March 9 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, with one dissent, that the African slaves who seized control of the Amistad slave ship had been illegally forced into slavery and thus were free under U.S. law.
In 1862, a battle between ironclad ships -- the Union's Monitor and the Confederate's Merrimac (renamed the Virginia) -- ended indecisively off Hampton Roads, Va.
In 1864, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was appointed commander in chief of Union forces in the U.S. Civil War.
In 1916, several hundred Mexican guerrillas under the command of Francisco "Pancho" Villa crossed the U.S.-Mexican border and attacked the small border town of Columbus, N.M., killing 17 Americans.
In 1945, more than 300 American B-29 bombers attacked Tokyo with incendiary bombs, killing about 100,000 people and destroying an estimated 250,000 buildings over 16 square miles.
In 1945, more than 300 American B-29 bombers attacked Tokyo with incendiary bombs, killing about 100,000 people and destroying an estimated 250,000 buildings over 16 square miles. The public wasn't notified until more than a month later.
In 1981, dozens of workers at the Japan Atomic Power Company nuclear plant in Tsuruga were exposed to radiation after a sludge tank overflowed. Sixteen tons of the radioactive waste spilled into Wakasa Bay. Officials didn't tell the public until more than a month later.
In 1992, a federal judge in New York announced a final $1.3 billion agreement to settle civil suits growing out of the 1989 collapse of Drexel Burham Lambert, once the most powerful firm on Wall Street.
In 1997, rapper Notorious B.I.G., born Christopher Wallace, died from multiple gunshot wounds after a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. He was 24.
In 2004, John Allen Muhammad was sentenced to death for his part in one of 10 Washington-area sniper killings in 2002. Muhammad was executed in 2009.
In 2005, Dan Rather stepped down as anchor and managing editor of CBS Evening News. His departure followed acknowledgment of major flaws in a broadcast about U.S. President George W. Bush's National Guard service.
In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama lifted the U.S. limit on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, calling it an important advancement in the cause of science in the United States.
In 2011, after 39 flights over 27 years of service, the space shuttle Discovery made its final landing at Kennedy Space Center.
In 2020, Italy extended its COVID-19-related lockdown nationwide after recording more than 9,000 cases and 463 deaths.