Today In History...

In 1514 Copernicus makes his first observations of Saturn.
In 1607 An expedition of English colonists, including Captain John Smith, go ashore at Cape Henry, Virginia, to establish the first permanent English settlement in the New World.
In 1865 12 days after killing President Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth is surrounded by federal troops near Bowling Green, VA, and killed.
In 1880 The first scuba gear is demonstrated.
In 1937 Planes from Nazi Germany raid the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
In 1941 The Nazis take control of Greece during World War II.
In 1945 Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France's Vichy government during World War II, is arrested.
In 1954 Nationwide tests of the Salk anti-polio vaccine begin.
In 1961 Roger Maris hits the first of a record 61 home runs in a single season at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.
In 1964 The African nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge to form Tanzania.
In 1968 The U.S. explodes, beneath the Nevada desert, a one-megaton nuclear device called "Boxcar."
In 1970 Gypsy Rose Lee dies at age 56.
In 1980 Following an unsuccessful rescue attempt by the U.S., Iran announces the the hostages had been taken from the American Embassy and scattered to thwart future rescue efforts.
In 1981 The Frisbee indoor distance record is set at 316 feet.
In 1981 The largest bank robbery in the U.S. takes place in Tucson, AZ, where over $3.3 million was stolen.
In 1983 The Dow Jones average breaks 1200 for the first time.
In 1983 A national commission releases a scathing report on the state of American education, calling for sweeping measures to combat what it called "a rising tide of mediocrity" in schools.
In 1984 President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, arrive in Beijing to begin a 5-day visit to China.
In 1985 The U.S. Senate passes, by a voice vote, a resolution urging President Reagan to alter his plans to visit the German military cemetery at Bitburg.
In 1986 The world's worst nuclear accident takes place at Chernobyl station in the Soviet Ukraine. An experiment with the number four reactor goes awry, causing an explosion and fire that sends radioactivity into the atmosphere. At least 31 Soviets die immediately.
In 1988 Vice president George Bush wins the Pennsylvania primary and wraps up the Republican nomination for president.
In 1989 A tornado kills about 1000 in Bangladesh.
In 1989 Actress/comedian Lucille Ball dies in Los Angeles at age 77.
In 1990 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, leader of the right-wing Likud bloc, is chosen to form a new government after Labor party leader Shimon Peres fails in his attempt to form a coalition.
In 1991 23 are killed as four dozen tornadoes raked Kansas and Oklahoma.
In 1992 Worshippers celebrate the first Russian Orthodox Easter in Moscow in 74 years.
In 1993 President Clinton signs an executive order imposing new economic sanctions against Yugoslavia after the Serbian leadership in Bosnia
In 1993 Comedy writer Conan O'Brien was named to succeed David Letterman as host of NBC's "Late Night" program.
In 1994 Voting begins in South Africa's first all-race elections.
In 1994 A Taiwanese jet crashes in Japan killing 261 people.
In 1994 Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon, who admitted shooting and wounding an abortion doctor outside his clinic, is sentenced in Wichita, KS, to nearly 11 years in prison.
In 1995 One week after the Oklahoma City bombing, Americans observe a minute of silence in honor of the victims.
In 1996 After 16 days of bloodshed, Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas pledge agree to honor a U.S. brokered truce.
In 1997 In his Saturday radio address, President Clinton asks Congress to pay for a literacy drive for third-graders.
In 1998 Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera, a leading human rights activist in Guatemala, is killed 2 days after a report he'd compiled on atrocities during Guatemala's 36-year civil war was made public.
In 1999 BBC anchorwoman Jill Dando, the host of a crime-fighting program, is fatally shot on the steps of her London home.
In 2000 Vermont Governor Howard Dean signs the nation's first bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions.
In 2003 A Soyuz rocket carrying American astronaut Edward Lu and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko blasts off for the international space station.
In 2003 Charlton Heston, diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, makes his last appearance as president of the National Rifle Assn.
In 2004 The U.S. government unveils its new, colorized $50 bill.


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