March 29, 2013

29th of March Scenarios from the Past

Patrick Marren

Scenarios that happened for the first time on March 29 seem to be happening again. Or not.

1461: Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious... well, early spring... by Edward, son of York. Edward of York defeats Lancastrian Queen Margaret at the Battle of Towton, apparently ending the Wars of the Roses, making himself King Edward IV, and setting in train events that will ultimately lead to Richard III maneuvering his way into power. He will forced into exile in 1470 by intrigues, to be replaced by his predecessor, Henry VI; Henry lasts only 6 more months, and then Edward IV comes back, and the Wars of the Roses continue, and finally at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 Edward defeats Queen Margaret and the Lancastrians once and for all. He reigns in peace until his death in 1483, after which the two year rise of Richard begins. Queen Margaret, the sibyl-like character in Shakespeare's Richard III, was actually not around for Richard's reign; she spent her final days in France after being ransomed from the Tower of London by her cousin, the King of France. (Ooh, I have a good curse: "May you live in times suitable for the setting of a Shakespeare history.")

1638: Those damned Swedish colonialists, led by Dutchman and New York-buyer Peter Minuit, found their New World Empire. Since the Dutch have snagged the Hudson, the Swedes try to grab the Delaware River. Nya Sverige is comprised of parts of Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It lasts 17 years, until the Dutch grab it from them; then the English grab the Dutch holdings in 1664, and ultimately William Penn gets the Pennsylvania part in 1682. (But the Swedes were the first white permanent settlers of what is now Philadelphia.)

1792: March 29 turns into a less auspicious date for Swedes, as King Gustav III dies after being shot in the back at a masquerade ball 13 days earlier. He is succeeded by his son, King Gustav IV Adolf, who would have done well generally to not make big plans March 29 every year...

1809: ...King Gustav IV Adolf abdicates after a coup d'etat of officers angry over the conquering of Finland by the Russians.

1879: 20,000 Zulus, fresh from victory over a British force the previous day at Hlobane in which they killed 225 British soldiers with minimal losses of their own, attack 2,000 British soldiers at Kambula. At 1:30PM a small contingent of British feint toward the Zulu lines and then race back into their compound, followed by 11,000 charging Zulu warriors. The maneuver succeeds in goading the Zulus into a premature attack, and after an afternoon of two attacks that breached the compound, much hand-to-hand fighting, and numerous charges by the Zulus, the British put the Zulus to flight, with cavalry chasing them down and killing hundreds more. The British count 29 dead; 785 Zulu bodies are found in the vicinity of the redoubt, with perhaps 1200 more elsewhere. The battle breaks the back of Zulu resistance to the British in South Africa, with many Zulu warriors simply going home afterwards. (See the movie "Zulu" with Michael Caine. It could make Gandhi enlist.)

1973: The last American combat troops leave Vietnam. 

1999: The Dow Jones Industrials close above 10,000 for the first time. (Its last close below that level was August 26, far.)

(Source: Wikipedia)