Today is Saturday, April 21, the 112th day of 2012. There are 254 days left in the year.
On April 21, 1962, the Century 21 Exposition, also known as the Seattle World’s Fair, opened. President John F. Kennedy spoke briefly to the event by telephone from Palm Springs, Fla., where he tapped a gold telegraph key to signal the official start of the six-month fair.
On this date:
In 1509, England’s King Henry VII died; he was succeeded by his 17-year-old son, Henry VIII.
In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, which provided for freedom of worship for all Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly.
In 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States.
In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence.
In 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Conn., at age 74.
In 1918, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the German ace known as the “Red Baron,” was killed in action during World War I.
In 1930, a fire broke out inside the overcrowded Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, killing 332 inmates.
In 1955, the Jerome Lawrence-Robert Lee play “Inherit the Wind,” inspired by the Scopes trial of 1925, opened at the National Theatre in New York.
In 1960, Brazil inaugurated its new capital, Brasilia, transferring the seat of national government from Rio de Janeiro.
In 1972, Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke explored the surface of the moon.
In 1986, a rediscovered vault in Chicago’s Lexington Hotel that was linked to Al Capone was opened during a live TV special hosted by Geraldo Rivera; aside from a few bottles and a sign, the vault turned out to be empty.
In 1992, Robert Alton Harris became the first person executed by the state of California in 25 years as he was put to death in the gas chamber for the 1978 murder of two teen-age boys, John Mayeski and Michael Baker.