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This week in history focuses on the Arizona Diamondbacks season one, the construction of Canyon de Chelly National Monument, and April Fool’s Day!
Cleopatra reinstated as Queen of Egypt
This week in the year 47 B.C. Cleopatra was reinstated as queen of Egypt. Deposed by her brother, Cleopatra sided with Julius Caesar, gave birth to his child, and fought for his return as Emperor of Rome. He returned the favor and helped her recapture the defeat of Egypt. Years later, during the Roman Civil War, she sided with Marc Antony against Octavian. When Octavian prevailed, Cleopatra committed suicide rather than surrender. After her death, the Egyptian Empire was officially incorporated into the Roman Empire.
Today, Cleopatra and her reign are the stuff of legends. She reigned over a prolific kingdom that spanned most of the eastern Mediterranean for almost twenty years. She commanded armies, regulated the economy, created her own currency, negotiated with foreign powers, saw her people through plague and famine, and bore the children of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.
March 26, 1979: Signing of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty
On March 26, 1979, Egyptian President Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Begin signed a peace treaty between their two countries. President Jimmy Carter helped broker the deal and the signing took place at Camp David in the United States.
The peace accords ended decades of war between Egypt and Israel. Egypt was the first Arab nation to recognize Israel’s sovereignty and right to exist. Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, which it had captured years earlier in the Six Day War. They agreed on a framework that would allow self-government for Palestinians living in Israel.
Much of the Arab world viewed the peace treaty as a treason. Egypt was thrown out of the Arab League and President Sadat was assassinated by an extremist in 1981. However, the rest of the world celebrated the peace treaty, and both Sadat and Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
March 28, 1979: Nuclear accident at Three Mile Island
Three days after the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty was signed, on March 28, 1979, a partial meltdown occurred at the nuclear power plant on Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. The accident was caused by mechanical failures of the plant’s cooling systems and operator errors in the immediate hours after the incident.
No one died as a direct result of the meltdown, although cancer rates in surrounding communities rose in the years that followed. The cleanup lasted until 1993 and cost over a billion dollars. The nuclear reactors were restarted in 1985 and operated until 2019, when the plant closed due to changes in electricity demand and costs.
The accident led to a major overhaul of regulations governing training, emergency preparedness, facility design, and equipment at nuclear power plants in the United States.
March 29, 1973: American troops evacuate Saigon
After signing the Paris Peace Agreement with North Vietnam in January 1973, the United States officially evacuated Saigon and ended all military operations in the country on March 29, 1973. The bloody civil war between the communists of North Vietnam and the South Vietnamese dragged the United States into a contested military role over a decade earlier.
Nearly 60,000 Americans died in the conflict. Approximately 200,000 US-allied soldiers died, as well as half a million North Vietnamese soldiers and half a million civilians on both sides. Fighting continued for two years after the United States ended its involvement, with Saigon falling to the North Vietnamese and the war ending in 1975.
March 31, 1998: The Arizona Diamondbacks play their first game
On March 31, 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks played their first regular season game at Bank One Field (now Chase Field) in Phoenix. Despite a tradition of hosting spring training games for major league teams, Arizona didn’t get its own expansion team until 1998. Losing that first game to the Colorado Rockies 9-2, they had a tough first year, ending with a record 65 wins and 97 losses. But the team steadily improved, becoming the first major league expansion team to win the World Series in 2001.
April 1, 1931: Canyon de Chelly National Monument erected
This week marks the anniversary of the construction of Canyon de Chelly National Monument in northeastern Arizona in 1931. The canyons have high cliff walls and streams that cut through the middle, with fertile soil along the canyon floor and rocky niches and sheltered spaces along the rock faces.
Native Americans have occupied the canyons at various times over several thousand years. Old Pueblos, Hopi and Navajo all built houses and tilled the land. Ruins of bygone civilizations can still be seen throughout Canyon de Chelly. The natives of the Dine still live and farm there today.
Your obscure holidays of the week:
This week’s obscure holidays span a wide variety of different celebrations. Live Long and Prosper Day takes place every year on Leonard Nimoy’s birthday. Inspired by Nimoy’s character Spock from Star Trek, the day focuses on everything that makes us healthy and prosperous.
National Folding Laundry Day is all about completing the unfolded load of laundry, sorting and donating long-unworn clothes. Hug a Medievalist Day is designed to honor those who study medieval culture. April 1st has several holidays that revolve around fun and games, including St. Stupid’s Day, a San Francisco holiday that’s all about dressing up and acting silly.
26th of March: Make your own holiday, Long and Prosperous Life Day, Paralegals Day, Purple Day, Spinach Day
27th of March: Whimsical Country Song Title Day, Celebrating Exchange Day, World Theater Day, National Joe Day
28th March: Barnum & Bailey Day, something in a stick day
March 29: Mom & Pop Business Owner’s Day, Manatee Appreciation Day, Niagara Falls Runs Dry Day, Smoke and Mirrors Day, World Piano Day
March 30: Doctor’s Day, Pencil Day, Checkup Day, Laundry Folding Day, Virtual Vacation Day, Walk In The Park Day, Turkey Neck Soup Day
March 31: She’s so funny day, hug a middle age day, bunsen burner day, world backup day, crayon day, clam on the half shell day
April 1: April Fool’s Day, Pillow Fight Day, Every Day is Catch Day, Fun Day, Outdoor Play Day, Reading is Funny Day, Boomer Bonus Days, Tatting Day, Library Snapshot Day, Poetry & Creative Mind Day , St. Fool’s Day, Time Warp Day, Tangible Karma Day, Atheist Day, Fun at Work Day
What happened in the story of March 19-25, 2023?