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556 Apr 16
Pelagius I began his reign as Catholic Pope.
Links: Vatican     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1503 Apr 16
Christopher Columbus abandoned the garrison at Rio Belen (Panama) and sailed for home (Hispaniola) with 3 ships. On the way he was shipwrecked in Jamaica.
Links: Dominican Rep.     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1605 Apr 16
New Mexico’s Gov. Don Juan de Onate y Salazar passed by the sandstone bluff of El Morro where he left his mark in the stone. He was returning from an expedition to the Gulf of California, which he called the South Sea.
Links: Spain, USA, New Mexico     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1687 Apr 16
George Villiers (b.1628), the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, died. The English statesman was a poet, an amateur chemist and one of England’s richest men.
Links: Britain, Poet, Writer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1746 Apr 16
Bonnie Prince Charles was defeated at the battle of Culloden, the last pitched battle fought in Britain. King George II won the battle of Culloden. Bonnie Prince Charlie used English rifleman and virtually annihilated the sword-wielding, rebellious, Highlander clans of Scotland at Culloden. It was the last major land battle fought on British soil. The Battle of Culloden was a crushing defeat for Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Highlander clans that backed him. About 50 English soldiers were killed. The Highlanders lost about 1,500 men.
Links: Britain, Scotland     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1818 Apr 16
U.S. Senate ratified the Rush-Bagot amendment to form an unarmed U.S.-Canada border.
Links: Canada     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1825 Apr 16
John Henry Fuseli (b.1741), Swiss born British Romantic painter, died. His paintings included “Nightmare” (1782).
Links: Artist, Britain, Switzerland     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1828 Apr 16
Francisco Jose Goya y Lucientes (b.1746), Spanish painter, cartoonist, died at age 82 in France. He had served 3 generations of Spanish kings as court painter. In 2002 Julia Blackburn authored "Old Man Goya." In 2003 Robert Hughes authored "Goya." See link for Goya timeline.
Links: Artist, Spain, France     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1853 Apr 16
India's 1st steam locomotive pulled 14 cars and 400 people 34 km. from Bombay to Thane. The government of India, directed by the Britain’s East India Company, had begun construction of a vast rail network this year.
Links: India     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1854 Apr 16
San Salvador was destroyed by an earthquake.
Links: El Salvador     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1859 Apr 16
Alexis de Tocqueville (b.1805), French writer, died in Cannes. His collected writings filled 17 volumes and included "Democracy in America" (1835) and "The Old Regime and the French Revolution" (1856). In 2001 a new English translation by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop was published. In 2001 Sheldon S. Wolin authored "Tocqueville Between Two Worlds." In 2006 Hugh Brogan authored “Alexis de Tocqueville: Prophet of Democracy in the Age of Revolution – A Biography.”
Links: USA, France, Writer, Biography     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1867 Apr 16
Wilbur Wright (d.1912), aeronautical inventor, was born in Dayton, Ohio.
Links: USA, Ohio, Aviation, Inventor     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1871 Apr 16
John Millington Synge (d.1909), dramatist and poet, was born in Ireland.
Links: Ireland, Playwright     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1888 Apr 16
Russian Orthodox Bishop Vladimir (Vasily Sokolovsky) arrived in San Francisco from Russia with an entourage of eight clerics and 11 boys.
Links: USA, Gays, SF     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1906 Apr 16
In Pennsylvania 3 men were shot dead in a riot among striking coal miners at Windber. An appeal was made to Gov. Pennypacker for troops.
Links: USA, Labor, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1907 Apr 16
Joseph-Armand Bombardier, inventor of the snowmobile, was born in Valcourt, Quebec, Canada.
Links: Canada, Inventor     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1916 Apr 16
In Norway Lars Korvald (d.2006), later prime minister (1972-1973) was born on a farm near the southeastern village of Nedre Eiker. He graduated from the Norwegian Agricultural College in 1943, and became an agriculture teacher.
Links: Norway     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1927 Apr 16
Joseph Alois Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI (2005), was born in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany.
Links: Germany, Vatican     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1942 Apr 16
Swiss Nazis in Payerne killed Jewish cattle trader Arthur Bloch. In 2009 novelist Jacques Chessex (1934-2009) recounted the event in his novel “A Jew Must Die.”
