March 20, 1616

After being implicated in the Main Plot, Sir Walter Raleigh, an Englishman was imprisoned in the Tower Of London for 13 years, and was released on March 20, 1616.

The Main Plot was an attempt by some to replace King James I with a cousin of his as urller of England when Queen Elizabeth died in 1603.  It was never really proven that Raleigh was a part of the plot, but he was found guilty on some hearsay evidence and King James I ordered him imprisoned for life, in place of a death sentence.. 

Raleigh was released on March 20, 1616, so he could lead an expedition to find El Dorado.  While on the expedition, he and his men had a run-in with the Spanish, who demanded that he be retaken into custody, and the pending death sentence executed.  He was put to death in 1618.

March 20, 1815

On this day, the escaped Napoleon returned to Paris at the head of an army and started what is called his Hundred Days Rule.

Napoleon, ruling from France, had managed to bring most of Europe under his contol.  But starting in 1812, after trying to invade Russia, things started to fall apart, and in April of 1814, he was forced by the generals of his armies to abdicate the throne. 

Napoleon escaped from the island on February 26, 1815, and when confronted by the army sent to capture him, managed to win them over.  He marched into Paris on march 20, 1815, and ruled until defeated again at the battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815.

He went into exile again, on the island of St Helena, and died on May 6, 1821.

Albert Einstein and the Theory Of RelativityCredit: WikipediaMarch 20, 1916

Developed by Albert Einstein, his Theory of General Relativity is published.  Developed between 1907 and 1915, this theory added to the accepted theory of Isaac Newton, which had been in use for over 200 years.  Newton’s theories were unable to explain some of the observed phenomena of the planets and their orbits, and Einstein’s new theory was able to fill in the gaps.

March 20, 1933

Convicted for killing Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, while trying to assassinate President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Giuseppe Zangara was executed in the electric chair in Florida. 

While giving a speech in Miami, Florida, Roosevelt was shot at by Zangara.  After the first shot, bystanders attempted to restrain him, but Zangara pulled the trigger four more times, hitting Cermak with one of the bullets. 

Zangara went to trial quickly, and was sentenced to 80 years for the four wild shots.  When Cermak died 19 days later on March 6, 1933, Zangara was retried for murder and sentenced to death.  Zangara spent only 10 days waiting before being the sentence was carried out and he was executed. 

USS Langley Is The First United States Navy Aircraft CarrierCredit: WikipediaMarch 20, 1922

The USS Langley, is commissioned and becomes the first United States aircraft carrier.  The Langley was built by converting a collier, a ship used to transport coal, named the USS Jupiter.  The nest two aircraft carriers built by the United States were also built using hulls previously laid for other ships, but converted to aircraft carriers.

The first aircraft carrier was the HMS Argus, launched in 1918 by Britain.  Japan was the first country to build an aircraft carrier that was designed from the beginning to be an aircraft carrier.  Named the Hosho, the ship was also commissioned in 1922.

March 20, 1985

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was won on this day by a woman, Libby Riddles.  The race has been run since 1973, and the record for the fastest finish in just under nine days for the 1,100 mile long race.

Libby Riddles ran two races before the one she run, and when she was unhappy about her finishes, she moved to Alaska to breed and train her own dogs for the race. 

Susan Butcher became the second female to win the race the following year, 1986, and she went on to win the race again in 1987, 1988, and 1990. 

March 20, 1987

The first approved treatment for HIV was approved on March 20, 1987.  AZT is a antiretroviral drug developed to combat the disease.  It does not stop the disease, but slows it down dramatically.  HIV can become resistant to the drug overtime, so other drugs are used in conjunction with AZT. 

AZT was actually developed in the early 1960s when trying to come up with a cure for cancer, and AZT proved ineffective.  When later tested against HIV, more promising results were obtained.

March 20, 1995

The Subway Sarin Incident took place in Japan on March 20, 1995.  It was the most serious attack in Japan since World War II ended.  It was an attack by domestic terrorists, a group named Aum Shinrikyo.  The group was a cult, and it was initially thought that the attack was planned as a way of bring the apocalypse closer.  When the group was put on trial for the attack, the prosecution put forth the theory that the groups wanted to overthrow the government and install their founder as leader of Japan.  The defense never put a theory out for the attack.

When the men responsible for the attack were caught and tried, all were sentenced to life imprisonment or death.

March 20, 1999

Legoland California opened in Carlsbad, California on March 20, 1999.  It was the third of the Legoland parks to be opened, and the first outside of Europe.  With the later building of a water park area, it is the only of the Legoland parks to have a water park.

Falcon I Makes It Into SpaceCredit: WikipediaMarch 20, 2007

SpaceX, a private American Space Transport company, launches it’s rocket, the Falcon 1, into space for a second time, and again fails to achieve orbit.  The first flight, almost a year earlier, was a failure when the engine failed 25 seconds after launching. 

On this day, the rocket achieved flight, but when a problem arose, called a “roll control anomaly”, the flight only managed to rise 186 miles above the earth, instead of the planned 425.  The flight was considered a partial success, as both stages of the rocket ignited as planned, and the malfunction was considered a relatively minor issue. 

The company finally got into orbit on August 3, 2008, on their fourth attempt.

March 21st - This Day In History