3.21.2017 Day in History

South Africa on this date marks Human Rights Day, while multiple worldwide events occur on March 21, which is the critically significant Vernal Equinox, as well as the occasion of an International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, International Forestry Day, International Poetry Day, International Puppetry Day, and a commemoration of Down Syndrome; in and around the City of Rome one thousand four hundred eighty years ago, after returning Byzantines had displaced him from within the City walls, Vitiges led the recently gathered Ostrogothic forces that had been administering the Italian Peninsula against the walls of the city, ultimately without displacing the again ascendant Byzantine fighters under Belisarius; ninety-three years more or less exactly past that point, in 630, Emperor Heraclius mandated the return to Jerusalem of the relic that Christians knew as the True Cross; 92.6% of a millennium later, in 1556, Queen Mary ordered that Thomas Cranmer the Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, burn alive at the stake; one hundred twenty-two years later, in 1678, a reward was offered to find the author of An Account of the Growth of Popery;  ninety-three years in the future,  1771  a different set of internecine imperial rivalries rocked Europe as ‘revolutionary’ French forces clashed with English colonial machine in Egypt over suzerainty; three years subsequent to that, in 1804, across the Mediterranean in

"David - Napoleon crossing the Alps
“David – Napoleon crossing the Alps

metropolitan France, officials replaced aristocratic legal norms with the Napoleonic Code; one hundred forty-six years back, one Englishman, Morton Stanley, began his search for another outlier of empire, David Livingstone, when he embarked to the interior of Africa on his trek; forty-eight years hence, in 1919, Hungarians created the first Bolshevik offshoot government; seven hundred thirty-one days yet later on, in 1921,  East in the new Soviet Union the kommisars determined that their orthodox production plans are not working and institute in their stead the New Economic Policy; three hundred sixty-five days further along in the space time continuum, in 1922, a male infant was born who would mature as the gritty filmmaker and screenwriter, Russ Meyer; three years henceforth, in 1925,  seven thousand miles West in the state of Tennessee, lawmakers passed legislation that made illegal the teaching of scientific evolutionary fact; eight years onward from that, in 1933, back across the Atlantic in Germany, the newly installed Nazi regime foretold its genocidal plans with the construction of the first ‘concentration camp’ at Dachau; two years past that instant, in 1935,  an international darling of Southwest Asian aristocracy, Shah Reza Pavlevi, requested that his overlords call Persia by the name that its natives used, Iran; an additional two years forward in time, in 1937, westward across the Atlantic once more,  U.S. colonial administrators oversaw the police state execution of citizens in Puerto Rico’s Ponce massacre; half a dozen years thereafter, in 1943, in Germany once again, a Wehrmacht officer who was plotting to blow himself up in order to kill Hitler managed to defuse the explosive device when the Fuhrer did not show up; half a dozen years farther along time’s path, in 1949, the baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the estimable, if controversial, thinker, Slavoj guitar music art performanceZizek; three years still more proximate to the present pass, in 1952, the first bona fide ‘rock-and-roll’ extravaganza unfolded as Alan Freed orchestrated the Moondog Coronation Ball in Cleveland; five years later, in 1957, the writer C.S. Lewis married Joy Gresham at her bedside in the Churchill Hospital; three years additional  towards today, in 1960,  apartheid South African military opened fire on unarmed demonstrators in the Sharpeville massacre, killing scores and wounding hundreds, and initiating a new phase in conflict in the struggle against the fascist South African regime; three years further on, in 1963, the notorious Alcatraz prison shuttered its doors;  meanwhile, two years subsequently, in 1965, Black freedom marchers seven thousand miles to the north west in Alabama finally managed to conduct their witness from Selma to Montgomery without murder and mayhem on the part of the police; another five years onward in time and space, in 1970, the mayor of San Francisco declared the first widely celebrated Earth Day commemoration; another decade smartphone twitter social media verticalnearer to now, in 1980, United States president Carter sanctimoniously mandated a boycott of the Soviet Olympics because USSR had intervened in Afghanistan; nine years afterwards, in 1989, Pete Rose ran into serious ethical problems when he was betting on baseball outcomes in which he was participating; eight years past that exact point in time, in 1997,  the creator of Thomas the Tank Engine, Wilbert Awdry, had his final run; another nine years even closer to the current context, in 2006, the first tweet became possible as Twitter went live; five more years hence, in 2011, the performer and songwriter of The Caravans, Loleatta Holloway, breathed her last; seven hundred thirty-one days yet more proximate to the present pass, in 2013,  the acclaimed and beloved Nigerian novelist, storyteller, and critic Chinua Achebe died.