Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 August 2020

The Queen Mother died and Celine Dion was born: Five things that happened on March 30 in history

From the serious to the entertaining, here is our new daily list of things that happened around the world on this day

A US president was shot, a painting sold for a record amount and incredible discoveries were made in Umm Al Quwain – here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history.

Ronald Reagan was shot

Year: 1981

Four sitting US presidents have been assassinated over the centuries. That includes Abraham Lincoln, James A Garfield, William McKinley and John F Kennedy. This list also almost featured Ronald Reagan, who was shot and wounded in an assassination attempt on March 30, 1981.

The president had just finished addressing a meeting at the Washington Hilton Hotel when John Hinckley Jr fired six shots, hitting Reagan and three of his attendants.

Reagan was hit in the left lung, the bullet narrowly missing his heart. Despite the fact that the then 70-year-old had a collapsed lung, he reportedly still walked into the hospital by himself.

The next day, Reagan could be found signing legislature from his hospital bed, after having two-hour surgery the day before.

In June 1982, Hinckley, who was said to be pathologically obsessed with the 1976 film Taxi Driver, was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ breaks a record

Year: 1987

Thirty-three years ago, on March 30, Vincent van Gogh’s arguably best-known painting, Sunflowers, sold for a record £24.75 million (Dh112m). The Dutch post-impressionist artist’s dazzling depiction of yellow sunflowers took more than three times the highest price ever paid for a painting at auction and became the first “modern” painting to break a record, as opposed to one by an old master.

Sunflowers, 1889, Vincent van Gogh, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
'Sunflowers', 1889, by Vincent van Gogh, found at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Vincent van Gogh Foundation

Today, paintings go for hundreds of millions, with the top spot held by Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, which sold at Christie’s for $450.3m (Dh1.6 billion) in November 2017.

Incidentally, van Gogh was also born on March 30, and so the bid, which was accepted by telephone, came on the 134th anniversary of his birth. The artist, who has been retrospectively diagnosed with a number of illnesses, committed suicide in 1890 when he was just 37 years old and had been unable to sell his paintings.

Tombs discovered in Umm Al Quwain

Year: 2019

More than one dozen tombs, artefacts and jewellery dating back to the first century were excavated in Umm Al Quwain, it was announced on March 30 last year.

At Ed-Dur, one of the largest archaeological sites in the UAE, 15 tombs, settlement remains, bronze statuettes, pottery and jewellery were uncovered, according to the emirate’s Department of Tourism and Antiquities. Coins in a style derived from those of the 4th century BC Greek emperor Alexander the Great were also found.

Excavation began at Ed-Dur, which lies along the south-east coast of the Arabian Gulf, in the 1970s. The site was originally discovered by an Iraqi archaeologist in 1973. Between 1989 and 1995, the solar deity temple, decorated with Aramaic inscriptions, was found. In 2015, more than 500 tombs dating back 2,000 years were unearthed, along with pre-Islamic religious relics, stone houses, weapons and jewellery.

‘The Power of Love’ singer was born

Year: 1968

Today, Celine Dion turns 52. The Canadian singer, who was born in Quebec, emerged as a teen star during the 1980s with a series of French-language albums.

She wasn’t to remain a local secret for long, as she burst onto the international scene with her signature powerful vocals in the 1990s, when she released several best-selling English-language albums. This includes Falling into You (1996) and Let’s Talk About Love (1997), which both went diamond in the US.

Songs such as The Power of Love, Think Twice and My Heart Will Go On have become beloved the world over.

Her music contains a range of influences, from rock to RnB, classical to gospel, and she still sings in both French and English, with a peppering of other languages, such as Spanish, Italian, Mandarin and even Latin.

Dion’s musical career still lives on and she remains the best-selling Canadian artist, as well as one of the world’s best-selling artists, of all time.

The Queen Mother died

Year: 2002

It was a sad day for Britain when Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother died aged 101. Her surviving daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, had been at her bedside at the Royal Lodge when it happened. She had been suffering from a cough and chest infection for four months and finally passed away peacefully in her sleep of pneumonia.

File photo dated 23-03-1962 of The Queen wears a warm leopard-skin coat on a very cold March day at the Sandown Park race meeting. With her is the Queen Mother. PA Photo. Issue date: Monday March 23 ,2020. See PA story SPORT Picture of the day. Photo credit should read PA/PA Wire.
Queen Elizabeth II is seen here with her mother in March 1962. PA/PA Wire

She had been a popular lady, earning the nickname the “Smiling Duchess”, and she was remembered fondly for her moral support to the British public during World War II.

Her full name was Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon and she was born on August 4, 1900. She married King George V’s son, Prince Albert, in 1923 and they went on to have two children, Elizabeth and Margaret.

Albert, who suffered from a stammer, somewhat reluctantly became King George VI in 1937 and she was then known as Queen Elizabeth, Queen consort, until his death in 1952. The couple’s relationship was depicted in the 2010 film The King’s Speech.

Updated: March 30, 2020 12:10 PM

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