On This Day … 23 March


  • 1568 – The Peace of Longjumeau is signed, ending the second phase of the French Wars of Religion.
  • 1708 – James Francis Edward Stuart lands at the Firth of Forth as part of the planned French invasion of Britain.
  • 1775 – American Revolutionary War: Patrick Henry delivers his speech – “Give me liberty, or give me death!” – at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia.
  • 1801 – Tsar Paul I of Russia is struck with a sword, then strangled, and finally trampled to death inside his bedroom at St. Michael’s Castle.
  • 1806 – After traveling through the Louisiana Purchase and reaching the Pacific Ocean, explorers Lewis and Clark and their “Corps of Discovery” begin their arduous journey home.
  • 1821 – Greek War of Independence: Battle and fall of city of Kalamata.
  • 1848 – The ship John Wickliffe arrives at Port Chalmers carrying the first Scottish settlers for Dunedin, New Zealand. Otago province is founded.
  • 1862 – American Civil War – The First Battle of Kernstown, Virginia, marks the start of Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign. Although a Confederate defeat, the engagement distracts Federal efforts to capture Richmond.
  • 1879 – War of the Pacific: The Battle of Topáter, the first battle of the war is fought between Chile and the joint forces of Bolivia and Peru.
  • 1885 – Sino-French War: Chinese victory in the Battle of Phu Lam Tao near Hưng Hóa, northern Vietnam.
  • 1901 – Emilio Aguinaldo, only President of the First Philippine Republic, was captured at Palanan, Isabela by the forces of General Frederick Funston.
  • 1905 – Eleftherios Venizelos calls for Crete’s union with Greece, and begins what is to be known as the Theriso revolt.
  • 1918 – First World War: On the third day of the German Spring Offensive, the 10th Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment is annihilated with many of the men becoming prisoners of war.
  • 1919 – In Milan, Italy, Benito Mussolini founds his Fascist political movement.
  • 1931 – Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar are hanged for the killing of a deputy superintendent of police during the Indian struggle for independence.
  • 1933 – The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act of 1933, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.
  • 1935 – Signing of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.
  • 1939 – The Hungarian air force attacks the headquarters of the Slovak air force in Spišská Nová Ves, killing 13 people and beginning the Slovak–Hungarian War.
  • 1978 – The first UNIFIL troops arrived in Lebanon for peacekeeping mission along the Blue Line.
  • 1980 – Archbishop Óscar Romero of El Salvador gives his famous speech appealing to men of the El Salvadoran armed forces to stop killing the Salvadorans.
  • 1982 – Guatemala’s government, headed by Fernando Romeo Lucas García is overthrown in a military coup by right-wing General Efraín Ríos Montt.
  • 1983 – Strategic Defense Initiative: President Ronald Reagan makes his initial proposal to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles.
  • 1991 – The Revolutionary United Front, with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia, invades Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow Joseph Saidu Momoh, sparking the 11-year Sierra Leone Civil War.
  • 1994 – A United States Air Force (USAF) F-16 aircraft collides with a USAF C-130 at Pope Air Force Base and then crashes, killing 24 United States Army soldiers on the ground. This later became known as the Green Ramp disaster.
  • 2003 – Battle of Nasiriyah, first major conflict during the invasion of Iraq.
  • 2019 – The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces declared military victory over the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant after four years of fighting, although the group maintains a scattered presence and sleeper cells across Syria and Iraq.

People (Births)

  • 1769 – Augustin Daniel Belliard, French general and diplomat (d. 1832).
  • 1869 – Emilio Aguinaldo, Filipino general and politician, 1st President of the Philippines (d. 1964).
  • 1885 – Roque González Garza, Mexican general and acting president (1915) (d. 1962).
  • 1915 – Vasily Zaytsev, Russian captain (d. 1991).
  • 1918 – Stanley Armour Dunham, American sergeant (d. 1992).
  • 1923 – Angelo Ingrassia, American soldier and judge (d. 2013).
  • 1956 – Andrew Mitchell, English soldier and politician, Secretary of State for International Development.

People (Deaths)

  • 1548 – Itagaki Nobukata, Japanese samurai (b. 1489).
  • 1747 – Claude Alexandre de Bonneval, French general (b. 1675).
  • 1991 – Parkash Singh, Indian soldier, Victoria Cross recipient (b. 1913).
  • 2004 – Rupert Hamer, Australian soldier, lawyer, and politician, 39th Premier of Victoria (b. 1916).
  • 2006 – David B. Bleak, American sergeant, Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1932).
  • 2006 – Desmond Doss, American soldier, Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1919).

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