An Aviation Boatswain’s Mate directs an F/A-18 Hornet into position to be launched from the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman on March 20, 2003. On March 20, 2003, U.S.-led coalition forces begin military operations in Iraq. File Photo by Michael W. Pendergrass/U.S. Navy | License Photo
March 20 (UPI) — On this date in history:
In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published.
In 1854, in what is considered the founding meeting of the Republican Party, former members of the Whig Party met in Ripon, Wis., to establish a new party to oppose the spread of slavery into the western territories.
In 1963, a volcano on the East Indies island of Bali began erupting. The death toll exceeded 1,500.
In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the Alabama National Guard to provide security at a planned civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery the next day. Earlier marches turned violent and deadly, but the third march was considered more of a success both in terms of safety and in spreading the message of the right to vote for black Americans.
In 1976, San Francisco newspaper heiress and kidnapping victim Patty Hearst was convicted of bank robbery. Hearst served 22 months in prison and eventually was granted a full pardon.
File Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/UPI
In 1987, the U.S. government approved the sale of AZT, a treatment, but not a cure, for AIDS.
In 1995, 12 people were killed, and more than 5,000 made ill in a nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.
In 1996, the world learned of “mad cow” disease from a British government report questioning the safety of beef in Britain.
In 1997, the Liggett Group, fifth-largest U.S. tobacco company, agreed to admit that smoking was addictive and caused health problems and that the tobacco industry had sought for years to sell its products to children as young as 14.
In 2001, five days after explosions destroyed one of its support beams and killed 11 people, the largest oil rig in the world collapsed and sank off the coast of Brazil.
In 2003, U.S.-led coalition forces begin military operations in Iraq. The Iraq War officially ended
In 2004, after narrowly escaping assassination the day before, Chen Shui-bian was re-elected president of Taiwan with about 50 percent of the vote.
File Photo by Sinartus Sosrodjojo/UPI
In 2007, former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan was hanged in Baghdad for his part in the 1982 deaths of 148 Shiites.
In 2010, the first eruption of a volcano in southern Iceland since the 1820s forced the evacuation of 450 people, but there were no reports of injuries or major property damage.
In 2016, President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since 1928 after normalizing relations between the two countries.
In 2019, the Walt Disney Co. officially completed its $71.3 billion purchase of a large chunk of 21st Century Fox.
In 2022, Russian forces bombed an art school in Mariupol, Ukraine, where hundreds of people were taking shelter from the war.