March 17 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1762, New York City staged its first parade honoring the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It was led by Irish soldiers serving in the British army.
In 1776, the Continental Army under Gen. George Washington forced British troops to evacuate Boston.
In 1901, 71 paintings by the late Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh were shown at the Bernheim-Jeune gallery in Paris and caused a sensation across the art world.
In 1917, Russia appeared headed toward a republic following the end of the 300-year-old rule of the Romanoff family.
In 1958, the U.S. Navy launched the satellite Vanguard 1 into orbit around Earth.
In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet for India.
In 1969, Golda Meir, a 70-year-old former Milwaukee schoolteacher, was elected first female prime minister of Israel.
In 1974, the oil-producing Arab countries agreed to lift a five-month embargo on petroleum sales to the United States. The embargo, during which gasoline prices soared 300 percent, was in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel during the October 1973 Middle East War.
In 1990, Lithuania rejected the Soviet Union's ultimatum to renounce its declaration of independence a week prior. The Soviets implemented sanctions against Lithuania and conducted a military operation in 1991 before other Soviet republics eventually declared their independence.
In 1992, South African whites, by a margin of 68.7 percent to 31.2 percent, voted to end minority rule.
In 2003, as war with Iraq seemed a certainty, U.S. President George W. Bush gave Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons 48 hours to leave the country. The ultimatum was rejected.