Apr 3rd - Apr 26th 1999
Today in History

April 3, 1829 James Carrington of Connecticut patented the coffee mill. Coffee milling devices had been available for hundreds of years, dating back to the Greek and Roman Empires. "Coffee mill" is the original name for "coffee grinder" http://www.gardfoods.com/coffee/coffee.grinders.htm

April 3, 1910 Alaska's Mt. McKinley (also known by its Native American name "Denali"), the highest mountain in North America, was climbed for the first time. An expedition ascended the mountain's 20,320 feet and arrived at the top of the North Peak. The climb is considered very dangerous http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~qtluong/gallery/slides-alaska/mckinley-menu.html

April 3, 1995 Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to preside over the US Supreme Court when she sat in for Chief Justice William H. Renquist. In 1981, Justice O'Connor had become the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court. Before her nomination to the high court, she practiced law in Arizona http://www2.lucidcafe.com/lucidcafe/library/96mar/oconnor.html

April 4, 1788 The publication of the Federalist Papers, one of the greatest works on U.S. political theory, was completed. Written mostly by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, the essays defended federalism as a means of creating a strong state while protecting the individual against governmental tyranny. History of the Federalist Papers http://www.mcs.net/~knautzr/fed/fedpaper.html

April 4, 1818 Congress adopted a new flag for the United States, with thirteen stripes and twenty stars. It was also decided that another star would be added to the flag for every new state admitted to the union, but that the number and pattern of stripes would remain the same. Historical survey of US Flags http://madison.law.ou.edu/fedflag.html

April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the most prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement, was assassinated at the age of 39 by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee. An African-American clergyman and political leader, he was a tireless defender of non-violent solutions to social and political problems. A tribute to the life of Martin Luther King Jr. http://blackvoices.com/feature/mlk_98/index.html

April 5, 1806 Isaac Quintard of Connecticut patented the apple cider mill. Cider is the expressed juice of apples used as a beverage or for making other products, such as vinegar. While in North America cider may or may not be alcoholic, in most European countries the name refers exclusively to fermented apple juice. Unlike the simple process of the old mills, the modern ones carry out many steps http://www.norfolk-county.com/bigapple/cider.htm

April 5, 1989 Coal miners in Virginia began a successful, year-long strike against Pittston Coal Company. During the strike, at least 3000 were arrested in peaceful sit-ins, and another 40,000 miners joined in sympathy strikes. The strike, which had started over retiree benefits, was settled only with federal intervention. More on the life of miners http://www.pottsville.com/pub/mining/

April 5, 1990 The first Pegasus space launch vehicle achieved orbit after having been dropped from a B-52 airplane. Instead of starting from the ground, the Pegasus booster is started in flight while being carried by an airplane. A photo of Pegasus under the wing of a B-52 aircraft http://trc.dfrc.nasa.gov/gallery/photo/Pegasus/Small/EC89-0309-3.jpg

April 6, 1909 Robert E. Peary, Matthew A. Henson, and Inuits Ootah, Egingwah, Seegloo, and Ooqueah reached the North Pole. Henson was an African-American, which was significant given the prejudices of the time. The six-man team made a final dash from their advance base camp and reached 90 degrees north; they were the first people in recorded history to reach this pole. Their round trip ride was repeated in 1995 by Richard Weber and Misha Malakov. A look at the North Pole expedition http://www.matthewhenson.com/index2.htm

April 6, 1917 The United States entered World War I by declaring war against Germany. Just four days before, President Woodrow Wilson had delivered his war message before Congress urging it to end US neutrality. "The world must be made safe for democracy," were Wilson's famous words. Biography of Woodrow Wilson http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/glimpse/presidents/html/ww28.html

April 6, 1966 Cesar Chavez's National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) achieved its first victory when it was recognized as a legitimate bargaining agent. The previous year Chavez and his union had started a strike against California grape growers, which lasted until 1970. More on Cesar Chavez http://clnet.ucr.edu/research/chavez/

April 7, 1652 The Dutchman Jan Van Riebeeck established a settlement in Cape Town, South Africa. The Portuguese had already arrived at the beginning of the 16th century, but it was Van Riebeeck who selected an area for a fort and vegetable gardens. Cape Town is today the legislative capital of the country. Van Riebeeck started the first European settlement in South Africa http://www.rcyc.co.za/port.HTM

