Today in History: March 18

1644 – The Third Anglo-Powhatan War began in the Colony of Virginia.

1673 – English lord John Berkeley sold his half of New Jersey to the Quakers.

1741 – New York governor George Clarke’s complex at Fort George was burned in an arson attack, which started the New York Conspiracy of 1741.

1766 – American Revolution: The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act.

1848 – The premiere of Fry’s Leonora in Philadelphia, the first known performance of an grand opera by an American composer.

1865 – American Civil War: The Congress of the Confederate States adjourned for the last time.

1874 – The Hawaiian Kingdom signed a treaty with the United States which granted exclusive trade rights.

1881 – Barnum & Bailey Circus, traveling as “The Greatest Show on Earth”, debuted at Madison Square Garden in New York City following the merger of two existing circus groups.

1882 – Morgan Earp was assassinated by outlaws while playing billiards in Tombstone, AZ.

1898 – Phoebe, a satellite of Saturn, became first to be discovered with photographs, taken in August 1898, by William Henry Pickering.

1902 – Italian operatic tenor Enrico Caruso became the first well-known performer to make a record.

1915 – World War I: During the Battle of Gallipoli, three battleships were sunk during a failed British and French naval attack on the Dardanelles.

1922 – In India, Mohandas Gandhi was sentenced to six years in prison for civil disobedience, of which he serves only two.

1925 – The Tri-State Tornado hit the Midwestern states of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, and killed 695 people.

1931 – The first electric shavers go on sale in the United States by the Schick company.

1937 – The New London School explosion in New London, Texas, killed 300 people, mostly children.

1940 – World War II: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass in the Alps and agreed to form an alliance against France and the United Kingdom.

1942 – The War Relocation Authority was established in the United States to take Japanese Americans into custody.

1944 – Mount Vesuvius in Italy erupted and killed 26 people.  The eruption caused thousands to flee their homes and destroyed dozens of Allied bombers.

1959 – The Hawaii Admission Act, which provided for the admission of the State of Hawaii into the Union, was signed into law.

1965 – Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, who left his spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes, became the first person to walk in space.

1967 – The Beatles’ “Penny Lane” single reached #1.

1968 – Gold standard: The U.S. Congress repealed the requirement for a gold reserve to back US currency.

1969 – The United States began secretly bombing the Sihanouk Trail in Cambodia, used by communist forces to infiltrate South Vietnam.

1990 – In the largest art theft in US history, 12 paintings, collectively worth around $500 million, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

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