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March 11, 2012

Today in History for Sunday, March 11, 2012

-- — Highlight in History

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami struck Japan’s northeastern coast, a combined disaster that killed nearly 20,000 people and caused grave damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in the world’s worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl incident in 1986.

On this date

In 1861, the Constitution of the Confederate States of America was adopted by the Confederate Congress in Montgomery, Ala.

In 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln removed Gen. George B. McClellan as general-in-chief of the Union armies, leaving him in command of the Army of the Potomac, a post McClellan also ended up losing.

In 1942, as Japanese forces continued to advance in the Pacific during World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines for Australia. (MacArthur, who subsequently vowed, “I shall return,” kept that promise more than 2 1/2 years later.)

In 1977, more than 130 hostages held in Washington, D.C. by Hanafi Muslims were freed after ambassadors from three Islamic nations joined the negotiations.

In 1985, Mikhail S. Gorbachev was chosen to succeed the late Soviet President Konstantin U. Chernenko.

In 2004, ten bombs exploded in quick succession across the commuter rail network in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people and wounding more than 2,000 in an attack linked to al-Qaida-inspired militants.

Ten years ago

Two columns of light soared skyward from Ground Zero in New York as a temporary memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. At the White House, President George W. Bush unveiled a commemorative stamp to raise money to help 9/11 victims “get their lives back in order.” Israel lifted Yasser Arafat’s three-month confinement in the West Bank.

Five years ago

President George W. Bush, continuing his tour of Latin America, met with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Newborn Mychael Darthard-Dawodu was found safe in Clovis, N.M., a day after she was abducted from a hospital in Lubbock, Texas. (The abductor, Rayshaun Parson, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.)

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