Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 31, 1991, the Warsaw Pact military alliance came to an end.
On this date:
In 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain issued an edict expelling Jews from Spanish soil, except those willing to convert to Christianity.
In 1814, Paris was occupied by a coalition of Russian, Prussian and Austrian forces; the surrender of the French capital forced the abdication of Emperor Napoleon.
In 1917, the United States took formal possession of the Virgin Islands from Denmark.
In 1931, Notre Dame college football coach Knute Rockne (noot RAHK’-nee), 43, was killed in the crash of a TWA plane in Bazaar, Kansas.
In 1968, at the conclusion of a nationally broadcast address on Vietnam, President Lyndon B. Johnson stunned listeners by declaring, “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.”
In 1985, the very 1st WrestleMania was held at Madison Square Garden. Main Event featured Hulk Hogan & Mr. T taking on Rowdy Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff.
In 1993, actor Brandon Lee, 28, was accidentally shot to death during the filming of a movie in Wilmington, North Carolina, when he was hit by a bullet fragment that had become lodged inside a prop gun.
In 1995, baseball players agreed to end their 232-day strike after a judge granted a preliminary injunction against club owners.
In 2004, four American civilian contractors were killed in Fallujah, Iraq; frenzied crowds dragged the burned, mutilated bodies and strung two of them from a bridge.
In 2005, Terri Schiavo (SHY’-voh), 41, died at a hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed in a wrenching right-to-die court fight.
In 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu took office as Israel’s new prime minister after the Knesset approved his government.
In 2019, rapper Nipsey Hussle was fatally shot outside the clothing store he had founded to help rebuild his troubled South Los Angeles neighborhood; he was 33.
In 2020, Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan officially stepped down from duties as members of the royal family.
Ten years ago: Hundreds of world landmarks from Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate to the Great Wall of China went dark as part of Earth Hour, a global effort to highlight climate change. Brittney Griner was named The Associated Press’ women’s college basketball Player of the Year, the first Baylor player to win the award.
Five years ago: President Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders focused on reducing the U.S. trade deficit; the first order gave the Commerce Department 90 days to assemble a report on the factors behind the trade deficit, while the second sought to increase collection of duties on imports.
One year ago: President Joe Biden outlined a huge $2.3 trillion plan to reengineer the nation’s infrastructure. (Biden would sign a $1 trillion infrastructure measure into law in November 2021.) The Pentagon swept away Trump-era policies that largely banned transgender people from serving in the military. Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine was safe and strongly protective in kids as young as 12. The government reported that the COVID-19 pandemic pushed total U.S. deaths in 2020 beyond 3.3 million, the nation’s highest annual death toll; the coronavirus was listed as the third leading cause of death in 2020, after heart disease and cancer. The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate. A man went on a shooting rampage at a Southern California office building, leaving four people dead, including a 9-year-old boy whose mother was critically wounded. (The suspect, Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, was found incompetent to stand trial because of injuries he suffered in a shootout with police.)
Today’s Birthdays: Actor William Daniels is 95. Actor Richard Chamberlain is 88. Actor Shirley Jones is 88.
Musician Herb Alpert is 87. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is 82. Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is 82. Actor Christopher Walken is 79. Comedian Gabe Kaplan is 78. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, is 78. Rock musician Mick Ralphs (Bad Company; Mott the Hoople) is 78. Former Vice President Al Gore is 75. Author David Eisenhower is 74. Actor Rhea Perlman is 74. Actor Robbie Coltrane is 72. Actor Ed Marinaro is 72. Rock musician Angus Young (AC/DC) is 67. Actor Marc McClure is 65. Actor William McNamara is 57. Alt-country musician Bob Crawford (The Avett (AY’-veht) Brothers) is 51. Actor Ewan (YOO’-en) McGregor is 51. Actor Erica Tazel is 47. Actor Judi Shekoni is 44. Rapper Tony Yayo is 44. Actor Kate Micucci is 42. Actor Brian Tyree Henry (TV: “Atlanta” Stage: “Book of Mormon”) is 40. Actor Melissa Ordway is 39. Jazz musician Christian Scott is 39. Pop musician Jack Antonoff (fun.) is 38. Actor Jessica Szohr is 37.