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Notable Historic Events

March 21st

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Alcatraz Prison

1871...Journalist Henry Stanley begins his search in Africa for the British explorer, Dr. David Livingstone. When he spots him he utters the oft quoted phrase "Dr. Livingstone, I presume."

1963...Alcatraz Prison closes down. Alcatraz Prison is a Federal Penitentiary of the United States. It is a maximum high-security prison located on a rocky island 1.25 miles off the coast of San Francisco, California. The prison is known as The Rock. Conditions in Alcatraz are harsh, as immortalized in movies. During the 29 years Alcatraz is a federal penitentiary there are only 14 escape attempts by 36 prisoners. None of them are deemed successful. Of the 36 escapees, 23 are recaptured, six are shot and killed, two drown and 5 go missing and it is assumed they drowned. Alcatraz is shut down because it is too expensive to operate. Americans remain fascinated by the lore, and it eventually becomes a tourist attraction.

1980...President Carter decides to boycott the Olympics because of the Soviet invasion into Afghanistan.

March 22nd

The Flying Wallendas

The Flying Wallendas

1765...The British impose the Stamp Act on the American Colonies.

1963...The Beatles first album, Please Please Me, is released in England.

1972...The Equal Rights Amendment is passed Congress and sent to the states for ratification.

1978...Karl Wallenda, of the The Flying Wallendas falls to his death walking a tightrope between buildings in Puerto Rico.

March 23rd

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry

1775...Patrick Henry gives the speech in which he declares "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death".

1983...During his State of the Union address President Reagan proposes developing strategic defense missiles to protect against nuclear attack.

1983...Barney Clark dies 112 days after receiving the world's first permanent artificial heart. Thousands of patients die each year waiting for a donor heart. Doctors want to extend lives so that hearts can be found. Doctors have been implanting mechanical pumps into hearts to prolong life, but many hearts are so damaged that the pumps are not an option. Of those who do receive the pumps, half of them go on to receive new hearts. The opportunity is given to Barney Clark to receive the world’s first permanent artificial heart, the Jarvik 7. It has recently been approved by the FDA. In the interest of advancing science Barney decides to take it. The operation on Barney Clark is done by Dr. William DeVries at the University of Utah. It is a risky procedure, and Barney himself does not expect to live more than a few days. He has a rough time of it, but surprises everyone by living for 112 days.

March 24th

Elvis Presley in the Military

Elvis Presley

1989...The Supertanker Exxon Valdez is headed from Alaska to Long Beach, California after filling up with crude oil. Entering the Prince William Sound it strikes the Bligh Reef. The resulting hole spills 10.8 million gallons of crude oil into the Sound. The oil spill will become one of the most expensive oil spills in history, at $7 billion dollars.

1958...Elvis is inducted into the Army.

March 25th

The Boston Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party

1777... The British Parliament passed the Boston Port Act, trying to recoup their losses from the Boston Tea Party.

1911...The Triangular Shirtwaist factory in New York City burns down and kills 146 workers.  This leads to better laws and regulations to protect factory workers.

1957...Europe tries to improve economic conditions by uniting in a common market. The countries in Europe want to be competitive with the trading power and resources of larger countries like the United States and the Soviet Union. They also hope their union will prevent them from fighting among themselves. Six countries meet in Rome and sign a treaty establishing the Europe Economic Community (EEC). The union becomes known as the Common Market. The original members of the Common Union are France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. England resists, but changes its mind later and seeks entry when the endeavor is successful. Over time the Common Market grows. By 2007 there will be twenty-seven countries participating in the Common Market.

March 26

Dr.Jonas Salk

1953...Doctor Jonas Salk goes on national radio in the United States to announce that he has successfully tested a new vaccine to stop the spread of polio. This is big news, as most Americans fear this crippling disease. The announcement is made on March 26, 1953. The prior year 58,000 cases of polio are reported in the United States, and 3,000 people die from the disease. The disease is called Infantile Paralysis because it affects mostly children. It does, however, affect adults. Americans know all too well. President Franklin (FDR) is infected by the disease when he is 29-years-old, and it leaves him partially paralyzed. You cannot overstate the gratitude of the public to Jonas Salk for the research he did to develop the polio vaccine. As soon as his findings are publicized his name becomes a household word.

2000...Vladimir Putin is elected President of Russia.

March 27th

Canary Airpliners Crash

Canary Airport Crash

1958...Nikita Khrushchev becomes the Soviet Premier.

1977...Two 747 Jumbo jets collide at the Canary Airport, killing 582 passengers and crew.  This is the largest loss of life in aviation history.

March 28th

Three Mile Island

Three Mile Island

1776...Juan Bautista de Anza founds San Francisco City.

1979...An incident occurs as a nuclear reactor overheats at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.   As a result of both mechanical and human error there was a partial meltdown that released a small a mount of radioactive gases. No one died or was killed in the accident but public awareness was raised as to the potential damage of nuclear power plants.

March 29th

President Herbert Hoover

1929...A phone is installed in the Oval Office for President Hoover.

1943...WWII rationing in the US begins for meat, cheese, butter and cooking oils.

1973...The last combat troops leave Vietnam.

March 30th

William Seward

William Seward

1867...U.S. Secretary of State William Seward buys Alaska from the Russians for $7 million dollars. The transaction is labeled "Seward's Folly."

1980...124 workers on an oil platform in the North Sea drown when a large wave collapses the platform.

1981...An assassination attempt is made on the life of President Reagan.

March 31st

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

1889...The Eiffel Tower opens in Paris, France.

2005...Terri Schiavo dies after much controversy on the right-to-die issue.

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