This Day in History

April 18


796      King Æthelred I of Northumbria is murdered in Corbridge by a group led by his ealdormen, age about 34   1222
1025      Boleslaw I Chrobry is crowned as the first king of Poland   993
1506      cornerstone of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City is laid   512
1521      Martin Luther appears before the Diet of Worms to renounce or reaffirm his views   497
1587      English historian and martyrologist John Foxe dies in London, age about 70   431
1674      English demographer and statistician John Graunt dies in London, age 53   344
1683      Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island colony, dies in Providence, age 79   335
1689      Boston revolts against the rule of the governor of the Dominion of New England—results in ouster of officials loyal to the king   329
1775      Paul Revere and William Dawes ride to warn that the British are on their way   243
1797      French army defeats Austrian forces in the Battle of Neuwled in present-day Germany   221
1802      English physician and natural philosopher Erasmus Darwin dies, age 70   216
1847      Battle of Cerro Gordo—Winfield Scott's U.S. troops out-flank and drive Santa Anna's larger Mexican army from a strong defensive position   171
1899      St. Andrew's Ambulance Association, formed in 1882, is granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria—Scotland's first ambulance service   119
1902      7.5 earthquake strikes the west coast region of Guatemala, 800 to 2000 killed and 80,000 made homeless   116
1906      San Francisco earthquake, estimated at 8.3 on Richter Scale   112
1922      boxing champion Jack Johnson is granted a patent for the adjustable wrench which he invented while in Leavenworth prison   96
1923      "The House That Ruth Built," Yankee Stadium, is opened—replaced 86 years later   95
1935      Seventh-day Adventist leader Arthur Grosvenor "A.G." Daniells dies in Glendale, California, age 76   83
1936      Italian composer Ottorino Respighi dies in Rome, age 56   82
1942      Doolittle raid on Japan—Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, and Nagoya are bombed in first U.S. air operation to strike the Japanese Home Islands   76
1943      Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is killed when his aircraft is shot down by U.S. fighters over Bougainville Island, age 59   75
1945      American journalist Ernie Pyle is killed while covering U.S. military action in WWII, age 44   73
1945      English physicist and engineer John Ambrose Fleming, inventor of the vacuum tube, dies in Devon, age 95   73
1949      Republic of Ireland is formed—no longer is a member of the British Commonwealth   69
1955      Albert Einstein dies age 76   63
1956      actress Grace Kelly marries Rainer, Prince of Monoco   62
1968      London Bridge is sold to Robert McCulloch to be rebuilt at Lake Havasu, Arizona   50
1981      longest game in professional baseball begins between AAA Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings—lasts 33 innings   37
1999      Wayne Gretzky plays in his last NHL game, retiring with the NHL regular-season career records of 894 goals and 2857 points   19
2002      Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl dies, age 87   16
2003      English computer scientist Edgar Frank "Ted" Codd dies in Florida, age 79   15
2007      five car bombs explode across Baghdad killing nearly 200 people and injuring 250 others   11
2008      French ethnologist and member of the French resistance during WWII Germaine Tillion dies in Saint-Mandé, France, age 100   10
2012      Pat Summitt, coach of the Lady Vols, retires with most wins of any NCAA basketball coach—1098 wins   6
2012      television music icon Richard Wagstaff "Dick" Clark dies in Santa Monica, California, age 82   6
2012      American science fiction author Kathy Diane "K. D." Wentworth dies in Tulsa, Oklahoma, age 61   6
2013      suicide bombing in a Baghdad cafe kills 27 people and injures another 65   5
2014      avalanche on Mount Everest kills 16 Sherpa guides at the 19,000 ft level—deadliest day on the mountain   4
2015      boat carrying an estimated 700 migrants from Libya attempting to flee to Italy capsizes—only about 50 rescued   3
2015      Fast Radio Burst (FRB) detected as its happening allowing other observations—first identified source   3
2018      Falcon 9 launch of NASA's exoplanet-hunting spacecraft, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)   0

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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