Mar. 20– 1800: Alessandro Volta reports his discovery of the electric battery to the Royal Society of London (and we assume they got a real “charge” out of his invention!). 1852: Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was published in two volumes by John P. Jewett & Company in Boston, MA. The novel is said to have “helped lay the groundwork for the [American] Civil War.” 2016: President Barack Obama becomes the first US president to visit Cuba since 1928.

Mar. 21- 1961: The Beatles make their debut performance at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, England. 1962: A black bear named “Yogi” was ejected from a supersonic B-58 to test the jet’s escape capsule. Ejected at 35,000 feet flying at Mach 1.3 (approximately 870 MPH), the bear landed unharmed 7 minutes, 49 seconds later. 1963: As a cost-cutting measure, the federal prison known as Alcatraz, located on an island in San Francisco Bay and previously home to some of the nation’s most notorious criminals, closes after 29 years in operation. 2014: Russia formally annexes Crimea from Ukraine.

Mar. 22- 1765: Great Britain’s Parliament passes the Stamp Act, levying the first direct tax on the American colonies. 1945: Six Middle Eastern countries (Egypt, Iraq, (Trans)Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria) sign an agreement establishing the League of Arab States (aka the Arab League). Yemen joins as well several weeks later. 1954: Northland Center, at the time the world’s largest shopping mall, opens in Southfield, MI outside of Detroit. Macy’s, the mall’s last anchor store, closed in 2015, exactly 61 years to the date of the mall’s opening.

Mar. 23- 1743: Composer George Frideric Handel’s Messiah is first performed in London. 1775: During a debate in the Virginia Legislature about joining the rebellion against British rule, Patrick Henry proclaimed his support for revolution with the famous line, “Give me liberty, or give me death.” 1857: Elisha Otis installs the first passenger elevator in a five-story building on Broadway in New York City. 1933: The German Reichstag (legislature) grants dictatorial powers to Adolf Hitler.

Mar. 24- 1837: Canada grants black citizens the right to vote. 1874: Erik Weisz, later known as Harry Houdini, is born in Budapest, Hungary. 1882: German scientist Robert Koch announces his discovery of the bacteria that caused tuberculosis, lending credence to Pasteur’s germ theory in the medical profession. 2020: Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and the International Olympic Committee announce postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo until 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mar. 25- 1934: Horton Smith defeats Craig Wood by one stroke to win the first Masters golf tournament, played in Augusta, GA. 1942: Aretha Franklin, who would become known as “The Queen of Soul,” was born in Memphis, TN.

Photo credit: Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images, via NPR

1954: RCA manufactures the first television set capable of displaying color. The screen measured 12-and-a-half inches and the cost was $1,000 (which explains why so many “old people” still remember black and white television sets!).

Mar. 26– 1845: Drs. Horace Day and William Shecut are awarded a patent for an “adhesive medicated plaster” which many years later gave rise to the better-known Band-Aid. 1874: American poet Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, CA, and would, later in life, take the road less traveled. 1953: Dr. Jonas Salk announces the first successful test of his newly discovered Polio vaccine. 1979: The Egypt-Israel peace treaty was signed in Washington, DC by Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president, and Menachem Begin, the Israeli prime minister. The framework for the treaty had been established by the Camp David Accords, signed by the two leaders the previous September.