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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:23am On Mar 27
TODAY IN HISTORY


Japanese cherry trees planted along the Potomac

In Washington, D.C., Helen Taft, wife of President William Taft, and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, plant two Yoshino cherry trees on the northern bank of the Potomac River, near the Jefferson Memorial. The event was held in celebration of a gift, by the Japanese government, of 3,020 cherry trees to the U.S. government.

The planting of Japanese cherry trees along the Potomac was first proposed by socialite Eliza Scidmore, who raised money for the endeavor. Helen Taft had lived in Japan while her husband was president of the Philippine Commission, and knowing the beauty of cherry blossoms she embraced Scidmore’s idea. After learning of the first lady’s interest, the Japanese consul in New York suggested making a gift of the trees to the U.S. government from the city of Tokyo.

In January 1910, 2,000 Japanese cherry trees arrived in Washington from Japan but had fallen prey to disease during the journey. In response, a private Japanese citizen donated the funds to transport a new batch of trees, and 3,020 specimens were taken from the famous collection on the bank of the Arakawa River in Adachi Ward, a suburb of Tokyo. In March 1912, the trees arrived in Washington, and on March 27 the first two trees were planted along the Potomac River’s Tidal Basin in a formal ceremony. The rest of the trees were then planted along the basin, in East Potomac Park, and on the White House grounds.

The blossoming trees proved immediately popular with visitors to Washington’s Mall area, and in 1934 city commissioners sponsored a three-day celebration of the late March blossoming of the trees, which grew into the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. After World War II, cuttings from Washington’s cherry trees were sent back to Japan to restore the Tokyo collection that was decimated by American bombing attacks during the war.





RUSSIA

1958

Khrushchev becomes Soviet premier

On March 27, 1958, Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev replaces Nicolay Bulganin as Soviet premier, becoming the first leader since Joseph Stalin to simultaneously hold the USSR’s two top offices. Khrushchev, born into a Ukrainian peasant family in 1894.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1964

Earthquake rocks Alaska

The strongest earthquake in American history, measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale, slams southern Alaska, creating a deadly tsunami. Some 131 people were killed and thousands injured. The massive earthquake had its epicenter about 12 miles north of Prince William Sound.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1998

FDA approves Viagra

On March 27, 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves use of the drug Viagra, an oral medication that treats impotence. Sildenafil, the chemical name for Viagra, is an artificial compound that was originally synthesized and studied to treat hypertension.





SPORTS

1939

"March Madness" crowns its first men's NCAA Champion

The University of Oregon defeats The Ohio State University 46–33 on March 27, 1939 to win the first-ever NCAA men’s basketball tournament. "March Madness," as the tournament became known, has grown exponentially in size and popularity since 1939.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1829

President Jackson appoints John Eaton as secretary of war and starts scandal

On March 27, 1829, President Andrew Jackson defies Washington society matrons and appoints scandal-plagued John Eaton as his secretary of war. Earlier that year, Eaton had married a former tavern maid with a supposedly lurid past.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1836

Mexican army executes 417 Texas revolutionaries at Goliad

In a disastrous setback for the Texans resisting Santa Anna’s regime, the Mexican army defeats and executes 417 Texas revolutionaries at Goliad. Long accustomed to enjoying considerable autonomy from their Mexican rulers.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1979

Pattie Boyd and Eric Clapton are married

In early decades of the 20th century, the Viennese beauty Alma Mahler inspired groundbreaking works by a quartet of husbands and lovers drawn from nearly every creative discipline: music (Gustav Mahler); literature (Franz Werfel); art (Oskar Kokoschka); and architecture (Walter).





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1973

Marlon Brando declines Best Actor Oscar

On March 27, 1973, the actor Marlon Brando declines the Academy Award for Best Actor for his career-reviving performance in The Godfather. The Native American actress Sacheen Littlefeather attended the ceremony in Brando’s place.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1977

Jumbo jets collide at Canary Islands airport

On March 27, 1977, two 747 jumbo jets crash into each other on the runway at an airport in the Canary Islands, killing 583 passengers and crew members. Both Boeing 747s were charter jets that were not supposed to be at the Los Rodeos Airport on Santa Cruz de Tenerife that day.





CRIME

1905

Fingerprint evidence is used to solve a British murder case

The neighbors of Thomas and Ann Farrow, shopkeepers in South London, discover their badly bludgeoned bodies in their home. Thomas was already dead, but Ann was still breathing. She died four days later without ever having regained consciousness.





CIVIL WAR

1865

Lincoln, Sherman and Grant plan final stages of Civil War

On March 27, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln meets with Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman at City Point, Virginia, to plot the last stages of the Civil War. Lincoln went to Virginia just as Grant was preparing to attack Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1952

Kiichiro Toyoda, founder of the Toyota Motor Corporation, dies

Kiichiro Toyoda, founder of the Toyota Motor Corporation, which in 2008 surpassed America’s General Motors as the world’s largest automaker, dies at the age of 57 in Japan on March 27, 1952. Toyoda was born in Japan on June 11, 1894.







AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1775

Thomas Jefferson elected to the Continental Congress

Future President Thomas Jefferson is elected to the second Continental Congress on March 27, 1775. Jefferson, a Virginia delegate, quickly established himself in the Continental Congress with the publication of his paper titled A Summary View of the Rights of British America.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:50am On Mar 28
TODAY IN HISTORY

Nuclear disaster at Three Mile Island

At 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island fails to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining buildings, and the core began to dangerously overheat.

The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant was built in 1974 on a sandbar on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River, just 10 miles downstream from the state capitol in Harrisburg. In 1978, a second state-of-the-art reactor began operating on Three Mile Island, which was lauded for generating affordable and reliable energy in a time of energy crises.

After the cooling water began to drain out of the broken pressure valve on the morning of March 28, 1979, emergency cooling pumps automatically went into operation. Left alone, these safety devices would have prevented the development of a larger crisis. However, human operators in the control room misread confusing and contradictory readings and shut off the emergency water system. The reactor was also shut down, but residual heat from the fission process was still being released. By early morning, the core had heated to over 4,000 degrees, just 1,000 degrees short of meltdown. In the meltdown scenario, the core melts, and deadly radiation drifts across the countryside, fatally sickening a potentially great number of people.

As the plant operators struggled to understand what had happened, the contaminated water was releasing radioactive gases throughout the plant. The radiation levels, though not immediately life-threatening, were dangerous, and the core cooked further as the contaminated water was contained and precautions were taken to protect the operators. Shortly after 8 a.m., word of the accident leaked to the outside world. The plant’s parent company, Metropolitan Edison, downplayed the crisis and claimed that no radiation had been detected off plant grounds, but the same day inspectors detected slightly increased levels of radiation nearby as a result of the contaminated water leak. Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh considered calling an evacuation.

Finally, at about 8 p.m., plant operators realized they needed to get water moving through the core again and restarted the pumps. The temperature began to drop, and pressure in the reactor was reduced. The reactor had come within less than an hour of a complete meltdown. More than half the core was destroyed or molten, but it had not broken its protective shell, and no radiation was escaping. The crisis was apparently over.

Two days later, however, on March 30, a bubble of highly flammable hydrogen gas was discovered within the reactor building. The bubble of gas was created two days before when exposed core materials reacted with super-heated steam. On March 28, some of this gas had exploded, releasing a small amount of radiation into the atmosphere. At that time, plant operators had not registered the explosion, which sounded like a ventilation door closing. After the radiation leak was discovered on March 30, residents were advised to stay indoors. Experts were uncertain if the hydrogen bubble would create further meltdown or possibly a giant explosion, and as a precaution Governor Thornburgh advised “pregnant women and pre-school age children to leave the area within a five-mile radius of the Three Mile Island facility until further notice.” This led to the panic the governor had hoped to avoid; within days, more than 100,000 people had fled surrounding towns.

On April 1, President Jimmy Carter arrived at Three Mile Island to inspect the plant. Carter, a trained nuclear engineer, had helped dismantle a damaged Canadian nuclear reactor while serving in the U.S. Navy. His visit achieved its aim of calming local residents and the nation. That afternoon, experts agreed that the hydrogen bubble was not in danger of exploding. Slowly, the hydrogen was bled from the system as the reactor cooled.

At the height of the crisis, plant workers were exposed to unhealthy levels of radiation, but no one outside Three Mile Island had their health adversely affected by the accident. Nonetheless, the incident greatly eroded the public’s faith in nuclear power. The unharmed Unit-1 reactor at Three Mile Island, which was shut down during the crisis, did not resume operation until 1985. Cleanup continued on Unit-2 until 1990, but it was too damaged to be rendered usable again. In the four decades since the accident at Three Mile Island, not a single new nuclear power plant has been ordered in the United States.







U.S. PRESIDENTS

1969

President Eisenhower dies

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States and one of the most highly regarded American generals of World War II, dies in Washington, D.C., at the age of 78. Born in Denison, Texas, in 1890, Eisenhower graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1915.





HISPANIC HISTORY

1939

Spanish Civil War ends

In Spain, the Republican defenders of Madrid raise the white flag over the city, bringing to an end the bloody three-year Spanish Civil War. In 1931, Spanish King Alfonso XIII approved elections to decide the government of Spain, and voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish the law.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1958

W.C. Handy—the “Father of the Blues”—dies

“With all their differences, my forebears had one thing in common: if they had any musical talent, it remained buried.” So wrote William Christopher Handy in his autobiography in discussing the absence of music in his home life as a child. Born in northern Alabama in 1873.







WORLD WAR I

1915

First American citizen killed during WWI

On March 28, 1915, the first American citizen is killed in the eight-month-old European conflict that would become known as the First World War. Leon Thrasher, a 31-year-old mining engineer and native of Massachusetts, drowned when a German submarine, the U-28, torpedoed the Wave.





SPORTS

1984

Baltimore Colts move to Indianapolis

On March 28, 1984, Bob Irsay (1923-1997), owner of the once-mighty Baltimore Colts, moves the team to Indianapolis. Without any sort of public announcement, Irsay hired movers to pack up the team’s offices in Owings Mills, Maryland, in the middle of the night.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1834

Congress censures President Jackson

On March 28, 1834, President Andrew Jackson is censured by Congress for refusing to turn over documents. Jackson was the first president to suffer this formal disapproval from Congress. During his first term, Jackson decided to dismantle the Bank of the United States.





CRIME

1814

Funeral held for the man behind the guillotine

The funeral of Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, the namesake of the infamous execution device, takes place outside of Paris, France. Guillotin had what he felt were the purest motives for inventing the guillotine and was deeply distressed at how his reputation had become besmirched.





CRIME

2006

Duke lacrosse team suspended following sexual assault allegations

Duke University officials suspend the men’s lacrosse team for two games following allegations that team members sexually assaulted a stripper hired to perform at a party. Three players were later charged with rape. The case became a national scandal, impacted by issues of race.