April 7, 1933 The 18th, or Prohibition, amendment was repealed. The 18th amendment, passed in 1920, made it illegal to manufacture, sell or transport intoxicated liquors. Intended to reduce crime, corruption and other social problems, the measure became very unpopular. The Prohibition Law had unexpected consequences http://www.msu.edu/course/mc/112/1920s/Prohibition/page2.html

April 7, 1948 The World Health Organization (WHO) was founded. A United Nations organization, WHO's main achievements have included the waging of worldwide campaigns against polio, tuberculosis and smallpox. World Health Day is observed on this date. This year's World Health Day focuses on older people http://www.who.int/whday/en/whday1999.html

April 8, 1935 US Congress approved the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Later called the Work Projects Administration, the national program employed more than 8 million people on 1.4 million projects before it was ended in 1943. The Federal Art Project was one of WPA's projects that assisted artists http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/fedtp/ftstri00.html

April 8, 1966 The Supreme Court prohibited Mississippi's $2 poll tax as a voting requirement for state and local elections. Poll taxes often prevented poor Southerners from voting. The Supreme Court decision was made under the "equal protection" clause of the 14th amendment. Two years earlier, poll taxes in federal elections were outlawed http://caselaw.findlaw.com/data/Constitution/amendment24/

April 8, 1984 The first in-orbit satellite repair took place when the crew of the shuttle Challenger repaired the Solar Maximum Mission (SMM). First launched in 1980, the SMM sought to study solar activity, especially solar flares. The satellite had become inoperable due to electrical malfunctions. After the repair, the SMM continued its productive activity for 5 more years http://vss.iol.it/eng/solmax.htm

April 9, 1865 In the US Civil War, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant. The terms of the surrender were agreed by both parties at a meeting held in Appomattox Court House in Virginia. With the acceptance of the surrender, the bloodiest war in US history was nearly at an end. The terms for the surrender were written by General Grant http://www.nps.gov/apco/surrend.htm

April 9, 1939 Opera singer Marian Anderson performed a concert in front of 75,000 people at the steps of Washington's Lincoln Memorial. Anderson's sponsors initially tried to book her show at Constitution Hall but the owners of the Hall, the Daughters of the American Revolution, denied her permission because she was black. The concert was a key episode in the birth of the Civil Rights Movement http://mailer.fsu.edu/~rljones/afrovoice/anderson.htm

April 9, 1962 The movie West Side Story won 10 academy awards, including best movie and best director. Originally a Broadway play, West Side Story is a modern adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, set in New York City. In 1995, a new theatrical production of West Side Story made its debut http://alphabase.com/westside/home.html

Coffee Break

April 11, 1905 Construction of the Victoria Falls Bridge and the railway line were completed. Spanning the gorge of the Zambezi River, the bridge connects Zambia and Zimbabwe. The bridge is close to the Victoria Falls, Africa's greatest waterfall. The Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular tourist sites in Africa http://www.zambezi.com/vicfall.html

April 11, 1953 The US Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) was established and its first leader was Oveta Culp Hobby. About 30 years later, HEW was replaced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which still exists today. HHS compiles the most current information on US youth http://youth.os.dhhs.gov/

April 11, 1986 Comet Halley reappeared. Showing up approximately every 76 years, Comet Halley was the first comet whose return was predicted. Of the comets that can be easily seen with the naked eye, Comet Halley is the only one that returns within a human life-time. It is estimated that Comet Halley will appear once more in the year 2061 http://www.seds.org/nineplanets/nineplanets/halley.html

April 12, 1776 North Carolina became the first colony to call for independence against Great Britain. The colony's Provincial Congress approved a document later called the "Halifax Resolves." This document is considered the precursor of the US Declaration of Independence. The North Carolina delegates voted for independence in the town of Halifax http://www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/sections/hs/halifax/halifax.htm

April 12, 1954 Bill Haley and the Comets recorded "Rock Around the Clock," the song many believe started the rock-and-roll era. A year later, the song was chosen for the soundtrack of the movie "The Blackboard Jungle," which exposed many to rock-and-roll for the first time. "Rock Around the Clock" sold around 22 million copies http://www.rockhall.com/induct/halebill.html

April 12, 1983 Harold Washington was elected mayor of Chicago. The first African- American to hold such a position in Chicago, Washington won by more than 51 percent of the votes. He was reelected in 1987 but died of a cardiac arrest after seven months in office. More on Harold Washington http://www.ci.chi.il.us/HaroldWashington/Biography.html

