What Happened on March 24?

  • Robert Koch announced the discovery of the bacillus that causes tuberculosis. (1882) Tuberculosis was the cause of one in seven deaths in the mid-19th century, making Koch's discovery particularly valuable. Koch received a Nobel prize for his discovery, and also discovered the bacteria that cause anthrax and cholera.

  • The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred. (1989) One of the largest oil spills in US history, the Exxon Valdez spill included more than 11 million gallons (about 40 million liters) of oil into the ocean and polluted more than 700 miles (1,000 km) of coastline.

  • Elvis Presley was inducted into the army. (1958) The rock 'n roll star was drafted in 1953 but received two deferments before going to serve. While in the army, Elvis met his future wife, Priscilla, at a party.

  • Queen Elizabeth I died. (1603) Elizabeth was a phenomenally influential ruler, greatly strengthening England politically and reigning over the English Renaissance. By the time she died, England had become a major world power.

  • NATO bombed Yugoslavia. (1999) NATO forces began air strikes on Kosovo on this day in response to ethnic cleansing performed by Serbians in the area. It was the first time NATO had attacked an autonomous country.

  • British Parliament passed the Quartering Act. (1765) The quartering act required colonials to host British soldiers in their local inns, stables, and unused houses. It was extremely unpopular, and led to fighting and rioting in urban areas.

  • Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered. (1832) Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, was often embroiled in controversy with local religious leaders and sometimes his own followers. On this day, several of his former followers beat Smith and a comrade unconscious and tarred and feathered them. It was incidents like this that led Smith to bring his followers into the then-remote American West.

  • African Canadians gained the right to vote. (1837) Slavery had been abolished in Canada since 1800, and on this day black men in Canada gained the right to vote. This made the country extremely popular for escaped slaves — censuses from the time show that over 30,000 fugitive slaves lived in Upper Canada alone.

  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opened. (1955) The play was said to be author Tennessee Williams' personal favorite, and won Williams the Pulitzer prize for drama.

  • The US and Cuba engaged in direct negotiations. (1977) The two countries met to discuss fishing rights for the first time since 1961. The renewed relationship was short-lived, however, and the US and Cuba remained officially hostile into the 21st century.

Discussion Comments


The US and Cuba also got more than 30,000 people killed.

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