CIVIL WAR

1862

Union forces halt Confederates at Battle of Glorieta Pass

On March 28, 1862, Union forces stop the Confederate invasion of New Mexico Territory when they turn the Rebels back at Glorieta Pass. This action was part of the broader movement by the Confederates to capture New Mexico and other parts of the West.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1774

British Parliament adopts the Coercive Acts in response to the Boston Tea Party

Upset by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant acts of destruction of British property by American colonists, the British Parliament enacts the Coercive Acts, to the outrage of American Patriots, on March 28, 1774.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:05am On Mar 29
TODAY IN HISTORY

U.S. withdraws from Vietnam

Two months after the signing of the Vietnam peace agreement, the last U.S. combat troops leave South Vietnam as Hanoi frees the remaining American prisoners of war held in North Vietnam. America’s direct eight-year intervention in the Vietnam War was at an end. In Saigon, some 7,000 U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees remained behind to aid South Vietnam in conducting what looked to be a fierce and ongoing war with communist North Vietnam.

In 1961, after two decades of indirect military aid, U.S. President John F. Kennedy sent the first large force of U.S. military personnel to Vietnam to bolster the ineffectual autocratic regime of South Vietnam against the communist North. Three years later, with the South Vietnamese government crumbling, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered limited bombing raids on North Vietnam, and Congress authorized the use of U.S. troops. By 1965, North Vietnamese offensives left President Johnson with two choices: escalate U.S. involvement or withdraw. Johnson ordered the former, and troop levels soon jumped to more than 300,000 as U.S. air forces commenced the largest bombing campaign in history.

During the next few years, the extended length of the war, the high number of U.S. casualties, and the exposure of U.S. involvement in war crimes, such as the massacre at My Lai, helped turn many in the United States against the Vietnam War. The communists’ Tet Offensive of 1968 crushed U.S. hopes of an imminent end to the conflict and galvanized U.S. opposition to the war. In response, Johnson announced in March 1968 that he would not seek reelection, citing what he perceived to be his responsibility in creating a perilous national division over Vietnam. He also authorized the beginning of peace talks.

In the spring of 1969, as protests against the war escalated in the United States, U.S. troop strength in the war-torn country reached its peak at nearly 550,000 men. Richard Nixon, the new U.S. president, began U.S. troop withdrawal and “Vietnamization” of the war effort that year, but he intensified bombing. Large U.S. troop withdrawals continued in the early 1970s as President Nixon expanded air and ground operations into Cambodia and Laos in attempts to block enemy supply routes along Vietnam’s borders. This expansion of the war, which accomplished few positive results, led to new waves of protests in the United States and elsewhere.

Finally, in January 1973, representatives of the United States, North and South Vietnam, and the Vietcong signed a peace agreement in Paris, ending the direct U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. Its key provisions included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam, the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the release of prisoners of war, and the reunification of North and South Vietnam through peaceful means. The South Vietnamese government was to remain in place until new elections were held, and North Vietnamese forces in the South were not to advance further nor be reinforced.

In reality, however, the agreement was little more than a face-saving gesture by the U.S. government. Even before the last American troops departed on March 29, the communists violated the cease-fire, and by early 1974 full-scale war had resumed. At the end of 1974, South Vietnamese authorities reported that 80,000 of their soldiers and civilians had been killed in fighting during the year, making it the most costly of the Vietnam War.

On April 30, 1975, the last few Americans still in South Vietnam were airlifted out of the country as Saigon fell to communist forces. North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin, accepting the surrender of South Vietnam later in the day, remarked, “You have nothing to fear; between Vietnamese there are no victors and no vanquished. Only the Americans have been defeated.” The Vietnam War was the longest and most unpopular foreign war in U.S. history and cost 58,000 American lives. As many as two million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians were killed.







ALSO ON THIS DAY



INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1958

Keeling Curve, showing increase of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere, is discovered

In March of 1958, Dr. Charles David Keeling begins regularly measuring the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawai'i. Over the ensuing years, his research will reveal what is now known as the Keeling Curve: a graph of continuously-taken.





SPACE EXPLORATION

1974

U.S. space probe, Mariner, visits Mercury

The unmanned U.S. space probe Mariner 10, launched by NASA in November 1973, becomes the first spacecraft to visit the planet Mercury, sending back close-up images of a celestial body usually obscured because of its proximity to the sun.





VIETNAM WAR

1971

Lt. William Calley found guilty of My Lai murders

Lt. William L. Calley is found guilty of premeditated murder at My Lai by a U.S. Army court-martial at Fort Benning, Georgia. Calley, a platoon leader, had led his men in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, at My Lai 4, a cluster of hamlets in Quang.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1929

Herbert Hoover has telephone installed in Oval Office

On March 29, 1929, President Herbert Hoover has a phone installed at his desk in the Oval Office of the White House. It took a while to get the line to Hoover’s desk working correctly and the president complained to aides when his son was unable to get through on the Oval Office.





CRIME

1951

The "Mad Bomber" strikes in New York

On March 29, 1951, a homemade device explodes at Grand Central Station in New York City, startling commuters but injuring no one. In the next few months, five more bombs were found at landmark sites around New York, including the public library.





COLD WAR

1951

Rosenbergs convicted of espionage

In one of the most sensational trials in American history, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted of espionage for their role in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets during and after World War II. The husband and wife were later sentenced to death and were executed in 1953.







CIVIL WAR

1865

Appomattox, the final campaign in the Civil War, begins

On March 29, 1865, the final campaign of the Civil War begins in Virginia when Union troops under General Ulysses S. Grant move against the Confederate trenches around Petersburg. General Robert E. Lee’s outnumbered Rebels were soon forced to evacuate the city.





WORLD WAR I

1917

Swedish prime minister resigns over WWI policy

Prime Minister Hjalmar Hammarskjöld of Sweden, father of the famous future United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld, resigns on this day in 1917 after his policy of strict neutrality in World War I—including continued trading with Germany.





WORLD WAR II

1945

Patton takes Frankfurt

Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army captures Frankfurt, as “Old Blood and Guts” continues his march east. Frankfurt am Main, literally “On the Main” River, in western Germany, was the mid-19th century capital of Germany (it was annexed by Prussia in 1866.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:18am On Mar 31
TODAY IN HISTORY

Eiffel Tower opens

On March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower is dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by Gustave Eiffel, the tower’s designer, and attended by French Prime Minister Pierre Tirard, a handful of other dignitaries, and 200 construction workers.

In 1889, to honor of the centenary of the French Revolution, the French government planned an international exposition and announced a design competition for a monument to be built on the Champ-de-Mars in central Paris. Out of more than 100 designs submitted, the Centennial Committee chose Eiffel’s plan of an open-lattice wrought-iron tower that would reach almost 1,000 feet above Paris and be the world’s tallest man-made structure. Eiffel, a noted bridge builder, was a master of metal construction and designed the framework of the Statue of Liberty that had recently been erected in New York Harbor.

Eiffel’s tower was greeted with skepticism from critics who argued that it would be structurally unsound, and indignation from others who thought it would be an eyesore in the heart of Paris. Unperturbed, Eiffel completed his great tower under budget in just two years. Only one worker lost his life during construction, which at the time was a remarkably low casualty number for a project of that magnitude. The light, airy structure was by all accounts a technological wonder and within a few decades came to be regarded as an architectural masterpiece.

The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall and consists of an iron framework supported on four masonry piers, from which rise four columns that unite to form a single vertical tower. Platforms, each with an observation deck, are at three levels. Elevators ascend the piers on a curve, and Eiffel contracted the Otis Elevator Company of the United States to design the tower’s famous glass-cage elevators.

The elevators were not completed by March 31, 1889, however, so Gustave Eiffel ascended the tower’s stairs with a few hardy companions and raised an enormous French tricolor on the structure’s flagpole. Fireworks were then set off from the second platform. Eiffel and his party descended, and the architect addressed the guests and about 200 workers. In early May, the Paris International Exposition opened, and the tower served as the entrance gateway to the giant fair.

The Eiffel Tower remained the world’s tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. Incredibly, the Eiffel Tower was almost demolished when the International Exposition’s 20-year lease on the land expired in 1909, but its value as an antenna for radio transmission saved it. It remains largely unchanged today and is one of the world’s premier tourist attractions.





RELIGION

1492

Spain announces it will expel all Jews

In 1492, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castille conquered the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, finally freeing Spain from Muslim rule after nearly 800 years. Not long after, the monarchs, whose marriage and conquests cemented Spain as a unified kingdom.





CRIME

1999

Evidence of murder is uncovered in New Mexico

Law enforcement officers in Elephant Butte, New Mexico, began digging for evidence near the mobile home of David Parker Ray and Cynthia Lea Hendy after more evidence came to light about the couple’s activities.





JAPAN

1854

Treaty of Kanagawa signed with Japan

In Tokyo, Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, representing the U.S. government, signs the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade and permitting the establishment of a U.S. consulate in Japan.





CHINA

1959

Dalai Lama begins exile

The Dalai Lama, fleeing the Chinese suppression of a national uprising in Tibet, crosses the border into India, where he is granted political asylum. Born in Taktser, China, as Tensin Gyatso, he was designated the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1943

"Oklahoma!" premieres on Broadway

The financial risk of mounting a Broadway musical is so great that few productions ever make it to the Great White Way without a period of tryouts and revisions outside of New York City. This was as true in the 1940s as it is today, and especially so during the war years.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1999

"The Matrix" released in theaters

On March 31, 1999, the writing and directing sibling team of Lana and Lilly Wachowski release their second film, the mind-blowing science-fiction blockbuster The Matrix. Born and raised in Chicago, the Wachowskis both dropped out of college and started a house-painting job.





COLD WAR

1991

Warsaw Pact ends

After 36 years in existence, the Warsaw Pact—the military alliance between the Soviet Union and its eastern European satellites—comes to an end. The action was yet another sign that the Soviet Union was losing control over its former allies and that the Cold War was falling.





WORLD WAR I

1905

The First Moroccan Crisis

On March 31, 1905, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany arrives in Tangiers to declare his support for the sultan of Morocco, provoking the anger of France and Britain in what will become known as the First Moroccan Crisis.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1776

Abigail Adams urges husband to “remember the ladies”

In a letter dated March 31, 1776, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John Adams, urging him and the other members of the Continental Congress not to forget about the nation’s women when fighting for America’s independence from Great Britain.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:57am On Apr 01
TODAY IN HISTORY


April Fools’ tradition popularized

On April 1, 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on each other.

Although the day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery.

Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.

These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as poisson d’avril (April fish), said to symbolize a young, “easily hooked” fish and a gullible person.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.







