Historic March

by Ben Johnson

Among many other events, March saw the end of Indian Mutiny, the end of the Crimean War and the first ever Rugby international between Scotland and England (Scotland won, pictured above).

1 Mar. National Day of Wales. Feast day of St David.
2 Mar. 1969 Concorde, the Anglo-French supersonic airline, roared into the skies on its maiden flight. The aircraft will travel at twice the speed of sound.
3 Mar. 1985 Members of the Britain’s National Union of Mineworkers returned to work after voting to end their unsuccessful year-long strike.
4 Mar. 1681 King Charles II granted a Royal Charter to William Penn, a Quaker, entitling Penn to establish a colony in North America (Pennsylvania).
5 Mar. 1936 The British fighter plane Spitfire made its first test flight from Eastleigh, Southampton. Powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine the aircraft will enter service with the Royal Air Force in the next two years.
6 Mar. 1987 A British-owned cross-channel ferry the ‘Herald of Free Enterprise’ left Zeebrugge, Belgium, with its bow doors open; it capsized, killing over 180 passengers.
7 Mar. 1876 The Scottish-born inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, patented the telephone.
8 Mar. 1702 Anne became Queen of Britain after William III died in a riding accident. He was thrown from his horse after it stumbled on a molehill.
9 Mar. 1074 Pope Gregory VII excommunicated all married priests.
10 Mar. 1886 Cruft’s Dog Show was held in London for the first time – since 1859 it had been held in Newcastle. More recently the venue has changed to the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.
11 Mar. 1858 The Indian Mutiny ended after 10 months of hostilities. Indian sepoys had mutinied believing rifle cartridges had been lubricated in animal fat.
12 Mar. 1904 Britain’s first mainline electric train ran from Liverpool to Southport.
13 Mar. 1900 British forces under the command of Field Marshall Roberts take Bloemfontein in the Second Boer War.
14 Mar. 1757 British Admiral John Byng was executed by firing squad at Plymouth, for having failed to relieve Minorca from the French fleet.
15 Mar. 44 BC “Beware the Ides of March” – Julius Caesar is stabbed by Marcus Brutus.
16 Mar. 1872 The Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1–0 in the first English FA Cup Final, at Kennington Oval.
17 Mar. 1766 Parliament in London votes to repeal the controversial Stamp Act in an attempt to stifle rebellion in the American colonies – “Taxation without representation is tyranny”
18 Mar. 978 Edward, King of England is murdered at Corfe Castle. The murder is thought to have been ordered by his stepmother Aelfryth, mother of Ethelred the Unready.
19 Mar. 1834 Six farm labourers from Tolpuddle, Dorset, were sentenced to seven years’ transportation to Australia for forming a trade union.
20 Mar. 1653 Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, dissolves the Long Parliament.
21 Mar. 1556 England’s first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer is burnt at the stake as a heretic, under the Catholic Queen Mary I, also know as “Bloody Mary”.
22 Mar. 1824 The British Parliament voted to purchase 38 paintings at a cost of £57,000, to establish a national collection which is now housed in the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London.
23 Mar. 1956 Queen Elizabeth II laid the foundation stone of a new cathedral being built in Coventry. The new building is being erected next to the remains of the 14th-century cathedral destroyed by the German Luftwaffe in 1940.
24 Mar. 1603 The crowns of England and Scotland were united when King James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English throne.
25 Mar. 1306 The eighth Earl of Carrick, Robert the Bruce is crowned King of Scotland at Scone Palace near Perth.
26 Mar. 1902 British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes died in Cape Town aged 48. Rhodes who controlled 90% of the world’s diamond production, was influential in establishing the British crown in South Africa and Rhodesia.
27 Mar. 1871 Legalised warfare – England and Scotland played their first rugby football international, in Edinburgh; first blood to Scotland.
28 Mar. 1912 Both the Oxford and the Cambridge boats sank in the annual Varsity boat race.
29 Mar. 1461 Over 28,000 people are said to have been killed in the bloody Battle of Towton, N Yorkshire; the Lancastrians under Henry VI were crushed.
30 Mar. 1856 The Crimean War between Russia and Europe was brought to an end by the signing of the Treaty of Paris.
31 Mar. 1855 Charlotte Bronte, the reclusive Yorkshire novelist and author of Jane Eyre, died today.

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