Behind History For March 4
1908 – The Collinwood school fire, Collinwood near Cleveland, Ohio, kills 174 people.
1909 – U.S. President William Taft used what became known as a Saxbe fix, a mechanism to avoid the restriction of the U.S. Constitution’s Ineligibility Clause, to appoint Philander C. Knox as U.S. Secretary of State.
1913 – First Balkan War: The Greek army engages the Turks at Bizani, resulting in victory two days later.
1913 – The United States Department of Labor is formed.
1917 – Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first female member of the United States House of Representatives.
1933 – Frances Perkins becomes United States Secretary of Labor, the first female member of the United States Cabinet.
1933 – The Parliament of Austria is suspended because of a quibble over procedure – Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss initiates an authoritarian rule by decree.
1941 – World War II: The United Kingdom launches Operation Claymore on the Lofoten Islands; the first large scale British Commando raid.
1943 – World War II: The Battle of the Bismarck Sea in the south-west Pacific comes to an end.
1943 – World War II: The Battle of Fardykambos, one of the first major battles between the Greek Resistance and the occupying Royal Italian Army, begins. It ends on 6 March with the surrender of an entire Italian battalion and the liberation of the town of Grevena.
1944 – World War II: After the success of Big Week, the USAAF begins a daylight bombing campaign of Berlin.
1957 – The S&P 500 stock market index is introduced, replacing the S&P 90.
1960 – The French freighter La Coubre explodes in Havana, Cuba, killing 100.
1962 – A Caledonian Airways Douglas DC-7 crashes shortly after takeoff from Cameroon, killing 111 – the worst crash of a DC-7.
1966 – A Canadian Pacific Air Lines DC-8-43 explodes on landing at Tokyo International Airport, killing 64 people.
1966 – In an interview in the London Evening Standard, The Beatles’ John Lennon declares that the band is “more popular than Jesus now”.
1970 – French submarine Eurydice explodes underwater, resulting in the loss of the entire 57-man crew.
1974 – People magazine is published for the first time in the United States as People Weekly.
1976 – The Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention is formally dissolved in Northern Ireland resulting in direct rule of Northern Ireland from London by the British parliament.
1977 – The 1977 Vrancea earthquake in eastern and southern Europe kills more than 1,500, mostly in Bucharest, Romania.
1980 – Nationalist leader Robert Mugabe wins a sweeping election victory to become Zimbabwe’s first black prime minister.
1985 – The Food and Drug Administration approves a blood test for AIDS infection, used since then for screening all blood donations in the United States.
1986 – The Soviet Vega 1 begins returning images of Halley’s Comet and the first images of its nucleus.
1990 – American basketball player Hank Gathers dies after collapsing during the semifinals of a West Coast Conference Tournament game.
1996 – A derailed train in Weyauwega, Wisconsin (USA) causes the emergency evacuation of 2,300 people for 16 days.
1998 – Gay rights: Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc.: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that federal laws banning on-the-job sexual harassment also apply when both parties are the same sex.
2001 – BBC bombing: A massive car bomb explodes in front of the BBC Television Centre in London, seriously injuring one person; the attack was attributed to the Real IRA.
2002 – Afghanistan: Seven American Special Operations Forces soldiers and 200 Al-Qaeda Fighters are killed as American forces attempt to infiltrate the Shah-i-Kot Valley on a low-flying helicopter reconnaissance mission.
2009 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the ICC since its establishment in 2002.
2012 – A series of explosions is reported at a munitions dump in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo, killing at least 250 people.
2015 – At least 34 miners die in a suspected gas explosion at the Zasyadko coal mine in the rebel-held Donetsk region of Ukraine.
2018 – Former MI6 spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter are poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury, England, causing a diplomatic uproar that results in mass-expulsions of diplomats from all countries involved.
2019 – Canadian minister Jane Philpott resigns in protest at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s and the governement’s handling of scandal involving bribes from engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.