COLONIAL AMERICA

1621

The Pilgrim-Wampanoag peace treaty

At the Plymouth settlement in present-day Massachusetts, the leaders of the Plymouth colonists, acting on behalf of King James I, make a defensive alliance with Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoags. The agreement, in which both parties promised to not “doe hurt” to one another.





GREAT BRITAIN

1918

RAF founded

On April 1, 1918, the Royal Air Force (RAF) is formed with the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). The RAF took its place beside the British navy and army as a separate military service with its own ministry.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1993

The “Polish Prince” killed in plane crash

On April 1, 1993, race car driver and owner Alan Kulwicki, who won the 1992 National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Winston Cup championship by one of the tightest margins in series history, is killed in a plane crash near Bristol, Tennessee.





WORLD WAR II

1945

U.S. troops land on Okinawa

On April 1, 1945, after suffering the loss of 116 planes and damage to three aircraft carriers, 50,000 U.S. combat troops, under the command of Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner Jr., land on the southwest coast of the Japanese island of Okinawa, 350 miles south of Kyushu.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1970

Nixon signs legislation banning cigarette ads on TV and radio

On April 1, 1970, President Richard Nixon signs legislation officially banning cigarette ads on television and radio. Nixon, who was an avid pipe smoker, indulging in as many as eight bowls a day, supported the legislation at the increasing insistence of public health advocates.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1984

Marvin Gaye is shot and killed by his own father

At the peak of his career, Marvin Gaye was the Prince of Motown—the soulful voice behind hits as wide-ranging as “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” and “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology).” Like his label-mate Stevie Wonder, Gaye both epitomized and outgrew the crowd-pleasing sound. But as the critic Michael Eric Dyson put it, the man who “chased away the demons of millions…with his heavenly sound and divine art” was chased by demons of his own throughout his life. That life came to a tragic end on April 1, 1984, when Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his own father one day short of his 45th birthday.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1816

Jane Austen declines royal writing advice

Jane Austen responds to a letter from the Prince Regent (the future King George IV) suggesting she write a historic romance, saying, “I could not sit down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life.”





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1963

Soap operas "General Hospital" and "The Doctors" premiere

On April 1, 1963, the ABC television network airs the premiere episode of General Hospital, the daytime drama that will become the network’s most enduring soap opera and the longest-running serial program produced in Hollywood. On the same day, rival network NBC debuts its own Soap Opera.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1946

Alaskan earthquake triggers massive tsunami

On April 1, 1946, an undersea earthquake off the Alaskan coast triggers a massive tsunami that kills 159 people in Hawaii. In the middle of the night, 13,000 feet beneath the ocean surface, a 7.4-magnitude tremor was recorded in the North Pacific.





CRIME

1924

Hitler sentenced for his role in Beer Hall Putsch

Adolf Hitler is sentenced for his role in the Beer Hall Putsch of November 8, 1923. The attempted coup in Munich by right-wing members of the army and the Nazi Party was foiled by the government, and Hitler was charged with high treason.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1789

First U.S. House of Representatives elects speaker

On April 1, 1789, the first U.S. House of Representatives, meeting in New York City, reaches quorum and elects Pennsylvania Representative Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg as its first speaker.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:28am On Apr 03
TODAY IN HISTORY


Pony Express debuts

On April 3, 1860, the first Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, simultaneously leaves St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Ten days later, on April 13, the westbound rider and mail packet completed the approximately 1,800-mile journey and arrived in Sacramento, beating the eastbound packet’s arrival in St. Joseph by two days and setting a new standard for speedy mail delivery. Although ultimately short-lived and unprofitable, the Pony Express captivated America’s imagination and helped win federal aid for a more economical overland postal system. It also contributed to the economy of the towns on its route and served the mail-service needs of the American West in the days before the telegraph or an efficient transcontinental railroad.

The Pony Express debuted at a time before radios and telephones, when California, which achieved statehood in 1850, was still largely cut off from the eastern part of the country. Letters sent from New York to the West Coast traveled by ship, which typically took at least a month, or by stagecoach on the recently established Butterfield Express overland route, which could take from three weeks to many months to arrive. Compared to the snail’s pace of the existing delivery methods, the Pony Express’ average delivery time of 10 days seemed like lightning speed.

The Pony Express Company, the brainchild of William H. Russell, William Bradford Waddell and Alexander Majors, owners of a freight business, was set up over 150 relay stations along a pioneer trail across the present-day states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. Riders, who were paid approximately $25 per week and carried loads estimated at up to 20 pounds of mail, were changed every 75 to 100 miles, with horses switched out every 10 to 15 miles. Among the riders was the legendary frontiersman and showman William “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846-1917), who reportedly signed on with the Pony Express at age 14. The company’s riders set their fastest time with Lincoln’s inaugural address, which was delivered in just less than eight days.

The initial cost of Pony Express delivery was $5 for every half-ounce of mail. The company began as a private enterprise and its owners hoped to gain a profitable delivery contract from the U.S. government, but that never happened. With the advent of the first transcontinental telegraph line in October 1861, the Pony Express ceased operations. However, the legend of the lone Pony Express rider galloping across the Old West frontier to deliver the mail lives on today.







U.S. PRESIDENTS

1948

President Harry Truman signs Marshall Plan

On April 3, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signs the Economic Assistance Act, which authorized the creation of a program that would help the nations of Europe recover and rebuild after the devastation wrought by World War II. Commonly known as the Marshall Plan.





CRIME

1996

Unabomber arrested

At his small wilderness cabin near Lincoln, Montana, Theodore John Kaczynski is arrested by FBI agents and accused of being the Unabomber, the elusive terrorist blamed for 16 mail bombs that killed three people and injured 23 during an 18-year period.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1996

U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown, killed in plane crash

Ronald H. Brown, the U.S. secretary of commerce, is killed along with 32 other Americans when their U.S. Air Force plane crashes into a mountain near Dubrovnik, Croatia. Brown was leading a delegation of business executives to the former Yugoslavia to explore business.





CRIME

1936

Bruno Hauptmann, convicted of kidnapping Lindbergh’s son, executed

Bruno Richard Hauptmann, convicted in the 1932 kidnapping and murder of the 20-month-old son of Charles A. Lindbergh, is executed by electrocution. On March 1, 1932, Charles Lindbergh Jr., the son of the famous American aviator who made the first solo, nonstop transatlantic movement.





VIETNAM WAR

1969

Nixon administration vows to "Vietnamize" the war

Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announces that the United States is moving to “Vietnamize” the war as rapidly as possible. By this, he meant that the responsibility for the fighting would be gradually transferred to the South Vietnamese as they became more combat capable.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1817

Texas Ranger “Big Foot” Wallace born

The legendary Texas Ranger and frontiersman “Big Foot” Wallace is born in Lexington, Virginia. In 1836, 19-year-old William Alexander Anderson Wallace received news that one of his brothers had been killed in the Battle of Goliad.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1948

"The Louisiana Hayride" radio program premieres on KWKH-AM Shreveport

Even the most ardent non-fans of country music can probably name the weekly live show and radio program that is regarded as country music’s biggest stage: the Grand Ole Opry, out of Nashville, Tennessee.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1955

ACLU says it will contest obscenity of "Howl"

The American Civil Liberties Union announces it will defend Allen Ginsberg’s book Howl against obscenity charges. The U.S. Customs Department had seized some 520 copies of the book several weeks earlier as the book entered the U.S. from England, where it had been printed.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1978

"Annie Hall" beats out "Star Wars" for Best Picture

The rise of the action-adventure blockbuster was on the horizon, but on April 3, 1978, the small-scale romantic comedy triumphs over the big-budget space extravaganza. At the 50th annual Academy Awards, held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.





CRIME

1882

Jesse James is murdered

One of America’s most famous criminals, Jesse James, is shot to death by fellow gang member Bob Ford, who betrayed James for reward money. For 16 years, Jesse and his brother, Frank, committed robberies and murders throughout the Midwest.





CIVIL WAR

1865

Confederate capital of Richmond is captured

The Rebel capital of Richmond, Virginia, falls to the Union, the most significant sign that the Confederacy is nearing its final days. For ten months, General Ulysses S. Grant had tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate the city.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1776

Congress authorizes privateers to attack British vessels

Because it lacked sufficient funds to build a strong navy, the Continental Congress gives privateers permission to attack any and all British ships on April 3, 1776. In a bill signed by John Hancock, its president, and dated April 3, 1776.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 11:12am On Apr 04
TODAY IN HISTORY

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated

Just after 6 p.m. on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. is fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The civil rights leader was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike and was on his way to dinner when a bullet struck him in the jaw and severed his spinal cord. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital. He was 39 years old.

In the months before his assassination, Martin Luther King became increasingly concerned with the problem of economic inequality in America. He organized a Poor People’s Campaign to focus on the issue, including a march on Washington, and in March 1968 traveled to Memphis in support of poorly treated African-American sanitation workers. On March 28, a workers’ protest march led by King ended in violence and the death of an African American teenager. King left the city but vowed to return in early April to lead another demonstration.

On April 3, back in Memphis, King gave his last sermon, saying, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop … And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”

One day after speaking those words, Dr. King was shot and killed by a sniper. As word of the assassination spread, riots broke out in cities all across the United States and National Guard troops were deployed in Memphis and Washington, D.C. On April 9, King was laid to rest in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to pay tribute to King’s casket as it passed by in a wooden farm cart drawn by two mules.

The evening of King’s murder, a Remington .30-06 hunting rifle was found on the sidewalk beside a rooming house one block from the Lorraine Motel. During the next several weeks, the rifle, eyewitness reports, and fingerprints on the weapon all implicated a single suspect: escaped convict James Earl Ray. A two-bit criminal, Ray escaped a Missouri prison in April 1967 while serving a sentence for a holdup. In May 1968, a massive manhunt for Ray began. The FBI eventually determined that he had obtained a Canadian passport under a false identity, which at the time was relatively easy.

On June 8, Scotland Yard investigators arrested Ray at a London airport. He was trying to fly to Belgium, with the eventual goal, he later admitted, of reaching Rhodesia. Rhodesia, now called Zimbabwe, was at the time ruled by an oppressive and internationally condemned white minority government. Extradited to the United States, Ray stood before a Memphis judge in March 1969 and pleaded guilty to King’s murder in order to avoid the electric chair. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Three days later, he attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was innocent of King’s assassination and had been set up as a patsy in a larger conspiracy. He claimed that in 1967, a mysterious man named “Raoul” had approached him and recruited him into a gunrunning enterprise. On April 4, 1968, he said, he realized that he was to be the fall guy for the King assassination and fled to Canada. Ray’s motion was denied, as were his dozens of other requests for a trial during the next 29 years.

