17
Mar
09

On This Day, March 17: St Patrick’s Day

March 17, 1762

First St. Patrick’s Day parade

In New York City, the first parade honoring the Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is held by Irish soldiers serving in the British army.

Saint Patrick, who was born in the late 4th century, was one of the most successful Christian missionaries in history. Born in Britain to a Christian family of Roman citizenship, he was taken prisoner at the age of 16 by a group of Irish raiders who attacked his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland, and he spent six years in captivity before escaping back to Britain. Believing he had been called by God to Christianize Ireland, he joined the Catholic Church and studied for 15 years before being consecrated as the church’s second missionary to Ireland. Patrick began his mission to Ireland in 432, and by his death in 461, the island was almost entirely Christian.

Early Irish settlers to the American colonies, many of whom were indentured servants, brought the Irish tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s feast day to America. The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade was held not in Ireland but in New York City in 1762, and with the dramatic increase of Irish immigrants to the United States in the mid-19th century, the March 17th celebration became widespread. Today, across the United States, millions of Americans of Irish ancestry celebrate their cultural identity and history by enjoying St. Patrick’s Day parades and engaging in general revelry.

“First St. Patrick’s Day parade.” 2009. The History Channel website. 17 Mar 2009, 10:55 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4841.

On This Day

0461 – Bishop Patrick, St. Patrick, died in Saul. Ireland celebrates this day in his honor.

1756 – St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated in New York City for the first time. The event took place at the Crown and Thistle Tavern.

1766 – Britain repealed the Stamp Act that had caused resentment in the North American colonies.

1884 – John Joseph Montgomery made the first glider flight in Otay, California.

1886 – 20 Blacks were killed in the Carrollton Massacre in Mississippi.

1930 – Al Capone was released from jail.

1942 – Douglas MacArthur became the Supreme Commander of the United Nations forces in the Southwestern Pacific.

1950 – Scientists at the University of California at Berkeley announced that they had created a new radioactive element. They named it “californium”. It is also known as element 98.

1958 – The Vanguard 1 satellite was launched by the U.S.

1966 – A U.S. submarine found a missing H-bomb in the Mediterranean off of Spain.

1967 – Snoopy and Charlie Brown of “Peanuts” were on the cover of “LIFE” magazine.

1969 – Golda Meir was sworn in as the fourth premier of Israel.

1973 – Twenty were killed in Cambodia when a bomb went off that was meant for the Cambodian President Lon Nol.

1995 – Gerry Adams became the first leader of Sinn Fein to be received at the White House.

March 17, 1776

The British evacuate Boston

During the American War for Independence, British forces are forced to evacuate Boston following Patriot General George Washington’s successful placement of fortifications and cannons on Dorchester Heights, which overlooks the city from the south.

During the evening of March 4, Patriot General John Thomas, under orders from Washington, secretly led a force of 800 soldiers and 1,200 workers to Dorchester Heights and began fortifying the area. To cover the sound of the construction, Patriot cannons, besieging Boston from another location, began a noisy bombardment of the outskirts of the city. By the morning, more than a dozen cannons from Fort Ticonderoga had been brought within the Dorchester Heights fortifications. British General Sir William Howe hoped to use British ships in Boston Harbor to destroy the Patriot position, but a storm set in, giving the Patriots ample time to complete the fortifications and set up their artillery. On March 17, 11,000 British troops and some 1,000 Royalists departed Boston by ship and sailed to the safety of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The bloodless liberation of Boston by the Patriots brought an end to a hated eight-year British occupation of the city, known for such infamous events as the “Boston Massacre.” For the victory, General Washington, commander of the Continental Army, was presented with the first medal ever awarded by the Continental Congress.

“The British evacuate Boston.” 2009. The History Channel website. 17 Mar 2009, 10:54 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4842.

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