This Day in History

April 27


1296      Battle of Dunbar—English forces under Edward I defeat Scottish army in a cavalry engagement   721
1521      Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan killed in the Philippines, age about 41   496
1565      Spanish explorers colonize and found Cebu City—first European city in the Philippines   452
1598      Dutch astronomer and cartographer Michael Florent van Langren (Langrenus) is baptized in Amsterdam   419
1656      Dutch landscape painter Jan Josephszoon van Goyen dies, age 60   361
1667      impoverished poet John Milton sold the publication rights to Paradise Lost to publisher Samuel Simmons for £5   350
1805      U.S. marines attack and capture the town of Derne on "the shores of Tripoli" during the first Barbary War   212
1810      Ludwig van Beethoven's "Für Elise" is composed   207
1813      American explorer Zebulon Pike is killed in action near York (now Toronto), age 35   204
1840      foundation stone for new Palace of Westminster in London is laid   177
1861      President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus in Maryland   156
1865      north of Memphis a boiler explosion destroys steamship Sultana killing more than 1500 Union POW's heading home   152
1865      New York state founds Cornell University as the state's land grant institution in Ithica   152
1882      American philospher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson dies in Concord, Massachusetts, age 78   135
1883      French astronomer and mathematician Édouard Roche dies, age 62   134
1893      Boston capitalist Greenleaf Simpson founds the Fort Worth Stockyards Company   124
1915      death of Russian composer Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin in Moscow, age 43   102
1936      English mathematician and statistician Karl Pearson dies in Surrey, England, age 79   81
1937      first benefit payment made by U.S. Social Security system   80
1938      Czech philosopher Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl dies in Germany, age 79   79
1941      Greek capital of Athens falls to German forces   76
1965      disposable diaper–Pampers–patended   52
1983      Nolan Ryan sets Major League Baseball's career strikeout record passing Walter Johnson's 3509 strikeouts   34
1986      Pripyat, Ukraine, a city of 50,000, is completely evacuated forever due to radioactive contamination   31
1992      American physicist and space activist Gerard Kitchen O'Neill dies, age 65   25
1992      Betty Boothroyd becomes the first and only woman to serve as Speaker of the House of Commons of the U.K.   25
1994      elections in South Africa are the first in which citizens of all races were allowed to take part—celebrated as Freedom Day   23
1999      American trumpeter and bandleader Alois Maxwell "Al" Hirt dies in New Orleans, age 76   18
2002      American science fiction author George Alec Effinger dies in New Orleans, age 55   15
2005      maiden flight of the Airbus A380 "superjumbo"   12
2006      construction begins on One World Trade Center in New York City on the site of the World Center Towers destroyed in 2001   11
2011      storm spawns tornadoes that rip through Alabama and surrounding states—over 300 dead, second deadliest such storm in U.S. history   6
2013      GRB 130472A, brightest gamma-ray burst ever recorded, is detected by several satellites   4
2015      American biologist and biophysicist Alexander Rich dies in Boston, age 90   2

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