Today is Wednesday, March 12, the 71st day of 2014. There are 294 days left in the year.
On March 12, 1664, England’s King Charles II granted an area of land on the East Coast of present-day North America known as New Netherland to his brother James, the Duke of York.
On this date:
In 1864, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant assumed command as General-in-Chief of the Union armies in the Civil War.
In 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA had its beginnings as Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Ga., founded the first American troop of the Girl Guides.
In 1914, American inventor George Westinghouse died in New York at 67.
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the first of his 30 radio addresses that came to be known as “fireside chats,” telling Americans what was being done to deal with the nation’s economic crisis.
In 1934, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake shook much of northern Utah along with parts of Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming.
In 1938, the Anschluss merging Austria with Nazi Germany took place as German forces crossed the border between the two countries.
In 1939, Pope Pius XII was formally crowned in ceremonies at the Vatican.
In 1951, “Dennis the Menace,” created by cartoonist Hank Ketcham, made its syndicated debut in 16 newspapers.
In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson won the New Hampshire Democratic primary, but Sen. Eugene McCarthy, of Minnesota, placed a strong second.
In 1989, some 2,500 veterans and supporters marched at the Art Institute of Chicago to demand that officials remove an American flag placed on the floor as part of a student’s exhibit.
In 1994, the Church of England ordained its first women priests.
In 2003, Elizabeth Smart, the 15-year-old girl who’d vanished from her bedroom nine months earlier, was found alive in a Salt Lake City suburb with two drifters, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, who are serving prison terms for kidnapping her.
Ten years ago: Marcus Wesson, the domineering patriarch of a cultlike clan he’d bred through incest, surrendered to police who found the bodies of nine of his offspring, all but one minors, at their home in Fresno, Calif. (Wesson was later convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.)
Five years ago: Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty in New York to pulling off perhaps the biggest swindle in Wall Street history. The Iraqi journalist who’d thrown his shoes at President George W. Bush received a three-year sentence. (Muntadhar al-Zeidi ended up serving nine months.) Insurance broker Willis Group Holdings announced that Chicago’s Sears Tower would be renamed Willis Tower. Lindsey Vonn became the first American woman to win the super-G season finale at the World Cup finals in Are, Sweden. Philanthropist Leonore Annenberg died in Rancho Mirage, Calif. at age 91.
One year ago: Black smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney, signaling that cardinals had failed on their first vote of the papal conclave to choose a new leader of the Catholic Church. Richard Beasley, a self-styled street preacher, was found guilty in Akron, Ohio, of murdering three down-and-out men who’d been lured by bogus job offers posted on Craigslist. (Beasley was later sentenced to death.) Mitch Seavey, a 53-year-old former champion, won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in nine days, 7 hours and 39 minutes to become the oldest winner of Alaska’s grueling test of endurance.