Today in History


Today is Thursday, March 9, the 68th day of 2023. There are 297 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On March 9, 1933, Congress, called into special session by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, began its “hundred days” of enacting New Deal legislation.

On this date:

In 1796, the future emperor of the French, Napoleon Bonaparte, married Josephine de Beauharnais (boh-ahr-NAY’). (The couple later divorced.)

In 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. The Amistad, ruled 7-1 in favor of a group of illegally enslaved Africans who were captured off the U.S. coast after seizing control of a Spanish schooner, La Amistad; the justices ruled that the Africans should be set free.

In 1862, during the Civil War, the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimac) clashed for five hours to a draw at Hampton Roads, Virginia.

In 1916, more than 400 Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa (VEE’-uh) attacked Columbus, New Mexico, killing 18 Americans. During the First World War, Germany declared war on Portugal.

In 1945, during World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers began launching incendiary bomb attacks against Tokyo, resulting in an estimated 100,000 deaths.

In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, raised the standard for public officials to prove they’d been libeled in their official capacity by news organizations.

In 1976, a cable car in the Italian ski resort of Cavalese fell some 700 feet to the ground when a supporting line snapped, killing 43 people.

In 1987, Chrysler Corp. announced it had agreed to buy the financially ailing American Motors Corp.

In 1989, the Senate rejected President George H.W. Bush’s nomination of John Tower to be defense secretary by a vote of 53-47. (The next day, Bush tapped Wyoming Rep. Dick Cheney, who went on to win unanimous Senate approval.)

In 1997, rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) was killed in a still-unsolved drive-by shooting in Los Angeles; he was 24.

In 2000, John McCain suspended his presidential campaign, conceding the Republican nomination to George W. Bush. Bill Bradley ended his presidential bid, conceding the Democratic nomination to Vice President Al Gore.

In 2020, global stock markets and oil prices plunged, reflecting mounting alarm over the impact of the coronavirus. An alarmingly sharp slide at the opening bell on Wall Street triggered the first automatic halt in trading in more than two decades; the Dow industrials finished nearly 8% lower.

Ten years ago: During U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s first trip to Afghanistan as defense chief, two suicide bombings, one outside the Afghan Defense Ministry and the other near a police checkpoint in eastern Khost province, killed at least 19 people.

Five years ago: A combat veteran who’d been expelled from a treatment program at a California veterans home fatally shot three mental health workers there before taking his own life. Weeks after the shooting that left 17 people dead at a Florida high school, Gov. Rick Scott signed a school-safety bill that included new restrictions on guns, prompting a lawsuit from the National Rifle Association; the bill raised to 21 the minimum age to buy rifles and created a program enabling some teachers and other school employees to carry guns. Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceutical CEO who’d been vilified for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug, was sentenced in New York to seven years in prison for securities fraud.

One year ago: A Russian airstrike devastated a maternity hospital in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and wounded at least 17 people. Police and soldiers rushed to evacuate victims, carrying out a heavily pregnant and bleeding woman on a stretcher. A Maryland hospital said the first person to receive a heart transplant from a pig died, two months after the groundbreaking experiment. Scientists said they had found the sunken wreck of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance, more than a century after it was lost to the Antarctic ice.

Today’s birthdays: Former Sen. James L. Buckley is 100. Actor Joyce Van Patten is 89. Actor Trish Van Devere is 82. Singer-musician John Cale (The Velvet Underground) is 81. Singer Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere and the Raiders) is 81. Former ABC anchorman Charles Gibson is 80. Rock musician Robin Trower is 78. Singer Jeffrey Osborne is 75. Country musician Jimmie Fadden (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 75. Actor Jaime Lyn Bauer is 74. Magazine editor Michael Kinsley is 72. TV newscaster Faith Daniels is 66. Actor Linda Fiorentino is 65. Actor Tom Amandes is 64. Actor-director Lonny Price is 64. Country musician Rusty Hendrix (Confederate Railroad) is 63. Actor Juliette Binoche is 59. Rock musician Robert Sledge (Ben Folds Five) is 55. Rock musician Shannon Leto (30 Seconds to Mars) is 53. Rapper C-Murder (AKA C-Miller) is 52. Actor Emmanuel Lewis is 52. Actor Jean Louisa Kelly is 51. Actor Kerr Smith is 51. Actor Oscar Isaac is 44. Comedian Jordan Klepper (TV: “The Daily Show”) is 44. Rapper Chingy is 43. Actor Matthew Gray Gubler is 43. Rock musician Chad Gilbert (New Found Glory) is 42. NHL defenseman Brent Burns is 38. Actor Brittany Snow is 37. Rapper Bow Wow is 36. Rapper YG is 33. Actor Cierra Ramirez is 28. U.S. Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast Sunisa Lee is 20.

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