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This Day in History – 18th March

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This Day in History is DUE’s daily dose of trivia for all the history buffs out there. So sit back and take a ride to all the fascinating things that happened today!

People are trapped in history and history is trapped in people, and hence, every day has been a significant one in the foibles of History. Let’s take a tour of “This Day in History – 18th of March”.

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1662 The First People To Hop On A Bus

The first public buses began to run on this day – an idea probably 200 years ahead of its time. The service introduced in Paris, was abandoned in 1675 and public transport did not return to the streets of any major city until 1895. Finally, King Louis XIV granted the Duke a monopoly, which meant that any competitors would face having the confiscation of their horses and vehicles.

1781 Charles Messier rediscovers global cluster M92

Global cluster M92
Global cluster MP2 (Image Source: Wikipedia)

Messier 92 (also known as M92, M 92, or NGC 6341) is a globular cluster of stars in the northern constellation of Hercules. Most importantly, its discoverer was Johann Elert Bode. Charles Messier in 1781 became its rediscoverer. Above all, it is about 26,700 light-years away from the solar system.

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1818 US Congress approves 1st pensions for government service

On this day in History, the US Congress granted pensions to Revolutionary War veterans for service from which no disabilities resulted. Officers and enlisted men in need of assistance were eligible under the terms of the 1818 act if they had served in a Continental military organization or the US naval service (including the Marines) for nine months or until the end of the war. Pensions granted under this act were to continue for life.

1890 Otto von Bismarck resigns after 19 years

German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck resigns after 19 years of disagreement with German Emperor Wilhelm II. One of his targets was the Catholic Church, which he believed had too much influence, particularly in southern Germany. In 1890, Bismarck resigned after disagreeing with the new emperor, Wilhelm II.

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1891 Britain linked to the continent by Telephone

Britain linked to the continent by Telephone, an invention of Alexander Graham Bell.
Britain linked to the continent by Telephone, an invention of Alexander Graham Bell. (Image Source: History.com)

On March 18, 1891, then, the two capitals of England and France were officially linked telephonically. However, the service was not open to the public until April 1.

1902 Turkey granted a concession to Germany for the first-ever railroad

Turkey granted Germany syndicate the first concession to construct a railroad through Turkish territory to Baghdad. In short, it is called the Baghdad railway. Also known as the Berlin–Baghdad railway.

1920 Greece adopted the Gregorian calendar

Julius Caesar famously came, saw, and conquered and was a brilliant Roman general. But he wasn’t very good at sums. And the calendar that he devised in 46 BC – named the Julian calendar in his honour – was flawed, even though it was to last for 1,600 years. It was on this day in History, that Ugo Buoncompagni, an Italian better known as Pope Gregory XIII, introduced a new calendar – the Gregorian calendar – which would iron out the Julian discrepancies, eventually become widely accepted and is the calendar in use today across much of the world.

Greece adopted the Gregorian calendar, named after its creator Pope Gregory XIII.
Greece adopted the Gregorian calendar, named after its creator Pope Gregory XIII. (Image Source: Onthisday.com)

1940 Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler met at Brenner Pass 

It was on this day in history when the two great dictators of the world  – Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler and the Repubblica Italiana’s Benito Mussolini had met. The Italian dictator nodded in agreement and in due course, joined Germany’s impending war effort in the west. 

1944 Operation Margarethe carried out

Operation Margarethe
Operation Margarethe (Image Source: Wikipedia)

Operation Margarethe was the occupation of Hungary during World War II, as it was ordered by Hitler on 12 March 1944. A plan for the occupation of Romania was put on the table under the name Operation Margarethe II. However, the plan never underwent execution. 

1948 Soviet consultants left Yugoslavia in the first sign of the Tito-Stalin split

The Tito–Stalin Split, was a conflict between the leaders of SFR Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, which resulted in Yugoslavia’s expulsion from the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform) in 1948. This was the beginning of the Informbiro period that came to an end in 1955.

1953 Earthquake struck West Turkey, 250 dead

The 1953 Yenice–Gönen earthquake occurred at 21:06 local time on this day in History, in the province of Çanakkale and Balıkesir in the Marmara Region in western Turkey. It had a magnitude 7.5 on the surface wave magnitude scale and a maximum felt the intensity of IX (Violent) on the Mercalli intensity scale. It caused widespread damage, killing 1,070 and causing damage that was estimated at US$3,570,000 repair value.

1959 US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Hawaii statehood bill

A statute enacted by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower was responsible for establishing the State of Hawaii as the 50th state of the union of the States. Statehood became effective on August 21, 1959.

US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Hawaii statehood bill.
US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Hawaii statehood bill. (Image Source: Eisenhower Presidential Library)

1962 Algerian War ended after 7½ yrs 

France and the Algerian National Liberation Front (ANLF) fought the Algerian War, also known as the Algerian Revolution or the Algerian War of Independence. The culmination of the war took place on this day back in 1962.