April 13,1742 The first public performance of George Frideric Handel's Messiah took place in Dublin, Ireland. By far Handel's most highly esteemed work, his oratorio was hailed as a musical triumph. Messiah is divided into three parts representing Christ's birth, death, and resurrection. Handel's Messiah is still an extremely popular classical composition http://www1.islandnet.com/~arton/messiah.html

April 13, 1812 "Marmion," a very successful dramatization of the poem by Sir Walter Scott, opened in New York City. At the time, the United States was at war with England, and the anti-English sentiments expressed in the play held great appeal for New York audiences. Born in Scotland, Scott expressed in some of his works a deep nationalism http://www.efr.hw.ac.uk/EDC/edinburghers/walter-scott.html

April 13, 1970 An explosion aboard the Apollo 13 spacecraft led to one of the most spectacular rescue missions in US space history. The explosion left the crew stranded for four days more than 200,000 miles from Earth. Against all odds, the three astronauts and thousands of others brought the capsule safely back to Earth. The astronauts were Fred Haise, Jack Swigert, and Commander Jim Lovell http://www.mcn.org/Apollo13/Apollo13.html

April 14, 1775 The first abolition society in America was established. The "Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage" was organized in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush. A 1791 anti-slavery announcement http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/african/sermon.jpg

April 14, 1828 The second and most renowned American English dictionary was published. Improving on an earlier version, Noah Webster published "An American Dictionary of the English Language." The new dictionary included, for the first time, Americanisms such as "skunk", "hickory", and "chowder". Webster's dictionary sought cultural independence from Great Britain http://www.m-w.com/about/noah.htm

April 14, 1956 Ampex Corporation demonstrated the first practical videocassette recorder (VCR) at a broadcast convention in Chicago. Ampex's initial price for each unit was $75,000. By the mid-1970s, the price of video recorders had gone down to about $1,300. Learn how a VCR works http://www.howstuffworks.com/vcr.htm

April 15, 1865 President Abraham Lincoln died; he had been shot the previous evening by John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln was attending a performance at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., when the crime was committed. The assassin escaped, but was subsequently hunted down and shot dead. Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/glimpse/presidents/html/al16.html

April 15, 1912 The British liner Titanic sank on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg the previous night in the North Atlantic sea. More than 1500 people died in the accident. An investigation later showed that the ship had insufficient lifeboats and that safety procedures had not been followed. The Titanic was found in 1985 at a depth of more than two miles http://octopus.gma.org/space1/titanic.html

April 15, 1920 An armed robbery in Massachusetts resulted in the death of two men. In what became known as the "Sacco-Vanzetti Case," Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were convicted of the crime and executed in 1927. Sacco and Vanzetti's trial was an extremely controversial one http://www.courttv.com/greatesttrials/sacco.vanzetti/

April 16, 1705 Queen Anne of England knighted Isaac Newton. Newton is regarded as one of history's greatest scientists. He is perhaps best remembered for his theory of universal gravitation, which was published in his work popularly known as Principia. Newton's work in physics and mathematics completely revolutionized science http://www.newton.cam.ac.uk/newtlife.html

April 16, 1883 Frederick Douglass addressed the Congregational Church in Washington, D.C. concerning human rights still denied the African American people. His oratorical brilliance placed him at the forefront of the US abolitionist movement. More on Frederick Douglass http://library.advanced.org/10854/fdoug1.html

April 16, 1912 Writer and photographer Harriet Quimby became the first woman to pilot a plane across the English Channel. She flew her monoplane through dense fog without the use of a compass. Quimby was the first female licensed pilot in America http://www.harrietquimby.org/html/bio.html

April 17, 1521 The German Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. The Church's action was based on Luther's attacks against the papacy and the sale of indulgences. A practice common at the time, a person's sins were pardoned through the purchase of an indulgence letter. Luther was one of the main leaders of the Reformation movement http://www.educ.msu.edu/homepages/laurence/reformation/Luther/Luther.htm

April 17, 1967 The spacecraft Surveyor 3 was successfully launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida. The second US spacecraft to make a soft landing on the moon, it studied the lunar surface and sent more than 6300 pictures back to Earth. A total of seven Surveyors were sent to the moon http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/surveyor.html

April 17, 1986 The Isles of Scilly and the Netherlands signed a peace treaty that ended a war that started in 1651. Although hostilities had ceased in the 17th century, the war had never been officially ended. The Isles of Scilly are a British archipelago with about 100 small islands located southwest of Great Britain. Tresco is one of five Scilly islands that is inhabited http://www.tresco.co.uk/home.htm

