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Calendar for March 31st, 2014

US: Virgin Islands Transfer Day

Born 1596: Rene Descartes (philosopher)

Born 1621: Andrew Marvell (poet)

Born 1732: Franz Joseph Haydn (composer)

1776: Abigail Adams wrote her husband, John, at the second Continental Congress about the proposed Declaration of Independence, "Remember the ladies and be more favorable and generous to them than your ancestors."

Born 1811: Robert Bunsen (chemist)

Born 1835: John La Farge (painter)

1840: President Van Buren issued executive order establishing 10-hour workday for federal employees

1854: Commodore Matthew C. Perry signed Treaty of Kanagawa of friendship and trade with Japan

Born 1878: Jack Johnson (boxer)

1880: Wabash, Indiana, became first incorporated community to be completely illuminated by electricity

1889: The Eiffel Tower was dedicated in Paris, France

Born 1908: Kenneth "Red" Norvo (musician)

Born 1914: Octavio Paz (poet)

1917: United States took formal possession of Virgin Islands from Denmark

1918: Daylight Saving Time, greeted by opposition from farmers, went into effect for first time

1923: First dance marathon held in U.S.

Born 1927: William Daniels (actor)

Born 1927: Cesar Chavez (founder of United Farm Workers)

Born 1929: Liz Claiborne (fashion designer)

Died 1931: Knute Rockne (football coach)

1933: Act creating Civilian Conservation Corps for unemployed young men signed by President FDR

Born 1934: Shirley Jones (actress)

Born 1934: Richard Chamberlain (actor)

Born 1943: Christopher Walken (actor)

1943: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma opened on Broadway

Born 1948: Al Gore (45th U.S. vice president)

Born 1948: Rhea Perlman (actress)

1949: Newfoundland joined Canadian Federation as the tenth province

1959: The Dalai Lama fleeing Chinese occupation of Tibet, was given political asylum by India

1967: NATO Supreme Military Headquarters formally opened in Casteau, Belgium

1968: In a television speech, President Lyndon Johnson announced he would neither seek nor accept nomination for another term

1969: Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Slaughterhouse Five, published

1970: The first U.S. satellite, Explorer I, returned to the earth's atmosphere more than 12 years after its launch

Born 1971: Pavel Bure (hockey player)

1971: U.S. Army jury sentenced Lt. William Calley to life imprisonment for murder of S. Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in 1968

Born 1971: Ewan McGregor (actor)

1976: The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the mechanical life sustaining system could be removed from Karen Ann Quinlan

Born 1976: Josh Saviano (actor)

1982: Team owners and the National Basketball Players Association agreed on a four-year labor contract which introduced revenue sharing for players for the first time in professional sports

1987: New Jersey judge Harvey R. Sorkow awarded custody of "Baby M" to William and Elizabeth Stern and ruled that the surrogate parents' contracts were constitutionally protected

Died 1993: Brandon Lee (actor)

Died 2005: Terri Schiavo died after a national controversy about the legality of terminating her medical life-support system

Died 2005: Frank Perdue (transformed a backyard egg business into one of the nation's largest poultry processors, Perdue Farms)