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Today in History: March 15, Julius Caesar is assassinated

Today in History

Today is Friday, March 15, the 75th day of 2024. There are 291 days left in the year.

Today's highlight in history:

On March 15, 44 B.C., Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of nobles that included Brutus and Cassius.

On this date:

In 1493, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus arrived back in the Spanish harbor of Palos de la Frontera, two months after concluding his first voyage to the Western Hemisphere.

In 1820, Maine became the 23rd state.

In 1917, Czar Nicholas II abdicated in favor of his brother, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich, who declined the crown, marking the end of imperial rule in Russia.

In 1919, members of the American Expeditionary Force from World War I convened in Paris for a three-day meeting to found the American Legion.

In 1944, during World War II, Allied bombers again raided German-held Monte Cassino.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson, addressing a joint session of Congress, called for new legislation to guarantee every American's right to vote; the result was passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In 1972, "The Godfather," Francis Ford Coppola's epic gangster movie based on the Mario Puzo novel and starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, premiered in New York.

In 1977, the situation comedy "Three's Company," starring John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers, premiered on ABC-TV.

In 2005, former WorldCom chief Bernard Ebbers was convicted in New York of engineering the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history. (He was later sentenced to 25 years in prison.)

In 2011, the Syrian civil war had its beginnings with Arab Spring protests across the region that turned into an armed insurgency and eventually became a full-blown conflict.

In 2012, convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (blah-GOY'-uh-vich) walked into a federal prison in Colorado, where the 55-year-old Democrat began serving a 14-year sentence for corruption. (He was released in February 2020 after President Donald Trump commuted his sentence.)

In 2018, a pedestrian bridge that was under construction collapsed onto a busy Miami highway, crushing vehicles beneath massive slabs of concrete and steel; six people died and 10 were injured.

In 2019, a gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, streaming the massacre live on Facebook. (Brenton Tarrant, an Australian white supremacist, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty to 51 counts of murder and other charges.)

In 2020, the Federal Reserve took massive emergency action to help the economy withstand the coronavirus by slashing its benchmark interest rate to near zero and saying it would buy $700 billion in treasury and mortgage bonds. After initially trying to keep schools open, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the nation's largest public school system would close in hopes of curbing the spread of the virus.

In 2021, actor Yaphet Kotto, whose films included "Midnight Run," the James Bond movie "Live and Let Die" and "Alien," died in the Philippines at 81.

In 2022, Russia stepped up its bombardment of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, while an estimated 20,000 civilians fled the desperately encircled port city of Mariupol by way of a humanitarian corridor.

In 2023, the American Kennel Club announced that the French bulldog had become the most popular breed in the U.S., overtaking the Labrador retriever, which had been on top for more than three decades.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Judd Hirsch is 89. Jazz musician Charles Lloyd is 86. Rock musician Phil Lesh is 84. Singer Mike Love (The Beach Boys) is 83. Rock singer-musician Sly Stone is 81. Rock singer-musician Howard Scott (War; Lowrider Band) is 78. Rock singer Ry Cooder is 77. Actor Frances Conroy is 71. Actor Craig Wasson is 70. Rock singer Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) is 69. Actor Joaquim de Almeida is 67. Actor Park Overall is 67. Movie director Renny Harlin is 65. Model Fabio is 63. Singer Sananda Maitreya is 62. Rock singer Bret Michaels (Poison) is 61. R&B singer Rockwell is 60. Actor Chris Bruno is 58. Actor Kim Raver is 57. Rock singer Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray) is 56. Rock musician Mark Hoppus is 52. Country singer-musician Matt Thomas (Parmalee) is 50. Actor Eva Longoria is 49. Rapper-musician (Black Eyed Peas) is 49. Rock DJ Joseph Hahn (Linkin Park) is 47. Rapper Young Buck is 43. Actor Sean Biggerstaff is 41. Actor Kellan Lutz is 39. Actor Caitlin Wachs is 35.