March 29 – On this Day in History

March 29 stands out in the annals of history as a day marked by groundbreaking events that have shaped the world in various realms including politics, science, and culture.

From medieval battles that determined the fate of nations to pivotal moments in modern history that influenced global relations and technological advancements, this date has witnessed a series of significant occurrences.

Join us on a journey through time, from the bloody fields of the Wars of the Roses to significant milestones in the quest for human rights and scientific discovery.

March 29th Events in History

1461 – The Battle of Towton, one of the largest and bloodiest engagements of the Wars of the Roses, takes place in England, leading to a decisive Yorkist victory

The Battle of Towton was fought during the Wars of the Roses, a series of civil wars between the houses of Lancaster and York for the English throne. On March 29, 1461, in a snowstorm that would only add to the day’s misery, the battle took place near the village of Towton in Yorkshire.

Also Read: March 28 – On this Day in History

It is considered one of the largest and bloodiest battles ever fought on English soil, with casualties estimated between 20,000 to 30,000 men from both sides. The victory for the Yorkist forces, led by Edward IV, was decisive.

It not only secured Edward’s claim to the throne but also led to the temporary establishment of Yorkist supremacy in England. The sheer scale of the battle and its brutality marked a turning point in the Wars of the Roses, highlighting the devastating impact of civil war on the country.

Battle of Towton

1632 – Treaty of Saint-Germain is signed, returning Quebec to French control after the English had seized it

The Treaty of Saint-Germain was signed on March 29, 1632, ending hostilities between France and England. The conflict arose as part of the broader struggle for control in North America, particularly around Quebec and other parts of Canada.

The treaty was significant because it marked the return of Quebec and its surrounding territories to French control after the English had seized it.

Also Read: March 30th Events in History

This agreement was crucial for France’s colonial ambitions in North America, ensuring that New France (as the region was known) would remain under French rule and continue to serve as a focal point for French exploration, trade, and influence in the Americas for the next century.

1638 – Swedish colonists establish the first European settlement in Delaware, naming it New Sweden

On March 29, 1638, Swedish settlers established the first European settlement in Delaware, naming it New Sweden. This was part of Sweden’s attempts to establish a foothold in the New World and partake in the lucrative trade and territorial expansion that the Americas offered. The colony of New Sweden included parts of modern-day Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

It was the first successful attempt by the Swedes to establish a colonial presence in North America. Although it was eventually captured by the Dutch in 1655 and later came under English control, New Sweden had a lasting impact on the cultural and historical landscape of the region, including the introduction of the log cabin to America.

1792 – King Gustav III of Sweden dies after being shot in the back at a midnight masquerade ball at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm 13 days earlier

King Gustav III of Sweden died on March 29, 1792, from wounds inflicted by an assassin’s bullet nearly two weeks earlier. The king was shot in the back during a masked ball at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm, an event that has since captured the imagination of historians and artists alike.

Gustav III was a controversial figure, known for his ambitious reforms and attempts to strengthen royal authority. His assassination reflected the turbulent politics of the era, including his conflicts with the Swedish nobility and his involvement in various international intrigues.

Gustav’s death led to significant political changes in Sweden and has been depicted in various cultural works, including Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Un ballo in maschera” (A Masked Ball).

1849 – The United Kingdom formally annexes the Punjab, after defeating the Sikhs in the Second Anglo-Sikh War

After defeating the Sikhs in the Second Anglo-Sikh War, the British East India Company formally annexed the Punjab region on March 29, 1849. This annexation was a significant milestone in the expansion of British rule in the Indian subcontinent. The Punjab was known for its fertile land, strategic location, and formidable Sikh warriors.

The annexation followed the Treaty of Lahore, which concluded the Second Anglo-Sikh War, marking the end of Sikh sovereignty in the region. The British administration introduced several reforms in Punjab, which became a crucial part of British India.

This event also marked the beginning of a significant phase of British influence and control over the Indian subcontinent, leading to the consolidation of British territories in India.

Robert E Lee

1865 – American Civil War: In Virginia, Confederate forces temporarily break the Union siege of Petersburg

On March 29, 1865, Confederate forces under General Robert E. Lee launched a counterattack against Union forces besieging Petersburg, Virginia. This action temporarily interrupted the Union’s tightening encirclement of Petersburg, a critical supply center for the Confederate capital of Richmond.

