On April 15, 1912, the British luxury liner RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland at 2:20 a.m. ship's time, more than 2½ hours after striking an iceberg; 1,514 people died, while less than half as many survived.
On this date:
In 1850, the city of San Francisco was incorporated.
In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died, nine hours after being shot the night before by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington. Andrew Johnson became the nation's 17th president.
In 1874, an exhibition of paintings by 30 artists, including Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cezanne, opened in Paris. (A critic derisively referred to the painters as "Impressionists," a name which stuck.)
In 1942, Britain's King George VI awarded the George Cross to Malta for its heroism in the early days of World War II.
In 1943, the Ayn Rand novel "The Fountainhead" was first published by Bobbs-Merrill Co.
In 1945, during World War II, British and Canadian troops liberated the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson, baseball's first black major league player, made his official debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on opening day. (The Dodgers defeated the Boston Braves, 5-3.)
In 1959, Cuban leader Fidel Castro arrived in Washington to begin a goodwill tour of the United States. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles resigned for health reasons (he was succeeded by Christian A. Herter).
In 1960, a three-day conference to form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. (The group's first chairman was Marion Barry.)
In 1986, the United States launched an air raid against Libya in response to the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin on April 5; Libya said 37 people, mostly civilians, were killed.
In 1989, 96 people died in a crush of soccer fans at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. Students in Beijing launched a series of pro-democracy protests; the demonstrations culminated in a government crackdown at Tiananmen Square.
In 1998, Pol Pot, the notorious leader of the Khmer Rouge, died at age 73, evading prosecution for the deaths of two million Cambodians.
Ten years ago: Looters and arsonists ransacked Iraq's National Library, as well as Iraq's principal Islamic library. In the Netherlands, Volkert van der Graaf, the killer of politician Pim Fortuyn, was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Umpire Laz Diaz was attacked by a fan during a game between the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox; the fan, Eric Dybas, was later sentenced to six months in jail and 30 months' probation.
Five years ago: Pope Benedict XVI stepped onto U.S. soil for the first time as pontiff as he was greeted at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington by President George W. Bush, first lady Laura Bush and their daughter Jenna. Bombings blamed on al-Qaida in Iraq tore through market areas in Baghdad and outside the capital, killing nearly 60 people. Actress Hazel Court, who'd costarred with Boris Karloff and Vincent Price in horror movies of the 1950s and '60s, died near Lake Tahoe, Calif., at age 82.
One year ago: Five people were killed by a tornado in Woodward, Okla. Taliban insurgents struck the heart of the Afghan capital and three eastern cities. North Korea's new leader, Kim Jong Un, gave his first public speech since taking power, portraying himself as a strong military chief unafraid of foreign powers. Passengers and crew of the cruise ship MS Balmoral said prayers at the spot in the North Atlantic where the Titanic had sunk 100 years earlier.
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