Oh, the Ides of March
It’s March Break, and practically everyone is on holiday of some sort, including those of us who are still in town but have mentally shut down. We don’t feel like going on about Doug Ford (we’ll leave that for Roger Varley’s column) so we thought we’d avail you, dear reader, of a little trivia to match the day. Enjoy the rest of whatever kind of break you may have!
This day in history – March 15, also known as the Ides of March.
- The assassination of Julius Caesar occurred 44 B.C. Conspirators, led by Marcus Junius Brutus, stabbed dictator-for-life Julius Caesar 23 times before the Roman senate. Caesar was 55.
- There was a raid on Southern England in 1360. A French raiding party began a 48-hour spree of rape, pillage and murder in southern England. King Edward III interrupted his own pillaging spree in France to launch reprisals when he discovered that the French be just as horrid in his realm as he was in France.
- A Samoan Cyclone struck in 1889. A cyclone wrecked six warships – three U.S., three German – in the harbor at Apia, Samoa, leaving more than 200 sailors dead. Although a tragedy in itself, the ships represented each nation’s show of force in a competition to see who would annex the Samoan islands; the disaster averted a likely war.
- Czar Nicholas II abdicated the Russian throne in 1917. Czar Nicholas II of Russia signed his abdication papers, ending a 304-year old royal dynasty and ushering in Bolshevik rule. He and his family were taken captive and, in July 1918, executed before a firing squad.
- Germany moved in to occupy Czechoslovakia in 1939. Just six months after Czechoslovak leaders ceded the Sudetenland, Nazi troops seized the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, effectively wiping Czechoslovakia off the map.
- There was a deadly blizzard on the Great Plains in 1941. A Saturday-night blizzard struck the northern Great Plains, leaving at least 60 people dead in North Dakota and Minnesota and six more in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
- A world record for a rainfall was set in 1952. Rain fell on the Indian Ocean island of La Réunion – and kept falling, hard enough to register the world’s most voluminous 24-hour rainfall: 73.62 inches.
- CBS cancelled the “Ed Sullivan Show” in 1971. Word leaked that CBS-TV was canceling “The Ed Sullivan Show” after 23 years on the network, which also dumped Red Skelton and Jackie Gleason in the preceding month. A generation mourned.
- First reference to a disappearing ozone layer in 1988. NASA reported that the ozone layer over the northern hemisphere was being depleted three times faster than predicted.
- A new global health scare erupted in 2003. After accumulating reports of a mysterious respiratory disease afflicting patients and healthcare workers in China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada, the World Health Organization issued a heightened global health alert. The disease – SARS (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
Beware the Ides of March, indeed.
Thanks to smithsonianmag.com/history/top-ten-reasons-to-beware-the-ides-of-march-8664107/#b0OpT51SFbqCsyI3.99 for this entertaining list.