#TodayInHistory – March 204 min read
March 20 – Some Important Events on this day
1345 👉🏼 Saturn, Jupiter and Mars-conjunction: thought “cause of plague epidemic” 🪐
1616 👉🏼 Walter Raleigh released from Tower of London to seek gold in Guyana.
Known for popularising tobacco in England and for his expedition to South America in search of a “City of Gold”, explorer Walter Raleigh published an exaggerated account of his experiences in a book that contributed to the legend of “El Dorado”. A favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, he was distrusted by Elizabeth’s successor, King James I who eventually had him tried for treason and beheaded.
1800 👉🏼 Alessandro Volta reports his discovery of the electric battery in a letter to Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society of London
1815 👉🏼 Napoleon enters Paris after escape from Elba, begins 100-day rule.
1852 👉🏼 Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” published in Boston 📖
1868 👉🏼 Outlaw Jesse James Gang robs a bank in Russellville, Kentucky, of $14,000.
Former confederate guerrilla during the US Civil war, he became an outlaw and bandit notorious for robbing banks and trains. Formed gangs with his brother Frank and associates and evaded capture for about 15 years. It was killed by a member of his gang in 1882 for reward money.
1900 👉🏼 US Secretary of State John Hay announces that all nations to whom he sent notes calling for an ‘open door’ policy in China have essentially accepted his stand.
1917 👉🏼 After the sinking of 3 more American merchant ships, 28th US President Woodrow Wilson meets with cabinet, who agree that war is inevitable.
1930 👉🏼 American fast food restaurant chain “KFC” (Kentucky Fried Chicken) is founded by Colonel Harland Sanders in North Corbin, Kentucky 🍗
1933 👉🏼 Dachau the first Nazi concentration camp, is completed.
1942 👉🏼 General Douglas MacArthur vows “I came through and I shall return” after escaping Japanese-occupied Philippines.
Those were the famous words announced by General Douglas MacArthur on this day, as he arrived in Australia, following an audacious escape from Japanese-occupied Philippines. Their island in the Philippines – which had been an American territory until the Japanese occupation – had been surrounded by the Japanese. MacArthur’s defense and escape captured the imagination of Americans back home and he became a symbol of resistance.
His escape from near certain capture was welcomed by most, though Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany Joseph Goebbels named him the “fleeing general” and Benito Mussolini called him a coward. Nevertheless MacArthur promised to return, and after being awarded the Medal of Honor was put in charge of all American activities in the South West Pacific.
Over the next two years, bitter fighting would allow MacArthur’s promise to come true. On October 20, 1944 MacArthur waded ashore in Leyte after his troops had invaded and secured a beachhead. He then declared triumphantly: “People of the Philippines: I have returned.”
MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park, in photo, was opened in 1977 and the statues, sculpted by Anastacio Caedo, were inaugurated in 1981.
1956 👉🏼 Tunisia gains independence from France 🇹🇳
1992 👉🏼 Panamanian General and Dictator Manuel Noriega’s wife Felicidad arrested for stealing buttons from dresses 👗
2016 👉🏼 Barack Obama becomes the first US President to visit Cuba since 1928, arriving for a 3 day tour.
For more than fifty years, the idea of a Cuban leader welcoming an American president and his family with pomp and circumstance into Havana would have been unthinkable. Cuba, after all, was the communist holdout of the Caribbean – the place where Fidel Castro had invited in Soviet missiles in 1962, causing the Cuban missile crisis and very nearly a nuclear war. Cuba has been under a US economic embargo since then.
That began to change with the administration of Barack Obama himself: in December 2014, after secret negotiations between the US and Cuba facilitated by Pope Francis, President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced a process of normalizing relations between the two countries.
Eventually, the US and Cuba reopened embassies in each other’s country, some economic restrictions were loosened, and Cuba was removed from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. The ‘Cuban thaw’ as it became known was capped off by a visit from Barack Obama and his family on March 20, 2016. He became the first US president to visit the island since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
The administration of Donald Trump has reversed some of the policies of the thaw, with the president calling it “terrible and misguided.”
2017 👉🏼 Indian rivers Yamuna and the Ganges declared “living entities” by court in the state of Uttarakhand 🇮🇳