1902 Encyclopedia > Today in History > Cardinal Mazarin dies, Battle of the Ironclads, Russia sends dog into space, and more

Today in History - March 9
• Cardinal Mazarin dies
• Battle of the Ironclads: the first armoured warship
• Russia sends first dog into space

-- Compiled by James Finlayson-Bald

Battle of the Ironclads (image)

A chromolithograph of the Battle of Hampton Roads (1862) during the American Civil War. This was the first battle involving an armoured warship.

"The Monitor and Merrimac: The First Fight Between Ironclads", a chromolithograph of the Battle of Hampton Roads, produced by Louis Prang & Co., Boston.

On this date:

1152--Frederick I ("Barbarosa") was crowned King of Germany.

1661--Cardinal Jules Mazarln died. The protege of Cardinal Richelieu who recommeded him as his successor to Louis XIII. Mazarin retained his power when the boy-King Louis XIV came to the throne through the widow Queen, Anne of Austria, to whom he may have been secretly married. He brought the Thirty Years' War to a successful end with the acquisition for France of Alsace and the bishopries of Toul, Metz and Verdun, but immediately became involved in the wars of the Fronde, a last attempt by the nobles and legalists to avert a centralized autocracy. Successful again he went on to conclude an advantageous peace with Spain, and laid the foundations for the greatness France was to enjoy under Louis XIV.

1793--The punishment of imprisonment for debt was abolished in France.

1796--Napoleon Bonaparte married Josephine de Beauharnais.

1862--Battle of the "ironclads". The Confederate vessel Merrimack was forced to withdraw at Hampton Roads by the Union's Monitor. Merrimack was a frigate of 3500 tons and 40 guns which was converted but drew 22 ft of water, and took 30 minutes to turn, and had a top speed of 5 knots. Monitor was built by Captain John Ericsson in a revolutionary manner. She was so low in the water that waves washed over her deck which carried only an iron pilot-house and a revolving turret for the guns. The battle was indecisive but in the history of naval warfare it marked the opening of a new era -- that of the armoured warship

1882--The first American patent was issued for improved false teeth.

1899--Congress voted $50 million for defence in the Spanish-American War.

1961--Russia sent the first dog into space in Sputnik 9.

1963--A dynamite plant exploded at Madderfontein in South Africa.

Today's birthdays:
-- William Cobbett, writer and politician (1763-1835).
-- Yuri Gagarin, cosmonaut (1934-68).

Thought for today:
"Popularity is exhausting. The life of the party almost always winds up in a corner with an overcoat over him."
-- William Mizner

The above article was written by James Finlayson-Bald.
Edited and illustrations added by David Paul Wagner.

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