April 18, 1906 At 5:13 am the city of San Francisco was struck by an enormous earthquake. Most of the damage came not from the shock but from the fire that followed. Flames swept the city for four days. Although an exact count was impossible, it is known that more than 1000 people died and about 25,000 buildings were destroyed. A comprehensive look at the 1906 earthquake and fire http://www.sfmuseum.org/1906/06.html

April 18, 1923 Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York City, was inaugurated. It became the home park of the New York Yankees. Babe Ruth, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, hit a home run in the first game against Boston in a 4-1Yankee victory. The stadium was called "The House that Ruth Built" http://users.aol.com/charliezeb/stadiums/yankee.htm

April 18, 1980 Zimbabwe (formally Rhodesia) achieved its internationally recognized independence, following a long period of colonial rule and a 15-year period of white-dominated minority rule. A history of Zimbabwe http://www.zimweb.com/zim/int_hist.htm

April 19, 1775 The first battle of the American Revolutionary War started when British and American soldiers exchanged fire in Lexington and Concord (Massachusetts). More than 650 British soldiers were sent to suppress rebellious colonists who had taken up on arms against the Crown. This was the first revolutionary battle in which British soldiers were killed http://www.wpi.edu/Academics/Depts/MilSci/BTSI/lexcon/lexcon.html

April 19, 1887 The Catholic University of America was chartered by Congress. Founded in Washington D.C., the Catholic University is the only institution of higher education owned by the US Roman Catholic Hierarchy. The university awards graduate and undergraduate degrees http://www.law.edu/cua.html

April 19, 1951 Shigeki Tanaka, who survived the atomic blast in Hiroshima, Japan in World War II, won the Boston Marathon. With the participation of thousands of runners, the Boston Marathon is one of the most important long-distance races in the world. Since 1946, most winners of the Boston Marathon have been non- Americans http://www.100th.com/history/decade6.html http://www.100th.com/history/winners.html

April 20, 1841 "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," Edgar Allen Poe's first detective story, was published. The story featured C. Auguste Dupin, the first-ever fictional detective. Poe considered his work an example of ratiocination -- the process of logical and methodical reasoning. Poe is considered the father of the modern mystery story http://bau2.uibk.ac.at/sg/poe/Bio.html

April 20, 1861 Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine Lowe, inventor and balloonist, made a record balloon voyage from Cincinnati, Ohio, to near Unionville, South Carolina. He had covered more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) in 9 hours. Lowe was later appointed chief of the Balloon Corps for the Union troops. Military leaders at the time failed to recognize the potential of balloon flight http://www.thehistorynet.com/CivilWarTimes/articles/1096_cover.htm

April 20, 1914 During a strike of coal miners in Ludlow, Colorado, state militia attacked the union camp with machine guns, then set it on fire. About 20 people were killed, including 11 children. The "Ludlow Massacre," as the episode became known, was a turning point in US labor history. More on the Ludlow Massacre http://www.du.edu/~markwalk/fieldschool.html

April 21, 1856 The first railroad bridge over the Mississippi River opened with the first crossing of a locomotive. The train belonged to the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad Company, commonly known as the Rock Island. The bridge ran between Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa. A postcard of the Rock Island train station in Davenport http://www.classicrail.com/cards/ia618.JPEG

April 21, 1918 German flying ace Baron Manfred von Richthofen was shut down and killed over France. The "Red Baron," so named for the color of his Fokker triplane, is believed to have shot down about 80 Allied planes in less than two years. The Allied forces buried the Red Baron with full military honors

April 21, 1979 Kartini Day was celebrated in Indonesia. The holiday honored 100 years of the anniversary of the Javanese noblewoman Raden Adjeng Kartini. Kartini was a pioneer in the emancipation of women and in the struggle against Dutch domination. Her views helped promote education for Indonesian women. History of Indonesia http://www.gimonca.com/sejarah/sejarah05.html

April 22, 1889 At noon a gunshot signaled the start of the Oklahoma Land Rush; thousands of settlers rushed into Oklahoma Territory to stake their land claims. Pressured by cattle ranchers, the US government had purchased 1.9 million acres of land from the Creek and Seminole tribes and made it available to settlers. A photograph of the beginning of the Oklahoma Land Rush http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/wpages/wpgs680/68_01.htm

