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The h2g2 Calendar - 4 - April

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  • 1805 - Writer Hans Christian Andersen, famous for his fairy tales, is born in Odense, Denmark.

  • 1874 - Two Native Americans find 'white man's flesh' outside an Agency building, thus starting the search for Alfred Packer - the Colorado Cannibal.

  • 1902 - 'Electric Theatre', the first full-time cinema in the USA, opens in Los Angeles, California.

  • 1908 - The HMS Tiger takes part in an ill-fated home fleet exercise 20 miles south of the Isle of Wight..

  • 1916 - The Isle of Wight's seaplanes destroy a Zeppelin.

  • 1928 - Serge Gainsbourg, French Singer and Songwriter, is born in Paris, France.

  • 1930 - The first crossword appears in the weekly edition of The Times.

  • 1939 - Marvin Gaye, the Prince of soul, is born in Washington DC to the Rev Marvin and Alberta Gay.

  • 1961 - The trial of Adolf Eichmann begins in Jerusalem.

  • 1970 - Phil Spector finishes work on the Beatles' album Let It Be. 34 years later, Paul McCartney removes Spector's contributions from the recordings and releases Let it Be... Naked.

  • 1982 - Argentina invades The Falkland Islands.

  • 1985 - The first male voice of the Speaking Clock is heard.

  • 2006 - More than 60 tornadoes cause havoc in the USA. Hardest hit is Tennessee with 29 people killed.


  • 1883 - The trial begins of Alfred Packer - the 'Colorado Cannibal' - for the murder of Israel Swan.

  • 1895 - The trial of a libel case instigated by the playwright Oscar Wilde begins, eventually resulting in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality.

  • 1912 - Calbraith Perry Rogers is the first casualty from a bird strike, when he flews his Wright Flyer into a flock of seagulls during an air show in Long Beach and crashes into the sea.

  • 1924 - Legendary actress and singer Doris Day is born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

  • 1924 - Legendary actor Marlon Brando is born, as noted in the song 'We Didn't Start the Fire'.

  • 1930 - Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl is born.

  • 1994 - The American TV show Highlander first airs in the UK.

  • 2007 - A French TGV on the LGV Est high-speed line sets an official world speed record for conventional trains.


  • Every year - It's the Feast day of Saint Isidore, the Patron Saint of the Internet.

  • 1731 - The Countess of Cesena is found, her body reduced to ashes. Was this down to Spontaneous Human Combustion?

  • 1721 - Sir Robert Walpole becomes the first prime minister of the UK, during the reign of King George I.

  • 1841 - US President William Henry Harrison dies of pneumonia.

  • 1923 - Baseball legend Babe Ruth hits the first home run in the history of the newly-opened Yankee Stadium.

  • 1968 - The American black civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King, is assassinated.

  • 1972 - President Nixon authorises massive bombing of the North Vietnamese troops invading South Vietnam, saying, in private, 'The B a s t a r d s have never been bombed like they're going to be bombed this time'.

  • 1995 - Kenny Everett, anarchic DJ and pioneer of 'pirate radio', dies.

  • In a raid on a ranch owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church) in Texas, USA, 401 children and 133 woman are taken into custody.


  • 1799 - Income tax payments start, for anyone on a decent salary. Not exactly a Great Day in History.

  • 1815 - People around the world learn the name 'Tambora' - the greatest volcanic eruption in recorded history.

  • 1841 - William Henry Harrison, 9th US President, dies of a pneumonia he contracted during his inaugural speech 32 days earlier.

  • 1904 - The first international rugby league match is played between England and an Other Nationalities team (Welsh and Scottish players) in Central Park, Wigan, England.

  • 1951 - Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are sentenced to jail for conspiring to steal secrets about the atomic bomb - a historical moment documented in the song 'We Didn't Start the Fire'.

  • 2008 - US actor Charlton Heston, star of the film Ben-Hur and president of the National Rifle Association, dies (born 1923).


  • 1652 - The Dutch sailor Jan van Riebeeck establishes a re-supply camp at the Cape of Good Hope. It eventually becomes Cape Town, South Africa.

  • 1937 - The Luigi Accame ploughs into Rocken End, off the Isle of Wight.

  • 1960 - Sputnik 3 ceases sending back data, as noted in the song 'We Didn't Start the Fire'.

  • 1971 - Operation Lam Son 719 ends, one stage of the US campaign in Vietnam.

  • 1994 - Juvénal Habyarimana, President of Rwanda, and Cyprien Ntaryamira, Hutu President of neighbouring Burundi die in an air crash when their plane is hit by two missiles.