Links: Switzerland, Jews, Nazi, WWII     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1942 Apr 16
In San Francisco US federal agents arrested seaman Fred Shirer (30) in a tavern at 301 Turk Street for possession of hashish, the first time the narcotic as found in this country.
Links: USA, SF, Drugs     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1943 Apr 16
Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman (1906-2008) felt the first rush of LSD when a tiny amount of the substance seeped onto his finger during a laboratory experiment.
Links: Switzerland, Pharma     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1944 Apr 16
Germany’s U-550 torpedoed the gasoline tanker SS Pan Pennsylvania, which had lagged behind its protective convoy as it set out with 140,000 barrels of gasoline for Great Britain. One of the tanker's three escorts, the USS Joyce, saw it on sonar and severely damaged it by dropping depth charges. The crew abandoned the submarine, but not before setting off explosions to scuttle it in waters off Nantucket. On July 23, 2012, divers discovered the submarine.
Links: USA, Germany, Submarine, WWII     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1947 Apr 16
Financier and presidential confidant Bernard Baruch, in a speech given during the unveiling of his portrait in the South Carolina House of Representatives, coined the term "Cold War" to describe relations between the United States and the Soviet Union: "Let us not be deceived -- we are today in the midst of a cold war."
Links: Russia, USA, USSR, Quote     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1955 Apr 16
Abdullah Seif el-Islam, brother of Yemenite king Ahmed, was beheaded.
Links: Yemen     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1958 Apr 16
Rosalind Franklin (b.1920), English chemist and one of the four scientists who discovered the structure of DNA, died in London of ovarian cancer. She made the 1st x-ray image that revealed the double helix structure of DNA (1953). In 2002 Brenda Maddox authored "Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA."
Links: Britain, DNA, Biography     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1960 Apr 16
In Texas teacher and ex-beauty queen Irene Garza (25) was killed following her confession at a Roman Catholic church in McAllen. On April 21 police found Garza's body face down in a McAllen canal, along with a candelabra from Sacred Heart and a Kodak slide photograph viewer that police said belongs to priest John Bernard Feit. An autopsy revealed that she had been raped. In 2016 pleaded guilty to her murder. On Dec. 8, 2017, a jury sentenced Feit (85) to life in prison.
Links: USA, Murder, Texas, Clergy Sex     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1961 Apr 16
Fidel Castro declared that Cuba is now a socialist state. Pres. Kennedy called off the CIA air strikes in Cuba. The message did not reach the 1,511 commandos headed for the Bay of Pigs.
Links: USA, Cuba, KennedyJ     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1962 Apr 16
Brazil nationalized US businesses.
Links: Brazil     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1966 Apr 16
Rhodesian PM Ian Smith broke diplomatic relations with Britain.
Links: Zimbabwe     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1968 Apr 16
The Pentagon announced the "Vietnamization" of the war; troops will begin coming home.
Links: USA, Vietnam     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1968 Apr 16
Edna Ferber (b.1885), US author (Giant, Showboat), died. Her novels included “Show Boat” (1926), which was produced on Broadway in 1927 and later adopted 4 times as a movie.
Links: USA, Writer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1970 Apr 16
In Vermont a fire at Johnson’s Pasture Commune left 4 people dead.
Links: USA, Vermont, Fire     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972 Apr 16
Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon.
Links: USA, NASA, Moon     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972 Apr 16
The Republic of China presented two Pandas to the US National Zoo: Hsing-Hsing (d.1999) and Ling-Ling. Ling-Ling died in 1992.
Links: USA, China, Animal     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972 Apr 16
In Japan Yasunari Kawabata (b.1899), a Nobel laureate in literature (1968), committed suicide without explanation.
Links: Japan, Nobel Prize, Suicide, Writer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1973 Apr 16
Istvan Kertesz (b.1929), Hungarian-born German conductor, drowned. Kertész was the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1965 to 1968,
Links: Britain, Germany, Hungary, Classical Music     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1978 Apr 16
Lucius D. Clay (b.1897), US General and governor of the US zone in West Germany during the airlift, died.
Links: USA     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1978 Apr 16
A tornado struck in Orissa, India, and killed 173 people.
