Today in History: March 15

Today is the Ides of March. Members of the Roman Senate assassinated Julius Caesar, the Dictator of the Roman Republic, on this date in 44 B.C.E.

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I discovered many islands inhabited by numerous people. I took possession of all of them for our most fortunate King by making public proclamation and unfurling his standard, no one making any resistance. The island called Juana, as well as the others in its neighborhood, is exceedingly fertile …
—Christopher Columbus’ Report on His First Voyage, March 15, 1493

From October 1492 to February 1493, Christopher Columbus and his expedition members explored the Caribbean, kidnapped about two dozen indigenous people as specimens, and grabbed birds, plants, and interesting rocks (gold) as other sorts of specimens. On this date in 1493, the expedition arrived back in Spain and Columbus dashed off a report in Spanish to the King and Queen of Spain, which was sent to Rome to be translated into Latin and printed. A copy from 1493 currently sits in the collection of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History (video below the fold):

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President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress on this date in 1965 to propose voting rights legislation in the wake of the previous week’s events in Selma, Alabama, which were still unfolding. He ended his speech with the phrase “We shall overcome,” the refrain of the civil rights protest song. “Their cause must be our cause, too,” Johnson said.

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The Petrobas 36, which was the largest floating oil-drilling platform on the planet, suffered two explosions on this date 15 years ago, which killed 11 crew (out of 175) and knocked the platform into a 16° list that led eventually to the entire structure to sink into the Atlantic five days later.

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Abe Saperstein, owner of the Harlem Globetrotters, died 50 years ago today. He is perhaps the shortest member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at five feet three inches.

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Harry James was born 100 years ago today. Richard Ellmann, author of the definitive biographies of W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, and Oscar Wilde, was born on this date in 1918. Bobby Bonds was born 70 years ago today.

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Jimmy Swaggart is 81. Judd Hirsch is 81 today. Phil Lesh is 76 today. “Box of Rain,” by Phil Lesh and Robert Hunter:

Mike Love is 75 today. David Cronenberg is 73. Sly Stone is 73 today. Mark J. Green is 71 today. Ry Cooder is 69 today. Stomu Yamashta is 69. Dee Snider is 61. Sananda Maitreya (Terence Trent D’Arby) is 54. Sabrina Salerno is 48. Eva Longoria is 41. is 41. Jennifer 8. Lee is 40 today.

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  1. Relax... · March 15, 2016

    The fact that Mike Love is 75 is something that only copious amounts of milk chocolate can help. I’m on it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Aldrich · March 15, 2016

      For me, too. There frequently is one celebrity birthday that I stumble on; usually it is when someone I for some reason considered a contemporary (I’m 47) hits traditional retirement age.

      Liked by 1 person

Please comment here. Thank you, Mark.

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