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March 20, 2013

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, March 20, the 79th day of 2013. There are 286 days left in the year. Spring arrives at 7:02 a.m. EDT.

Today’s highlight in history:

On March 20, 1933, the state of Florida electrocuted Giuseppe Zangara for the shooting death of Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak at a Miami event attended by President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, the presumed target, the previous February.

On this date:

In 1413, England’s King Henry IV died; he was succeeded by Henry V.

In 1727, physicist, mathematician and astronomer Sir Isaac Newton died in London.

In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte returned to Paris after escaping his exile on Elba, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.

In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s influential novel about slavery, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” was first published in book form after being serialized.

In 1912, a coal mine explosion in McCurtain, Okla., claimed the lives of 73 workers.

In 1952, the U.S. Senate ratified, 66-10, the Treaty of Peace with Japan.

In 1985, Libby Riddles of Teller, Alaska, became the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race.

In 1995, in Tokyo, 12 people were killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the poisonous gas sarin were leaked on five separate subway trains by Aum Shinrikyo cult members.

Ten years ago: On the first day of the Iraq War, a subdued Saddam Hussein appeared on state-run television after the initial American air strike on Baghdad, accusing the United States of a “shameful crime” and urging his people to “draw your sword” against the invaders. American combat units rumbled across the desert into Iraq from the south and U.S. and British forces bombed limited targets in Baghdad. The start of war in Iraq triggered one of the heaviest days of anti-government protesting in years, leading to thousands of arrests across the United States and prompting pro-war counter-demonstrations.

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