April 22, 1931 A small flying contraption known as the "autogyro" landed on the lawn of the White House in Washington D.C. The pilot, James G. Ray, had been invited by President Herbert Hoover for a demonstration of the flying machine. The autogyro was invented by the Spaniard Juan de la Cierva in the 1920s http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/aero/cierva.htm

April 22,1970 The first Earth Day took place across the United States. The day was organized to call attention to the dangers of environmental destruction and pollution. "Give Earth a Chance" was the motto that year. You can celebrate Earth Day every day http://www.kidsdomain.com/holiday/earthday/

April 23, 303 Christian martyr Saint George is believed to have been killed on this day. According to legend he rescued a Libyan king's daughter after slaying the dragon that was about to devour her. Although little factual information is known, it is said that Saint George's defense of Christianity led to his arrest, torture, and execution. Saint George is the Patron Saint of England: http://www.innotts.co.uk/~asperges/george.html

April 23, 1838 The first transatlantic steamship service began with the arrival in New York of the English steam ship Great Western. The ship had departed 15 days earlier from Bristol, England transporting 660 tons of coal and seven passengers. The Great Western steam ship http://www.livjm.ac.uk/~etmdgri1/html_files/brunelgw.htm

April 23, 1964 Thirty of William Shakespeare's 37 plays were performed in the US and Canada to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of the English writer. Dozens of books were published throughout the year related to Shakespearean scholarship. Two of the most popular productions were Othello and King Lear. England's Royal Shakespeare Company is one of the world's finest theater companies http://www.rsc.org.uk/sum99sea/othello.htm

April 24, 1800 President John Adams signed a law establishing the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Initially designed as a library for congressional research, it has since amassed one of the largest collections of manuscripts and printed material in the world. The Library possesses more than 100 million items http://lcweb.loc.gov/loc/legacy/loc.html

April 24, 1970 The People's Republic of China (Taiwan) launched ROCSAT in 1970 After the former Soviet Union, the United States, France, and Japan, China became the fifth nation to orbit a satellite. Canada Third and Taiwan Sixth The ROCSAT-1 is the People's Republic of China's most recent satellite http://www.trw.com/seg/sats/ROCSAT.html

April 24, 1985 Two years before his death, RKO Home Video released six black and white film classics starring actor, singer, and dancer Fred Astaire. He is best known for the highly successful musical comedy films in which his partner was Ginger Rogers. Two of his most famous movies were "Shall We Dance" and "Follow the Fleet" http://www.wcinet.net/~arteest/FredMain.htm

April 25, 1961 Robert Noyce patented the integrated circuit, or chip, a small complex of electronic components placed in a slice of semiconductor material. The actual invention of the chip is attributed to two engineers working for different companies in the 1950s: Noyce and Jack Kilby. More on the history of computing: http://www.computer.org/50/history/1961.htm

April 25, 1963 Tony Awards were presented for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?" as the best play of the 1962-63 season. The stars, Arthur Hill and Uta Hagen, won the awards for Best Actor and Best Actress. Directed by Edward Albee, the play portrayed the love-hate relationship of a couple. The play was made into an award-winning film in 1966: http://www.filmsite.org/whos.html

April 25, 1974 A revolution took place in Portugal that toppled the military dictatorship of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar and his successor Marcelo Caetano. Salazar had been in power from 1926 until 1968. Led by Antonio de Spinola, the Portuguese revolution was a peaceful one. The event came to be known as the "Carnation Revolution": http://apus.ci.uc.pt/cd25a/ing/ing.introd2.htm

April 26, 1937 The German Luftwaffe destroyed the Basque town of Guernica in Spain. The planes swooped down on the sleepy village, subjecting the citizens to several hours of continuous bombing. This was considered one of the worst massacres of the Spanish Civil War. The Guernica massacre was immortalized in a mural by the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso: http://www.compulink.co.uk/~phreak/picasso/secret_guernica.html

April 26, 1962 The United Kingdom launched its first satellite. Sent to space by NASA from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Ariel 1 was intended to study the ionosphere. A new Ariel has been launched every few years since 1962. A photograph of Ariel 5: http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/Images/ariel/ariel5_assembly.gif

April 26, 1986 The worst nuclear accident in history took place when a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant (in the former Soviet Union) exploded. Over 100,000 residents of the area were evacuated to protect them from radioactive exposure, and about 31 people died in the disaster. "Chernobyl Children's Lifeline" is an English organization set up to help victims of the accident: http://homepages.nildram.co.uk/~vicmizzi/site/default.htm

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Updated Mar 9th 2001



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