On This Day … 29 March


  • 845 – Paris is sacked by Viking raiders, probably under Ragnar Lodbrok, who collects a huge ransom in exchange for leaving.
  • 1430 – The Ottoman Empire under Murad II captures Thessalonica from the Republic of Venice.
  • 1461 – Battle of Towton: Edward of York defeats Queen Margaret to become King Edward IV of England, bringing a temporary stop to the Wars of the Roses.
  • 1500 – Cesare Borgia is given the title of Captain General and Gonfalonier by his father Rodrigo Borgia after returning from his conquests in the Romagna.
  • 1549 – The city of Salvador da Bahia, the first capital of Brazil, is founded.
  • 1632 – Treaty of Saint-Germain is signed returning Quebec to French control after the English had seized it in 1629.
  • 1792 – King Gustav III of Sweden dies after being shot in the back at a midnight masquerade ball at Stockholm’s Royal Opera 13 days earlier. He is succeeded by Gustav IV Adolf.
  • 1809 – King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden abdicates after a coup d’état. At the Diet of Porvoo, Finland’s four Estates pledge allegiance to Alexander I of Russia, commencing the secession of the Grand Duchy of Finland from Sweden.
  • 1831 – Great Bosnian uprising: Bosniaks rebel against Turkey.
  • 1847 – Mexican–American War: United States forces led by General Winfield Scott take Veracruz after a siege.
  • 1849 – The United Kingdom annexes the Punjab.
  • 1857 – Sepoy Mangal Pandey of the 34th Regiment, Bengal Native Infantry mutinies against the East India Company’s rule in India and inspires the protracted Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny.
  • 1865 – American Civil War: Federal forces under Major General Philip Sheridan move to flank Confederate forces under Robert E. Lee as the Appomattox Campaign begins.
  • 1867 – Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the British North America Act which establishes Canada on 01 July.
  • 1879 – Anglo-Zulu War: Battle of Kambula: British forces defeat 20,000 Zulus.
  • 1911 – The M1911 .45 ACP pistol becomes the official U.S. Army side arm.
  • 1936 – Adolf Hitler receives 99% of the votes in the 1936 German parliamentary election and referendum.
  • 1941 – World War II: British Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy forces defeat those of the Italian Regia Marina off the Peloponnesian coast of Greece in the Battle of Cape Matapan.
  • 1942 – The Bombing of Lübeck in World War II is the first major success for the RAF Bomber Command against Germany and a German city.
  • 1945 – World War II: Last day of V-1 flying bomb attacks on England.
  • 1945 – World War II: The German 4th Army is almost destroyed by the Soviet Red Army.
  • 1947 – Malagasy Uprising against French colonial rule in Madagascar.
  • 1951 – Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage.
  • 1962 – Arturo Frondizi, the president of Argentina, is overthrown in a military coup by Argentina’s armed forces, ending an 11​1⁄2 day constitutional crisis.
  • 1971 – My Lai Massacre: Lieutenant William Calley is convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison.
  • 1973 – Vietnam War: The last United States combat soldiers leave South Vietnam.
  • 1973 – Operation Barrel Roll, a covert American bombing campaign in Laos to stop communist infiltration of South Vietnam, ends.
  • 1974 – Terracotta Army was discovered in Shaanxi province, China.
  • 1982 – The Canada Act 1982 receives the Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth II, setting the stage for the Queen of Canada to proclaim the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • 1990 – The Czechoslovak parliament is unable to reach an agreement on what to call the country after the fall of Communism, sparking the so-called Hyphen War.
  • 2002 – In reaction to the Passover massacre two days prior, Israel launches Operation Defensive Shield against Palestinian militants, its largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.
  • 2004 – Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia join NATO as full members.
  • National Vietnam War Veterans Day (USA).
  • Day of the Young Combatant (Chile).

People (Births)

  • 1584 – Ferdinando Fairfax, 2nd Lord Fairfax of Cameron, English general and politician (d. 1648).
  • 1769 – Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult, French general and politician, 12th Prime Minister of France (d. 1851).
  • 1870 – Pavlos Melas, French-Greek captain (d. 1904).
  • 1899 – Lavrentiy Beria, Georgian-Russian general and politician (d. 1953).
  • 1903 – Douglas Harkness, Canadian colonel and politician, 14th Canadian Minister of National Defence (d. 1999).
  • 1912 – Hanna Reitsch, German soldier and pilot (d. 1979).
  • 1931 – Aleksei Gubarev, Russian general, pilot, and astronaut (d. 2015).
  • 1965 – William Oefelein, American commander, pilot, and astronaut.

People (Deaths)

  • 1578 – Arthur Champernowne, English admiral and politician (b. 1524).
  • 1751 – Thomas Coram, English captain and philanthropist, founded Foundling Hospital (b. 1668).
  • 1829 – Cornelio Saavedra, Argentinian general and politician (b. 1759).
  • 1912 – Henry Robertson Bowers, Scottish lieutenant and explorer (b. 1883).
  • 1912 – Robert Falcon Scott, English lieutenant and explorer (b. 1868).
  • 1982 – Nathan Farragut Twining, American general (b. 1897).
  • 2004 – Lise de Baissac, Mauritian-born SOE agent, war hero (b. 1905).

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