The siege had been ongoing since June 1864, with both sides enduring tremendous hardship and loss. The Confederate attempt to break the siege was part of Lee’s desperate efforts to prolong the Confederacy’s survival.

However, this relief was short-lived, as Union forces, under General Ulysses S. Grant, quickly regrouped and continued their offensive, eventually leading to the fall of Petersburg and Richmond in early April 1865, signaling the imminent end of the Civil War.

1871 – The Royal Albert Hall in London is opened by Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria officially opened the Royal Albert Hall in London on March 29, 1871. Named in memory of her husband, Prince Albert, who had died ten years earlier, the hall was intended to promote the Arts and Sciences, a vision strongly supported by Prince Albert.

The building is an architectural masterpiece of the Victorian era, known for its distinctive terracotta façade and ornate interior. Since its opening, the Royal Albert Hall has become one of the UK’s most treasured and distinctive buildings, hosting a range of events, including concerts, ballets, operas, and the annual summer Proms concerts, becoming a symbol of British cultural life.

1882 – The Knights of Columbus is established in New Haven, Connecticut

The Knights of Columbus was founded by Father Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut, on March 29, 1882. Initially started as a mutual benefit society to provide financial assistance to members and their families in times of need, it has grown into the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization.

Its founding principles are charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism, and it is committed to supporting not only its members but also the broader community through charitable service and financial contributions. The Knights of Columbus has played a significant role in American Catholic life and broader national and international philanthropy.

1911 – The M1911 .45 ACP pistol becomes the official U.S. Army side arm

On March 29, 1911, the M1911 .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) was adopted by the U.S. Army as its official sidearm. Designed by John Browning, the M1911 was chosen after extensive testing for its reliability, stopping power, and durability under adverse conditions.

It served as the standard-issue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces from 1911 to 1985 and continues to be used by some U.S. military units to this day. The pistol’s design has also influenced many other pistols and remains popular among civilian shooters and law enforcement officers.

1945 – World War II: The last German offensive of the war begins against the Western Allies in the Ruhr area

The last German offensive of World War II, known as Operation Spring Awakening, began against the Western Allies in the Ruhr area on March 29, 1945. This offensive was a desperate attempt by Nazi Germany to defend its remaining territory against the advancing Allied forces.

Focusing on the Ruhr, Germany’s industrial heartland, the operation aimed to split the Allied forces and buy time for Germany. However, the offensive quickly faltered in the face of overwhelming Allied superiority in numbers, equipment, and air power.

This failure marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany, with Allied forces rapidly advancing into German territory, leading to the war’s conclusion in Europe by May 1945.

1951 – Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage for passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union

On March 29, 1951, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage for their role in passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. This case became one of the most controversial episodes of the Cold War era, reflecting the intense fear of communism in the United States during the early 1950s.

The Rosenbergs were accused of providing the Soviet Union with information that significantly aided its development of nuclear weapons. Their trial and subsequent execution in 1953 sparked international debate over issues of justice, espionage, and the death penalty.

Critics argued that the evidence against Ethel was particularly weak and that the case against them was largely driven by anti-Communist hysteria.

1961 – The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, allowing residents of Washington, D.C., to vote in presidential elections

The Twenty-third Amendment was ratified on March 29, 1961, allowing residents of Washington, D.C., the right to vote in presidential elections for the first time. Prior to this amendment, citizens living in the District of Columbia were excluded from participating in national elections for the President and Vice President due to D.C.’s status as a federal district, not a state.

The amendment granted D.C. electors in the Electoral College, the body that elects the President and Vice President, in a number equal to the least populous state. This amendment marked a significant step towards addressing the lack of voting rights for residents of the nation’s capital, although it did not grant them full representation in Congress.

1971 – A jury in Los Angeles recommends the death penalty for Charles Manson and three female followers

A Los Angeles jury recommended the death penalty for Charles Manson and three of his followers on March 29, 1971, for their roles in the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders.

Manson, who led a cult-like commune known as the “Manson Family,” was found guilty of orchestrating the murders of seven people, including actress Sharon Tate, in an attempt to incite a race war he called “Helter Skelter,” named after a Beatles song.