During the 1990s, the widow and children of Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke publicly in support of Ray and his claims, calling him innocent and speculating about an assassination conspiracy involving the U.S. government and military. U.S. authorities were, in conspiracists’ minds, implicated circumstantially. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover obsessed over King, who he thought was under communist influence. For the last six years of his life, King underwent constant wiretapping and harassment by the FBI. Before his death, Dr. King was also monitored by U.S. military intelligence, which may have been asked to watch King after he publicly denounced the Vietnam War in 1967. Furthermore, by calling for radical economic reforms in 1968, including guaranteed annual incomes for all, King was making few new friends in the Cold War-era U.S. government.

Over the years, the assassination has been reexamined by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the Shelby County, Tennessee, district attorney’s office, and three times by the U.S. Justice Department. The investigations all ended with the same conclusion: James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King. The House committee acknowledged that a low-level conspiracy might have existed, involving one or more accomplices to Ray, but uncovered no evidence to definitively prove this theory. In addition to the mountain of evidence against him—such as his fingerprints on the murder weapon and his admitted presence at the rooming house on April 4—Ray had a definite motive in assassinating King: hatred. According to his family and friends, he was an outspoken racist who informed them of his intent to kill Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He died in 1998.







21ST CENTURY

2007

Radio host Don Imus makes offensive remarks about Rutgers' women's basketball team

On April 4, 2007, syndicated talk radio host Don Imus ignites a firestorm after making racially disparaging remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team, insulting their appearance and tattoos and, most infamously, calling them “nappy-headed hos.”





SPORTS

1974

Hank Aaron ties Babe Ruth's home run record

As the 1974 Major League Baseball season began, all eyes were on Hank Aaron. He had finished 1973 with 713 career home runs, one shy of the all-time record set by Babe Ruth. On April 4, Opening Day, a 39-year-old Aaron sent the very first pitch he saw over the wall.





1970S

1973

World Trade Center, then the world's tallest building, opens in New York City

The “Twin Towers” of the World Trade Center officially open in New York City. The buildings replaced the Empire State Building as the world’s tallest building. Though they would only hold that title for a year, they remained a dominant feature of the city’s skyline.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1975

Microsoft founded

On April 4, 1975, at a time when most Americans used typewriters, childhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen found Microsoft, a company that makes computer software. Originally based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Microsoft relocated to Washington State in 1979.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2013

Movie critic Roger Ebert dies

On April 4, 2013, one of America’s best-known and most influential movie critics, Roger Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, dies at age 70 after a battling cancer. In 1975, Ebert started co-hosting a movie review program on TV.





WORLD WAR I

1918

Second Battle of the Somme ends

During World War I, the Second Battle of the Somme, the first major German offensive in more than a year, ends on the western front. On March 21, 1918, a major offensive against Allied positions in the Somme River region of France began with five hours of bombardment.





WORLD WAR I

1918

Germans and Allies step up operations near Somme

On this day in 1918, German forces in the throes of a major spring offensive on the Western Front launch a renewed attack on Allied positions between the Somme and Avre Rivers. The first stage of the German offensive, dubbed “Operation Michael,” began March 21, 1918.





VIETNAM WAR

1967

Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks out against the war

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, delivers a speech entitled “Beyond Vietnam” in front of 3,000 people at Riverside Church in New York City.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1865

President Lincoln dreams about his assassination

According to the recollection of one of his friends, Ward Hill Lamon, President Abraham Lincoln dreams on this night in 1865 of “the subdued sobs of mourners” and a corpse lying on a catafalque in the White House East Room. In the dream, Lincoln asked a soldier standing guard “Who is dead in the White House?” to which the soldier replied, “the President. He was killed by an assassin.” Lincoln woke up at that point. On April 11, he told Lamon that the dream had “strangely annoyed” him ever since. Ten days after having the dream, Lincoln was shot dead by an assassin while attending the theater.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1841

President Harrison dies—just 32 days into office

President William Henry Harrison dies after serving only 32 days in office on this day in 1841. Harrison holds the unfortunate presidential record of shortest term in office. Ironically, the man with the shortest White House tenure delivered the longest inaugural address in History.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1928

Maya Angelou is born

Poet and novelist Maya Angelou—born Marguerite Johnson—is born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her parents divorced when she was three, and she and her brother went to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. When she was eight, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1960

"Ben-Hur" wins 11 Academy Awards

Clocking in at three hours and 32 minutes, William Wyler’s Technicolor epic Ben-Hur is the behemoth entry at the 32nd annual Academy Awards ceremony, held on this day in 1960, at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Setting an Oscar record, the film swept 11 of the 12.





EARLY 20TH CENTURY US

1933

Dirigible crash kills 73 in New Jersey

On April 4, 1933, a dirigible crashes in New Jersey, killing 73 people in one of the first air disasters in history. The Akron was the largest airship built in the United States when it took its first flight in August 1931. In its short life of less than two years.





COLD WAR

1949

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) pact signed

The United States and 11 other nations establish the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a mutual defense pact aimed at containing possible Soviet aggression against Western Europe. NATO stood as the main U.S.-led military alliance against the Soviet Union.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1776

General George Washington begins march to New York

After the successful siege of Boston, General George Washington begins marching his unpaid soldiers from their headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, toward New York in anticipation of a British invasion, on April 4, 1776.





WORLD WAR II

1884

Isoroku Yamamoto, Japan’s mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack, is born

Isoroku Yamamoto, perhaps Japan’s greatest strategist and the officer who would contrive the surprise air attack on U.S. naval forces at Pearl Harbor, is born on April 4, 1884. A graduate of the Japanese naval academy in 1904.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 8:46am On Apr 05
TODAY IN HISTORY

Grunge rock icon Kurt Cobain dies by suicide

Modern rock icon Kurt Cobain dies by suicide on April 5, 1994. His body was discovered inside his home in Seattle, Washington, three days later by Gary Smith, an electrician, who was installing a security system in the suburban house. Despite indications that Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, killed himself, some skeptics questioned the circumstances of his death and pinned responsibility on his wife, Courtney Love.

Cobain’s downward spiral began taking shape in Italy the previous month. He went into a coma and nearly died after mixing champagne and the drug Rohypnol. The public was led to believe that the coma was induced by an accidental heroin overdose, since Cobain had a well-known problem with the drug.

Back at home in Seattle, the police were called to Cobain and Love’s home when he again threatened to kill himself. Although Cobain stated in a 1991 interview that he didn’t believe in guns, the officers confiscated four from his possession. As his wife and friends watched him spin out of control, they attempted to intervene. Cobain mostly ignored their concerns but reluctantly checked into a rehabilitation clinic in Los Angeles at the end of March.

On March 30, Cobain walked away from the clinic without informing his family or friends. For the next few days, Love could not locate him and decided to hire a private detective on April 3. The detective made contact with Cobain the following day in Seattle, but Cobain refused to return to Los Angeles.

In the meantime, Cobain had convinced a friend to buy him a gun, claiming he needed it for protection. On April 5, Cobain returned home. He had ingested enough Valium and heroin to reach near-fatal levels. In the apartment above the garage was Cobain’s suicide note, quoting Neil Young’s lyric that it is “better to burn out than to fade away.”





GREAT BRITAIN

1955

Winston Churchill retires as prime minister

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, retires as prime minister of Great Britain. Born at Blenheim Palace in 1874, Churchill joined the British Fourth Hussars upon his father’s death.





WOMEN'S RIGHTS

1992

Abortion rights advocates march on Washington

A march and rally in support of reproductive justice for women draws several hundred thousand people to demonstrations in Washington, D.C. One of the largest protest marches on the nation’s capital.





NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY

1614

Pocahontas marries John Rolfe

Pocahontas, daughter of the chief of the Powhatan Indian confederacy, marries English tobacco planter John Rolfe in Jamestown, Virginia. The marriage ensured peace between the Jamestown settlers and the Powhatan tribe for several years.





WORLD WAR II

1945

Yugoslavian partisan leader Tito signs “friendship treaty” with Soviet Union

On April 5, 1945, Yugoslav partisan leader Tito signs an agreement permitting “temporary entry of Soviet troops into Yugoslav territory.” Josip Broz, alias “Tito,” secretary general of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, led a partisan counteroffensive movement against the Axis.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1792

Washington exercises first presidential veto

George Washington exercises the first presidential veto of a Congressional bill on April 5, 1792. The bill introduced a new plan for dividing seats in the House of Representatives that would have increased the amount of seats for northern states.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1933

FDR creates Civilian Conservation Corps

On April 5, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), an innovative federally funded organization that put tens of thousands of Americans to work during the Great Depression on projects with environmental benefits.







1970S

1976

Business magnate and famed aviator Howard Hughes dies

Howard Robard Hughes, one of the richest men to emerge from the American West during the 20th century, dies while flying from Acapulco to Houston. Born in Houston, Texas, in 1905, Hughes inherited an estate of nearly a million dollars when his father died in 1923.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1968

James Brown calms Boston following the King assassination

On the morning after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., city officials in Boston, Massachusetts, were scrambling to prepare for an expected second straight night of unrest. Similar preparations were being made in cities across America.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1859

Darwin sends first three chapters of “The Origin of Species” to his publisher

Naturalist Charles Darwin sends his publishers the first three chapters of On the Origin of Species, which will become one of the most influential books ever published. Knowing the fates of scientists who had published radical theories and been ostracized or worse.





COLD WAR

1951

Rosenbergs sentenced to death for spying

The climax of the most sensational spy trial in American history is reached when a federal judge sentences Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to death for their roles in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets. Although the couple proclaimed their innocence, they were executed in June.





CIVIL WAR

1862

Siege of Yorktown begins

Union forces under General George McClellan arrive at Yorktown, Virginia, and establish siege lines instead of directly attacking the Confederate defenders. This was the opening of McClellan’s Peninsular campaign. He sailed his massive Army of the Potomac down Chesapeake Bay.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1774

Benjamin Franklin publishes “An Open Letter to Lord North”

On April 5, 1774, Benjamin Franklin writes an open letter to Great Britain’s prime minister, Frederick, Lord North, from the Smyrna Coffee House in London. It was published in The Public Advertiser, a British newspaper, on April 15, 1774.







SPORTS

1984

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar breaks NBA all-time scoring record

On April 5, 1984, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scores the 31,420th point of his career, breaking the NBA’s all-time scoring record, which had been held by Wilt Chamberlain. Over 18,000 fans gathered at the Thomas and Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.





WORLD WAR I

1918

First stage of German spring offensive ends

On April 5, 1918, General Erich Ludendorff formally ends “Operation Michael,” the first stage of the final major German offensive of World War I. Operation Michael, which marked the first sizable German offensive against Allied positions on the Western Front in more than a year.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 11:09am On Apr 08
TODAY IN HISTORY

Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record

On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s legendary record of 714 homers. A crowd of 53,775 people, the largest in the history of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, was with Aaron that night to cheer when he hit a 4th inning pitch off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Al Downing. However, as Aaron was an African American who had received death threats and racist hate mail during his pursuit of one of baseball’s most distinguished records, the achievement was bittersweet.

