Today is March 16. On this date in:
Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew reached the Philippines, where Magellan was killed during a battle with natives the following month.
President Thomas Jefferson signed a measure authorizing the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Rocket science pioneer Robert H. Goddard successfully tested the first liquid-fueled rocket at his Aunt Effie’s farm in Auburn, Massachusetts.
President Lyndon B. Johnson sent Congress the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 as part of his War on Poverty. (The measure was passed by Congress, and was signed by Johnson in August 1964.)
NASA launched Gemini 8 on a mission to rendezvous and dock with Agena, a target vehicle in orbit; although the docking was successful, the joined vehicles began spinning, forcing Gemini to disconnect and abort the flight.
The My Lai massacre took place during the Vietnam War as U.S. Army soldiers hunting Viet Cong fighters and sympathizers killed unarmed villagers in Son My; death toll estimates vary from 347 to 504.
Italian politician Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the left-wing Red Brigades, who later murdered him.
William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, was kidnapped by Hezbollah militants (he was tortured by his captors and killed in 1985).
Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, was abducted in Beirut; he was released in December 1991.
A plane carrying seven members of country singer Reba McEntire’s band and her tour manager crashed into Otay Mountain in southern California, killing all on board.
Figure skater Tonya Harding pleaded guilty in Portland, Oregon, to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan, drawing a $100,000 fine.
American activist Rachel Corrie, 23, was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer while trying to block demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.
A jury in Los Angeles acquitted actor Robert Blake of murder in the shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, four years earlier. (A civil court jury later ordered Blake to pay Bakley’s four children $30 million, an award that an appeals court subsequently cut in half; Blake declared bankruptcy.)
A judge in Redwood City, California, sent Scott Peterson to death row for the slaying of his pregnant wife, Laci.
British actress Natasha Richardson, 45, was fatally injured in a skiing accident at a resort in Quebec; she died two days later at a Manhattan hospital.