  • 2004 - Niki Sullivan, US guitarist with Buddy Holly and The Crickets, dies (born 1937).


  • 1827 - English chemist John Walker sells the first friction match.

  • 1853 - Queen Victoria's son Leopold, Duke of Albany, is born.

  • 1858 - In Lourdes, a young girl called Bernadette experiences what is later called 'The Miracle of the Candle'.

  • 1949 - The musical South Pacific premieres on Broadway.

  • 1961 - An injured Soviet air force pilot is hospitalised, kick-starting unsubstantiated rumours regarding the first manned space flight.

  • 1967 - A Peace Parade in Fifth Avenue, New York, protests against the war in Vietnam.

  • 1968 - Racing driver Jim Clarke is killed in a crash at Hockenheim.

  • 1983 - Astronauts Story Musgrave and Don Peterson perform the first space shuttle spacewalk.

  • 1999 - The World Trade Organisation rules in favour of the USA in a long-running trade dispute with the European Union over bananas.


  • 1749 - Charles Wesley - Preacher and Hymn-writer - marries Sarah Gwynne.

  • 1818 - August Wilhelm von Hofmann, the German chemist whose work led to the establishment of the coal tar and dye-stuff industries, is born.

  • 1820 - The Venus de Milo is discovered on the Aegean island of Melos.

  • 1953 - Twelve passengers die and many are injured when a London Underground Central line train, heading eastbound to Epping, ploughs into a stationary train waiting in the tunnel between Stratford and Leyton.

  • 1974 - Baseball legend Hank Aaron scores a historic home run at Atlanta Stadium.

  • 1994 - Kurt Cobain, now-legendary frontman of melodic grunge outfit Nirvana, commits suicide.

  • 2008 - Construction of the world's first building to integrate wind turbines is completed in Bahrain.




  • 1471 - Henry VI surrenders to Edward IV, bringing the Second War of the Roses to an end.

  • 1775 - Germany's last execution for witchcraft takes place.

  • 1912 - The Titanic departs from Queenstown, Ireland, as its last photograph is taken before heading out across the Atlantic.

  • 1968 - General Westmoreland is denied his request for more troops in the war in Vietnam.

  • 1970 - Apollo 13 is launched.

  • 1994 - Oasis - the band at the heart of 1990s 'Brit-pop' - release their debut single.

  • 2000 - Historian David Irving is denounced as a Holocaust denier by Justice Gray.

  • 2001 - Harry Secombe, the Welsh actor and comedian of Goon Show fame, dies (born 1921).

  • 2007 - Following a fall in his home in Manhattan, American author Kurt Vonnegut dies aged 84.



  • Every year - If you suffer from Triskaidekaphobia, today will not be your favourite day of the month.

  • Every year - Songkran, the Water Festival, starts, signifying the end of the Thai year.

  • 1640 - King Charles I summons the Short Parliament, which sat from this day until 5 May, 1640.

  • 1742 - George Frideric Handel's oratorio Messiah has its world premiere in Dublin, Ireland.

  • 1883 - Alfred Packer - the Colorado Cannibal - is found guilty of murder and sentenced to death.

  • 1954 - Baseball legend Hank Aaron makes his first major league debut.

  • 1959 - Dutch orchestral conductor Eduard van Beinum dies after having a heart attack.

  • 1966 - Iraqi politician Abdul Salam Arif dies in a mysterious helicopter crash at the banks of the Shatt al-Arab river in South Iraq.

  • 1970 - 'Houston, we have a problem...' Apollo 13 gets into difficulty.

  • 2004 - UK television presenter Caron Keating dies (born 1962).


  • Every year - Songkran - the Water Festival - ends. In Thailand it's considered to be the day between the old year and the new year.

  • 1471 - The battle of Barnet is fought as part of the Second War of the Roses.

  • 1699 - Khalsa, the brotherhood of the Sikh religion, is born in northern India, in accordance with the Nanakshahi calendar.

  • 1759 - Death of the great German baroque composer, George Frederic Handel.

  • 1857 - Queen Victoria's daughter Beatrice is born.

  • 1865 - American President Abraham Lincoln is shot.

  • 1912 - The Titanic strikes an iceberg and begins to sink.

  • 1912 - Father of modern journalism William T Stead dies, having been on board the Titanic.

  • 1936 - Racing driver Jim Clarke is born.

  • 1941 - Baseball legend Pete Rose is born.

  • 1961 - Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death for crimes against the Jewish people.

  • 1976 - Morocco and Mauritania partition the Western Sahara.

  • 2005 - The US Oregon Supreme Court nullifies marriage licences issued to gay couples a year earlier by Multnomah County.