Henry Louis Aaron Jr., born in Mobile, Alabama, on February 5, 1934, made his Major League debut in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves, just seven years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier and became the first African American to play in the majors. Aaron, known as hard working and quiet, was the last Negro league player to also compete in the Major Leagues. In 1957, with characteristically little fanfare, Aaron, who primarily played right field, was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player as the Milwaukee Braves won the pennant. A few weeks later, his three home runs in the World Series helped his team triumph over the heavily favored New York Yankees. Although “Hammerin’ Hank” specialized in home runs, he was also an extremely dependable batter, and by the end of his career he held baseball’s career record for most runs batted in: 2,297.

Aaron spent his 23-year big league career with two organizations. He was with the Braves from 1954 to 1974—first in Milwaukee and then in Atlanta, when the franchise moved in 1966—and closed it out with two seasons back in Milwaukee for the Brewers.

Aaron hung up his cleats in 1976 with 755 career home runs—a record that stood until 2007, when it was broken by controversial slugger Barry Bonds (Bonds admitted to using steroids in 2011). Aaron's achievements didn't end when his career did, though. He went on to become one of baseball’s first African American executives, with the Atlanta Braves, and a leading spokesperson for minority hiring. Hank Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. He died on January 22, 2021, at age 86.





AFRICA

2009

Somali pirates hijack Maersk Alabama ship

Pirates had not captured a ship sailing under the American flag since the 1820s until April 8, 2009, when the MV Maersk Alabama was hijacked off the coast of Somalia. The high-profile incident drew worldwide attention to the problem of piracy.





1990S

1990

18-year-old Ryan White, national symbol of the AIDS crisis, dies

On April 8, 1990, 18-year-old Ryan White dies of pneumonia, due to having contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion. He had been given six months to live in December of 1984 but defied expectations and lived for five more years.





SPACE EXPLORATION

1993

Astronaut Ellen Ochoa becomes the first Hispanic woman in space

On April 8, 1993, the space shuttle Discovery lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center. On board is astronaut Ellen Ochoa, soon to become the first Hispanic woman in space. Ochoa started at NASA in 1988 after receiving a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford.





CRIME

2005

Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph agrees to plead guilty

Eric Rudolph agrees to plead guilty to a series of bombings, including the fatal bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, in order to avoid the death penalty. He later cited his anti-abortion and anti-homosexual views as motivation for the bombings.





WOMEN’S HISTORY

2013

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister, dies

Margaret Thatcher, the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom, dies in London at age 87 from a stroke on April 8, 2013. Serving from 1979 to 1990, Thatcher was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century.





GREAT DEPRESSION

1935

Works Progress Administration established by Congress as part of FDR’s “New Deal”

On April 8, 1935, Congress votes to approve the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a central part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. In November 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, Governor Roosevelt of New York was elected the 32nd president of the United ...read more





AFRICA

1953

Jomo Kenyatta jailed for Mau Mau uprising in Kenya

Jomo Kenyatta, leader of the Kenyan independence movement, is convicted by Kenya’s British rulers of leading the extremist Mau Mau in their violence against white settlers and the colonial government.





RELIGION

563

Buddhists celebrate birth of Gautama Buddha

On April 8, Buddhists celebrate the commemoration of the birth of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, thought to have lived in India from 563 B.C. to 483 B.C. Actually, the Buddhist tradition that celebrates his birthday on April 8 originally placed his birth in the 11th Of The Month.





WORLD WAR II

1944

Russians attack Germans in drive to expel them from Crimea

On April 8, 1944, Russian forces led by Marshal Fyodor Tolbukhin attack the German army in an attempt to win back Crimea, in the southern Ukraine, occupied by the Axis power. The attack would result in the breaking of German defensive lines in just four days.





VIETNAM WAR

1972

North Vietnamese forces open a third front

North Vietnamese 2nd Division troops drive out of Laos and Cambodia to open a third front of their offensive in the Central Highlands, attacking at Kontum and Pleiku in attempt to cut South Vietnam in two.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1935

FDR signs Emergency Relief Appropriation Act

President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorizes almost $5 million to implement work-relief programs on this day in 1935. Hoping to lift the country out of the crippling Great Depression, Congress allowed the president to use the funds at his discretion.





Kurt Cobain

ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1994

Grunge icon Kurt Cobain is found dead three days after his suicide

On April 8, 1994, rock star Kurt Cobain was found dead in his home in Seattle, Washington, with fresh injection marks in both arms and a fatal wound to the head from the 20-gauge shotgun found between his knees.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1990

"Twin Peaks" premieres on ABC

“Who killed Laura Palmer?” was the question on everyone’s mind on the night of April 8, 1990, when David Lynch’s surreal television drama Twin Peaks premiered on ABC. The naked body of the blonde homecoming queen was found washed up on the shore wrapped in plastic in the show.





WORLD WAR I

1904

Britain and France sign Entente Cordiale

On April 8, 1904, with war in Europe a decade away, Britain and France sign an agreement, later known as the Entente Cordiale, resolving long-standing colonial disputes in North Africa and establishing a diplomatic understanding between the two countries.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:00am On Apr 12
TODAY IN HISTORY

Civil War begins as Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumter

The bloodiest four years in American history begin when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard open fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

As early as 1858, the ongoing conflict between North and South over the issue of slavery had led Southern leadership to discuss a unified separation from the United States. By 1860, the majority of the slave states were publicly threatening secession if the Republicans, the anti-slavery party, won the presidency. Following Republican Abraham Lincoln’s victory over the divided Democratic Party in November 1860, South Carolina immediately initiated secession proceedings. On December 20, the South Carolina legislature passed the “Ordinance of Secession,” which declared that “the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other states, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved.” After the declaration, South Carolina set about seizing forts, arsenals, and other strategic locations within the state. Within six weeks, five more Southern states–Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana–had followed South Carolina’s lead.

In February 1861, delegates from those states convened to establish a unified government. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi was subsequently elected the first president of the Confederate States of America. When Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, a total of seven states (Texas had joined the pack) had seceded from the Union, and federal troops held only Fort Sumter in South Carolina, Fort Pickens off the Florida coast, and a handful of minor outposts in the South. Four years after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, the Confederacy was defeated at the total cost of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead.







CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

1963

Martin Luther King, Jr. is jailed; writes "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"

On April 3, 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his Southern Christian Leadership Conference and their partners in the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights led a campaign of protests, marches and sit-ins against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama.





CIVIL WAR

1864

Hundreds of Union soldiers killed in Fort Pillow Massacre

During the American Civil War, Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate raiders attack the isolated Union garrison at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, overlooking the Mississippi River. The fort, an important part of the Confederate river defense system.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1954

Bill Haley and the Comets record “Rock Around The Clock”

On April 12, 1954— Bill Haley and His Comets recorded “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock.” If rock and roll was a social and cultural revolution, then “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock” was its Declaration of Independence.





SPACE EXPLORATION

1961

Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space

On April 12, 1961, aboard the spacecraft Vostok 1, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin becomes the first human being to travel into space. During the flight, the 27-year-old test pilot and industrial technician also became the first man to orbit the planet.





SPACE EXPLORATION

1981

The space shuttle Columbia is launched for the first time

The space shuttle Columbia is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, becoming the first reusable manned spacecraft to travel into space. Piloted by astronauts Robert L. Crippen and John W. Young, the Columbia undertook a 54-hour space flight of 36 orbits before successfully touching down at California’s Edwards Air Force Base on April 14..





VIETNAM WAR

1975

U.S. Embassy in Cambodia evacuated

In Cambodia, the U.S. ambassador and his staff leave Phnom Penh when the U.S. Navy conducts its evacuation effort, Operation Eagle. On April 3, 1975, as the communist Khmer Rouge forces closed in for the final assault on the capital city.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1945

FDR dies

On April 12, 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passes away after four momentous terms in office, leaving Vice President Harry S. Truman in charge of a country still fighting the Second World War and in possession of a weapon of unprecedented and terrifying power.





CRIME

1633

Galileo is accused of heresy

On April 12, 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculani da Firenzuola, appointed by Pope Urban VIII, begins the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. Standard practice demanded that the accused be imprisoned and secluded during the trial.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1770

British repeal hated Townshend Act in the Colonies

On April 12, 1770, the British government moves to mollify outraged colonists by repealing most of the clauses of the hated Townshend Act. Initially passed on June 29, 1767, the Townshend Act constituted an attempt by the British government to consolidate fiscal and political power over the American colonies by placing import taxes on many of the British products bought by Americans, including lead, paper, paint, glass and tea.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:26am On Apr 15
TODAY IN HISTORY


Jackie Robinson breaks color barrier
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson, age 28, becomes the first African American player in Major League Baseball when he steps onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to compete for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson broke the color barrier in a sport that had been segregated for more than 50 years. Exactly 50 years later, on April 15, 1997, Robinson’s groundbreaking career was honored and his uniform number, 42, was retired from Major League Baseball by Commissioner Bud Selig in a ceremony attended by over 50,000 fans at New York City’s Shea Stadium. Robinson’s was the first-ever number retired by all teams in the league.

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, to a family of sharecroppers. Growing up, he excelled at sports and attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where he was the first athlete to letter in four varsity sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. After financial difficulties forced Robinson to drop out of UCLA, he joined the army in 1942 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. After protesting instances of racial discrimination during his military service, Robinson was court-martialed in 1944. Ultimately, though, he was honorably discharged.

After the army, Robinson played for a season in the Negro American League. In 1946, he spent one season with the Canadian minor league team the Montreal Royals. In 1947, Robinson was called up to the Majors and soon became a star infielder and outfielder for the Dodgers, as well as the National League’s Rookie of the Year. In 1949, the right-hander was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player and league batting champ. Robinson played on the National League All-Star team from 1949 through 1954 and led the Dodgers to six National League pennants and one World Series, in 1955. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility.

Despite his talent and success as a player, Robinson faced tremendous racial discrimination throughout his career, from baseball fans and some fellow players. Additionally, Jim Crow laws prevented Robinson from using the same hotels and restaurants as his teammates while playing in the South.

After retiring from baseball in 1957, Robinson became a businessman and civil rights activist. He died October 24, 1972, at age 53, in Stamford, Connecticut.





SPORTS

1997

MLB retires Jackie Robinson's number

On April 15, 1997, the 50 anniversary of his first Major League Baseball game, the league retires Jackie Robinson’s number, 42. Robinson, whose breaking of the “color barrier” in 1947 was a major moment in the history of racial integration in the United States.