Manson’s followers, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten, were also convicted for their direct participation in the killings. Their sentences were later commuted to life imprisonment after the California Supreme Court invalidated the state’s death penalty statutes in 1972.

1973 – The last United States troops leave South Vietnam, ending America’s direct military involvement in the Vietnam War

On March 29, 1973, the last United States combat troops left South Vietnam, ending America’s direct military involvement in the Vietnam War. This departure followed the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973, intended to establish peace in Vietnam and end the conflict.

The withdrawal marked the conclusion of one of the most contentious and divisive wars in American history, which had significant impacts on both the United States and Vietnamese societies.

Despite the withdrawal of American troops, fighting between North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese forces continued until the fall of Saigon in 1975, leading to the reunification of Vietnam under communist control.

1974 – NASA’s Mariner 10 becomes the first spacecraft to fly by Mercury

NASA’s Mariner 10 became the first spacecraft to fly by the planet Mercury on March 29, 1974. Launched on November 3, 1973, Mariner 10 was on a mission to gather information about Mercury and Venus, employing a gravitational slingshot maneuver around Venus to redirect its path toward Mercury.

During its flyby, Mariner 10 transmitted the first close-up images of Mercury’s surface back to Earth, revealing a moon-like landscape heavily cratered from impacts.

The mission provided invaluable data on Mercury’s magnetic field, atmosphere, and surface conditions. Mariner 10’s successful flyby marked a significant milestone in the exploration of the inner solar system.

1982 – The Canada Act 1982 (UK) receives the Royal Assent, setting the stage for the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution

On March 29, 1982, the Canada Act 1982 received the Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom, paving the way for the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution.

This act ended the power of the British Parliament to legislate for Canada, making the country fully sovereign. The Canada Act 1982 included the Constitution Act, 1982, which added a charter of rights and freedoms to the Canadian Constitution, providing a constitutional guarantee of certain rights and freedoms.

The act represented a significant moment in Canadian history, as it marked Canada’s full legislative independence and included important provisions for the protection of individual rights, the recognition of the multicultural heritage of Canadians, and the rights of Indigenous peoples.

1993 – Catherine Callbeck becomes the first woman premier in Canadian history when she is elected premier of Prince Edward Island

On March 29, 1993, Catherine Callbeck made history by becoming the first woman to be elected as the premier of a Canadian province, specifically Prince Edward Island (PEI). Her election represented a significant milestone for women in Canadian politics, breaking barriers and serving as an inspiration for future generations of women leaders.

Callbeck was known for her commitment to fiscal responsibility and her efforts to improve healthcare and education during her tenure. Her leadership paved the way for greater female participation in political leadership roles within Canada.

2004 – Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia join NATO as full members

On March 29, 2004, NATO underwent one of its most significant expansions, welcoming seven new members from Eastern Europe: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

This enlargement was part of the post-Cold War era’s strategic realignment, with former Warsaw Pact countries and Soviet republics seeking to integrate into Western economic and security structures.

The expansion was seen as a milestone in the process of European integration and a move to extend the security and democratic framework of NATO to more countries in Europe, further solidifying the alliance’s presence on the continent.

2010 – Two female suicide bombers hit the Moscow Metro system at the peak of the morning rush hour, killing 40

On March 29, 2010, two female suicide bombers attacked the Moscow Metro system during the morning rush hour, killing 40 people and injuring over 100 others. The bombings were carried out at the Lubyanka and Park Kultury stations, located in the heart of Moscow.

This act of terrorism was one of the deadliest attacks on the Russian capital in years and was attributed to militant groups from the North Caucasus region, highlighting the ongoing security challenges and tensions between the Russian government and various groups in the Caucasus.

2019 – The United Kingdom was originally scheduled to leave the European Union on this date, which was later delayed

The United Kingdom was originally scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019. This date was set as the deadline for Brexit following the UK’s referendum on EU membership in June 2016, where a majority voted to leave the EU.

However, due to various political and legal complexities, negotiations between the UK and EU, and internal debates within the UK Parliament, the Brexit deadline was extended.

The delay was aimed at giving more time to finalize withdrawal agreements and prepare for an orderly departure, reflecting the challenges and uncertainties associated with disentangling the UK from the EU’s political and economic structures. The eventual departure date was later revised, marking a significant moment in UK and European politics.