  • Every year - Tax Freedom Day, the traditional deadline for which federal income taxes must be paid to Washington DC.

  • Every year - Songkran, the Water Festival, ends, signifying Thailand's New Year's Day.

  • 1452 - Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci is born (d. 1519).

  • 1814 - Medora Leigh - thought to have been the incestuous lovechild of Lord Byron and Augusta - is born.

  • 1865 - Abraham Lincoln dies after being shot the previous day.

  • 1912 - In the early hours of the morning, the last section of the Titanic sinks beneath the surface of the water.

  • 1947 - Baseball legend Jackie Robinson breaks down the race barrier in major league baseball.

  • 1961 - B-26 planes bomb Cuban airfields by order of John Fitzgerald Kennedy - 35th President of the United States.

  • 1972 - Hanoi and Haiphong Harbour are bombed by the United States during the Vietnam war.

  • 1989 - 96 football fans are crushed to death in the Hillsborough Tragedy.

  • 2000 - Baseball legend Cal Ripken Jnr makes his 3,000th career hit.

  • 2001 - Joey Ramone, musician and singer with US punk rock band The Ramones, dies (born 1951).


  • Every year - Feast day of Saint Drogo, the Patron Saint of the really ugly.

  • 1867 - Wilbur Wright is born. With his younger brother, Wright becomes one half of the most famous aviation duo in history.

  • 1889 - The most famous comedy tramp of the movies, Charlie Chaplin, is born in London.

  • 1918 - Spike Milligan, Irish comedian, is born (d. 2002).

  • 1924 - The Presbytery of Phoenix of the Presbyterain Church meets in session - a stage in the Americanisation of the Pima Nation.

  • 1935 - The public first hear the new 'swing' sound of Glenn Miller.

  • 1939 - Most revered British female vocalist of the 1960s Dusty Springfield is born in London.

  • 1972 - Apollo 16 is launched.

  • 2003 - The Treaty of Accession is signed in Athens, admitting ten new member states to the European Union.


  • 1492 - Christopher Columbus signs a deal with Spain to finance his travels.

  • 1875 - The English Football League is formed - good news for Blackburn Rovers FC.

  • 1924 - Carl Hayden receives a letter regarding a meeting in Tucson, just one stage in the Americanisation of the Pima Nation.

  • 1940 - Singer/songwriter Billy Fury is born in Liverpool, UK.

  • 1957 - Nick Hornby, the English author, is born.

  • 1961 - John F Kennedy - 35th President of the United States - authorises the Bay of Pigs invasion, and incident noted in the song 'We Didn't Start the Fire'.

  • 1963 - Baseball legend Mickey Mantle hits the record-breaking 'tape measure' home run.

  • 1970 - After a tense few days, Apollo 13 re-enters Earth's atmosphere and splashes down with its crew intact.

  • 1998 - Linda McCartney, wife of Paul McCartney, Wings musician and animal rights campaigner, dies (born 1941).


  • 1915 - During World War I, the French pilot Roland Garros is shot down and glides to a landing on the German side of enemy lines.

  • 1955 - Albert Einstein, who developed the theory of relativity, dies in hospital aged 76.

  • 1956 - Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco.

  • 1994 - Former President of the United States Richard Nixon suffers a stroke.

  • 2002 - Ethnologist Thor Heyerdahl dies.


  • 1775 - The colonists sing Yankee Doodle as they drive the British back to Boston.

  • 1824 - Lord Byron dies.

  • 1865 - Abraham Lincoln's funeral takes place.

  • 1934 - Child actor Shirley Temple debuts in US TV series Stand Up and Cheer.

  • 1935 - Musician, Comedian and Actor Dudley Moore is born in Dagenham.

  • 1946 - British actor Tim Curry, famous for his performance in the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show, is born in the Cheshire village of Grapenhall.

  • 1949 - 'Lawn Chair' Larry Walters is born.

  • 1971 - A protest is staged across Lincoln Memorial Bridge by Vietnam veterans and mothers of dead soldiers.

  • 1972 - The North Vietnamese army attack the city of An Loc.

  • 1993 - The Waco siege ends tragically.

  • 2005 - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is elected Pope Benedict XVI on the second day of the Papal conclave.


  • Every year - The last day of Aries, according to the horoscope.

  • Every year - Feast day of Saint Caedwalla, the Patron Saint of serial killers.

  • 570 - Mohammed, founder of the Islam, is born in Mecca.

  • 1941 - Baseball legend Pete Rose is sentenced to five months in jail, 1000 hour community service and a $500,000 fine.

