On This Day … 15 March


  • 474 BC – Roman consul Gnaeus Manlius Vulso celebrates an ovation for concluding the war against Veii and securing a forty years’ truce.
  • 44 BC – Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger and his fellow conspirators, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus, and several other Roman senators, march to the Capitol following the assassination of Julius Caesar, but there is no response to their appeals to the population, who have left the streets in fear. Caesar’s body remains in its place.
  • 351 – Constantius II elevates his cousin Gallus to Caesar, and puts him in charge of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire.
  • 493 – Odoacer, the first barbarian King of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, is slain by Theoderic the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, while the two kings were feasting together.
  • 856 – Michael III, emperor of the Byzantine Empire, overthrows the regency of his mother, empress Theodora (wife of Theophilos) with support of the Byzantine nobility.
  • 933 – After a ten-year truce, German King Henry the Fowler defeats a Hungarian army at the Battle of Riade near the Unstrut river.
  • 1147 – Conquest of Santarém: The forces of Afonso I of Portugal capture Santarém.
  • 1311 – Battle of Halmyros: The Catalan Company defeats Walter V, Count of Brienne to take control of the Duchy of Athens, a Crusader state in Greece.
  • 1493 – Christopher Columbus returns to Spain after his first trip to the Americas.
  • 1781 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Guilford Court House: Near present-day Greensboro, North Carolina, 1,900 British troops under General Charles Cornwallis defeat a mixed American force numbering 4,400 in a Pyrrhic victory.
  • 1783 – In an emotional speech in Newburgh, New York, George Washington asks his officers not to support the Newburgh Conspiracy. The plea is successful and the threatened coup d’état never takes place.
  • 1848 – A revolution breaks out in Hungary. The Habsburg rulers are compelled to meet the demands of the Reform party.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: The Red River Campaign: US Navy fleet arrives at Alexandria, Louisiana.
  • 1874 – France and Vietnam sign the Second Treaty of Saigon, further recognising the full sovereignty of France over Cochinchina.
  • 1888 – Start of the Anglo-Tibetan War of 1888.
  • 1916 – United States President Woodrow Wilson sends 4,800 United States troops over the US–Mexico border to pursue Pancho Villa.
  • 1917 – Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates the Russian throne ending the 304-year Romanov dynasty.
  • 1922 – After Egypt gains nominal independence from the United Kingdom, Fuad I becomes King of Egypt.
  • 1933 – Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss keeps members of the National Council from convening, starting the Austrofascist dictatorship.
  • 1939 – Germany occupies Czechoslovakia.
  • 1939 – Carpatho-Ukraine declares itself an independent republic, but is annexed by Hungary the next day.
  • 1943 – World War II: Third Battle of Kharkov: The Germans retake the city of Kharkov from the Soviet armies in bitter street fighting.
  • 1945 – World War II: Soviet forces begin an offensive to push Germans from Upper Silesia.
  • 1961 – At the 1961 Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference, South Africa announces that it will withdraw from the Commonwealth when the South African Constitution of 1961 comes into effect.
  • 1978 – Somalia and Ethiopia signed a truce to end the Ethio-Somali War.
  • 1990 – Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as the first President of the Soviet Union.
  • 1991 – Cold War: The Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany comes into effect, granting full sovereignty to the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • 2008 – Stockpiles of obsolete ammunition explode at an ex-military ammunition depot in the village of Gërdec, Albania, killing 26 people. To date, no other tragedy has caused more deaths in post-World War II Albania.
  • 2011 – Beginning of the Syrian Civil War.

People (Births)

  • 1493 – Anne de Montmorency, French captain and diplomat (d. 1567).
  • 1767 – Andrew Jackson, American general, judge, and politician, 7th President of the United States (d. 1845).
  • 1818 – Mariano Álvarez, Filipino general and politician (d. 1924).
  • 1874 – Eugène Fiset, Canadian physician, general, and politician, 18th Lieutenant Governor of Quebec (d. 1951).
  • 1878 – Reza Shah, Iranian king (d. 1944).
  • 1892 – James Basevi Ord, Mexican-American colonel (d. 1938).
  • 1916 – Frank Coghlan, Jr., American actor and pilot (d. 2009).
  • 1916 – Fadil Hoxha, Kosovar commander and politician, 2nd President of Kosovo (d. 2001).
  • 1932 – Alan Bean, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (d. 2018).

People (Deaths)

  • 44 BC – Julius Caesar, Roman general and statesman (b. 100 BC).
  • 220 – Cao Cao, Chinese general, warlord and statesman (b. 155).
  • 493 – Odoacer, first king of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire (b. 433).
  • 1933 – Gustavo Jiménez, Peruvian colonel and politician, 73rd President of Peru (b. 1886).
  • 1939 – Luis Barceló, Spanish colonel (b. 1896).
  • 1944 – Otto von Below, Prussian general (b. 1857).
  • 1988 – Dmitri Polyakov, Ukrainian general and spy (b. 1926).
  • 1999 – Guy D’Artois, Canadian soldier (b. 1917).
  • 2006 – Georgios Rallis, Greek lieutenant and politician, 173rd Prime Minister of Greece (b. 1918).
  • 2014 – Bo Callaway, American soldier and politician, 11th United States Secretary of the Army (b. 1927).

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