March 4, 1519 — Hernán Cortés lands in Mexico

Hernán Cortés was 34 years old when he led the Spanish Conquistador invasion of Mexico. The initial landing took place on the Yucatan Peninsula, in what was then Maya territory. Cortés’ force was only 500 strong, but they were armed with muskets and cannons, as compared to the arrows and spears used by their opponents.

Although initially peaceful, Cortés’ mission was one of conquest, and would eventually result in the destruction of the Aztec nation and its tributaries, and the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

March 4, 1918 — The earliest confirmed case of the Influenza Pandemic is recorded

Albert Gitchell, an army cook assigned to Camp Funston in Kansas, United States, is generally held to be the earliest known case of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, although it is likely there were cases before his.] The local doctor Loring Miner of Haskell County (also in Kansas) alerted the US Public Health Service as early as January of 1918, but apparently little attention was paid. After Gitchell’s case, the virus spread rapidly throughout Camp Funston, with 522 cases reported in the nest two days, By 11 March 1918, the virus had reached as far as Queens in New York City.

Because America was fighting in World War I at this time, with the frequent movement of men and material between various camps and the battle front, the disease quickly spread from Camp Funston (which was a major training base). By April of 1918, influenza was an epidemic in the Midwest abd East Coast of the United States, as well as some French ports. It then quickly spread to the Western Front, and then to the rest of France, as well as Great Britain, Italy, and Spain. In May, it reached Wrocław and Odessa, far to the East. When the war ended, newly released prisoners of war and demobilizing military forces spread it to other nations – North Africa, India, and Japan reported cases in May, China in June and Australia in July.