What happened on this day in history: Texas declares independence from Mexico, beloved children's author Dr. Seuss is born, and more noteworthy events from March 2nd.
1836: Texas Declares Independence From Mexico
In the midst of the Texas Revolution, the Republic of Texas formally declares independence from Mexico. During the Convention of 1836, delegates approved a draft of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and the territory became its own nation. David Burnet was declared provisional president, and Sam Houston became the commander-in-chief of Texan forces. It wasn’t until 1845 that Texas would become part of the United States of America.
1904: Dr. Seuss Is Born
Children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, is born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Geisel first adopted the pen name “Dr. Seuss” while attending Dartmouth College, but he didn’t publish his first children’s book — And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street — until 1937 when he was 33 years old. Throughout his prolific career, Geisel wrote more than 60 books that are still adored by children across the world today.
1917: Puerto Rico Becomes A U.S. Territory
President Woodrow Wilson signs the Jones-Shafroth Act, making Puerto Rico a U.S. territory and granting American citizenship to Puerto Ricans. The bill recognized the island as an “organized but unincorporated” territory of the U.S. It also restructured Puerto Rico’s government, allowing it limited political autonomy.
1955: Shoko Asahara Is Born
Shoko Asahara, the leader of the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo, is born to a poor family in Yatsushiro, Japan. He was reportedly a bully as a child, then began studying astrology, Taoism, and other religious concepts as an adult.
Asahara founded Aum Shinrikyo in 1987, and in 1995, members used sarin gas in an attack on the Tokyo subway system. Asahara was convicted of masterminding the plan that killed 12 people and injured thousands more — and was ultimately executed for his crimes in 2018.
1998: Natascha Kampusch Is Kidnapped
Natascha Kampusch is kidnapped by Wolfgang Přiklopil in Austria. Pulled into a van while walking on the street, Kampusch spent the next 3,000 days in her abductor’s cellar. Kampusch used her empathy to relate to her abductor, gaining his trust by asking him for favors and affection. Eight years into her captivity, Kampusch was able to escape by running away from the property and calling for help. Before police could arrest Přiklopil, he committed suicide.