CRIME

2013

Three people killed, hundreds injured in Boston Marathon bombing

On April 15, 2013, two bombs go off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three spectators and wounding more than 260 other people in attendance. Four days later, after an intense manhunt that shut down the Boston area, police captured one of the bombing suspects.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1912

Titanic sinks

At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the British ocean liner Titanic sinks into the North Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. The massive ship, which carried 2,200 passengers and crew, had struck an iceberg two and half hours before.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1865

President Lincoln dies

At 7:22 a.m., Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, dies from a bullet wound inflicted the night before by John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer. The president’s death came only six days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the American Civil War.





1990S

1998

Pol Pot, leader of Cambodia’s genocidal government, dies in his sleep

Pol Pot, the architect of Cambodia’s killing fields, dies of apparently natural causes while serving a life sentence imposed against him by his own Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge, organized by Pol Pot in the Cambodian jungle in the 1960s, advocated a radical communist revolution.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1894

Bessie Smith is born in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Despite the immense influence her records had on the shape and course of American popular music in the 20th century, the recorded legacy of Bessie Smith only captures part of her historical significance.





CRIME

1920

The Sacco-Vanzetti case draws national attention

A paymaster and a security guard are killed during a mid-afternoon armed robbery of a shoe company in South Braintree, Massachusetts. Out of this rather unremarkable crime grew one of the most famous trials in American history and a landmark case in forensic crime detection.





COLD WAR

1959

Castro visits the United States

Four months after leading a successful revolution in Cuba, Fidel Castro visits the United States. The visit was marked by tensions between Castro and the American government. On January 1, 1959, Castro’s revolutionary forces overthrew the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 12:05pm On Apr 16
TODAY IN HISTORY

Virginia Tech shooting leaves 32 dead



On April 16, 2007, 32 people died after being gunned down on the campus of Virginia Tech by Seung-Hui Cho, a student at the college who later died by suicide.

The Virginia Tech shooting began around 7:15 a.m., when Cho, a 23-year-old senior and English major at Blacksburg-based Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, shot a female freshman and a male resident assistant in a campus dormitory before fleeing the building.

Police were soon on the scene; unaware of the gunman’s identity, they initially pursued the female victim’s boyfriend as a suspect in what they believed to be an isolated domestic-violence incident.

However, at around 9:40 a.m., Cho, armed with a 9-millimeter handgun, a 22-caliber handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, entered a classroom building, chained and locked several main doors and went from room to room shooting people. Approximately 10 minutes after the rampage began, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The attack left 32 people dead and more than a dozen wounded. In all, 27 students and five faculty members died in the massacre.

Two days later, on April 18, NBC News received a package of materials from Cho with a timestamp indicating he had mailed it from a Virginia post office between the first and second shooting attacks. Contained in the package were photos of a gun-wielding Cho, along with a rambling video diatribe in which he ranted about wealthy “brats,” among other topics.

In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting, authorities found no evidence that Cho, who was born in South Korea and moved to America with his family in 1992, had specifically targeted any of his victims. The public soon learned that Cho, described by students as a loner who rarely spoke to anyone, had a history of mental health problems.

It was also revealed that angry, violent writings Cho made for certain class assignments had raised concern among some of his professors and fellow students well before the events of April 16. In 2011, Virginia Tech was fined by the U.S. Department of Education for failing to issue a prompt campus-wide warning after Cho shot his first two victims.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2018

Kendrick Lamar becomes the first rapper to win the Pulitzer Prize

On April 16, 2018, the Pulitzer Prize Board awards the Pulitzer Prize for Music to rapper Kendrick Lamar for his 2017 album, DAMN. It was the first time the award had gone to a musical work outside the genres of classical music and jazz, a watershed moment for the Pulitzers.





SPACE EXPLORATION

1972

Apollo 16 departs for moon

From Cape Canaveral, Florida, Apollo 16, the fifth of six U.S. lunar landing missions, is successfully launched on its 238,000-mile journey to the moon. On April 20, astronauts John W. Young and Charles M. Duke descended to the lunar surface from Apollo 16.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1943

Hallucinogenic effects of LSD discovered

In Basel, Switzerland, Albert Hofmann, a Swiss chemist working at the Sandoz pharmaceutical research laboratory, accidentally consumes LSD-25, a synthetic drug he had created in 1938 as part of his research into the medicinal value of lysergic acid compounds.





CRIME

1881

Western gunslinger, Bat Masterson, fights in last shootout

On the streets of Dodge City, famous western lawman and gunfighter Bat Masterson fights the last gun battle of his life. Bartholomew “Bat” Masterson had made a living with his gun from a young age. In his early 20s, Masterson worked as a buffalo hunter.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1889

Hollywood legend Charlie Chaplin born

On April 16, 1889, future Hollywood legend Charlie Chaplin is born Charles Spencer Chaplin in London, England. Chaplin, one of the most financially successful stars of early Hollywood, was introduced to the stage when he was five.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1947

Fertilizer explosion kills 581 in Texas

A giant explosion occurs during the loading of fertilizer onto the freighter Grandcamp at a pier in Texas City, Texas, on April 16, 1947. Nearly 600 people lost their lives and thousands were injured when the ship was literally blown to bits.





COLD WAR

1947

Bernard Baruch coins the term “Cold War”

Multimillionaire and financier Bernard Baruch, in a speech given during the unveiling of his portrait in the South Carolina House of Representatives, coins the term “Cold War” to describe relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1946

Arthur Chevrolet dies by suicide

On April 16, 1946, Arthur Chevrolet, an auto racer and the brother of Chevrolet auto namesake Louis Chevrolet, dies by suicide in Slidell, Louisiana. Louis Chevrolet was born in Switzerland in 1878, while Arthur’s birth year has been listed as 1884 and 1886.





WORLD WAR I

1917

Lenin returns to Russia from exile

On April 16, 1917, Vladimir Lenin, leader of the revolutionary Bolshevik Party, returns to Petrograd after a decade of exile to take the reins of the Russian Revolution.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 12:06pm On Apr 18
TODAY IN HISTORY

The Great San Francisco Earthquake topples buildings, killing thousands

On April 18, 1906, at 5:13 a.m., an earthquake estimated at close to 8.0 on the Richter scale strikes San Francisco, California, killing an estimated 3,000 people as it topples numerous buildings. The quake was caused by a slip of the San Andreas Fault over a segment about 275 miles long, and shock waves could be felt from southern Oregon down to Los Angeles.

San Francisco’s brick buildings and wooden Victorian structures were especially devastated. Fires immediately broke out and–because broken water mains prevented firefighters from stopping them–firestorms soon developed citywide. At 7 a.m., U.S. Army troops from Fort Mason reported to the Hall of Justice, and San Francisco Mayor E.E. Schmitz called for the enforcement of a dusk-to-dawn curfew and authorized soldiers to shoot-to-kill anyone found looting. Meanwhile, in the face of significant aftershocks, firefighters and U.S. troops fought desperately to control the ongoing fire, often dynamiting whole city blocks to create firewalls. On April 20, 20,000 refugees trapped by the massive fire were evacuated from the foot of Van Ness Avenue onto the USS Chicago.

By April 23, most fires were extinguished, and authorities commenced the task of rebuilding the devastated metropolis. It was estimated that some 3,000 people died as a result of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and the devastating fires it inflicted upon the city. Almost 30,000 buildings were destroyed, including most of the city’s homes and nearly all the central business district.





EXPLORATION

2014

Mt. Everest sees its single deadliest day

On April 18, 2014, 16 Nepali mountaineering guides, most of them ethnic Sherpas, are killed by an avalanche on Mt. Everest. It was the single deadliest accident in the history of the Himalayan peak, which rises more than 29,000 feet above sea level and lies across the border.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2012

Dick Clark, host of “American Bandstand” and “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” dies

On April 18, 2012, Dick Clark, the TV personality and producer best known for hosting “American Bandstand,” an influential music-and-dance show that aired nationally from 1957 to 1989 and helped bring rock `n’ roll into the mainstream in the late 1950s.





MIDDLE EAST

1983

Suicide bomber destroys U.S. embassy in Beirut

The U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, is almost completely destroyed by a car-bomb explosion that kills 63 people, including the suicide bomber and 17 Americans. The terrorist attack was carried out in protest of the U.S. military presence in Lebanon.







REFORMATION

1521

Martin Luther defiant at Diet of Worms

Martin Luther, the chief catalyst of Protestantism, defies the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V by refusing to recant his writings. He had been called to Worms, Germany, to appear before the Diet (assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire and answer charges of heresy.





WORLD WAR II

1945

War correspondent Ernie Pyle killed

During World War II, journalist Ernie Pyle, America’s most popular war correspondent, is killed by Japanese machine-gun fire on the island of Ie Shima in the Pacific. Pyle, born in Dana, Indiana, first began writing a column for the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain in 1935.





WORLD WAR II

1942

Doolittle leads air raid on Tokyo

On April 18, 1942, 16 American B-25 bombers, launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet 650 miles east of Japan and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, attack the Japanese mainland.







SPORTS

1983

Joan Benoit wins Boston Marathon

Joan Benoit wins her second Boston Marathon in the women’s division with a time of 2:22:43 on April 18, 1983. The following year, she went on to win the first-ever women’s marathon at the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles and became the first person to win Boston.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1958

Federal court decides to release poet Ezra Pound from hospital for criminally insane

A federal court rules that Ezra Pound should no longer be held at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for the criminally insane in Washington, D.C. Pound had been held for 13 years, following his arrest in Italy during World War II on charges of treason. Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1956

Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco marry

American actress Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco in a spectacular ceremony on April 18, 1956. Kelly, the daughter of a former model and a wealthy industrialist, began acting as a child. After high school, she attended the American Academy for Dramatic Arts in New York.





CHINA

1989

Chinese students protest against government

Thousands of Chinese students continue to take to the streets in Beijing to protest government policies and issue a call for greater democracy in the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC). The protests grew until the Chinese government ruthlessly suppressed them in June.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1775

Revere and Dawes warn of British attack

On April 18, 1775, British troops march out of Boston on a mission to confiscate the American arsenal at Concord and to capture Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock, known to be hiding at Lexington. As the British departed, Boston Patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:01am On Apr 19
TODAY IN HISTORY

American Revolution begins at Battle of Lexington

At about 5 a.m., 700 British troops, on a mission to capture Patriot leaders and seize a Patriot arsenal, march into Lexington to find 77 armed minutemen under Captain John Parker waiting for them on the town’s common green. British Major John Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly, a shot was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the green. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead or dying and 10 others were wounded. Only one British soldier was injured, but the American Revolution had begun.

