Today in History
On April 26, 1564, William Shakespeare was baptized at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.
On this date:
In 1865, John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was surrounded by federal troops near Port Royal, Va., and killed.
In 1913, Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old worker at a Georgia pencil factory, was strangled; Leo Frank, the factory superintendent, was convicted of her murder and sentenced to death. (Frank’s death sentence was commuted, but he was lynched by an anti-Semitic mob in 1915.)
In 1914, author Bernard Malamud (“The Natural”) was born in New York.
In 1923, Britain’s Prince Albert, Duke of York (the future King George VI), married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon at Westminster Abbey.
In 1937, German and Italian warplanes raided the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War; estimates of the number of people killed vary from the hundreds to the thousands.
In 1952, the destroyer-minesweeper USS Hobson sank in the central Atlantic after colliding with the aircraft carrier USS Wasp with the loss of 176 crew members.
In 1964, the African nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.
In 1984, bandleader Count Basie, 79, died in Hollywood, Fla.
In 1986, a major nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union).
In 1989, actress-comedian Lucille Ball died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at age 77.
In 1994, voting began in South Africa’s first all-race elections, resulting in victory for the African National Congress and the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president. China Airlines Flight 140, a Taiwanese Airbus A-300, crashed while landing in Nagoya, Japan, killing 264 people (there were seven survivors).
In 1999, BBC anchorwoman Jill Dando, host of a crime-fighting program, was fatally shot on the steps of her London home. (Barry George was convicted in July 2001 of killing Dando; however, he was acquitted in a retrial.)
Ten years ago: Following conservative criticism of his anti-war activities during the Vietnam era, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry accused President George W. Bush of failing to prove whether he’d fulfilled his commitment to the National Guard during the same period. The government unveiled its new, colorized $50 bill. Author Hubert Selby, Jr. died in Los Angeles at age 75.
Five years ago: The United States declared a public health emergency as more possible cases of swine flu surfaced from Canada to New Zealand; officials in Mexico City closed everything from concerts to sports matches to churches in an effort to stem the spread of the virus. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made an unannounced visit to Lebanon, where she met with President Michel Suleiman. Salamo Arouch, a Jewish boxer who’d survived the Auschwitz death camp by fighting exhibition bouts for Nazi officers, died in Israel at age 86.
One year ago: Unable to ignore air travelers’ anger, Congress overwhelmingly approved legislation to allow the Federal Aviation Administration to withdraw furloughs of air traffic controllers caused by budget-wide cuts known as the sequester. Fire at a psychiatric hospital near Moscow killed 38 people; only three escaped. Country singer George Jones, 81, died in Nashville.
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