Scotland voted in favour of an independent parliament on the first day of March 1979, but a technicality meant the country would be denied its own chamber until a second vote, many years later, asked effectively the same question. It was also the month in which a clear majority of Scotland’s MPs and Members of the European Parliament signed the Claim of Right, declaring the sovereignty of the people of Scotland.

Several notable inventors or inventions appeared in the news in March. A Scottish pioneer of the process of fingerprinting died in Japan, x-ray researcher John Spence was ‘martyred’, and Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, died. Alexander Graham Bell had success in getting his telephone to work, the electric toaster was invented by a man who was actually working to improve electric lighting, and a pioneer of flushing toilets died. His legacy was the S-bend, which helps keep noxious smells out of our homes.

March is the month in which we remember several Scots who helped improve our understanding of the world. Explorer David Livingstone, who set out to find the source of the Nile, was born, and so was the man who gave Antarctica its name. John Murray, considered the father of modern oceanography, died in a car crash, and was buried in Dean Cemetery.


Also in March…

Scotland votes for an independent parliament 1st
Scottish spy Jessie Jordan is arrested 2nd
Elvis visits Scotland 3rd
The Forth Bridge is opened 4th
The Proclaimers are born in Leith 5th
Scott Monument architect drowns in the Union Canal 6th
Two commuter trains crash in Glasgow
BBC makes its first broadcasts in Scotland
Rob Roy is baptised in Perthshire 7th
Scottish flushing toilet pioneer dies 8th
Oor Wullie makes his first appearance in print
Adam Smith publishes The Wealth of Nations 9th
Scotland’s only post-Reformation saint is martyred 10th
Alexander Graham Bell gets the telephone to work
Edinburgh carries out its last female execution 11th
Father of antibiotics dies suddenly
Salmon extinct in the River Kelvin 12th
Mass shooting at Dunblane Primary School 13th
The Church of Scotland becomes a daughter of Rome
Mary McKinnon stands trial for murder 14th
Clydebank suffers aerial attack
Stirling is granted city status
X-ray ‘martyr’ John Spence dies 15th
Oceanographer John Murray killed in a car crash 16th
The First War of Scottish Independence ends 17th
Penmanshiel rail tunnel collapses
Body snatchers Waldie and Torrence are hanged in Edinburgh 18th
Captain Alexander Allan dies in Glasgow
Explorer David Livingstone is born in Bantyre 19th
The inventor of the electric toaster is born 20th
Singer factory workers go on strike 21st
The man who named Antarctica is born in Edinburgh 22nd
Artist and suffragist Ann Macbeth dies 23rd
King James VI of Scotland becomes King James I of England and Ireland 24th
Fingerprinting pioneer dies relatively unknown
Robert the Bruce is crowned King of the Scots 25th
Start of the First War of Scottish Independence 26th
The Church of Scotland ordains its first female minister 27th
Last regular scheduled flight departs from Wick
Firemen are killed at a whisky bond house explosion 28th
Biscuit king Robert McVitie is born 29th
The signing of the Claim of Right 30th
Judge George Lockhart is murdered in broad daylight 31st
Edinburgh architect Robert Morham is born
Actor Ewan McGregor is born