Today In History...

In 1514 Copernicus made his first observations of Saturn.
In 1607 An expedition of English colonists, including Captain John Smith, went 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 was surrounded by federal troops near Bowling Green, VA, and killed.
In 1880 The first scuba gear was demonstrated.
In 1937 Planes from Nazi Germany raided the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
In 1941 The Nazis took control of Greece during World War II.
In 1945 Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France's Vichy government during World War II was arrested.
In 1954 Nationwide tests of the Salk anti-polio vaccine begin.
In 1961 Roger Maris hit 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 merged to form Tanzania.
In 1968, the U.S. exploded a one-megaton nuclear device called "Boxcar beneath the Nevada desert."
In 1970 Gypsy Rose Lee died at age 56.
In 1980 Following an unsuccessful rescue attempt by the U.S., Iran announced that the hostages had been taken from the American Embassy and scattered to thwart future rescue efforts.
In 1981 The Frisbee indoor distance record was set at 316 feet.
In 1981 The largest bank robbery in the U.S. occurred in Tucson, AZ, where over $3.3 million was stolen.
In 1983 The Dow Jones average broke 1200 for the first time.
In 1983 A national commission released 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, arrived in Beijing to begin a 5-day visit to China.
In 1985 The U.S. Senate passed, 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 occurred at Chornobyl station in 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 won the Pennsylvania primary and wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination.
In 1989 A tornado killed about 1000 in Bangladesh.
In 1989 Actress/comedian Lucille Ball died in Los Angeles at age 77.
In 1990 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, leader of the right-wing Likud bloc, was chosen to form a new government after Labor Party leader Shimon Peres failed in his attempt to create a coalition.
In 1991 23 were killed, and four dozen tornadoes raked Kansas and Oklahoma.
In 1992 Worshippers celebrated the first Russian Orthodox Easter in Moscow in 74 years.
In 1993 President Clinton signed 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 began in South Africa's first all-race elections.
In 1994 A Taiwanese jet crashed in Japan, killing 261 people.
In 1994 Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon, who admitted shooting and wounding an abortion doctor outside his clinic, was sentenced in Wichita, KS, to nearly 11 years in prison.
In 1995 One week after the Oklahoma City bombing, Americans observed a minute of silence in honor of the victims.
In 1996 After 16 days of bloodshed, Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas pledge agreed to honor a U.S.-brokered truce.
In 1997 In his Saturday radio address, President Clinton asked Congress to pay for a literacy drive for third graders.
In 1998 Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera, a leading human rights activist in Guatemala, was 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 signed 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 blasted off for the international space station.
In 2003 Charlton Heston, diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, made his last appearance as president of the National Rifle Assn.
In 2004 The U.S. government unveiled it's new, colorized $50 bill.


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