#TodayInHistory – March 15 min read
March 1 – Some Important Events on this day
1516 👉🏼 Printing is completed of Erasmus’ “Novum Instrumentum omne”, first published New Testament in Greek
1780 👉🏼Pennsylvania becomes 1st US state to abolish slavery (for newborns only).
1692 👉🏼 Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne, & Tituba arrested for witchcraft in Salem, Massachussets.
Perhaps the most notorious case of mass hysteria in colonial America, the Salem witch trials saw around 200 people accused of witchcraft, with 19 found guilty and executed. Another man was crushed to death for refusing to plead, while five others died in jail.
The story began in February 1692 when a group of young girls claimed to have been possessed by the devil and accused other women of being witches. Hysteria spread through colonial Massachusetts and a special court was convened to hear trials of those accused.
By September public opinion turned against the trials and they eventually closed early in 1693. The cases became notorious and were interpreted by later generations as a warning sign against the dangers of religious fanaticism, isolation and lapses in due process. In 1711 the convictions of twenty-two people were reversed by the courts and their families were given monetary compensation.
1781 👉🏼 Continental Congress officially adopts the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States of America after ratification by the 13th state, Maryland.
After the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the thirteen rebellious colonies met and debated how best to run their wartime government and preserve their independence and sovereignty. The result of a year and a half of debate, the new Continental Congress created the Articles of Confederation on November 15, 1777, and the states ratified the document on March 1, 1781.
The constitution formed a very limited government with marginal powers, to conduct the American Revolutionary War, diplomacy and settle territorial issues. In 1786 a rebellion in Massachusetts over government taxation led to a widespread view that the Articles needed to be replaced and the government reformed. As more states and their representatives met to discuss issues related to governance and interstate commerce, this eventually turned into the Constitutional Convention.
In 1789, eight years after the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution of the United States came into force, replacing government under the Articles with a federal government headed by a President, with a Congress and judicial system also officially formed.
1847 👉🏼 Michigan becomes 1st English-speaking jurisdiction to abolish the death penalty but with an exception: treason against the state.
1854 👉🏼 SS City of Glasgow leaves Liverpool harbour with approximately 480 passengers and crew. She was never seen again.
1870 👉🏼 War of the Triple Alliance finally ends with the Battle of Cerro Corá and the death of Paraguayan Dictator Francisco Solano López after over 5 years of bloodshed between Paraguay and Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
The battle of Cerro Corá in northeastern Paraguay was part of a guerrilla campaign led by Paraguayan President Francisco Solano López against a Triple Alliance of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay that had lasted 14 months in the final phase of the Paraguayan War, begun in 1864.
During the fighting the Brazilian troops engaged López’s forces, killing many senior officers. Francisco Solano López was himself wounded and then later killed by Brazilian forces after refusing to surrender. It was the end of a devastating war for Paraguay with the loss of at least 100,000 people.
1872 👉🏼 Yellowstone becomes the world’s 1st national park 🌳
1890 👉🏼 1st US edition of Sherlock Holmes’ first story “A Study in Scarlet” by Arthur Conan Doyle published
1945 👉🏼 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces success of Yalta Conference. The big three allied leaders, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin met at Yalta in February 1945, and they made final plans for the defeat of Nazi Germany, their joint occupation of Germany and for post-war Europe.
1953 👉🏼 After an all-night movie and dinner session with his top advisers, Joseph Stalin suffers a stroke and collapses. He dies four days later.
1954 👉🏼 US explodes Castle Bravo, a 15 megaton hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll, which accidentally became the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated by the US. When the United States tested their first lithium deuteride-fueled thermonuclear weapon on this day, the team of scientists behind the test expected an explosion with a yield of 6 megatons. Instead, the detonation was 15 megatons, 1000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, inadvertently making it the fifth-largest nuclear explosion in history, and causing serious problems in the area where the test took place.
Bikini Atoll had been selected for the test, having had its native population relocated in the late 1940s in preparation for the creation of a nuclear test zone. When Castle Bravo was detonated, the radioactive fallout from the test spread as far as about 160 km east of the atoll into areas that were inhabited. In addition a Japanese fishing vessel called Daigo Fukuryū Maru with 23 people on board came into direct contact with the fallout and the crew suffered from acute radiation sickness for weeks afterward. 15 atolls were affected, and residents of some were evacuated 48 hours after the detonation.
Even the test crew took shelter for several hours once they realized the explosion was much larger than anticipated. Trace amounts of radioactivity were recorded as far away as Australia, India and parts of Europe. In the years after the test several Marshall Islanders began to experience health issues, including birth defects and tumors, as a result of the test, and the US government eventually paid them compensation.
Of course, the incident caused controversy about nuclear testing in the atmosphere, and eventually the United States, the UK and the Soviet Union agreed to ban any tests in 1963.
1973 👉🏼 Pink Floyd release their album “Dark Side of the Moon”, since sold over 45 million copies! 🎶
1975 👉🏼 Colour television transmissions begin in Australia 📺