5 March 1970

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons goes into effect after ratification by 43 nations.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is an international treaty aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and promoting disarmament. It was opened for signature on July 1, 1968, and entered into force on March 5, 1970. The treaty was negotiated with the objective of stemming the spread of nuclear weapons and fostering peaceful cooperation in the development and use of nuclear energy.

Non-Proliferation: The NPT’s primary objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons technology to countries that do not already possess them. Non-nuclear-weapon states commit not to acquire or develop nuclear weapons, while nuclear-weapon states pledge not to transfer nuclear weapons or assist non-nuclear-weapon states in acquiring them.

Disarmament: Nuclear-weapon states, recognized as such under the treaty (the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom), undertake to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to disarmament, with the ultimate goal of eliminating their nuclear arsenals. However, progress on disarmament has been slow and often contentious.

Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy: The NPT recognizes the right of all parties to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, such as electricity generation, medicine, and industry. Non-nuclear-weapon states pledge to accept safeguards administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure that their nuclear activities are not diverted for military purposes.

The NPT has been remarkably successful in preventing the widespread proliferation of nuclear weapons. However, it has faced challenges, including concerns about compliance, the failure of some states to join the treaty, and the emergence of nuclear technology in regions of conflict. Additionally, tensions have arisen between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states regarding the pace and extent of disarmament efforts.

The NPT is reviewed every five years during Review Conferences, where member states assess the implementation of the treaty and address emerging challenges. Despite its imperfections, the NPT remains a cornerstone of global efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and promote disarmament, playing a crucial role in international security and stability.

4 March 1794

The 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is passed by the U.S. Congress.

The 11th Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed by Congress on March 4, 1794, and ratified by the states on February 7, 1795. It consists of a single sentence and addresses the issue of sovereign immunity, particularly in regard to lawsuits against states.

Text of the 11th Amendment:

“The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.”

This amendment was largely a response to the Supreme Court case Chisholm v. Georgia (1793), in which the Court ruled that a citizen of one state could sue another state in federal court. This decision alarmed many states, fearing that it would expose them to excessive litigation and financial liability.

The 11th Amendment effectively overruled the Chisholm decision by preventing citizens from suing states in federal court. It establishes the principle of sovereign immunity, which protects states from being sued without their consent. However, it’s important to note that this immunity is not absolute and has been subject to interpretation and exceptions by the courts over time.

3 March 1857

Second Opium War: France and the United Kingdom declare war on China.

The Second Opium War, also known as the Arrow War or the Anglo-French Expedition to China, was a conflict that took place between 1856 and 1860. It was a significant event in Chinese history and marked a further deterioration in China’s relations with Western powers.

The war was sparked by several incidents, including the boarding of a Chinese-registered ship, the Arrow, by British authorities in search of pirates and illegal goods. The Chinese protested, claiming that the ship was flying the British flag and demanded an apology. When the British refused to apologize, tensions escalated, leading to military confrontations.

The conflict involved not only Britain and China but also France, which joined the war in support of Britain’s objectives. The main goals of the Western powers were to expand their trade privileges in China, open more ports to foreign trade, and secure better treatment for their citizens living in China.

The Western powers, equipped with modern weaponry and superior naval forces, quickly gained the upper hand. They captured key Chinese cities and forced the Chinese government to sign a series of unequal treaties, including the Treaty of Tientsin in 1858 and the Treaty of Beijing in 1860. These treaties granted the Western powers significant concessions, including the legalization of the opium trade, the opening of additional treaty ports for foreign trade, and extraterritorial rights for Western citizens in China.

The Second Opium War further weakened the Qing Dynasty’s authority and exposed the vulnerabilities of China’s traditional military forces against modern Western military technology. It also contributed to growing resentment and anti-imperialist sentiments among the Chinese population, fueling later movements such as the Boxer Rebellion.

2 March 1859

The two-day Great Slave Auction, the largest such auction in United States history, begins.

The “Great Slave Auction” occurred in 1859 at the Ten Broeck Race Course near Savannah, Georgia. This infamous event is often cited as the largest single sale of enslaved people in United States history.

The auction took place over two days, starting on March 2nd, 1859, and was orchestrated by Pierce M. Butler, a wealthy plantation owner who had fallen into financial ruin. Butler inherited a significant number of enslaved individuals but found himself heavily indebted due to mismanagement and lavish spending.

To settle his debts, Butler decided to liquidate his assets, which included the human beings he held as slaves. The sale attracted buyers from across the South, as well as from other parts of the United States. The enslaved individuals up for sale were paraded before potential buyers, who assessed their physical attributes, skills, and health. Families were often separated, and the auction was marked by scenes of heartbreak and despair as people were torn from their loved ones.

The auction was a stark reminder of the dehumanizing cruelty of slavery and the commodification of human lives. It also highlighted the economic foundation upon which slavery rested in the antebellum South. The event drew condemnation from abolitionists and others opposed to the institution of slavery, further fueling the tensions that would eventually lead to the American Civil War.