By 1775, tensions between the American colonies and the British government approached the breaking point, especially in Massachusetts, where Patriot leaders formed a shadow revolutionary government and trained militias to prepare for armed conflict with the British troops occupying Boston. In the spring of 1775, General Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, received instructions from England to seize all stores of weapons and gunpowder accessible to the American insurgents. On April 18, he ordered British troops to march against the Patriot arsenal at Concord and capture Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock, known to be hiding at Lexington.

The Boston Patriots had been preparing for such a military action by the British for some time, and upon learning of the British plan, Patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes were ordered to set out to rouse the militiamen and warn Adams and Hancock. When the British troops arrived at Lexington, a group of militiamen were waiting. The Patriots were routed within minutes, but warfare had begun, leading to calls to arms across the Massachusetts countryside.

When the British troops reached Concord at about 7 a.m., they found themselves encircled by hundreds of armed Patriots. They managed to destroy the military supplies the Americans had collected but were soon advanced against by a gang of minutemen, who inflicted numerous casualties. Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, the overall commander of the British force, ordered his men to return to Boston without directly engaging the Americans. As the British retraced their 16-mile journey, their lines were constantly beset by Patriot marksmen firing at them Indian-style from behind trees, rocks, and stone walls. At Lexington, Captain Parker’s militia had its revenge, killing several British soldiers as the Red Coats hastily marched through his town. By the time the British finally reached the safety of Boston, nearly 300 British soldiers had been killed, wounded, or were missing in action. The Patriots suffered fewer than 100 casualties.

The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first battles of the American Revolution, a conflict that would escalate from a colonial uprising into a world war that, seven years later, would give birth to the independent United States of America.



CRIME

1989

Central Park jogger attack shocks New York City

On April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old female investment banker is beaten and sexually assaulted while jogging in New York City’s Central Park. Five teenagers from Harlem were wrongly convicted of the crime, which shocked New Yorkers for its randomness and viciousness.





CIVIL WAR

1861

First blood in the Civil War

On April 19, 1861, the first blood of the American Civil War is shed when a secessionist mob in Baltimore attacks Massachusetts troops bound for Washington, D.C. Four soldiers and 12 rioters were killed.





CRIME

1995

Oklahoma City bombing

Just after 9 a.m., a massive truck bomb explodes outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The blast collapsed the north face of the nine-story building, instantly killing more than 100 people and trapping dozens more in the rubble.





WORLD WAR II

1943

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins

In Warsaw, Poland, Nazi forces attempting to clear out the city’s Jewish ghetto are met by gunfire from Jewish resistance fighters, and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins. Shortly after the German occupation of Poland began.





1990S

1993

Waco Siege ends; Branch Davidian compound burns

At Mount Carmel in Waco, Texas, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launches a tear-gas assault on the Branch Davidian compound, ending a tense 51-day standoff between the federal government and an armed religious cult.







SPORTS

1897

First Boston Marathon held

On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York won the first Boston Marathon with a time of 2:55:10. The Boston Marathon was the brainchild of Boston Athletic Association member and inaugural U.S. Olympic team manager John Graham.





WORLD WAR I

1919

Discussion of Italian claims begins at Paris peace conference

On April 19, 1919, the Saturday before Easter, tense and complicated negotiations begin at the Paris peace conference over Italy’s claims to territory in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Italians must somehow be mollified, wrote Britain’s foreign secretary.





VIETNAM WAR

1971

Vietnam Veterans Against the War demonstrate

As a prelude to a massive antiwar protest, Vietnam Veterans Against the War begin a five-day demonstration in Washington, D.C. The generally peaceful protest, called Dewey Canyon III in honor of the operation of the same name conducted in Laos, ended on April 23 with about 1,000.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1809

Thomas Jefferson sells servant to newly elected President James Madison

On April 19, 1809, former President Thomas Jefferson writes up a contract for the sale of an indentured servant named John Freeman to newly sworn-in President James Madison. Slavery and indentured servitude were major components of the early American economy.





CRIME

1876

Wyatt Earp dropped from Wichita police force

A Wichita, Kansas, commission votes not to rehire policeman Wyatt Earp after he beats up a candidate for county sheriff. Born in 1848, Wyatt was one of the five Earp brothers, some of whom became famous for their participation in the shootout at the O.K. Corral in 1881.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1824

Lord Byron dies in Greece

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, dies in what is now Greece, where he had traveled to support the Greek struggle for independence from Turkey. Even today, he is considered a Greek national hero.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 12:17pm On Apr 20
TODAY IN HISTORY

Teen gunmen kill 13 at Columbine High School

On April 20, 1999, two teenage gunmen kill 13 people in a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, south of Denver. At approximately 11:19 a.m., Dylan Klebold, 18, and Eric Harris, 17, dressed in trench coats, began shooting students outside the school before moving inside to continue their rampage. By 11:35 a.m., Klebold and Harris had killed 12 fellow students and a teacher and wounded another 23 people. Shortly after noon, the two teens turned their guns on themselves and committed suicide.

The crime prompted a national debate on gun control and school safety, as well as a major investigation to determine what motivated the teen gunmen. In the days immediately following the shootings, it was speculated that Klebold and Harris purposely chose jocks, minorities and Christians as their victims.

It was initially reported that one student, Cassie Bernall, was allegedly asked by one of the gunmen if she believed in God. When Bernall said, “Yes,” she was shot to death. Her parents later wrote a book titled She Said Yes, honoring their martyred daughter. Apparently, however, the question was not actually posed to Bernall but to another student who had already been wounded by a gunshot. When that victim replied, “Yes,” the shooter walked away.

Subsequent investigations also determined that Harris and Klebold chose their victims randomly. Their original plan was for two propane bombs to explode in the school’s cafeteria, potentially killing hundreds of people and forcing the survivors outside and into the gunmen’s line of fire. When the bombs didn’t work, Harris and Klebold went into the school to carry out their murderous rampage.

There was speculation that Harris and Klebold committed the killings because they were members of a group of social outcasts called the “Trenchcoat Mafia” that was fascinated by Goth culture. Violent video games and music were also blamed for influencing the killers. However, none of these theories was ever proven.

Columbine High School reopened in the fall of 1999, but the massacre left a scar on the Littleton community. Mark Manes, the young man who sold a gun to Harris and bought him 100 rounds of ammunition the day before the murders, was sentenced to six years in prison. Carla Hochhalter, the mother of a student who was paralyzed in the attack, killed herself at a gun shop. Several other parents filed suit against the school and the police. Even Dylan Klebold’s parents filed notice of their intent to sue, claiming that police should have stopped Harris earlier. And when a carpenter from Chicago erected 15 crosses in a local park on behalf of everyone who died on April 20, parents of the victims tore down the two in memory of Klebold and Harris.

The shootings at Columbine were among the worst school shootings in U.S. history until April 16, 2007, when 32 people were shot and many others wounded by a student gunman on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. Subsequent school shootings, including in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012 and in Parkland, Florida in February 2018, continued to pain the nation. A March 2018 analysis by the Washington Post found that since the Columbine shootings in 1999, there have been 10 school shootings each year on average in the United States.





CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

1971

Supreme Court declares desegregation busing constitutional

On April 20, 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declares busing for the purposes of desegregation to be constitutional. The decision in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education settled the constitutional question and allowed the widespread implementation of busing.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1777

New York adopts state constitution

The first New York state constitution is formally adopted by the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York, meeting in the upstate town of Kingston, on April 20, 1777. The constitution began by declaring the possibility of reconciliation between Britain and its Allies.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

2010

Massive oil spill begins in Gulf of Mexico

April 20, 2010: An explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, kills 11 people and triggers the largest offshore oil spill in American history.





GREAT BRITAIN

1689

Siege of Derry begins

James II, the former British king, begins a siege of Derry, a Protestant stronghold in Northern Ireland. In 1688, James II, a Catholic, was deposed by his Protestant daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange, in a bloodless coup known as the Glorious Revolution.





US GOVERNMENT

1871

Ku Klux Act passed by Congress

With passage of the Third Force Act, popularly known as the Ku Klux Act, Congress authorizes President Ulysses S. Grant to declare martial law, impose heavy penalties against terrorist organizations and use military force to suppress the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1902

Marie and Pierre Curie isolate radium

On April 20, 1902, Marie and Pierre Curie successfully isolate radioactive radium salts from the mineral pitchblende in their laboratory in Paris. In 1898, the Curies discovered the existence of the elements radium and polonium in their research of pitchblende.





LATIN AMERICA

1980

Fidel Castro announces Mariel Boatlift, allowing Cubans to emigrate to U.S.

On April 20, 1980, the Castro regime announces that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. are free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift. The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day.





WORLD WAR II

1945

Operation Corncob is launched while Hitler celebrates his birthday

On April 20, 1945, Allied bombers in Italy begin a three-day attack on the bridges over the rivers Adige and Brenta to cut off German lines of retreat on the peninsula. Meanwhile, Adolf Hitler celebrates his 56th birthday as a Gestapo reign of terror results in the hanging of 20 persons.





VIETNAM WAR

1971

“Fragging” on the rise among U.S. military units

The Pentagon releases figures confirming that fragging incidents are on the rise. In 1970, 209 such incidents caused the deaths of 34 men; in 1969, 96 such incidents cost 34 men their lives.





SPORTS

1986

Michael Jordan scores 63 points in playoff game

On April 20, 1986, the Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan scores 63 points in an NBA playoff game against the Boston Celtics, setting a post-season scoring record. Despite Jordan’s achievement, the Bulls lost to the Celtics in double overtime, 135-131.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1898

President McKinley asks for declaration of war against Spain

President William McKinley asks Congress to declare war on Spain on April 20, 1898. In 1895, Cuba, located less than 100 miles south of the United States, attempted to overthrow Spanish colonial rule.





EARLY US

1914

Militia slaughters strikers at Ludlow, Colorado

Ending a bitter coal-miners’ strike, Colorado militiamen attack a tent colony of strikers, killing dozens of men, women and children. When the evictions failed to end the strike, the Rockefeller interests hired private detectives that attacked the tent colonies with rifles.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1841

First detective story is published

Edgar Allan Poe’s story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," first appears in Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine. The tale is generally considered to be the first detective story. The story describes the extraordinary “analytical power” used by Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin.





1970S

1978

Korean Air Lines jet forced down over Soviet Union

Soviet aircraft force a Korean Air Lines passenger jet to land in the Soviet Union after the jet veers into Russian airspace. Two people were killed and several others injured when the jet made a rough landing on a frozen lake about 300 miles south of Murmansk.





