On March 17:
45 BC Julius Caesar defeated the Pompeian forces of Titus Labienus and Pompey the Younger in the Battle of Munda.
180 Marcus Aurelius died leaving Commodus as the sole emperor of the Roman Empire.
624 Led by Muhammad, the Muslims of Medina defeated the Quraysh of Mecca in the Battle of Badr.
1337 Edward, the Black Prince was made Duke of Cornwall, the first Duchy made in England.
1473 King James IV of Scotland was born.
1756 Saint Patrick’s Day was celebrated in New York City for the first time (at the Crown and Thistle Tavern).
1776 American Revolution: British forces evacuated Boston, Massachusetts after George Washington and Henry Knox placed artillery overlooking the city.
1780 American Revolution: George Washington granted the Continental Army a holiday “as an act of solidarity with the Irish in their fight for independence”.
1805 The Italian Republic, with Napoleon as president, becomes the Kingdom of Italy, with Napoleon as King.
1834 Gottlieb Daimler, German engineer and inventor was born.
1845 The rubber band was patented.
1846 Kate Greenaway, English children’s author and illustrator, was born.
1860 The opening shots of the first Taranaki War were fired when imperial troops attacked a pa built by the Te Ati Awa chief Te Rangitake at Te Kohia.
1861 The Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946) was proclaimed.
1864 Joseph Baptista Indian Home Rule founder was born.
1880 Lawrence Oates, English army officer and Antarctic explorer, was born.
1919 Nat King Cole, American singer, was born.
1920 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Founding Leader of Bangladesh, was born.
1938 Rudolf Nureyev, Russian-born dancer and choreographer, was born.
1938 Zola Taylor, American singer (The Platters), was born.
1939 Battle of Nanchang between the Kuomintang and Japan started.
1941 The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC was officially opened by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1941 Paul Kantner, American musician (Jefferson Airplane) was born.
1942 The first Jews from the Lviv Ghetto were gassed at the Belzec death camp (eastern Poland).
1945 The Ludendorff Bridge in Remagen, Germany collapsed, ten days after its capture.
1947 First flight of the B-45 Tornado strategic bomber.
1948 Benelux, France, and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Brussels.
1950 Researchers at the University of California announced the creation of element 98, which they name “Californium.”
1951 Scott Gorham, American musician (Thin Lizzy) was born.
1954 Lesley-Anne Down, English actress, was born.
1957 A plane crash in Cebu killed Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay and 24 others.
1958 The United States launched the Vanguard 1 satellite.
1959 Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled Tibet for India.
1960 U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Security Council directive on the anti-Cuban covert action programme that led to the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
1966 Off the coast of Spain, the Alvin submarine found a missing American hydrogen bomb.
1967 Billy Corgan, American musician (Smashing Pumpkins), was born.
1969 Alexander McQueen, British fashion designer, was born.
1969 Golda Meir becomes the first female Prime Minister of Israel.
1970 My Lai Massacre: The United States Army charged 14 officers with suppressing information related to the incident.
1973 The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph Burst of Joy was taken, depicting a former prisoner of war being reunited with his family.
The photograph Burst of Joy. From left to right, Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm, Lorrie Stirm, Bo Stirm, Cindy Stirm, Loretta Stirm, and Roger Stirm. (© Slava Veder / Associated Press)
1976 Stephen Gately, Irish singer, musician, and actor (Boyzone) was born.
1979 The Penmanshiel Tunnel collapses during engineering works, killing two workers.
1988 A Colombian Boeing 727 jetliner, Avianca Flight 410, crashed into a mountainside near the Venezuelan border killing 143.
1988 Eritrean War of Independence: The Nadew Command, an Ethiopian army corps in Eritrea, was attacked on three sides by military units of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front in the opening action of the Battle of Afabet.
1992 Israeli Embassy attack in Buenos Aires: Suicide car bomb attack killed 29 and injured 242.
2000 More than 800 members of the Ugandan cult Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God died in a mass murder and suicide orchestrated by leaders of the cult.
2003 Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Robin Cook, resigned from the British Cabinet over his disagreement with government plans for the war with Iraq.
2004 Unrest in Kosovo: More than 22 killed, 200 wounded, and the destruction of 35 Serbian Orthodox shrines in Kosovo and two mosques in Belgrade and Nis.
Sourced from NZ History and Wikipedia.