While the Great Slave Auction is one of the most notorious examples of the buying and selling of enslaved people in the United States, it is just one among countless similar auctions that took place throughout the country during the era of American slavery.

1 March 1932

Aviator Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month-old son Charles Jr is kidnapped from his home in East Amwell, New Jersey. His body would not be found until May 12.

The kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh Jr., the 20-month-old son of aviator Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was one of the most notorious crimes of the 20th century. The abduction occurred on the evening of March 1, 1932, from the Lindbergh family home in East Amwell, New Jersey.

Charles Lindbergh Sr. was an international celebrity at the time, having gained fame as the first person to complete a solo transatlantic flight in 1927. The Lindberghs’ wealth and prominence made their son a high-profile target for kidnapping.

On the night of the abduction, the Lindberghs discovered that their son was missing from his crib. A ransom note demanding $50,000 was found in the nursery, sparking a massive investigation and a nationwide manhunt.

Despite the ransom payment, the Lindberghs’ son was not returned. His body was discovered more than two months later, on May 12, 1932, in a wooded area near the family home. The cause of death was determined to be a severe skull fracture, likely sustained from a fall or a blow to the head.

The investigation into the kidnapping was one of the largest in U.S. history at the time. The case captivated the nation and led to the passage of the Federal Kidnapping Act, also known as the Lindbergh Law, which made kidnapping across state lines a federal offense. The law was enacted in response to concerns that the Lindbergh case highlighted gaps in jurisdiction and law enforcement coordination.

The investigation eventually led to the arrest and trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a German immigrant and carpenter. Hauptmann was found in possession of some of the ransom money, and handwriting experts testified that he had written the ransom notes. Despite maintaining his innocence, Hauptmann was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. He was executed in the electric chair on April 3, 1936.

The Lindbergh kidnapping remains one of the most infamous crimes in American history, and it continues to capture the public’s imagination nearly a century later.

29 February 1796

The Jay Treaty between the United States and Great Britain comes into force, facilitating ten years of peaceful trade between the two nations.

The Jay Treaty, officially known as the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, was signed on November 19, 1794, between the United States and Great Britain. It was negotiated by Chief Justice John Jay and aimed to resolve several ongoing disputes between the two nations following the American Revolutionary War.

British Occupation of Western Forts: One of the major issues addressed by the treaty was the British occupation of forts in the Northwestern Territory, which was ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The Jay Treaty required Britain to withdraw its troops from these forts by June 1796, although it allowed for some limited trading posts.

Trade Relations: The treaty sought to establish favorable commercial relations between the United States and Great Britain. It granted American merchants the right to trade in British territories in the Caribbean and elsewhere, which was crucial for American economic interests.

Neutral Rights and Maritime Trade: The treaty addressed issues related to neutral rights and maritime trade, which had been a point of contention between the two nations. It aimed to regulate trade and protect neutral American ships from British interference.

Compensation for Pre-Revolutionary War Debts: The Jay Treaty included provisions for the settlement of pre-Revolutionary War debts owed by Americans to British creditors and vice versa. It established a commission to adjudicate these claims.

Controversy and Opposition: The Jay Treaty was highly controversial in the United States and faced significant opposition, particularly from the Democratic-Republican Party led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Critics argued that it favored Britain too much and undermined American sovereignty.

Ratification and Aftermath: Despite the controversy, the treaty was ratified by the Senate in 1795 and went into effect. However, it did not fully resolve all the issues between the United States and Britain, and tensions continued to simmer. Nonetheless, the Jay Treaty helped avert a potential war between the two nations and laid the groundwork for further diplomatic negotiations in the future.

28 February 2013

Pope Benedict XVI resigns as the pope of the Catholic Church, becoming the first pope to do so since Pope Gregory XII, in 1415

Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany, served as the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from April 19, 2005, until his resignation on February 28, 2013. He was elected as pope following the death of Pope John Paul II.

Before his papacy, Joseph Ratzinger had a distinguished career as a theologian and academic. He was ordained a priest in 1951 and earned his doctorate in theology from the University of Munich in 1953. Ratzinger became a professor of theology at various universities in Germany, including the University of Bonn, the University of Münster, and the University of Tübingen. He later became a professor at the University of Regensburg, where he taught until 1977.

In 1977, Ratzinger was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising by Pope Paul VI and was later elevated to Cardinal in 1977 by Pope John Paul II. As a cardinal, he served as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a position he held until his election as pope. In this role, he was responsible for ensuring doctrinal orthodoxy within the Catholic Church.

During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized themes of faith, reason, and the importance of the Catholic Church’s tradition. He wrote several encyclicals and other significant documents addressing various theological and social issues. Notably, his first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est” (God is Love), focused on the Christian understanding of love and charity.

Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation in 2013 came as a surprise to many, making him the first pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII in 1415. Citing advanced age and declining health as reasons for his resignation, he stepped down from the papacy on February 28, 2013.

