Today is Wednesday, March 23, the 83rd day of 2016. There are 283 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Purim begins at sunset.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry delivered an address to the Virginia Provincial Convention in which he is said to have declared, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

On this date:

In 1792, Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 in G Major (the “Surprise” symphony) had its first public performance in London.

In 1806, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, having reached the Pacific coast, began their journey back east.

In 1914, the first installment of “The Perils of Pauline,” the legendary silent film serial starring Pearl White, premiered in the greater New York City area.

In 1919, Benito Mussolini founded his Fascist political movement in Milan, Italy.

In 1933, the German Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act, which effectively granted Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers.

In 1942, the first Japanese-Americans evacuated by the U.S. Army during World War II arrived at the internment camp in Manzanar, California.

In 1956, Pakistan became an Islamic republic.

In 1965, America’s first two-person space mission took place as Gemini 3 blasted off with astronauts Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young aboard for a nearly 5- hour flight.

In 1973, before sentencing a group of Watergate break-in defendants, Chief U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica read aloud a letter he’d received from James W. McCord Jr. which said there had been “political pressure” to “plead guilty and remain silent.”

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan first proposed developing technology to intercept incoming enemy missiles — an idea that came to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative. Dr. Barney Clark, recipient of a Jarvik permanent artificial heart, died at the University of Utah Medical Center after 112 days with the device.

In 1996, Taiwan held its first direct presidential elections; incumbent Lee Teng-hui was the victor.

In 2001, Russia’s orbiting Mir space station ended its 15-year odyssey with a planned fiery plunge into the South Pacific.

Ten years ago: Conductor and opera company director Sarah Caldwell died in Portland, Maine, at age 82. U.S. and British forces freed three Christian peace activists — one Briton and two Canadians — near Baghdad, ending a four-month hostage ordeal that saw an American in the group killed.

The Associated Press