It happened today – this day in history – March 17

45BC: In his last victory, Julius Ceasar defeats the Pompeian forces of Titus Labienus and Pompey the Younger in the Battle of Munda.

180AD: Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius dies leaving his son, Comomodus, aged 18 as emperor.

1337: Edward The Black Prince is made Duke of Cornwall, the first Duchy made in England.

1521: Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reaches The Philippines.

1755: The Transylvania Land Company buys Kentucky for $50,000 from a Cherokee chief.

1776: British forces evacuate Boston to Nova Scotia during Revolutionary War.

1829: The final performance by clown Joseph Grimaldi at a benefit performance at Sadler’s Wells.

1845: The rubber band is patented by Stephen Perry of London.

1861: Italy is unified into a single kingdom under Victor Emmanuel II following the campaigns led by Guiseppe Garibaldi.

1884: John Joseph Montgomery makes the first glider flight at Otay, California.

1897: British boxer Bob Fitzsimmons KO’s American champion Jim Corbett in the 14th round to win World Heavyweight title in Carson City, Nevada.

1898: John Philip Holland achieves a successful test run for the first modern submarine off Staten Island, submerging for 1 hour 40 minutes.

1900: In South Africa, British troops relieve Mafeking, besieged by the Boers since 13th October.

1901: At a show in Paris, 71 paintings by Vincent van Gogh cause a sensation 11 years after his death.

1905: Albert Einstein finishes his scientific paper detailing his Quantum Theory of Light, one of the foundations of modern physics. On the same day, Eleanor Roosevelt marries her fifth cousin, once removed, Franklin D Roosevelt. The bride is given away by her uncle, President Theodore Roosevelt.

1921: Dr Marie Stopes opens Britain’s first birth control clinic in London.

1926: Spain and Brazil prevent Germany joining the League of Nations.

1934: England beats Scotland, 6-3 at Twickenham, London to win the Home Nations Rugby Championship and Triple Crown.

1938: The Italian Air Force, in support of Franco, bombs Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War.

1944: Mount Vesuvius in Italy erupts, destroying several towns nearby.

1957: BEA withdraws 25 Viscount 701s in the wake of a fatal air crash in Manchester. On the same day, Elvis Presley buys Graceland mansion in Memphis for $102,500.

1957: Filipino President Ramon Magsaysay dies in a plane crash.

1960: US President Dwight D Eisenhower forms anti-Castro-exile army under the CIA.

Singles chart:

  1. Running Bear – Johnny Preston
  2. Why – Anthony Newley
  3. Delaware – Perry Como
  4. Be Mine – Lance Fortune
  5. Poor Me – Adam Faith
  6. Voice In The Wilderness – Cliff Richard and The Shadows
  7. Theme From A Summer Place – Percy Faith
  8. Pretty Blue Eyes – Craig Douglas
  9. Summer Set – Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazzmen
  10. You Got What It Takes – Marv Johnson

1961: South Africa leaves the commonwealth.


1966: A US submarine locates a missing hydrogen bomb on the Mediterranean sea floor.

1967: Working at EMI Studios in Abbey Road, The Beatles finish the recording the song She’s Leaving Home, adding backing vocals to the track.

1968: More than 200 people are arrested after thousands clash in an anti-Vietnam war protest outside the US embassy in London.

1973: The Queen opens the new London Bridge.

1976: Four Catholic civilians (including two children) are killed and 12 wounded when the UVF explode a car bomb at Hillcrest Bar, Dungannon.

1977: Australia wins cricket Centenary Test by 45 runs, same result as 1877.

1978: Thousands of Palestinian civilians flee southern Lebanon during a third day of Israeli attacks. On the same day, U2 win £500 and a chance to audition for CBS Ireland in a talent contest held in Dublin.

1984: The Boat Race is postponed less than an hour before it is due to start after the Cambridge vessel collides with a barge and sinks. On the same day, Scotland beats France, 21-12 at Murrayfield to win the Five Nations Rugby Championship outright and Triple Crown for first time since 1938; Grand Slam first time since 1925.

1987: Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar ends his Test career with an innings of 96 v Pakistan.

1993: 86 people are killed in a bomb attack in Calcutta.

1995: Gangland killer Ronnie Kray dies in hospital two days after collapsing in Broadmoor. On the same day, Sinn-Fein leader Gerry Adams visits the White House.

1997: R&B singer Jermaine Stewart dies of AIDS-related liver cancer at age 39.

1999: Comedian Rod Hull dies after falling off the roof of his house while positioning a TV aerial.

2003: Cabinet minister Robin Cook, resigns over government plans for the war with Iraq.

2004: Singer-songwriter Ray Davies receives the CBE for services to the music industry from The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

2008: Paul McCartney divorces Heather Mills on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.

2010: Singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer, Alex Chilton, of The Box Tops and Big Star dies in hospital of heart problems aged 59.

2012: Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffers a near fatal heart attack during the FA Cup sixth round tie with Spurs. The match is abandoned. On the same day, Wales beat France, 16-9 at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff to wrap up the Grand Slam and win the Six Nations Rugby Championship.

2013: Mumford & Sons – Babel

2013: Album chart:

  1. The Next Day – David Bowie
  2. What About Now – Bon Jovi
  3. Our Version Of Events – Emeli Sande
  4. Bad Blood – Bastille
  5. Unorthodox Jukebox – Bruno Mars
  6. Graffiti On The Train – Stereophonics
  7. Babel – Mumford & Sons
  8. The Truth About Love – Pink
  9. Exile – Hurts
  10. Les Miserables – Motion Picture Cast Recording

2016: Magician Paul Daniels dies aged 77.

2018: Ireland beats England, 24-15 at Twickenham to wrap up Six Nations Rugby Championship; 3rd Grand Slam & 11th Triple Crown. On the same day, Africa’s only female head of state, Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim confirms she is resigning amid an expenses scandal.

2019: Wales beats Ireland, 25-7 at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff to clinch the Six-Nations Rugby Championship and Grand Slam. On the same day, Facebook removes 1.5 million videos of the Christchurch mosque shootings in first 24 hours after the attack.

2020: UEFA announces the postponement of EURO 2020, due to the COVID-19 emergency. On the same day, Chad begins repaying a $100 million debt to Angola with cattle, as more than 1,000 cows arrive in Luanda.

BIRTHDAYS: Patti Boyd, former Mrs George Harrison and Mrs Eric Clapton, 77; John Sebastian, singer-songwriter (The Lovin’ Spoonful), 77; Harold Brown, drummer/vocalist (War) 75; Pat Rice, footballer/coach, 72; Scott Gorham, guitarist (Thin Lizzy/Black Star Riders) 70; Kurt Russell, actor, 70; Gary Sinise, actor, 66; Mike Lindup, keyboards/vocals (Level 42) 62; Clare Grogan, actress/singer, 59; Michael Ivins, bassist (The Flaming Lips) 58; Rob Lowe, actor, 57; Lee Dixon, footballer, 57; Billy Corgan, guitarist/songwriter (Smashing Pumpkins) 54; Melissa Auf Der Maur, bassist (Hole/Smashing Pumpkins) 49; Caroline Corr, drummer (The Corrs), 48; Justin Hawkins, guitarist/singer (The Darkness) 46; Edin Džeko, footballer, 35; Rob Kardashian, TV personality, 34; Shinji Kagawa, footballer, 32; Hozier (Andrew Hozier-Byrne), singer-songwriter, 31; John Boyega (Adegboyega), actor, 29.