March 31

Events in Women’s History

1492 – Queen Isabella issues the Alhambra decree, ordering Jewish subjects to convert to Christianity or face expulsion. (The same was done to Muslims in 1502.)


Philippa of Lancaster (source)

Philippa of Lancaster (source)

1360Philippa of Lancaster, Queen consort of Portugal as wife of John I; her children became known as the “Illustrious Generation” (d. 1415)

1425 – Bianca Maria Visconti, Duchess of Milan, active in the administration of the Duchy, known as “warrior woman” for her defense of Cremona against the Venetians (d. 1468)

1576 – Countess Louise Juliana of Nassau, wife of Frederick IV, Elector Palatine, ruler in her son’s name after Frederick’s death (d. 1644)

1718 – Mariana Victoria, Infanta of Spain, Queen of Portugal as wife of Joseph I, briefly regent near the end of Joseph’s life, advisor to her daughter Maria I of Portugal (d. 1781)

1823 – Mary Boykin Chesnut, American author, known for her diary, written during the American Civil War (d. 1886)

1833 – Gail Hamilton, pseudonym for Mary Abigail Dodge, American author, noted for promotion of women’s equality in education and occupation (d. 1896)

1872 – Alexandra Kollontai, Russian communist revolutionary and Soviet Ambassador to Norway (d. 1952)

1911 – Elisabeth Grümmer, German soprano (d. 1986)

1913 – Etta Baker, American singer and Piedmont blues guitarist (d. 2006)

1923 – Shoshana Damari, Yemenite-Israeli singer, known as the “Queen of Hebrew Music” (d. 2006)

1929 – Liz Claiborne, Belgian-born American fashion designer, founded Liz Claiborne Inc., first woman to be founder and CEO of a Fortune 500 company (d. 2007)

1938 – Sheila Dikshit, Indian politician, currently Chief Minister of Delhi


Anne Hyde with her husband James and daughters Mary and Anne by Peter Lely (source)

Anne Hyde with her husband James and daughters Mary and Anne by Peter Lely (source)

1671 – Anne Hyde, Duchess of York and Albany as wife of James, Duke of York (later King James II and VII), mother of future sovereigns Mary II, Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland, and Anne, Queen of Great Britain (b. 1637)

1855 – Charlotte Brontë, English author, oldest of the three Brontë sisters, known for her novel Jane Eyre (b. 1816)

1945 – Harriet Boyd Hawes, American archaeologist, nurse and relief worker, known as the director of an archaeological excavation to discover and excavate a Minoan settlement and palace site on the Aegean island of Crete (b. 1871)

1972 – Meena Kumari, Indian actress, influential Hindi actresss, known for her tragic roles (b. 1932)

1995 – Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known simply as Selena, American singer-songwriter, named “top Latin artist of the 90s”, Female Vocalist of the Year at Tejano Music Awards of 1987,  only woman to have five albums in the Billboard 200 simultaneously (b. 1971)

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