On This Day … 22 March


  • 238 – Gordian I and his son Gordian II are proclaimed Roman emperors.
  • 871 – Æthelred of Wessex is defeated by a Danish invasion army at the Battle of Marton.
  • 1621 – The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony sign a peace treaty with Massasoit of the Wampanoags.
  • 1622 – Jamestown massacre: Algonquians kill 347 English settlers around Jamestown, Virginia, a third of the colony’s population, during the Second Anglo-Powhatan War.
  • 1713 – The Tuscarora War comes to an end with the fall of Fort Neoheroka, effectively opening up the interior of North Carolina to European colonisation.
  • 1739 – Nader Shah occupies Delhi in India and sacks the city, stealing the jewels of the Peacock Throne.
  • 1765 – The British Parliament passes the Stamp Act that introduces a tax to be levied directly on its American colonies.
  • 1829 – In the London Protocol, the three protecting powers (United Kingdom, France and Russia) establish the borders of Greece.
  • 1849 – The Austrians defeat the Piedmontese at the Battle of Novara.
  • 1872 – Illinois (US) becomes the first state to require gender equality in employment.
  • 1873 – The Spanish National Assembly abolishes slavery in Puerto Rico.
  • 1916 – The last Emperor of China, Yuan Shikai, abdicates the throne and the Republic of China is restored.
  • 1920 – Azeri and Turkish army soldiers with participation of Kurdish gangs attacked the Armenian inhabitants of Shushi (Nagorno Karabakh).
  • 1939 – Germany takes Memel from Lithuania.
  • 1942 – World War II: In the Mediterranean Sea, the Royal Navy confronts Italy’s Regia Marina in the Second Battle of Sirte.
  • 1943 – World War II: the entire village of Khatyn (in what is the present-day Republic of Belarus) is burnt alive by Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118.
  • 1945 – The Arab League is founded when a charter is adopted in Cairo, Egypt.
  • 1960 – Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes receive the first patent for a laser.
  • 2004 – Ahmed Yassin, co-founder and leader of the Palestinian Sunni Islamist group Hamas, two bodyguards, and nine civilian bystanders are killed in the Gaza Strip when hit by Israeli Air Force Hellfire missiles.
  • 2006 – Three Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) hostages are freed by British forces in Baghdad after 118 days of captivity and the murder of their colleague from the US, Tom Fox.

People (Births)

  • 1684 – William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath, English politician, Secretary at War (d. 1764).
  • 1817 – Braxton Bragg, American general (d. 1876).
  • 1846 – James Timberlake, American lieutenant, police officer, and farmer (d. 1891).
  • 1868 – Robert Andrews Millikan, American colonel and physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1953).
  • 1896 – He Long, Chinese general and politician, 1st Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China (d. 1969).
  • 1907 – James M. Gavin, American general and diplomat, United States Ambassador to France (d. 1990).
  • 1922 – John J. Gilligan, American lieutenant and politician, 62nd Governor of Ohio (d. 2013).

People (Deaths)

  • 1421 – Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence, English soldier and politician, Lord High Steward of England (b. 1388).
  • 1820 – Stephen Decatur, American commander (b. 1779).
  • 1987 – Odysseas Angelis, Greek general and politician (b. 1912).
  • 1996 – Robert F. Overmyer, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1936).
  • 2001 – Sabiha Gökçen, Turkish soldier and pilot (b. 1913).
  • 2006 – Pierre Clostermann, French soldier, pilot, and politician (b. 1921).
  • 2014 – Thor Listau, Norwegian soldier and politician (b. 1938).

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