#March 30, 1282: when Sicilian’s bells rang out for freedom

On this day, March 30, 1282 Sicilians decided that they had had enough and in a brutal uprising known as the War of the Vespers turned on their oppressors: the result was a conflict lasting 20 years and a balance of power shift that went on for 400 years. French King Charles I invaded the Italian island of Sicily in 1266 and through conquest became the King of Sicily. As a result, the French imposed a rule of iron with high taxes and the Sicilian population were constantly insulted and…

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#March 15, 1889: the power of nature blows gunboat diplomacy out of the water in Apia Harbour, Western Samoa

Gunboat diplomacy was at its height in 1889 and on this day, March 15, tension was high with an act of war seemingly imminent. Three American warships (the sloop-of-war USS Vandalia, the screw steamer USS Trenton, and the gunboat USS Nipsic) and three from Germany (the gunboats SMS Adler and SMS Eber and the corvette SMS Olga) were jostling for position in a small harbour in the South Pacific, Apia Harbour, Western Samoa, observed by yet another warship from Britain, HMS Calliope. They had been intimidating each other from 1887–1889,…

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