Links: India, Tornado     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Apr 16
Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) retired from professional tennis following quadruple bypass surgery. He contracted the HIV virus from a blood transfusion after a second bypass operation in 1983.
Links: USA, Tennis     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1984 Apr 16
In San Francisco nearly 200 people were arrested as some 1,000 demonstrators protested the noon speech by Henry Kissinger as the SF Hilton Hotel. “I believe that, within the next 12 to 15 months, there is every possibility that significant negotiations with the Soviet Union will start.”
Links: USA, SF, Mad Crowd     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1986 Apr 16
Dispelling rumors he was dead, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appeared on television to condemn the US raid on his country.
Links: USA, Libya     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 Apr 16
Winners of the 1987 Pulitzer Prizes included August Wilson's "Fences" for drama and Peter Taylor's "A Summons to Memphis" for fiction.
Links: USA, Theater, Books     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 Apr 16
The Federal Communications Commission put broadcasters on notice it would impose a broader definition of indecency over the airwaves.
Links: USA, FCC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 Apr 16
Iraqi forces attacked the Kurdish villages of Basilan and Sheik Wasan. This is believed to be the first time Saddam's regime used chemical weapons on Iraqi citizens.
Links: Iraq, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 Apr 16
Swedish Radio claimed that Swedish arms company AB Bofors paid kickbacks to top Indian politicians and key defense officials to secure a deal.
Links: India, Sweden, Govm’t Scandal     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1988 Apr 16
Abu Jihad, [Khalil al-Wazzir], PLO-leader, was murdered by Israeli assassins in Tunisia. They left the chief strategist of the Palestinian uprising with 170 bullets in his body. The Palestine Liberation Organization accused Israel of assassinating al-Wazir, a top PLO military figure. Palestinians reacted angrily, and at least 14 were shot and killed by Israeli troops during clashes in the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank. In 2012 Israel admitted responsibility for the killing of Abu Jihad.
Links: Israel, Palestine, Tunisia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Apr 16
In Forli, Italy, the Red Brigades-PCC killed Italian senator Roberto Ruffilli, an advisor of Italian PM Ciriaco de Mita. After that, the group activities all but ended after massive arrests of its leadership.
Links: Italy, Assassin     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 Apr 16
Spain's ambassador to Lebanon (Pedro Manuel de Aristegui) was killed by shellfire that broke out between Christian militiamen and an alliance of Syrian and Muslim gunners.
Links: Spain, Lebanon     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1990 Apr 16
The US Supreme Court rejected appeals by Dalton Prejean, a nearly retarded man, who was condemned to die for the 1977 murder of a Louisiana state trooper. Prejean was executed the following month.
Links: USA, Louisiana, Supreme Court     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1990 Apr 16
The US Supreme Court let stand a ban on school dances in the Bible Belt town of Purdy, Mo.
Links: Missouri     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1990 Apr 16
In San Francisco some 950 shops and restaurants in Chinatown shut down in protest over Mayor Art Agnos’ proposal to demolish the embarcadero Freeway.
Links: USA, SF     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Apr 16
President Bush announced that US forces would be sent into northern Iraq to assist Kurdish refugees.
Links: Iraq, USA, Kurds, BushHW     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Apr 16
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev began a visit to Japan.
Links: Russia, Japan, USSR     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Apr 16
Sir David Lean, director of the movies "The Bridge on the River Kwai," "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago," died in London at age 83.
Links: Britain, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1992 Apr 16
The US House ethics committee listed 303 current and former lawmakers who had overdrawn their House bank accounts.
Links: USA, Banking     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1992 Apr 16
Neville Brand, actor (Stalag 17), died of emphysema.
Links: USA, Filmstar     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 Apr 16
Bosnian Croats took part in a killing spree in the village of Ahmici and 116 Muslims were massacred and the village set fire.
Links: Bosnia, Croatia     More  Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 Apr 16
President Clinton received gay and lesbian activists in the Oval Office for a one-hour meeting.
Links: USA, Gays, ClintonB     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 Apr 16
At the White House, President Clinton pressed Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa to help ease Japan's persistent trade surplus with the United States.
Links: USA, Japan, ClintonB     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 Apr 16
A jury reached guilty verdict in the Federal case against cop who beat Rodney King, but the verdict was not read until April 17th.
Links: USA, California, Mad Police     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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