1284 - King Edward II of England born (d. 1327).Wowee zowee.
1599 - Oliver Cromwell born (d. 1658).
1719 - Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is published.
1792 - Highwayman Nicolas J. Pelletier becomes the first person executed by guillotine.
1831 - "The Lion of the West," a play celebrating Davy Crockett, opens in New York City.
1840 - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, composer, born (d. 1893).
1846 - Mexican-American War: Open conflict begins over border disputes of Texas' boundaries.
1862 - American Civil War: Forces under Union Admiral David Farragut capture the Confederate city of New Orleans, Louisiana.
1864 - American Civil War: Battle of Mark's Mills - Confederate forces seize a Union wagon supply train on its way to Camden, Arkansas forcing Union General Frederick Steele to withdraw his troops to Little Rock, Arkansas.
1874 - Guglielmo Marconi, inventor, recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics 1909, born (d. 1937).
1898 - Spanish-American War: The United States declares war on Spain; the United States Congress announces that a state of war has existed since 21 April.
1901 - New York state becomes the first to require automobile license plates.
1908 - Edward R. Murrow, journalist, born (d. 1965).
1915 - World War I: The ANZAC tradition begins with a landing at Gallipoli on the Turkish coast.
1916 - Easter Rebellion: The United Kingdom declares martial law in Ireland (lasts until 29 April - the end of the rebellion).
1917 - Ella Fitzgerald, jazz singer, born (d. 1996).
1932 - Meadlowlark Lemon, basketball star, member of the Harlem Globetrotters, born.
1940 - Al Pacino, actor, born.
1945 - World War II: United States and Russian troops link up at the Elbe River, cutting Germany in two.
1945 - The United Nations is organized in San Francisco, California, by 50 nations.
1953 - Francis Crick and James D. Watson publish Molecular structure of nucleic acids: a structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid describing the double helix structure of DNA.
1959 - The St. Lawrence Seaway, linking the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, officially opens to shipping.
1959 - The first person now known to have AIDS enters a hospital.
1969 - Renée Zellweger, actress, born.
1972 - Vietnam War: Nguyen Hue Offensive - The North Vietnamese 320th Division forces 5,000 South Vietnamese troops to retreat and traps about 2,500 others northwest of Kontum.
1974 - Carnation Revolution: A coup in Portugal restores democracy.
1975 - As North Vietnamese forces close in on the South Vietnamese capital Saigon, the Australian Embassy is closed and evacuated, almost ten years to the day since the first Australian troop commitment to South Vietnam.
1976 - Tim Duncan, basketball star, two-time NBA MVP, born.
1980 - A commando mission in Iran to rescue American embassy hostages is aborted after mechanical problems ground the rescue helicopters. Eight United States troops were killed in a mid-air collision during the failed operation.
1981 - More than 100 workers are exposed to radiation during repairs of a nuclear power plant in Tsuruga, Japan.
1982 - Israel completes its withdrawal from the Sinai peninsula per the Camp David Accords.
1983 - American schoolgirl Samantha Smith is invited to visit the Soviet Union by its leader Yuri Andropov after he read her letter in which she expressed fears about nuclear war.
1983 - Pioneer 10 travels beyond Pluto's orbit.
1988 - In Israel, John Demjanuk is sentenced to death for war crimes committed in World War II. He was accused of being a notorious guard at the Treblinka extermination camp known as "Ivan the Terrible" by survivors.
1989 - James Richardson is freed from a Florida prison 21 years after being wrongfully convicted of the murder of his seven children.
1990 - Space Shuttle program: STS-31 - Astronauts aboard the Discovery deploy the Hubble Space Telescope.
1996 - A T-43 (military version of a Boeing 737) crashes into mountain near Dubrovnik, Croatia killing 35, including U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown.
2004 - I had a cold cut trio 6" sub with Frito's and a fruit punch Powerade for dinner.
This Day in History
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