#TodayInHistory – March 193 min read
March 19 – Some Important Events on this day
1279 👉🏼 A Mongolian victory at the naval Battle of Yamen ends the Song Dynasty in China
1452 👉🏼 Frederick III of Hapsburg crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Nicholas V in Rome
1644 👉🏼 200 members of Peking imperial family and court commit suicide in loyalty to the Emperor 🇨🇳
1859 👉🏼 Opera “Faust” by Charles Gounod premieres in Paris 🇫🇷
1863 👉🏼 Confederate cruiser SS Georgiana destroyed on her maiden voyage with a cargo of munitions, and medicines then valued over $1,000,000. Wreck discovered exactly 102 years later by teenage diver and pioneer underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence.
1882 👉🏼 1st stone laid for the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona 🇪🇸
1907 👉🏼 18.8 cm precipitation at Lewer’s Ranch, Nevada (state record) 🌧
1920 👉🏼 US Senate rejects Treaty of Versailles for 2nd time refusing to ratify League of Nations’ covenant (maintaining isolation policy)
1925 👉🏼 Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (future Pope John XXIII) becomes a bishop, appointed as Apostolic Visitor to Bulgaria 🇧🇬
1932 👉🏼 The Sydney Harbour Bridge is opened
1945 👉🏼 Adolf Hitler issues “Nero Decree” to destroy all German factories 🇩🇪
1965 👉🏼 The wreck of the SS Georgiana, valued at over $50,000,000, said to have been most powerful Confederate cruiser, discovered by then teenage diver and pioneer underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence exactly 102 years after its destruction.
2003 👉🏼 Airstrikes by an American and British-led coalition signal the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, without United Nations support and in defiance of world opinion.
On that year, over a decade of political conflict between Iraq and the United States came to a head when a multinational “coalition of the willing” controversially invaded and occupied Iraq, then ruled by the brutal dictator Saddam Hussein.
Several reasons had been put forward by the administration of George W. Bush as to why the invasion was necessary. Among the most controversial was the assertion that Saddam’s regime was building weapons of mass destruction. Other justifications included Saddam’s alleged support of al-Qaeda, which had committed the September 11 attacks two years earlier. After the invasion, no weapons of mass destruction were found, and claims of Iraqi officials working with al-Qaeda were found to be false.
This the US was joined in the invasion by the UK, Australia and Poland and the conflict was intensely controversial, especially after the assertion by President Bush shortly after the invasion that the coalition had “ended major combat operations” (the infamous Mission Accomplished speech). Iraq would descend into several years of vicious sectarian violence as various insurgent groups grew in strength.
Although the invasion and occupation was controversial, and immensely costly in terms of lives, Iraq did have a semblance of democracy restored, and the first proper general elections were held in 2005.