March 30 (UPI) — On this date in history:
In 1842, Dr. Crawford Long became the first physician to use anesthetic (ether) in surgery.
In 1858, a U.S. patent was granted to Hymen Lipman for a pencil with an attached eraser.
In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William Seward reached an agreement with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million in gold.
In 1870, the 15th Amendment, granting African-American men the right to vote, was adopted into the U.S. Constitution.
In 1923, the Cunard liner Laconia arrived in New York City, the first passenger ship to circumnavigate the world. The cruise lasted 130 days.
In 1975, the South Vietnamese city of Da Nang fell to North Vietnamese forces. UPI correspondent Paul Vogle described “the flight out of hell” as refugees attempted to flee the city.
In 1981, On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley Jr. shot and injured U.S. President Ronald Reagan outside a Washington hotel. White House press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent and a Washington police officer also sustained injuries. Hinckley was released from a psychiatric hospital in September 2016.
In 1999, a jury in Oregon awarded $81 million in damages to the family of a smoker who died from lung cancer. A state judge reduced the punitive portion to $32 million.
In 2006, Jill Carroll, a freelance reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, was freed in Baghdad after being held for 82 days by kidnappers.
In 2018, at least a dozen Palestinians died in the first week of the so-called Great March of Return protests in Gaza. More than 180 people died in the nearly weekly protests through the end of 2019.
In 2019, Slovakia elected its first female president, liberal lawyer Zuzana Caputova.