Photo: Mutiny on the Bounty: On 28 April 1789, the most famous of all naval mutinies occurred on board HMS Bounty. Captain of the Bounty was Lieutenant William Bligh, an able seaman and a mean-tempered disciplinarian. The ship, with a load of breadfruit tree plants from Tahiti, was bound for Jamaica. Fletcher Christian, leader of the mutiny, put Bligh and 18 of his loyal followers adrift in a 23-foot open boat. Miraculously Bligh and all of his supporters survived a 47-day voyage of more than 3,600 miles, before landing on the island of Timor, June 14, 1789. In the meantime, Christian had put all of the remaining crew (excepting 8 men and himself) ashore at Tahiti, where he picked up 18 Tahitians (6 men and 12 women) and set sail again. Landing at Pitcairn Island in 1790 (probably uninhabited at the time), they burned the Bounty and remained undiscovered for 18 years, when an American whaler, the Topaz, called at the island (1808) and found only one member of the mutinous crew surviving. However, the little colony had thrived and, when counted by the British in 1856, numbered 194 persons.
Photo: Sultana Disaster – On 27 April 1865, early in the morning on this day, America’s worst steamship disaster occurred. The Sultana, heavily overloaded with an estimated 2,300 passengers, exploded in the Mississippi River, just north of Memphis, TN, en route to Cairo, IL. Most of the passengers were Union soldiers who had been prisoners of war and were eagerly returning to their homes. Although there was never an accurate accounting of the dead, estimates range from 1,450 to nearly 2,000. Cause of the explosion was not determined, but the little-known event is unparalleled in US history.
Photo: Guernica Massacre – 26 April 1937. Late in the afternoon, the ancient Basque town of Guernica, in northern Spain, was attacked without warning by German-made airplanes. Three hours of intensive bombing left the town in flames, and citizens who fled to the fields and ditches around Guernica were machine-gunned from the air. This atrocity inspired Pablo Picasso’s mural Guernica. Responsibility for the bombing was never officially established, but the suffering and anger of the victims and their survivors are still evident at anniversary demonstrations. Intervention by Nazi Germany in the Spanish Civil War has been described as practice for WWII.
Photo: DNA Day is a holiday celebrated on April 25. It commemorates the day in 1953 when James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and colleagues published papers in the journal Nature on the structure of DNA
Photo: Yom Hashoah. A day established by Israel’s Knesset as a memorial to the Jewish dead of WWII. Anniversary in Jewish calendar of Nisan 27, 5705 (corresponding to Apr 10, 1945, in the Gregorian calendar), the day on which Allied troops liberated the first Nazi concentration camp, Buchenwald, north of Weimar, Germany, where about 56,000 prisoners, many of them Jewish, perished. Began at sundown Apr 23rd.
Today is William Shakespeare’s birthday. Author of at least 38 plays and 154 sonnets, the dramatist, actor, poet and theater manager Shakespeare created the most influential and lasting body of work in the English language, William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 at Stratford-Upon-Avon, England
Photo: Today is Earth Day. Earth Day was first observed on April 22, 1970 and has become a yearly event to focus on nature and ecology.
Apr 21– May 4, 1865. After President Abraham Lincoln’s death and a Washington, DC, funeral, a special train was used to transport the body to its final resting place at Springfield, IL. An un-utilized train called The United States, which had been built for presidential travel, was transformed into a nine-car funeral train. On Apr 21, 1865, with the President’s portrait fastened on the front of the engine, “The Lincoln Special” began its 1,654-mile journey through 444 communities in seven states from Washington to Springfield. Millions of people came out over two weeks to see the passing funeral train. At a dozen scheduled stops, the coffin was transported by horse-drawn hearse to public buildings, including Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where Lincoln lay in state and mourners waited for up to five hours to pass by the closed coffin. Lincoln was buried on May 4.
On 20 April 1999, at Columbine High School at Littleton, CO, students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 other students, a teacher and then themselves.
On 19 April 1995, a car bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building at Oklahoma City, OK, at 9: 02 AM, killing 168 people, 19 of them children at a day-care center; a nurse died of head injuries sustained while helping in rescue efforts. The bomb, estimated to have weighed 5,000 pounds, had been placed in a rented truck. The blast ripped off the north face of the nine-story building, leaving a 20-foot-wide crater and debris two stories high. Structurally unsound and increasingly dangerous, the bombed building was razed May 23.