1962 Dmitri Shostakovich becomes a member of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR

Dmitri Shostakovich becomes a member of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
Dmitri Shostakovich becomes a member of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. (Image Source: Wikipedia)

Dmitri Shostakovich was a Russian pianist and composer of the Soviet period. Nevertheless, he received accolades and state awards. Most importantly, he served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947–1962). Above all, he was the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (from 1962 until his death).

1965 USSR launches Voshkod 2

Voskhod 2 was a Soviet crewed space mission in March 1965. The Vostok-based Voskhod 3KD spacecraft with two crew members on board, Pavel Belyayev and Alexei Leonov, had an inflatable airlock. Above all, it established another milestone in space exploration when Alexei Leonov became the first person to leave the spacecraft in a specialized spacesuit to conduct a 12-minute spacewalk.

First person to walk in Space, Alexei Leonov.
First-person to walk in Space, Alexei Leonov. (Image Source: Wikipedia)

1965 First person to walk in Space

Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, leaving his spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes, becomes the first person to walk in space. 

1978 Former Pakistani premier Ali Bhutto sentenced to death

Former Pakistani premier Ali Bhutto sentenced to death
Former Pakistani premier Ali Bhutto sentenced to death. (Image Source: A clipping from the Dawn)

The 50‐year‐old former Prime Minister Ali Bhutto was responsible for the killing of Nawab Mohammad Ahmed Khan, father of one of his most strident critics. Therefore, he was given a death sentence, on this day in History. 

1989 27th space shuttle mission, STS-29 (Discovery 8), returns to Earth

Discovery landed on 18 March 1989, after orbit 80, one orbit earlier than planned, in order to avoid possible excessive wind buildup expected at the landing site. The shuttle touched down on Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, California, at 9:35 am EST. The total mission duration was 4 days, 23 hours, and 39 minutes.

1989 In Egypt, a 4,400-year-old mummy surfaces in the Pyramid of Cheops

The mummy of an aristocratic young woman, her smile frozen in a plaster death mask, has been unearthed in a shallow pit at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. ”She’s really lovely,” said Ali Hassan, director of pharaonic monuments for the Egyptian Antiquities Organization.


1995 Michael Jordan announces he is ending his 17 month NBA retirement

Michael Jordan announced, on this day in history that he’s coming back to basketball after taking 17 months off. Jordan shocked everyone around the sports when he retired in 1993 to pursue a career in baseball. His father’s murder in July 1993 fueled the change of heart in basketball. He played for the Birmingham Barons and Scottsdale Scorpions during his time for baseball but never made it to the majors. Jordan returned to the Bulls in 1995 wearing No. 45. Above all, he led them to three straight NBA titles (1996-1998).

Watch the best plays of Jordan here.

2003 British Sign Language became an official British language

On 18 March 2003, the UK Government formally recognized British Sign Language (BSL) as a language in its own right. This was a landmark in history for Deafies all over the UK.

2005 “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” premieres on the Disney Channel

The Suite Life of Zack & Cody is an American teen sitcom created by Danny Kallis and Jim Geoghan. The series aired on Disney Channel from March 18, 2005, to September 1, 2008.

2014 US closes the Syrian embassy in Washington & expels all Syrian diplomats

The Obama administration ordered Damascus to close its embassy in Washington and expel its diplomats, though it did not break diplomatic relations with President Bashar Assad’s government.

2018 Vladimir Putin elected as the Russian President for the fourth term

He has been in power for 18 years, as president and prime minister, and opponents have likened his tenure to the reign of a tsar, or emperor. 

2018 Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Data Mining Scandal

US Senator Amy Klobuchar, calls Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the Senate Judiciary in the wake of a data mining scandal with Cambridge Analytica. 

2018 Ronaldo hits 50th career hat-trick

Ronaldo hits 50th career hat-trick.
Ronaldo hits 50th career hat-trick. (Image Source: Soccer Ticket Online)

Portuguese soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo records his 50th career hat-trick in Real Madrid’s 6-3 win over Girona. 

2019 UK Speaker of the House John Bercow rules a third vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal

Mr Bercow had ruled that the PM can not bring her deal back for a third vote without “substantial” changes. The UK at that time was due to leave the EU in 10 days with or without a deal. The prime minister had hoped to have another try at getting MPs to back the withdrawal deal she has agreed with the EU this week – but Speaker Bercow effectively torpedoed that with his surprise intervention.

2020 US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to close the US-Canada border

US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agree to close the US-Canada border.
US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agree to close the US-Canada border. (Image Source: CNN.com)

The United States border with Canada was temporarily shut-down to “non-essential traffic” due to the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S.-Canada is the world’s longest border between two countries. The closing will affect tourism, but not trade, or workers involved in so-called essential work.

For further updates, follow the “This Day in History” section.

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