  • 1943 - Edie Sedgwick is born in the Cottage Hospital of Santa Barbara, as seventh of eight children.

  • 1971 - About 200 veterans attend hearings on proposals to end the war in Vietnam.

  • 1991 - Steve Marriott, the British singer/songwriter with the band The Small Faces, and later Humble Pie, dies (b. 1947).

  • 2001 - China removes homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.


  • Every year - The first day of Taurus, according to the horoscope..

  • 1926 - Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is born. She is better known by the title 'Queen Elizabeth II'.

  • 1975 - President Thieu of North Vietnam resigns from office.

  • 1995 - The TV series Father Ted is first broadcast.

  • 2004 - Pilot Robert Morgan of the Memphis Belle falls over at Asheville Regional Airport and breaks his neck.

  • 2007 - Princess Isabella of Denmark is born.


  • 1313 - The Ship of Blessed Mary is wrecked off the coast of the Isle of Wight.

  • 1429 - Sire de Rotslaer writes a letter describing several predictions made by 'Joan of Arc'.

  • 1833 - Inventor of the first steam locomotive, Richard Trevithick, dies in extreme poverty.

  • 1914 - Baseball legend Babe Ruth pitches his first game with the Baltimore Orioles.

  • 1994 - Richard Nixon - 37th President of the United States - dies.

  • 2002 - Reading's rising urinals are first, er, christened.

  • 2006 - Some 243 people are injured in Nepal after security forces open fire on pro-democracy protesters opposed to King Gyanendra.


  • 1564 - Birthdate of William Shakespeare. He would die on the same day 52 years later.

  • 1616 - A Great Date in History - owing to the death on this day of both Shakespeare and Cervantes.

  • 1858 - Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, the reluctant revolutionary of quantum mechanics, is born in Kiel, Germany.

  • 1891 - Composer Sergey Sergeyevich Prokofiev is born.

  • 1954 - Baseball legend Hank Aaron hits his first major league home run.

  • 1967 - Tenor Saxophonist John Coltrane makes his last recording.

  • 1968 - Students protest against the Vietnam War at Columbia University.

  • 1971 - The final day of the Operation Dewey Canyon III protest against the Vietnam War.

  • 2003 - All schools in Beijing, China, are closed for two weeks because of the SARS virus.


  • 1066 - Halley's Comet is sighted on this day above the Isle of Wight.

  • 1494 - Explorer Christopher Columbus leaves the settlement on La Isabella on this day to search for what he thought was the Chinese mainland.

  • 1816 - Lord Byron leaves England on self-imposed exile.

  • 1907 - Alfred Packer - the 'Colorado Cannibal', dies on a ranch near Denver.

  • 1942 - Singer and actress Barbra Streisand is born in Brooklyn, New York.

  • 1971 - Half a million demonstrators arrive in Washington DC to protest against the War in Vietnam.

  • 1993 - An IRA London Underground bomb detonates in Bishopsgate, destroying the Undergroud station and wrecking nearby buildings.

  • 2007 - Iceland announces that Norway will shoulder the defence of Iceland during peacetime.


  • Some years - The latest date in April on which Easter Day can ever fall.

  • 1557 - Scarborough Castle is seized by Thomas Stafford on this day.

  • 1763 - John Wilkes publishes controversial comments in newssheet The North Briton - an event that planted some of the Seeds of the American Revolution.

  • 1843 - Alice, one of Queen Victoria's Children, is born.

  • 1873 - Birth of Félix d' Hérelle, joint discoverer of bacteriophages, the most numerous organisms in the Earth's biosphere.

  • 1908 - HMS Gladiator shipwrecks off the Isle of Wight.

  • 1915 - The Battle of Gallipoli, and the date on which ANZAC Day falls each year, commemorating those who died in the battle.

  • 1918 - Ella Fitzgerald, peerless black American jazz and pop singer and the 'first lady of song', is born.

  • 1935 - Band Leader Glenn Miller plays titles under his own name for the first time.

  • 1989 - Tibet's 'Stolen Child', Gedhun Choekyi Nyima the 11th Panchen Lama, is born.

  • 2007 - Boris Yeltsin's funeral is the first to be sanctioned by the Russian Orthodox Church for a head of state since the funeral of Emperor Alexander III in 1894.


  • 1573 - Marie de Medici is born.

  • 1848 - The surviving members of the Franklin Expedition to the Northwest Passage leave the safety of their ships for the final time...

  • 1923 - Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon - later HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother - and Prince Albert are wed.

  • 1926 - David Coleman, much-loved English TV sports commentator, was born. He was the first quizmaster of the BBC TV sports show, A Question of Sport, and the originator of Colemanballs.

