On this day: Highland clearances began

Events, burthdays and anniversaries for 15 March
The  crowded street outside Selfridges Store in London, on its opening day in 1909. Picture: GettyThe  crowded street outside Selfridges Store in London, on its opening day in 1909. Picture: Getty
The crowded street outside Selfridges Store in London, on its opening day in 1909. Picture: Getty

15 March

The Ides of March – Anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44BC.

1814: Highland Clearances began in Sutherland.

1877: Australia beat England at Melbourne in first cricket Test match.

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1886: Opening of Glasgow’s Queen Street low-level system, the first of the city’s three undergrounds.

1909: Selfridge’s, “the world’s most beautiful store”, opened in Oxford Street, London. Its American owner, Gordon Selfridge, issued 600,000 invitations.

1921: Ruanda, East Africa, was ceded to Britain by Belgium.

1943: Japanese planes attacked Darwin, Australia.

1949: Clothes rationing ended after eight years.

1952: The greatest fall of rain in recorded history began – 73.62 inches in 24 hours at La Reunion, Indian Ocean.

1956: My Fair Lady opened on Broadway with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison. The title was adapted from the Cockney pronunciation of Mayfair.

1961: Doctor Richard Beeching became British Railways chief.

1985: First internet domain name was registered (symbolics.com).

1988: Israeli authorities imposed travel ban on Palestinians in Occupied Territories.

1989: President Mikhail Gorbachev called for rapid measures to ease chronic Soviet food shortages.

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1990: Ignoring worldwide appeals for clemency, Iraq hanged Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft for alleged spying.

1990: Mikhail Gorbachev was elected as the first executive president of the Soviet Union.

1994: Britain was facing a deep rift with Europe over voting rights which could block unacceptable EU legislation.

1995: The Rail Regulator said that it was not up to British Rail to axe the Anglo-Scottish sleeper services, after BR had said it would end most of the overnight services and all Motorail trains from May.

2004: French president Jacques Chirac signed the law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools, commonly known as the headscarf ban.

2007: It was revealed that the number of young children in the UK being diagnoses with type-1 diabetes had increased five-fold in two decades.

2011: Civil war broke out in Syria.


Eva Longoria, actress, 39; Isobel Buchanan, Scottish soprano, 60; Very Reverend John B Cairns, Chaplain to the Queen in Scotland, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1999-2000, 72; Ry Cooder, musician, 67; David Cronenberg, film director, 71; Terence Trent D’Arby, pop singer, 52; Professor Emeritus Sir James Dunbar-Nasmith CBE, architect and conservationist, 87; Ian Ferguson, Scottish footballer, 49; Judd Hirsch, 79; Mike Love, singer (The Beach Boys) and composer, 73; Ben Okri OBE, author, 55; Sylvester Stallone, actor, 68


Births: 1900 Frances Partridge, Bloomsbury group diarist; 1904 George Brent, actor; 1918 Earl Haig of Bemersyde OBE, artist, Deputy Lieutenant of Ettrick and Lauderdale (and Roxburghshire) 1977-93.

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Deaths: 459 Attila the Hun; 1852 Luigi Cherubini, composer; 1975 Aristotle Onassis, shipping magnate; 1983 Dame Rebecca West, novelist; 1984 Tommy Cooper, comedian; 1998 Dr Benjamin Spock, author on child care; 2003 Dame Thora Hird, actress and broadcaster.