This Day in History: March 20

On this day, March 20…

1995: In Tokyo, 12 people are killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the deadly chemical sarin are leaked on five separate subway trains by Aum Shinrikyo cult members.

Also on this day:

  • 1413: England’s King Henry IV dies and is succeeded by Henry V.
  • 1760: A 10-hour fire erupts in Boston, destroying 349 buildings and burning 10 ships, but claiming no lives.
  • 1854: The Republican Party of the United States is founded by slavery opponents at a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wis.
  • 1942: U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur, having evacuated the Philippines at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, tells reporters in Terowie, Australia: “I came out of Bataan, and I shall return.”
  • 1952:  The U.S. Senate ratifies, 66-10, a Security Treaty with Japan.
  • 1969: John Lennon marries Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.
Patricia Hearst  (AP Photo)

Patricia Hearst  (AP Photo)

  • 1976: Kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is convicted of armed robbery for her part in a San Francisco bank holdup carried out by the Symbionese Liberation Army. (Hearst would be sentenced to seven years in prison and released after serving 22 months. President Bill Clinton would pardon her in 2001.)
  • 1985: Libby Riddles of Teller, Alaska, becomes the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race.
  • 1990: Singer Gloria Estefan suffers a broken back when a truck rear-ends her tour bus on a snow-covered highway in Pennsylvania.
  • 2004: The U.S. military charges six soldiers with abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison.
  • 2014: President Barack Obama orders economic sanctions against nearly two dozen members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and a major bank that provides them support, raising the stakes in an East-West showdown over Ukraine. 

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