1791 – Long-distance communication speeds up with the unveiling of a semaphore machine in Paris. The semaphore is a system of conveying information by means of visual signals, using towers with pivoting shutters, also known as blades or paddles. Information is encoded by the position of the mechanical elements; it is read when the shutter is in a fixed position. A precursor of the electrical telegraph, they were far faster than post riders for bringing a message over long distances, but far more expensive and less private than the electrical telegraph lines which would replace them
1807 – The U.S. Congress passed an act to “prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States… from any foreign kingdom, place, or country.”
1836 – Texas declared its independence from Mexico and an ad interim government was formed.
1861 – The U.S. Congress created the Territory of Nevada.
1866 – Excelsior Needle Company began making sewing machine needles.
1877 – In the U.S., Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the 1876 presidential election by the U.S. Congress. Samuel J. Tilden, however, had won the popular vote on November 7, 1876.
1887 – The American Trotting Association was organized in Detroit, MI.
1897 – U.S. President Cleveland vetoed legislation that would have required a literacy test for immigrants entering the country.
1899 – Mount Rainier National Park in Washington was established by the U.S. Congress.
1899 – U.S. President McKinley signed a measure that created the rank of Admiral for the U.S. Navy. The first admiral was George Dewey.
1900 – The U.S. Congress voted to give $2 million in aid to Puerto Rico.
1901 – The first telegraph company in Hawaii opened.
1901 – The U.S. Congress passed the Platt amendment, which limited Cuban autonomy as a condition for withdrawal of U.S. troops.
1903 – The Martha Washington Hotel opened for business in New York City. The hotel had 416 rooms and was the first hotel exclusively for women.
1906 – A tornado in Mississippi killed 33 and did $5 million in damage.
1907 – In Hamburg, Germany, dock workers went on strike after the end of the night shift. British strike breakers were brought in. The issue was settled on April 22, 1907.
1908 – In New York, the Committee of the Russian Republican Administration was founded.
1908 – In Paris, Gabriel Lippmann introduced three-dimensional color photography at the Academy of Sciences.
1911 – Maurice Maeterlinck’s “The Bluebird” opened in Paris.
1917 – The Russian Revolution began with Czar Nicholas II abdicating.
1917 – Citizens of Puerto Rico were granted U.S. citizenship with the enactment of the Jones Act.
1925 – State and federal highway officials developed a nationwide route-numbering system and adopted the familiar U.S. shield-shaped, numbered marker.
1929 – The U.S. Court of Customs & Patent Appeals was created by the U.S. Congress.
1933 – The motion picture King Kong had its world premiere in New York.
1939 – The Massachusetts legislature voted to ratify the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. These first ten amendments had gone into effect 147 years before.
1946 – Ho Chi Minh was elected President of Vietnam.
1949 – The B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II landed in Fort Worth, TX. The American plane had completed the first non-stop around-the-world flight.
1962 – Wilt ‘The Stilt’ Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks 169-147. Chamberlain broke several NBA records in the game.
1969 – In Toulouse, France, the supersonic transport Concorde made its first test flight.
1974 – Postage stamps jumped from 8 to 10 cents for first-class mail.
1983 – The U.S.S.R. performed an underground nuclear test.
1984 – The first McDonald’s franchise was closed. A new location was opened across the street from the old location in Des Plaines, IL.
1985 – The U.S. government approved a screening test for AIDS that detected antibodies to the virus that allowed possibly contaminated blood to be kept out of the blood supply.
1986 – Corazon Aquino was sworn into office as president of the Philippines. Her first public declaration was to restore the civil rights of the citizens of her country.
1987 – The U.S. government reported that the median price for a new home had gone over $100,000 for the first time.
1989 – Representatives from the 12 European Community nations all agreed to ban all production of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) by the end of the 20th century.
1995 – Russian anti-corruption journalist Vladislav Listyev was killed by a gunman in Moscow.
1995 – Nick Leeson was arrested for his role in the collapse of Britain’s Barings Bank.
1998 – The U.N. Security Council endorsed U.N. chief Kofi Annan’s deal to open Iraq’s presidential palaces to arms inspectors.
1998 – Images from the American spacecraft Galileo indicated that the Jupiter moon Europa has a liquid ocean and a source of interior heat.
2000 – In Great Britain, Chile’s former President Augusto Pinochet Ugarte was freed from house arrest and allowed to return to Chile. Britain’s Home Secretary Jack Straw had concluded that Pinochet was mentally and physically unable to stand trial. Belgium, France, Spain and Switzerland had sought the former Chilean leader on human-rights violations.
2003 – Over the Sea of Japan, there was a confrontation between four armed North Korean fighter jets and a U.S. RC-135S Cobra Ball. No shots were fired in the encounter in international airspace about 150 miles off North Korea’s coast. The U.S. Air Force announced that it would resume reconnaissance flights on March 12.
2004 – NASA announced that the Mars rover Opportunity had discovered evidence that water had existed on Mars in the past.
2011 – Steve Jobs unveiled Apple’s iPad 2.