Today In History Spotlights Mar. 5, 1770, Boston Massacre Occurs

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Today’s History Spotlight

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The Boston Massacre occurs. Following heavy tension between Boston colonists and the British Empire due to newly-enacted taxes and legislation, British Regulars were stationed in the city. This sparked outrage among the residents of Boston, and a confrontation between the townspeople and soldiers soon ensued. According to several eyewitness accounts, some citizens began throwing rocks, sticks, and snowballs at the soldiers.

No one is certain as to what specifically prompted the Regulars to open fire, but the result was five dead and at least six others injured. The Boston Massacre is considered to be a primary triggering event of the American Revolution. Interestingly, John Adams – an attorney at the time of the massacre – represented the accused soldiers. Two of them were found guilty of manslaughter. Adams later became one of the leading voices in support of rebellion against the British crown.

What Happened On This Day – March 5

  • 1981 The home computer ZX81 is launched. The British ZX81 was one of the world’s first home computer and was sold over 1.5 million times.
  • 1970 The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty enters into force. Nuclear powers China, Russia, U.S., U.K., and France initiated the treaty in 1968. It has since been ratified by 190 nations around the world.
  • 1960 Alberto Korda takes his famous picture of revolutionary Che Guevara. The iconic photograph, called Guerrillero Heroico, was taken at a memorial service for the victims of the La Coubre explosion.
  • 1872 The air brake is patented. George Westinghouse is credited with the design of the railway braking system that uses compressed air.
  • 1616 Nicolaus Copernicus’ revolutionary book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium is banned by the Catholic Church. In the book, Copernicus claimed that the Earth revolves around the sun. The Church maintained Ptolemy’s geocentric system. The book is considered a milestone in the history of astronomy.

Births On This Day – March 5

  • 1970 John Frusciante – American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer
  • 1951 Lat – Malaysian cartoonist
  • 1948 Elaine Paige – English singer, actress
  • 1898 Zhou Enlai – Chinese politician, 1st Premier of the People’s Republic of China
  • 1871 Rosa Luxemburg – Russian economist, philosopher

Deaths On This Day – March 5

  • 2013 Hugo Chávez – Venezuelan military officer, politician, President of Venezuela
  • 1963 Patsy Cline – American singer-songwriter, pianist
  • 1953 Sergei Prokofiev – Russian pianist, composer, conductor
  • 1953 Joseph Stalin – Soviet marshal, politician, 4th Premier of the Soviet Union
  • 1895 Nikolai Leskov – Russian author, playwright, journalist

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Garrett Smith
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