On This Day … 05 March


  • 363 – Roman emperor Julian leaves Antioch with an army of 90,000 to attack the Sasanian Empire, in a campaign which would bring about his own death.
  • 1279 – The Livonian Order is defeated in the Battle of Aizkraukle by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
  • 1496 – King Henry VII of England issues letters patent to John Cabot and his sons, authorising them to explore unknown lands.
  • 1770 – Boston Massacre: Five Americans, including Crispus Attucks, are fatally shot by British troops in an event that would contribute to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War five years later.
  • 1811 – Peninsular War: A French force under the command of Marshal Victor is routed while trying to prevent an Anglo-Spanish-Portuguese army from lifting the Siege of Cádiz in the Battle of Barrosa (refer to Napoleonic Wars).
  • 1824 – First Anglo-Burmese War: The British officially declare war on Burma.
  • 1825 – Roberto Cofresí, one of the last successful Caribbean pirates, is defeated in combat and captured by authorities.
  • 1836 – Samuel Colt patents the first production-model revolver, the .34-calibre.
  • 1860 – Parma, Tuscany, Modena and Romagna vote in referendums to join the Kingdom of Sardinia.
  • 1906 – Moro Rebellion: United States Army troops bring overwhelming force against the native Moros in the First Battle of Bud Dajo, leaving only six survivors.
  • 1912 – Italo-Turkish War: Italian forces are the first to use airships for military purposes, employing them for reconnaissance behind Turkish lines.
  • 1931 – The British Raj: Gandhi-Irwin Pact is signed.
  • 1933 – Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party receives 43.9% at the Reichstag elections, which allows the Nazis to later pass the Enabling Act and establish a dictatorship.
  • 1936 – First flight of K5054, the first prototype Supermarine Spitfire advanced monoplane fighter aircraft in the United Kingdom.
  • 1939 – Spanish Civil War: The National Defence Council seizes control of the republican government in a coup d’etat, with the intention of negotiating an end to the war.
  • 1940 – Six high-ranking members of the Soviet politburo, including Joseph Stalin, sign an order for the execution of 25,700 Polish intelligentsia, including 14,700 Polish POWs, in what will become known as the Katyn massacre.
  • 1942 – World War II: Japanese forces capture Batavia, capital of Dutch East Indies, which is left undefended after the withdrawal of the KNIL garrison and Australian Blackforce battalion to Buitenzorg and Bandung.
  • 1943 – First Flight of the Gloster Meteor, Britain’s first combat jet aircraft.
  • 1944 – World War II: The Red Army begins the Uman-Botoșani Offensive in the western Ukrainian SSR.
  • 1946 – Cold War: Winston Churchill coins the phrase “Iron Curtain” in his speech at Westminster College, Missouri.
  • 1953 – Joseph Stalin, the longest serving leader of the Soviet Union, dies at his Volynskoe dacha in Moscow after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage four days earlier.
  • 1965 – March Intifada: A Leftist uprising erupts in Bahrain against British colonial presence.
  • 1970 – The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons goes into effect after ratification by 43 nations.
  • 1974 – Yom Kippur War: Israeli forces withdraw from the west bank of the Suez Canal.
  • 1978 – The Landsat 3 is launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
  • 2018 – Syrian civil war: The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) pause the Deir ez-Zor campaign due to the Turkish-led invasion of Afrin.
  • Learn from Lei Feng Day (China).

People (Births)

  • 1713 – Edward Cornwallis, English general and politician, Governor of Gibraltar (d. 1776).
  • 1739 – Benjamin Ruggles Woodbridge, American colonel and physician (d. 1819).
  • 1871 – Konstantinos Pallis, Greek general and politician, Minister Governor-General of Macedonia (d. 1941).
  • 1900 – Johanna Langefeld, German guard and supervisor of three Nazi concentration camps (d. 1974).
  • 1911 – Subroto Mukerjee, Indian Air Marshal, Father of the Indian Air Force (d. 1960).
  • 1912 – Jack Marshall, New Zealand colonel, lawyer, and politician, 28th Prime Minister of New Zealand (d. 1988).
  • 1949 – Franz Josef Jung, German lawyer and politician, German Federal Minister of Defence.
  • 1959 – Vazgen Sargsyan, Armenian colonel and politician, 8th Prime Minister of Armenia (d. 1999).
  • 1960 – Paul Drayson, Baron Drayson, English businessman and politician, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology.
  • 1971 – Filip Meirhaeghe, Belgian cyclist.

People (Deaths)

  • 1239 – Hermann Balk, German knight.
  • 1539 – Nuno da Cunha, Portuguese admiral and politician, Governor of Portuguese India (b. 1487).
  • 1611 – Shimazu Yoshihisa, Japanese daimyō (b. 1533).
  • 1829 – John Adams, English sailor and mutineer (HMS Bounty) (b. 1766).
  • 1895 – Sir Henry Rawlinson, 1st Baronet, English general and scholar (b. 1810).
  • 1950 – Roman Shukhevych, Ukrainian general and politician (b. 1907).
  • 1965 – Chen Cheng, Chinese general and politician, 27th Premier of the Republic of China (b. 1897).
  • 1967 – Georges Vanier, Canadian general and politician, 19th Governor General of Canada (b. 1888).
  • 1974 – John Samuel Bourque, Canadian colonel and politician (b. 1894).
  • 2012 – William O. Wooldridge, American sergeant (First Sergeant Major of the Army) (b. 1922).
  • 2013 – Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan colonel and politician, President of Venezuela (b. 1954).
  • 2014 – Ola L. Mize, American colonel, Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1931).

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