Today in History – Thursday, March 31, 2016

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Today is Thursday, March 31, the 91st day of 2016, There are 275 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1492 – King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain issue an edict expelling Jews unwilling to convert to Christianity.

1496 – Pope Alexander VI forms Holy League with Holy Roman Empire, Spain, Venice and Milan, ostensibly to fight the Turks but aimed at expelling Charles VIII of France from Italy.

1683 – Poland forms alliance with Holy Roman Empire against the Turks.

1854 – U.S. Commodore Perry signs the treaty of Kanagawa with Japan, opening two Japanese ports to trade with outside world.

1889 – French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel unfurls the French tricolor from atop the Eiffel Tower, officially marking its completion.

1917 – United States takes possession of the Virgin Islands from Denmark.

1923 – First U.S. dance marathon, held in New York City, ends with Alma Cummings setting a world record of 27 hours on her feet.

1933 – U.S. Congress authorizes the Civilian Conservation Corps, providing vocational training and jobs for unemployed young Americans.

1936 – Britain and France pledge to support Poland if it is invaded.

1943 – The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma” opens on Broadway in New York City.

1966 – Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd’s Nationalist Party wins election in South Africa.

1968 – U.S. President Lyndon Johnson stuns Americans by announcing he will not seek re-election.

1987 – About 800 leftist guerrillas kill 43 soldiers and a U.S. military adviser in an attack on a major army base in El Salvador.

1991 – Communists win in Albania’s first multiparty elections, but the democratic opposition scores victories in all major cities.

1992 – U.N. Security Council votes to ban flights and arms sales to Libya, branding it a terrorist state for shielding six men accused of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and a French airliner over Niger.

1995 – Tejano singing star Selena, 23, is shot to death in Corpus Christi, Texas, by founder of her fan club. Yolanda Saldivar is later convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

1998 – U.N. Security Council imposes an arms embargo on Yugoslavia to press the government to grant concessions to ethnic Albanians in troubled Kosovo province.

2000 – Japan’s Mount Usu volcano erupts forcing 16,000 people to evacuate the country’s northernmost island.

2003 – About 10,000 Bosnian Muslims gather near the town of Potocari to bury the first 600 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. The bodies were among the first remains to be identified among the estimated 8,000 Muslim men and boys executed by Serb forces and hidden in 60 mass graves.

2006 – Three strong earthquakes and several aftershocks reduce villages to rubble in western Iran, killing at least 70 people and injuring about 1,200 others.

2008 – Chinese President Hu Jintao presides over the re-lighting of the Olympic torch in the host city, Beijing, signaling the start of a round-the-world torch relay that already had become a magnet for protesters.

2009 – Benjamin Netanyahu, taking office as Israel’s new leader, promises to seek “full peace” with the Arab and Muslim world, but refuses to utter the words the world was waiting to hear: “Palestinian state.”

2010 – A Chechen militant claims responsibility for the deadly attacks on the Moscow subway in an Internet message, hours after two more suicide bombers strike southern Russia in brazen defiance of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

2014 -North and South Korea fire hundreds of artillery shells into each other’s waters in a flare-up of animosity.

2015 —The Palestinians become a member of the International Criminal Court, a high stakes move aimed putting international pressure on Israel at a time when prospects for resuming peace negotiations are bleak. moov

Today’s Birthdays:

Rene Descartes, French philosopher (1596-1650); Franz Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer (1732-1809); Nicolai Gogol, Russian author (1809-1852); R.W. von Bunsen, German chemist (1811-1899); Shirley Jones, U.S. actress (1934–); Christopher Walken, U.S. actor (1943–); Ewan McGregor, British actor (1971–).

Thought for Today:

One cannot conceive anything so strange and so implausible that it has not already been said by one philosopher or another — Rene Descartes, French philosopher (1596-1650).

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