This Day in History, March 15, 44 BC – Julius Caesar is Assassinated
44 BC – Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated by high-ranking Roman Senators. The day is known as the “Ides of March.”
Caesar was scheduled to leave Rome to fight in a war on March 18 and had appointed loyal members of his army to rule the Empire in his absence. The Republican senators, already chafing at having to abide by Caesar’s decrees, were particularly angry about the prospect of taking orders from Caesar’s underlings. Cassius Longinus started the plot against the dictator, quickly getting his brother-in-law Marcus Brutus to join.
Caesar should have been well aware that many of the senators hated him, but he dismissed his security force not long before his assassination. Reportedly, Caesar was handed a warning note as he entered the senate meeting that day but did not read it. After he entered the hall, Caesar was surrounded by senators holding daggers. Servilius Casca struck the first blow, hitting Caesar in the neck and drawing blood. The other senators all joined in, stabbing him repeatedly about the head.
1493 – Christopher Columbus returned to Spain after his first New World voyage.
1778 – In command of two frigates, the Frenchman la Perouse sailed east from Botany Bay for the last lap of his voyage around the world.
1781 – During the American Revolution, the Battle of Guilford Courthouse took place in North Carolina. British General Cornwallis’ 1,900 soldiers defeated an American force of 4,400.
1820 –Maine was admitted as the 23rd state of the Union.
1875 – The Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, John McCloskey, was named the first American cardinal.
1892 – Jesse W. Reno patented the Reno Inclined Elevator. It was the first escalator.
1907 – In Finland, woman won their first seats in the Finnish Parliament. They took their seats on May 23.
1913 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson held the first open presidential news conference.
1935 – Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda banned four Berlin newspapers.
1937 – In Chicago, IL, the first blood bank to preserve blood for transfusion by refrigeration was established at the Cook County Hospital.
1938 – Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia.
1939 – German forces occupied Bohemia and Moravia, and part of Czechoslovakia.
1945 – Billboard magazine began listing a top albums chart. The first #1 was “The Nat King Cole Trio.”
1951 – General de Lattre demanded that Paris send him more troops for the fight in Vietnam.
1955 – The U.S. Air Force unveiled a self-guided missile.
1956 – The musical My Fair Lady opened on Broadway.
1971 – CBS television announced it was going to drop The Ed Sullivan Show, which aired from 1948 until 1971 and changed the landscape of American television. Sullivan’s stage was home to iconic performances by groundbreaking artists from rock ‘n’ roll, comedy, novelty, pop music, politics, sports, opera and more.
There were historic rock ‘n’ roll performances by The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones and The Doors; sensational Motown acts by The Jackson 5, The Supremes and The Temptations; hilarious stand-up comedy acts by Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, George Carlin and Carol Burnett; unforgettable Broadway performances by the stars of musicals like My Fair Lady and West Side Story. This list of who stepped on The Ed Sullivan Show stage goes on and on.
Sources: thisdayinhistory.com; thisdayinmusic.com; edsullivan.com; History.com