leonard Nimoy, US actor who played Mr Spock in the TV series Star Trek; James Caan, US film actor, 1939; Diana Ross, US singer, 1944.

Deaths

John Vanbrugh, English playwright and architect, 1726; Ludwig von Beethoven, German composer, 1827; Walt Whitman, US poet, 1892; Cecil Rhodes, English-born South African politician, 1902; Sarah Bernhardt, French actress, 1923; Raymond Chandler, US novelist who created private eye Philip Marlowe, 1959; Noël Coward, English playwright and entertainer, 1973.

March 27

Feast day of St Rupert, St Athilda, and St John of Egypt.

Events

1794 The United States Navy was formed. 1871 England and Scotland played their first rugby international, in Edinburgh; Scotland won. 1914 The first successful blood transfusion was performed, in a Brussels hospital. 1958 Nikita Khrushchev became leader of the Soviet Union. 1964 The ten Great Train Robbers who were caught were sentenced to a total of 307 years in prison. 1977 Pan Am and KLM jumbo jets collided on the runway at Tenerife airport, in the Canary Islands, killing 574 people.

Births

Henry Royce, English car designer and manufacturer, 1863; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, German architect, 1886; Gloria Swanson, US film actress, 1899; Cyrus Vance, US secretary of state, 1917; Sarah Vaughan, US jazz singer, 1924; Mstislav Rostropovich, Russian cellist and conductor, 1927; Duncan Goodhew, English Olympic swimmer, 1957.

Deaths

King James I of Great Britain, 1625; Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Italian painter, 1770; George Gilbert Scott, English architect, 1878; James Dewar, Scottish physicist and chemist who invented the thermos flask, 1923; Arnold Bennett, English novelist, 1931; Anthony Blunt, English art historian and Soviet spy, 1983.

March 28

Feast day of St Alkelda of Middleham, St Gontran, and St Tutilo.

Events

1910 The first seaplane took off near Marseille, S France. 1912 Both the Oxford and the Cambridge boats sank in the University boat race. 1930 The cities of Angora and Constantinople, in Turkey, changed their names to Ankara and Istanbul respectively. 1939 The Spanish Civil War came to an end as Madrid surrendered to General Franco. 1945 Germany dropped its last V2 bomb on Britain. 1979 The nuclear power station at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, suffered a meltdown in the core of one of its reactors.

Births

Raphael, Italian painter, 1483; St Teresa of Avila, Carmelite nun, 1515; King George I, 1660; Flora Robson, English actress, 1902; Dirk Bogarde, English actor and author, 1921; Neil Kinnock, British politician, 1942,

Deaths

James Thomas Brudenell, 7th earl of Cardigan, leader of the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava, 1868; Virginia Woolf, English novelist, 1941; Sergei Rachmaninov, Russian composer, 1943; Marc Chagall, Russian-born French painter, 1985; W C Handy, US blues composer, 1958; Dwight Eisenhower, 34th president of the USA, 1969.

March 29

Feast day of Saints Gwynllyw and Gwladys, St Cyril of Heliopolis, St Berthold, St Mark of Arethusa, St Rupert of Salzburg, Saints Jonas, Barachisius and Others, Saints Armogastes, Masculas, Achinimus, and Saturus.

Events

1461 Over 28,000 people are said to have been killed in the Battle of Towton, N Yorkshire; the Lancastrians under Henry VI were defeated. 1871 The Albert Hall, London, was opened by Queen Victoria. 1886 Coca Cola went on sale in the USA; it was marketed as a `Brain Tonic' and claimed to relieve exhaustion. 1971 In the USA, Lt. William Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of the murder of civilians in the South Vietnamese village of My Lai in 1969. 1973 The last US troops left Vietnam. 1974 US spacecraft Mariner 10 took close-up photographs of the planet Mercury.

Births

Elihu Thomson, US inventor, 1853; Edwin Lutyens, English architect, 1869; William Walton, English composer, 1902; Pearl Bailey, US singer, 1918; Norman Tebbit, British politician, 1931; John Major, British prime minister, 1943.

Deaths

Charles Wesley, English evangelist and hymn-writer, 1788; Maria Fitzherbert, mistress of King George IV, 1837; Georges-Pierre Seurat, French painter, 1891; Robert Falcon Scott, Antarctic explorer, 1912; Joyce Cary, Irish novelist, 1957; Vera Brittain, English socialist writer, 1970.

March 30

Feast day of St Osburga, St John Climacus, St Zosimus of Syracuse, St Ludolf, St Leonard Murialdo, and St Rieul.

Events

1775 The British parliament passed an Act forbidding its North American colonies to trade with anyone other than Britain. 1842 Ether was first used as an anaesthetic during surgery, by US doctor Crawford Long. 1856 The Crimean War was brought to an end by the signing of the Treaty of Paris. 1867 The USA bought Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million (oil had not yet been discovered). 1893 Thomas Bayard, the USA's first ambassador to Great Britain, arrived in London. 1981 In Washington DC, USA, would-be assassin John Hinckley shot President Reagan in the chest.

Births

Francisco de Goya, Spanish painter, 1746; Paul Verlaine, French poet, 1844; Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch painter, 1853; Sean O'Casey, Irish playwright, 1880; Melanie Klein, Austrian-born British psychologist, 1882; Eric Clapton, English guitarist, 1945.

Deaths

William Hunter, Scottish anatomist and obstetrician, 1783; `Beau' Brummel, English dandy, 1840; Rudolf Steiner, Austrian philosopher, 1925; Friedrich Bergius, German scientist, 1949; Léon Blum, French politician, 1950; James Cagney, US film actor, 1986.

March 31

Feast day of St Benjamin, St Balbina, St Acacius, and St Guy of Pomposa.

Events

1282 The Sicilian Vespers, a massacre of the French in Sicily, begun the previous evening, ended. 1889 In Paris, the Eiffel Tower, built for the Universal Exhibition, was inaugurated. 1896 The first zip fastener was patented in the USA by its inventor, Whitcomb Judson. 1959 Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama fled from Chinese-occupied Tibet. 1973 Racehorse Red Rum set a record of 9 min 1.9 sec for the Grand National Steeplechase. 1986 Hampton Court Palace, near Richmond, SW London, was severely damaged by a fire which broke out in the south wing.

Births

René Descartes, French philosopher and mathematician, 1596; Andrew Marvell, English poet, 1621; Franz Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer, 1732; Nikolai Gogol, Russian novelist, 1809; Robert Bunsen, German chemist, 1811; John Fowles, English novelist, 1927.

Deaths

King Francis I of France, 1547; King Philip III of Spain, 1621; John Donne, English poet, 1631; John Constable, English painter, 1837; Charlotte Brontë, English novelist, 1855; Jesse Owens, US athlete, 1980; Enid Bagnold, English novelist, 1981.