This Day in History

April 19


531      Battle of Callinicum fought at Ar-Raqqah in northern Syria results in a Byzantine defeat but halts the invading Persian army   1487
1012      Ælfheah, Archbishop of Canterbury, after refusing to be ransomed, is executed by the Vikings, age around 58   1006
1390      Robert II King of Scots and the first monarch of the House of Stewart dies after a reign of 19 years, age 74   628
1529      6 princes and 14 cities petition the Reichstag to lift the imperial ban against Martin Luther—Protestation at Speyer   489
1560      German Lutheran reformer Philip Melanchthon dies in Wittenberg, age 63   458
1567      German monk and mathematician Michael Stifel dies, age approximately 80   451
1608      Cahir O'Doherty leads a force of rebels to attack and burn the garrison town of Derry in Ulster—   410
1770      14-year old Marie Antoinette marries by proxy 15-year-old Louis-Auguste who later becomes Louis XVI king of France   248
1770      James Cook aboard HMS Endeavour sights the eastern coast of what is now Australia   248
1775      Lexington:  "the shot heard 'round the world"   243
1782      John Adams secures the Dutch recognition of the U.S. as an independent government—his house beomes the first U.S. embassy   236
1824      poet Lord Byron dies in Greece, age 36   194
1839      Treaty of London is signed guaranteeing the independence and neutrality of Belgium   179
1861      President Abraham Lincoln signs a proclamation ordering Union blockades of Confederate ports   157
1882      English naturalist Charles Darwin dies, age 73   136
1897      first Boston Marathon—won by John J. McDermott of New York   121
1904      great fire destroys a large section (more than 100 buildings) of downtown Toronto   114
1906      French physicist and Nobel laureate Pierre Curie dies in Paris, age 46   112
1919      near Dayton, Ohio Leslie Leroy Irvin makes the first planned free-fall parachute descent—he broke his ankle on landing   99
1934      child star Shirley Temple debuts in "Stand Up and Cheer"   84
1943      "Bicycle Day"—Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann deliberately takes LSD for the first time   75
1965      Gordon E. Moore publishes in Electronics magazine his prediction of the doubling nature of electronics now known as Moore's Law   53
1966      Roberta Louise "Bobbi" Gibb becomes the first woman to run the Boston marathon although unofficially   52
1971      launch of Salyut 1, first space station   47
1975      India's first satellite, Aryabhata, is launched by U.S.S.R.   43
1982      launch of Salyut 7—last of Salyut program—occupied total 816 days   36
1987      The Simpsons debuts on The Tracey Ullman Show   31
1993      51-day standoff of Mount Carmel Center outside Waco, Texas by FBI and ATF ends with buildings burned and occupants dead   25
1995      Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City destroyed by truck bomb—168 including children killed   23
2000      Canadian film score composer and conductor Louis Applebaum dies in Toronto, age 82   18
2006      American test pilot and first man to fly at Mach 2 Albert Scott Crossfield dies, age 84   12
2006      German mineralogist Karl Hugo Strunz dies, age 96   12
2008      Peggy Whitson returns to Earth holding American record and women's record for total 377 days in space   10
2009      English novelist, short story writer, and essayist James Graham "J. G." Ballard dies in London, age 78   9
2013      American mathematician Kenneth Ira Appel dies, age 80   5
2013      American businessman, author, columnist, and founder of USA Today Allen Harold "Al" Neuharth dies, age 89   5
2013      at age 59 Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov becomes the oldest person ever to spacewalk   5
2015      Turkish physical chemist, molecular biophysicist, and biochemist Oktay Sinanoglu dies in Miami, Florida, age 80   3
2015      more than 800 migrants drown when their smuggler's boat sinks off the coast of Libya—only 27 surviviors   3

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.

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