  • 1953 - Panmunjom peace talks began again - an event referred to in the lyrics of Billy Joel's 'We Didn't Start The Fire'.

  • 1957 - Sir Patrick Moore begins presenting the monthly television series The Sky At Night which is going to make him, and his monocle, famous.

  • 1986 - The Chernobyl Disaster takes place on this day.

  • 2007 - Queen's Pier is officially closed by the Hong Kong government, after a bitter struggle by conservationists, to facilitate land reclamation in the Central district.


  • 1822 - Ulysses S Grant, Union General and American President is born in Point Pleasant, Ohio.

  • 1882 - Leopold, Duke of Albany - one of Queen Victoria's Children - marries Princess Helena of Prussia.

  • 1896 - Baseball legend Rogers Hornsby is born.

  • 1947 - Declared 'Babe Ruth Day' across the USA and Japan.

  • 1956 - Rocky Marciano announces his retirement from boxing - an event referred to in the lyrics of Billy Joel's 'We Didn't Start the Fire'.

  • 1958 - The doomed third Sputnik satellite is launched - an event referred to in the lyrics of Billy Joel's 'We Didn't Start The Fire'.

  • 1967 - Bolivian President René Barrientos dies in an helicopter crash.

  • 1972 - Apollo 16 splashes down.

  • 1972 - Vietnam War peace talks resume in Paris.

  • 1986 - The town of Pripyat, lying next door to the Chernobyl Power Station, is evacuated.

  • 1993 - All of the Zambian naional football team die in an air crash, when their Zambian Air Force de Havilland Buffalo crashes near Libreville, Gabon, after an engine starts to burn.

  • 2002 - Musician, Comedian and Actor Dudley Moore dies in his home in New Jersey.

  • 2006 - Construction work begins on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Center in New York City.


  • 1934 - Coventry City Football Club score their biggest ever victory.

  • 1941 - 'Ole Betty' - the nickname for the oldest-surviving B-17 Flying Fortress aeroplane - begins her career.

  • 1947 - Thor Heyerdahl sets out to sail across the Pacific to Polynesia.

  • 1967 - Muhammad Ali is arrested for refusing army induction during the Vietnam War.

  • 1975 - General Duong Van Minh becomes the new president of South Vietnam.

  • 1999 - Douglas Adams launches h2g2 - an internet-based Guide to Life, the Universe and Everything inspired by his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. The site is unveiled on the BBC's science programme Tomorrow's World.


  • 1483 - The Dukes of Gloucester and Buckingham meet Lord Rivers at Northampton: a brief peaceful moment of The House of York during the Wars of the Roses.

  • 1950 - Three adults are injured and a baby dies in a London rail disaster at Boarer's Manor Way Level Crossing, when a train hits a lorry occupying the tracks, due to poor visibility that day.

  • 1975 - The North Vietnamese army shell the Tan Son Nhut air base in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

  • 1993 - Guitarist Mick Ronson, famed for his collaboration with David Bowie, dies.

  • 2002 - Reading's 'Rising Urinals' are first opened to the public.


  • Every year - The National Celebration of 'Queens Day' in Holland.

  • 1429 - Joan of Arc enters the Orleans army.

  • 1789 - At his Inauguration as US President, George Washington starts the tradition of kissing bibles and saying 'So help me God' at the end of the oath.

  • 1812 - Lousiana officially becomes the 18th State of the USA.

  • 1918 - The SS Isleworth is sunk off the Isle of Wight.

  • 1926 - The first black female US pilot Bessie Coleman dies in an air crash when she is practising for an air show in Jacksonville, Florida.

  • 1943 - One of the greatest anti-Nazi deceptions of the Second World War, 'Operation Mincemeat', takes place.

  • 1968 - Battle at Dai Do, part of the Vietnam War.

  • 1969 - US Troops in Vietnam are at 543,400 - the highest at any point during the conflict.

  • 1970 - Nixon announces moves to destroy North Vietnamese and Vietcong sanctuaries during the Vietnam War.

  • 1973 - Nixon makes the first of three speeches on the Watergate scandal - an event mentioned in the lyrics of Billy Joel's 'We Didn't Start The Fire'.

  • 1975 - The last ten US marines are evacuated from the Tan Son Nhut air base in Saigon, one of the final events of the Vietnam War.

  • 1993 - Virgin 1215 AM is launched - the first national commercial pop Radio station in Britain.

  • 1993 - Mick Ronson, ace lead guitarist in David Bowie's 1970s group, 'Spiders from Mars', departed Earth.

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