After his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI retired to a monastery within Vatican City, where he intended to live a life of prayer and reflection. He has largely remained out of the public eye, but his writings and contributions to theology continue to be studied and discussed within the Catholic Church and beyond.

27 February 1881

First Boer War: The Battle of Majuba Hill takes place.

The First Boer War, also known as the First Anglo-Boer War, took place from 1880 to 1881 in South Africa. It was fought between the British Empire and the Transvaal Republic (also known as the South African Republic), which was populated mainly by Boer settlers of Dutch descent.

Causes:

British Expansionism: The British were expanding their control over Southern Africa, and tensions arose as they encroached upon Boer territories.
Discontent among Boers: Boer settlers were dissatisfied with British rule and policies, such as taxation and attempts to limit their autonomy.
Conflicts over Land and Resources: There were disputes over land ownership and control of valuable resources like gold and diamonds.

Key Events:

Annexation of the Transvaal: In 1877, the British annexed the Transvaal, angering the Boers and sparking resistance.
Battle of Majuba Hill (1881): This was the decisive battle of the war. The Boers, led by Commandant-General Piet Joubert, achieved a surprising victory over the British forces commanded by Major-General Sir George Pomeroy Colley. The British suffered heavy casualties, and Colley himself was killed.
Peace Treaty: Following the Battle of Majuba Hill, negotiations led to the signing of the Pretoria Convention in 1881. Under the terms of the treaty, the British recognized the independence of the Transvaal, albeit with certain conditions.

Outcomes:

Independence of the Transvaal: The Transvaal regained its independence, albeit with British suzerainty.
Prelude to Further Conflict: While the First Boer War ended with a Boer victory, it didn’t resolve the underlying tensions between the British Empire and the Boer republics. This set the stage for the Second Boer War (1899-1902), which was much larger and more destructive.

26 February 1980

Egypt and Israel establish full diplomatic relations.

The establishment of diplomatic relations between Egypt and Israel is a significant event in the history of the Middle East. It marked a pivotal moment in the region’s geopolitics and has had far-reaching implications for peace and stability.

The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed on March 26, 1979, following the Camp David Accords negotiated by U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The treaty ended decades of hostility and conflict between the two countries, including several wars, notably the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, the Suez Crisis of 1956, and the Six-Day War of 1967.

Key provisions of the peace treaty included the mutual recognition of each other’s sovereignty and the establishment of full diplomatic relations, including the exchange of ambassadors, trade, and cooperation in various fields such as tourism, culture, and security.

This historic agreement was a breakthrough in the Arab-Israeli conflict and significantly changed the dynamics of the region. It paved the way for subsequent peace negotiations between Israel and its other Arab neighbors, notably Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.

Despite occasional tensions and challenges, the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel has largely endured, contributing to stability in the region and facilitating cooperation on issues of mutual interest. However, it’s essential to note that while diplomatic relations have been established, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains unresolved, and efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement in the region continue.

25 February 1947

The formal abolition of Prussia is proclaimed by the Allied Control Council, the Prussian government having already been abolished by the Preußenschlag of 1932

The abolition of Prussia refers to the dismantling of the historic Kingdom and later State of Prussia, which played a significant role in European history for centuries. Prussia was a major German kingdom and later a constituent state of the German Empire, known for its militarism, bureaucracy, and influential cultural legacy.

The abolition of Prussia occurred in the aftermath of World War II and was part of the process of denazification and reconstruction in Germany. The Allied powers, particularly the Soviet Union, played a significant role in this process.

Potsdam Agreement (1945): The Potsdam Agreement, signed by the Allied powers (United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union) in 1945, outlined the principles for the post-war administration of Germany. It called for the dissolution of Prussia as a political entity.

Denazification and Decentralization: The Allied powers sought to dismantle institutions associated with Nazism and centralization of power. Prussia, with its long history and deep-rooted bureaucracy, was seen as a symbol of authoritarianism and militarism, and thus, its abolition was deemed necessary for the establishment of democratic governance in Germany.

Occupation and Division of Germany: Following World War II, Germany was divided into occupation zones administered by the Allies. The eastern part of Germany, including Prussia’s heartland, was occupied by the Soviet Union. The Soviet authorities took decisive steps to eliminate Prussian institutions.

1947 Prussian Landtag Election: In 1947, elections were held in the Soviet Zone of Occupation to establish regional parliaments (Landtags). The election in Prussia resulted in the dominance of the Socialist Unity Party (SED), which was under Soviet influence. This further facilitated the process of dismantling Prussia’s institutions.

Formal Dissolution: On February 25, 1947, the Allied Control Council issued a directive formally abolishing the State of Prussia. Its territories were divided among the newly formed German states such as Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg, and others.

Cultural and Historical Legacy: While the political entity of Prussia was abolished, its cultural and historical legacy continued to influence Germany. Many Prussian institutions, traditions, and landmarks still exist in modern Germany.