Today in History

Today is Sunday, March 22, the 81st day of 2015. There are 284 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 22, 1765, the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act to raise money from the American colonies, which fiercely resisted the tax. (The Stamp Act was repealed a year later.)

On this date:

In 1312, Pope Clement V issued a papal bull ordering dissolution of the Order of the Knights Templar.

In 1638, religious dissident Anne Hutchinson was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for defying Puritan orthodoxy.

In 1820, U.S. naval hero Stephen Decatur was killed in a duel with Commodore James Barron near Washington, D.C.

In 1894, hockey’s first Stanley Cup championship game was played; home team Montreal defeated Ottawa, 3-1.

In 1933, during Prohibition, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure to make wine and beer containing up to 3.2 percent alcohol legal.

In 1934, the first Masters Tournament opened under the title “Augusta National Invitation Tournament,” which was won three days later by Horton Smith.

In 1945, the Arab League was formed with the adoption of a charter in Cairo, Egypt.

In 1958, movie producer Mike Todd, the husband of actress Elizabeth Taylor, and three other people were killed in the crash of Todd’s private plane near Grants, New Mexico.

In 1963, The Beatles’ debut album, “Please Please Me,” was released in the United Kingdom by Parlophone.

In 1978, Karl Wallenda, the 73-year-old patriarch of “The Flying Wallendas” high-wire act, fell to his death while attempting to walk a cable strung between two hotel towers in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In 1990, a jury in Anchorage, Alaska, found former tanker captain Joseph Hazelwood not guilty of three major charges in connection with the Exxon Valdez oil spill, but convicted him of a minor charge of negligent discharge of oil.

In 1995, convicted Long Island Rail Road gunman Colin Ferguson was sentenced to life in prison for killing six people.

Ten years ago: Terri Schiavo’s parents begged a federal appeals court to order the severely brain-damaged woman’s feeding tube reinserted after their emergency request was turned down by a federal judge in Tampa, Florida. (The court refused to intervene.) A woman claimed to have found a severed human fingertip while eating Wendy’s chili at a restaurant in San Jose, California, costing the fast-food chain millions in lost sales before she admitted it was a hoax (the digit came from her husband’s co-worker, who’d been in a workplace accident). Anna Ayala and her husband, Jaime Plascencia, later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file a false insurance claim and attempted grand theft and were sentenced to prison.

Five years ago: Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton toured the quake-devastated capital of Haiti, a visit intended to remind donors of the immense needs facing the recovery effort. Google Inc. stopped censoring the Internet for China by shifting its search engine off the mainland to Hong Kong.

One year ago: A massive mudslide in Oso, Washington, killed 43 people and destroyed or damaged four dozen homes. A barge and cargo ship collision in the Houston Ship Channel dumped nearly 170,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil. Pope Francis named the first members of a commission to advise him on sex abuse policy. The Los Angeles Dodgers opened the Major League Baseball season with a 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Sydney Cricket Ground in the MLB’s first regular-season game in Australia.

Today’s Birthdays: Composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim is 85. Evangelist broadcaster Pat Robertson is 85. Actor William Shatner is 84. Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is 81. Actor M. Emmet Walsh is 80. Actor-singer Jeremy Clyde is 74. Singer-guitarist George Benson is 72. Writer James Patterson is 68. CNN newscaster Wolf Blitzer is 67. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is 67. Actress Fanny Ardant is 66. Sportscaster Bob Costas is 63. Country singer James House is 60. Actress Lena Olin is 60. Singer-actress Stephanie Mills is 58. Actor Matthew Modine is 56. Country musician Tim Beeler is 47. Olympic silver medal figure skater Elvis Stokjo is 43. Actor Guillermo Diaz is 40. Actress Anne Dudek is 40. Actor Cole Hauser is 40. Actress Kellie Williams is 39. Actress Reese Witherspoon is 39. Rock musician John Otto (Limp Bizkit) is 38. Rapper Mims is 34. Actor James Wolk is 30. Rock musician Lincoln Parish (Cage the Elephant) is 25.

Thought for Today: “Better to be alone than with a bad companion.” – Spanish expression.

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