What Happened on March 22?

  • The British passed the Stamp Act. (1765) Intended to help raise money for the British war against the French in the Americas, the Stamp Act was notoriously unpopular with colonial Americans, and led to widespread rioting. Though eventually repealed, the act and the colonials response to it was one of the first events in the build-up to the revolution.

  • The Beatles' first album was released in the UK. (1963) Please Please Me went to the top of the UK charts in two months and remained there for 30 weeks, and has been ranked in the top 50 of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" by Rolling Stone.

  • The Equal Rights Amendment passed Congress. (1972) The Equal Rights Amendment was originally proposed by suffragettes in 1923 as a means of prohibiting discrimination based on gender, and had a revival in popularity in the feminism of the 1960s and 70s. The amendment failed to get enough states to ratify it however, and continued to be proposed and reproposed through the 21st century.

  • The laser was first patented. (1960) Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes received the first patent for a laser, though their patent was contested for 28 years by Gordon Gould, who had applied for a patent for a type of laser the previous year, though his claim was rejected by the patent office.

  • The possession of dice, cards, and gaming tables was outlawed in Massachusetts Bay Colony. (1630) Though the Puritan leaders of the colony didn't have anything against gambling in particular, they felt it promoted idleness, and so outlawed it, along with singing and dancing, and walking on Sundays that was "unnecessary."

  • The Arab League was founded. (1945) The League remains perhaps the most powerful force in the Middle East, and has its own common market. Most in the West are familiar with the Arab League for attacking — and being repulsed by — Israel when it was created in 1948.

  • The London bullion market was reopened. (1954) The market had been closed since 1939 because of World War II, but quickly recovered upon reopening, and remains a major financial institution in London.

  • The first modern Pentium chips came on the market. (1993) Very fast for their time, the chips could work at up to 60 MHz of speed with a 64 bit data path.

  • Polygamy was outlawed in America. (1882) The Edmunds Act made bigamous and unlawful cohabitation a felony and also prohibited polygamists from voting and holding political office. More than 1,300 men were imprisoned under the act, although their wives were not prosecuted.

  • The Grand Coulee Dam began to generate electricity. (1941) At the time of its construction, it was the largest concrete structure in the United States, and was one of the sources of power for researchers working on the Manhattan Project, which led to the development of the atomic bomb.

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