It happened today – this day in history – March 23

59AD: Death of Roman Empress Agrippina aged 43 – possibly murdered by her son Nero.

1743: Handel’s oratorio “Messiah” premieres in London.

1801: Tsar Paul I of Russia is struck with a sword, strangled, and trampled to death in his bedroom.

1808: Napoleon’s brother Joseph takes the throne of Spain.

1857: Elisha Otis installs his first elevator at 488 Broadway in New York City.

1858: The Streetcar is patented by E A Gardner of Philadelphia.

1878: Wanderers beat Royal Engineers, 3–1 in the FA Cup final at Kennington Oval.

1879: War of the Pacific: Chile successfully takes over Arica and Tarapacá, leaving Bolivia a landlocked country.

1881: The Boers and Britain sign a peace accord; end the first Boer War.

1888: George Mawson wins the Grand National on 40/1 outsider Playfair.

1889: The Woolwich Ferry officially opens.

1903: The Wright brothers first file a patent for a flying machine.

1908: American diplomat Durham Stevens is attacked by Korean assassins Jeon Myeong-un and Jang In-hwan. He dies two days later.

1918: Lithuania proclaims independence. On the same day, German forces advance 14 miles to the Somme River.

1919: Benito Mussolini forms the Fascist movement in Milan. On the same day, the eighth Congress of the Russian Communist Party re-establishes a five-member Politburo – Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Kamenev and Krestinsky – which becomes the centre of political power in the Soviet Union.

1921: Germany announces it will be unable to meet its First World War reparation payments.

1923: Capt. Tuppy Bennett wins the Grand National on 100/6 shot Sergeant Murphy.

1929: The first telephone is installed at the President’s desk in the White House.

1933: The German Reichstag grants Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers.

1934: Gerry Wilson wins the Grand National on Golden Miller in a race record 9:20.04.

1936: Italy, Austria and Hungary sign the Pact of Rome.

1942: Japanese forces occupy the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.

1945: US Navy ships bomb the Japanese island of Okinawa in preparation for the Allied invasion. On the same day, the British 7th Black Watch crosses the Rhine into Germany. Also, Prime Minister Winston Churchill visits Field Marshal Montgomery’s headquarter in Straelen and the Swallow Sidecar Company agrees to change its name to Jaguar.

1956: Sudan becomes independent. On the same day, Pakistan is proclaimed an Islamic republic.

1960: Explorer 8 fails to reach Earth orbit.


1964: John Lennon’s book of verse and rhyme ‘In His Own Write’ is published in the UK.

1965: Gemini 3 is launched, the first US two-man space flight (Gus Grissom and John Young).

1967: At a ceremony held at the Playhouse Theatre in London, The Beatles are awarded three Ivor Novello awards for 1966. None of the band attend.

Singles chart:

  1. Release Me – Engelbert Humperdinck
  2. Edelweiss – Vince Hill
  3. Georgy Girl – The Seekers
  4. This Is My Song – Petula Clark
  5. Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles
  6. Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear – Alan Price
  7. On A Carousel – The Hollies
  8. I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman – Whistling Jack Smith
  9. This Is My Song – Harry Secombe
  10. There’s A Kind Of Hush – Herman’s Hermits

1968: France retains the Five Nations Rugby Championship with an 14-9 win over Wales at the National Stadium, Cardiff.

1973: Yoko Ono is granted permanent residence in the USA.

1977: The Labour government survives a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons thanks to support from the Liberals.

1979: Larry Holmes TKOs Osvaldo Ocasio in Round 7 for the heavyweight boxing title.

1980: The deposed Shah of Iran arrives in Egypt. On the same day, 18-year-old Tracey Austin wins her only WTA Tour Championship, defeating Martina Navratilova, and Lee Trevino wins the PGA Tournament Players Championship by one stroke over Ben Crenshaw.

1981: The government bans all animal transport to contain an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

1983: President Reagan unveils plans to combat nuclear war in space. The Strategic Defence Initiative, which becomes known as Star Wars, proposes a defensive shield using laser or particle beam technology to intercept and destroy incoming missiles.

1984: The World Ice Dancing Championship in Ottawa is won by Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean of Great Britain.

1985: Singer-songwriter Billy Joel marries model Christie Brinkley on a boat moored alongside the Statue Of Liberty.

1987: More than 30 people are injured in an IRA car bomb explosion at the UK Army headquarters in Rheindahlen, West Germany. On the same day, Former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt resigns as chairman of the Social Democratic Party.

1990: Former Exxon Valdez captain, Joseph Hazelwood, is ordered to help clean up Prince William Sound and pay $50,000 in restitution for the 1989 oil spill.

1995: Former Black Lace singer Alan Barton dies aged 41 when Smokie’s tour bus crashes during a hailstorm in Cologne.

1998: Titanic wins the Oscar for best picture and James Cameron best director at the Academy Awards.

2001: The Russian Mir space station is disposed of, breaking up in the atmosphere before falling into the southern Pacific Ocean near Fiji.

2003: Roman Polanski wins the best director Oscar for The Pianist at the Academy Awards.

2008: Neil Aspinall, The Beatles’ former road manager and most trusted friend, who ran the Apple Corps music empire for the band from 1970 – 2007 dies in New York from cancer aged 66.

2011: Actress Elizabeth Taylor dies aged 79.

2015: TV personality Kris Jenner and athlete Bruce Jenner divorce after 13 years of marriage.

2018: Dua Lipa

2018: Album chart:

  1. The Greatest Showman – Motion Picture Cast
  2. ÷ – Ed Sheeran
  3. Question Mark – XXXtentacion
  4. Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa
  5. In Your Own Sweet Time – The Fratellis
  6. Only Human – Calum Scott
  7. A Real Labour Of Love – UB40
  8. I’ll Be Your Girl – The Decemberists
  9. You Are Someon Else – Fickle Friends
  10. X – Ed Sheeran

2020: COVID-19 lockdowns are imposed in South Africa and the UK. On the same day, African American Daniel Prude dies after being physically retrained by police in Rochester, New York, including having a hood put over his head.

BIRTHDAYS: Tony McPhee, guitarist (The Groundhogs) 78; Michael Nyman, composer, 78; Alan Bleasdale, screenwriter, 76; Chaka Khan (Yvette Stevens), singer, 69; Sir Steve Redgrave,Olympic rower, 60; Marti Pellow (Mark McLoughlin) singer (Wet Wet Wet), 56; Doman Albarn, singer-songwriter (Blur/Gorillaz) 54; Abe Laboriel, Jr, drummer (Paul McCartney) 51; Gail Porter, TV presenter, 51; Joe Calzaghe, boxer, 50; Keri Russell, actress, 46; Sir Chris Hoy, cyclist, 46; Michelle Monaghan, actress, 46; Perez Hiton (Mario Lavandeira), blogger/columnist, 44; Russell Howard, comedian, 42; Sir Mo Farah, athlete, 39; Princess Eugenie, 32.