On March 27, 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted present-day Florida.
In 1625, Charles I acceded to the English throne upon the death of James I.
In 1794, Congress approved “An Act to provide a Naval Armament” of six armed ships.
In 1912, first lady Helen Herron Taft and the wife of Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Viscountess Chinda, planted the first two of 3,000 cherry trees given to the U.S. as a gift by the mayor of Tokyo.
In 1945, during World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower told reporters in Paris that German defenses on the Western Front had been broken.
In 1964, Alaska was hit by a magnitude 9.2 earthquake (the strongest on record in North America) and tsunamis that together claimed about 130 lives.
In 1968, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (gah-GAH’-rihn), the first man to orbit the Earth in 1961, died when his MiG-15 jet crashed during a routine training flight near Moscow; he was 34.
In 1973, “The Godfather” won the Academy Award for best picture of 1972, but its star, Marlon Brando, refused to accept his Oscar for best actor. Liza Minnelli won best actress for “Cabaret.”
In 1975, construction began on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which was completed two years later.
In 1977, in aviation’s worst disaster, 583 people were killed when a KLM Boeing 747, attempting to take off in heavy fog, crashed into a Pan Am 747 on an airport runway on the Canary Island of Tenerife (ten-uh-REEF’).
In 1980, 123 workers died when a North Sea floating oil field platform, the Alexander Kielland, capsized during a storm.
In 2019, Facebook said it was extending its ban on hate speech to prohibit the promotion and support of white nationalism and white separatism.
In 2020, the House approved a $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package; it was immediately signed by President Donald Trump. The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a civil rights leader who helped the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, died at 98.