On this day: Russia’s mass deportations of the Baltic peoples began.

Estonian children who had been forcibly deported to Siberia by Russian authorities. 1952.

Estonian children in Siberia in 1952

Operation Priboi (“Coastal Surf”) was the code name for the Soviet mass deportation from the Baltic states on 25–28 March 1949. The action is also known as the March deportation by Baltic historians. More than 90,000 Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, labeled as enemies of the people, were deported to forced settlements in inhospitable areas of the Soviet Union.

Over 70% of the deportees were women and children under the age of 16.

On this day…

Mount Vesuvius in Italy erupted in March, 1944, destroying a number of villages.

North American soldiers were in the area at the time, fighting in the Second World War.

The original caption of the picture reads:

Crew member cleaning the ashes and cinders off the wing of a North American B-25 of the 340th Bomb Group. This was caused by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius on 23 March 1944.

crew-member-cleaning-the-ashes-and-cinders-off-the-wing-of-a-north-american-b-25-of-the-340th-bomb-group-this-was-caused-by-the-eruption-of-mt-vesuvius-on-23-march-1944

On this day…

John D. Lee sits beside his coffin in Utah moments before his execution by firing squad on the 23rd of March, 1877.

He was the only person who was ever punished for playing a part in the 1857 Mountain Meadows massacre, when a Mormon militia killed over a hundred non-Mormon settlers over a number of days in September.

john_d__lee_pre-execution_photophoto-just-before-the-execution-of-john-d-lee-for-his-role-in-the-mountain-meadows-massacre-23rd-march-1877

A visit to Charles Dickens’ house

Sonya's Stuff

Charles Dickens Doughty Street London Sonya Heaney February 2017

The view down Doughty Street.

Charles Dickens lived in many different places in his lifetime, but this house near my old home in Holborn, London is the one that has been turned into a museum about his life (and was recently – expensively – renovated).

Even though I lived and worked within a short walk of this house for a couple of years, I never actually visited. And so one chilly day at the end of February, on a short break in London on the way home from Italy, I marched from Covent Garden to pretty Doughty Street to finally pay a visit.

It is an interesting house in its own right, a recreation of middle class life in the Victorian era. I am not a fan of Dickens, the family man (or should I say, Dickens, the man who abandoned his family!), but there is no denying the impact he…

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On this day: the Butler Act is enacted

On the 21st of March, 1925, the Butler Act, a Tennessee law banning the teaching of evolution, and forcing public school teachers to acknowledge the Biblical account of the origin of humankind, came into effect.

The Butler Act 1925 Tennessee law prohibiting public school teachers denying Biblical account of man's origin. Signed into law by Tennessee governor Austin Peay. The law also prevented t

Austin Peay

Signed into law by Austin Peay, the Governor of Tennessee, it was infamously challenged in court a few weeks afterwards.

Tennessee verses John T. Scopes Trial, "Dayton, Tennessee", July 1925,  William Silverman Photographs, accession #10-042, View of trial proceedings outdoors (man taking down "Read Your Bible" sign)

The Scopes Trial.

The law stayed in effect until 1967.

 

On this day: the Great Dayton Flood

Postcard showing a view of Fifth Street looking west from Main Street, showing the flood waters when the flood was at its crest. March 1913.

The Great Dayton Flood, when the overflowing Great Miami River inundated Ohio, began on the 21st of March, 1913.

Over the course of the next few days, an estimated 360 people died, making the flood the worst natural disaster in the state’s history.

4th Street of Dayton, OH, USA during Great Miami Flood in 1913.

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In addition to the destruction caused by the water, a gas explosion and exposed gas lines resulted in fires that caused significant damage. The damage to property included the loss of around 20 000 homes.

Despite being a historically significant city, because of the flood today there are few historic buildings left in Dayton.