19 March: On this day in history

    19 March 1330

    Edmund of Woodstock, first Earl of Kent, was executed for treason outside Winchester Castle on the orders of Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer, Earl of March. He had been a supporter of his half-brother, the deposed Edward II and, believing him to still be alive, had got involved in a conspiracy to rescue him from prison. Initially nobody was prepared to behead so eminent a figure and he had to wait for several hours until a common criminal agreed to do the deed in exchange for a pardon.

    19 March 1848

    Wyatt Earp, hunter, gambler, saloon keeper, lawman and killer, is born in Monmouth, Illinois. In October 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona, he will participate with John “Doc” Holliday and two of his brothers in the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral.

    19 March 1649

    Parliament abolishes the House of Lords, describing it as “useless and dangerous to the people of England”. Two days earlier it had abolished the institution of monarchy following the execution of King Charles I at the end of January. A large number of MPs had been excluded from the House of Commons by the Army in the previous December, earning those that remained the nickname of the Rump Parliament. The Rump will rule England for over four years until it is forcibly dissolved by Oliver Cromwell in April 1653.

    19 March 1813

    Scottish writer, doctor, missionary and explorer David Livingstone was born in a Lanarkshire tenement. As a young boy he worked in a cotton mill before leaving for London in 1838 to undertake scriptural and medical studies.

    19 March 1911

    More than one million people attended rallies as the first International Women’s Day was marked in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

    19 March 1932

    After six years of construction, Sydney Harbour Bridge was formally opened. Jack Lang, Labour premier of New South Wales, was about to cut the ceremonial ribbon to signify the opening of the bridge when Captain Francis de Groot, a member of a right-wing group called the New Guard, interrupted proceedings. Dressed in his First World War cavalry uniform, de Groot rode up and cut the ribbon with his sabre, declaring the bridge open “in the name of the decent citizens of New South Wales”. He was later fined five pounds.

    19 March 1962

    In the US, a young folk singer called Bob Dylan releases his first album, the imaginatively titled Bob Dylan.

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