This Day in History

April 1


1085      Emperor Shenzong of Song in China dies after a reign of 18 years, age 36   932
1204      Eleanor of Aquitaine dies, age around 82   813
1545      Potosí, Bolivia, founded at an elevation of 4,090 m (13,420 ft) after discovery of silver deposits   472
1578      English physician William Harvey born   439
1776      birth of Sophie Germain, mathematician   241
1777      John Morton becomes the first signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence to die, probably of tuberculosis, age around 53   240
1789      U.S. House of Representatives first acheives a quorum—elects Frederick Muhlenberg as the first Speaker   228
1826      Samuel Morey patents the internal combustion engine   191
1865      Battle of Five Forks—Union forces under Philip Sheridan defeat Confederate army commanded by George Pickett   152
1867      Singapore becomes a British Crown Colony   150
1873      White Star Line RMS Atlantic runs onto rocks and sinks off Nova Scotia—535 die   144
1886      fire destroys a large part of the island of Key West—possibly set by Spanish to eliminate cigar production on the island   131
1891      Wrigley Company is founded in Chicago by William Wrigley, Jr.   126
1917      American composer and pianist Scott Joplin dies, age around 50   100
1918      Royal Air Force is formed—the oldest independent air force in the world   99
1921      first flight by a woman across the Andes from Peru to Chile is achieved by French pilot Adrienne Bolland in a Caudron G.3   96
1922      Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach dies in Herisau, Swizterland, age 37   95
1929      the yo-yo is introduced   88
1935      Sergey Vernov is the first to use radiosondes to perform cosmic ray measurements at high altitude—13.6km   82
1939      Spanish Civil War ends with the Nationalist victory under Francisco Franco   78
1946      7.8 earthquake in the Aleutian Islands produces a tsunami that devastates Hilo, Hawaii   71
1948      the αβγ paper outlining helium production in a hot big bang published   69
1968      Soviet theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate (Physics 1962) Lev Davidovich Landau dies in Moscow, age 60   49
1976      Apple Computer Company founded   41
1985      Villanova Wildcats (8 seed) beat the Georgetown Hoyas (1 seed) 66-64 in The NCAA Mens's Basketball Tournament—lowest seed to win   32
1999      Canada's Northwest Territories is divided and a new territory Nunavut is created out of the eastern portion   18
2000      astronomer Loof Lirpa makes first contact with extraterrestrial intelligent civilization   17
2001      Netherlands becomes the first country to legalize same-sex marriages   16
2004      Google launches Gmail service   13
2009      Albania and Croatia become members of NATO   8
2010      ribbon cutting ceremony for the Long Wavelength Array (LWA1) in New Mexico   7
2011      last island prison in the U.S., McNeil Island Correction Center, in Puget Sound, Washington, closes after 135 years   6
2014      French historian and author Jacques Le Goff dies in Paris, age 90   3
   April Fool's Day 

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

day before yesterdayyesterday tomorrowday after tomorrow