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9 March: On this day in history

What events happened on 9 March in history? We round up the events, births and deaths…

Published: March 9, 2022 at 7:31 am
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9 March 1230

Tsar Ivan Asen II crushes the army of Theodore Komnenos Doukas, so reasserting Bulgaria’s primacy in the southern Balkans.

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9 March 1500

Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral set off with a fleet of 13 ships on the voyage that led to his discovery of Brazil, which he named the Island of the True Cross.


9 March 1562

Kissing in public is outlawed in Naples in an effort to stem the spread of plague. Ardent couples flouting the new law face serious consequences: public kissing is punishable by death.


9 March 1611

Sir Thomas Sutton purchased the dissolved London Carthusian monastery known as 'the Charterhouse' for £3,000 in order to establish a hospital and school there. This was the origin of Charterhouse public school, which relocated to Godalming in 1872.


9 March 1649

James Duke of Hamilton is beheaded at Westminster after the Scots Royalist army he had led into England the previous summer had been defeated by Cromwell at the Battle of Preston.


9 March 1763

Birth in Farnham, Surrey of radical politician, farmer and author William Cobbett. In the 1820s he famously undertook and later wrote about a series of rural rides, mainly across the counties of southern England.


9 March 1841: The US Supreme Court frees the slaves of La Amistad

Justice Story rules that 53 Africans who had overpowered their captors had been “unlawfully kidnapped”

When, on 9 March 1841, US Supreme Court justice Joseph Story rose to deliver the verdict in the case ‘United States v The Amistad’, the air was heavy with tension. Ever since the case had first come to court, it had divided friends and families across the nation. Indeed, perhaps no legal case in American history had more clearly exposed the United States’ deep disagreements about the issue of slavery.

Almost two years earlier, La Amistad had left Havana, Cuba for the province of Puerto Principe. A Spanish ship, it was carrying 53 Africans, who had been captured in Sierra Leone and sold into slavery. After only a few days, the slaves staged a successful revolt, killing most of the crew and ordering the navigator to take them back to Africa. Instead, he sailed to New York, where the slaves were taken into federal custody. The Spanish demanded them back, and President Martin Van Buren was minded to comply. But as the courts observed, both Britain and the US had outlawed the Atlantic slave trade. What were the Americans to do?

As Justice Story began speaking, it became clear that the Supreme Court had sided with the slaves. As their lawyer put it, they had been “unlawfully kidnapped, and forcibly and wrongfully carried on board”, so they were entitled to their freedom. Abolitionist supporters paid for them to be put up in Farmington, Connecticut, where they were given English lessons and Bible classes, while fundraisers collected money to send them back home. A year later, they set eyes on the African coast for the first time since they had been kidnapped. Most disappeared into obscurity. But one, Sarah Margru Kinson, later returned to the United States to study at Oberlin College, before going back to Sierra Leone as a Christian missionary.


9 March 1862

The American Civil War saw the first ever battle between two ironclad warships as the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia fought each other to a draw in the battle of Hampton Roads.


9 March 1908

The Football Club Internazionale Milano is founded. Known in Britain as Inter Milan, the club derives its name from its founders' wish to accommodate foreign players as well as Italians.

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9 March 1967 

Stalin's daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, defects to the west.

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