CIVIL WAR

1861

Robert E. Lee resigns from U.S. Army after Virginia secedes from Union

Colonel Robert E. Lee resigns from the United States army two days after he was offered command of the Union army and three days after his native state, Virginia, seceded from the Union. Lee opposed secession, but he was a loyal son of Virginia.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

2008

Danica Patrick becomes first woman to win Indy race

On April 20, 2008, 26-year-old Danica Patrick wins the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan, making her the first female winner in IndyCar racing history. Danica Patrick was born on March 25, 1982, in Beloit, Wisconsin.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 8:47am On Apr 22
TODAY IN HISTORY

The first Earth Day

Earth Day, an event to increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems, is celebrated in the United States for the first time on April 22, 1970. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches and educational programs across the country.

Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a staunch environmentalist who hoped to provide unity to the grassroots environmental movement and increase ecological awareness. “The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy,” Senator Nelson said, “and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.”

The 1962 publication of Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring—about the effects of pesticides—is often cited as the beginning of the modern environmental movement in the U.S. Sustainability, organic eating and the “back-to-the-land” movement continued to gain steam throughout the 1960s.

The first Earth Day indeed increased environmental awareness in America, and in July of 1970 the Environmental Protection Agency was established by special executive order to regulate and enforce national pollution legislation. Earth Day also led to the the passage of the Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

On April 22, 1990, the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, more than 200 million people in 141 countries participated in Earth Day celebrations. Senator Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton. (He died in 2005.)

Earth Day has been celebrated on different days by different groups internationally. The United Nations officially celebrates it on the vernal equinox, which usually occurs about March 21. Earth Day 2021—the 51st anniversary—is celebrated on April 22.





SOUTH AMERICA

1997

Peruvian President Fujimori orders assault on Japanese ambassador’s home

In Lima, Peru, Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori orders a commando assault on the Japanese ambassador’s home, hoping to free 72 hostages held for more than four months by armed members of the Tupac Amaru leftist rebel movement.





WORLD WAR I

1915

Germans introduce poison gas

On April 22, 1915, German forces shock Allied soldiers along the western front by firing more than 150 tons of lethal chlorine gas against two French colonial divisions at Ypres, Belgium. This was the first major gas attack by the Germans, and it devastated the Allied line.





WORLD WAR II

1945

Hitler admits defeat

On April 22, 1945, Adolf Hitler, learning from one of his generals that no German defense was offered to the Russian assault at Eberswalde, admits to all in his underground bunker that the war is lost and that suicide is his only recourse.





21ST CENTURY

2004

Pat Tillman killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan

Pat Tillman, who gave up his pro football career to enlist in the U.S. Army after the terrorist attacks of September 11, is killed by friendly fire while serving in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. The news that Tillman, age 27, was mistakenly gunned down by his fellow Ranger.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1889

The Oklahoma land rush begins

At precisely high noon, thousands of would-be settlers make a mad dash into the newly opened Oklahoma Territory to claim cheap land. The nearly two million acres of land opened up to white settlement was located in Indian Territory.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1978

The Blues Brothers make their world premiere on "Saturday Night Live"

It was Marshall Checker, of the legendary Checker brothers, who first discovered them in the gritty blues clubs of Chicago’s South Side in 1969 and handed them their big break nine years later with an introduction to music-industry heavyweight and host of television’s Rock Concert, Don Kirshner.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1992

Sewers explode in Guadalajara, Mexico, killing hundreds

Dozens of sewer explosions in Guadalajara, Mexico, kill more than 200 people and damage 1,000 buildings on April 22, 1992. The series of explosions was caused by a gas leak, the warning signs of which were ignored by the Mexican government and the national oil company.





CRIME

1886

Seduction is made illegal in Ohio

Ohio passes a statute that makes seduction unlawful. Covering all men over the age of 18 who worked as teachers or instructors of women, this law even prohibited men from having consensual sex with women (of any age) whom they were instructing.





RED SCARE

1954

Joseph McCarthy begins hearings investigating U.S. Army

Senator Joseph McCarthy begins hearings investigating the United States Army, which he charges with being “soft” on communism. These televised hearings gave the American public their first view of McCarthy in action, and his recklessness, indignant bluster and bullying tactics quickly resulted in his fall from prominence.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1778

John Paul Jones leads American raid on Whitehaven, England

At 11 p.m. on April 22, 1778, Commander John Paul Jones leads a small detachment of two boats from his ship, the USS Ranger, to raid the shallow port at Whitehaven, England, where, by his own account, 400 British merchant ships are anchored.





WORLD WAR I

1915

Second Battle of Ypres begins

On April 22, 1915, German forces shock Allied soldiers along the Western Front by firing more than 150 tons of lethal chlorine gas against two French colonial divisions at Ypres in Belgium. Toxic smoke had been used occasionally in warfare since ancient times, and in 1912.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1994

Former President Richard Nixon dies

On April 22, 1994, former President Richard M. Nixon dies after suffering a stroke four days earlier. In a 1978 speech at Oxford University, Nixon admitted he had screwed up during his presidency but predicted that his achievements would be viewed more favorably with time.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:04am
TODAY IN HISTORY


William Shakespeare born

According to tradition, the great English dramatist and poet William Shakespeare is born in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 23, 1564. It is impossible to be certain the exact day on which he was born, but church records show that he was baptized on April 26, and three days was a customary amount of time to wait before baptizing a newborn. Shakespeare’s date of death is conclusively known, however: it was April 23, 1616. He was 52 years old and had retired to Stratford three years before.

Although few plays have been performed or analyzed as extensively as the 38 plays ascribed to William Shakespeare, there are few surviving details about the playwright’s life. This dearth of biographical information is due primarily to his station in life; he was not a noble, but the son of John Shakespeare, a leather trader and the town bailiff. The events of William Shakespeare’s early life can only be gleaned from official records, such as baptism and marriage records.

He probably attended the grammar school in Stratford, where he would have studied Latin and read classical literature. He did not go to university but at age 18 married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years his senior and pregnant at the time of the marriage. Their first daughter, Susanna, was born six months later, and in 1585 William and Anne had twins, Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died 11 years later, and Anne Shakespeare outlived her husband, dying in 1623. Nothing is known of the period between the birth of the twins and Shakespeare’s emergence as a playwright in London in the early 1590s, but unfounded stories have him stealing deer, joining a group of traveling players, becoming a schoolteacher, or serving as a soldier in the Low Countries.

The first reference to Shakespeare as a London playwright came in 1592, when a fellow dramatist, Robert Greene, wrote derogatorily of him on his deathbed. It is believed that Shakespeare had written the three parts of Henry VI by that point. In 1593, Venus and Adonis was Shakespeare’s first published poem, and he dedicated it to the young Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd earl of Southampton. In 1594, having probably composed, among other plays, Richard III, The Comedy of Errors, and The Taming of the Shrew, he became an actor and playwright for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which became the King’s Men after James I’s ascension in 1603. The company grew into England’s finest, in no small part because of Shakespeare, who was its principal dramatist. It also had the finest actor of the day, Richard Burbage, and the best theater, the Globe, which was located on the Thames’ south bank. Shakespeare stayed with the King’s Men until his retirement and often acted in small parts.

By 1596, the company had performed the classic Shakespeare plays Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That year, John Shakespeare was granted a coat of arms, a testament to his son’s growing wealth and fame. In 1597, William Shakespeare bought a large house in Stratford. In 1599, after producing his great historical series, the first and second part of Henry IV and Henry V, he became a partner in the ownership of the Globe Theatre.

The beginning of the 17th century saw the performance of the first of his great tragedies, Hamlet. The next play, The Merry Wives of Windsor, was written at the request of Queen Elizabeth I, who wanted to see another play that included the popular character Falstaff. During the next decade, Shakespeare produced such masterpieces as Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, and The Tempest. In 1609, his sonnets, probably written during the 1590s, were published. The 154 sonnets are marked by the recurring themes of the mutability of beauty and the transcendent power of love and art.

Shakespeare died in Stratford-on-Avon on April 23, 1616. Today, over 400 years later, his plays are performed and read more often and in more nations than ever before. In a million words written over 20 years, he captured the full range of human emotions and conflicts with a precision that remains sharp today. As his great contemporary the poet and dramatist Ben Jonson said, “He was not of an age, but for all time.”





GREAT BRITAIN

1014

King Brian of Ireland murdered by Vikings

Brian Boru, the high king of Ireland, is assassinated by a group of retreating Norsemen shortly after his Irish forces defeated them. Brian, a clan prince, seized the throne of the southern Irish state of Dal Cais from its Eoghanacht rulers in 963.





WORLD WAR I

1915

Poet-soldier Rupert Brooke dies in Greece

On April 23, 1915, Rupert Brooke, a young scholar and poet serving as an officer in the British Royal Navy, dies of blood poisoning on a hospital ship anchored off the Greek island of Skyros, while awaiting deployment in the Allied invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula.





VIETNAM WAR

1975

President Ford says that war is finished for America

At a speech at Tulane University, President Gerald Ford says the Vietnam War is finished as far as America is concerned. “Today, Americans can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam. But it cannot be achieved by re-fighting a war.





SPORTS

1954

Hank Aaron hits first home run of his MLB career

On April 23, 1954, Hank Aaron knocks out the first home run of his Major League Baseball career. Twenty years later, Aaron becomes baseball’s new home run king when he broke Babe Ruth’s long-standing record of 714 career homers.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1791

James Buchanan is born

Future President James Buchanan is born in Cove Gap near Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, on April 23, 1791. Buchanan, remembered mostly for his administration’s corruption and his failure to solve the country’s crisis over slavery, also inspired salacious gossip about his love life.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1961

Judy Garland plays Carnegie Hall

She was one of the biggest and most popular movie stars of all time, making her first film appearance at the age of seven and earning the first of three Oscar nominations at 17 for her starring role in what may well be the best-loved American movie of all time.





CRIME

1969

Sirhan Sirhan receives death penalty for assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

On April 23, 1969, Sirhan Sirhan is sentenced to the death penalty after being convicted in the assassination of politician Robert F. Kennedy. In 1972, Sirhan’s sentence was commuted to life in prison after California abolished the death penalty.





COLD WAR

1945

President Truman confronts Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov

Less than two weeks after taking over as president after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman gives a tongue-lashing to Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. The incident indicated that Truman was determined to take a “tougher” stance with the Soviets.





CIVIL WAR

1865

“Panic has seized the country,” writes Confederate President Jefferson Davis

Confederate President Jefferson Davis writes to his wife, Varina, of the desperate situation facing the Confederates. “Panic has seized the country,” he wrote to his wife in Georgia. Davis was in Charlotte, North Carolina, on his flight away from Yankee troops.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1778

John Paul Jones burns Whitehaven, England

At 8 a.m. on April 23, 1778, John Paul Jones, with 30 volunteers from his ship, the USS Ranger, launches a surprise attack on the two harbor forts at Whitehaven, England. Jones’ boat successfully took the southern fort, but a second boat, assigned to attack to the northern fort.

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