This Day in History - April 5

April 5

1242 – Russian troops repel an invasion by Teutonic knights in the Battle of Ice

1588 – English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, is born

1614 – Pocahontas marries English colonist John Rolfe

1774 – Benjamin Franklin writes a satirical open letter to Great Britain’s prime minister, Frederick, Lord North, from the Smyrna Coffee House in London, suggesting the British impose martial law upon the colonies

1792 – George Washington casts the first presidential veto when he nixes legislation aimed at dividing seats in the House of Representatives and increasing the amount for northern states against the instructions of the constitution

1818 – The Battle of Maipu, Chile’s independence movement, is fought and the Chileans are victorious over Spain

1827 – Joseph Lister, English physician who began using antiseptics during surgery, is born

1839 – Black congressman from South Carolina, Robert Smalls is born

1843 – Queen Victoria proclaims Hong Kong a British crown colony

1856 – Former slave, educator, founder of the Tuskegee Institute, Booker T. Washington, is born

1858 – Founder of the world’s largest mail-order seed company, Washington Atlee Burpee is born

1859 – Charles Darwin sends his publishers the first three chapters of Origin of Species, which will become one of the most influential books ever published

1861 – Gideon Welles, the Secretary of the Navy, issues orders for the USS Powhatan to sail to Fort Sumter

1862 – Union forces under General George McClellan arrive at Yorktown, Virginia to establish siege lines

1865 – As the Confederate army approaches Appomattox, it battles with Union forces at Amelia Springs and Paine’s Cross Road

1879 – Chile declares war on Bolivia and Peru, starting the War of the Pacific

1887 – Anne Sullivan makes the breakthrough to Helen Keller by spelling “water” in the manual alphabet

1895 – Irish playwright Oscar Wilde loses his criminal libel case that was triggered by accusations of homosexuality, based on the fact that the Marquess of Queensbury had left his calling card in the Albemarle club with the inscription, “For Oscar Wilde posing Somdomite” made famous by both it’s presence and its misspelling of the word ‘sodomite’

1900 – Actor Spencer Tracy is born

1908 – Actress Bette Davis is born

1908 – The Japanese Army reaches Yalu River as Russians retreat

1912 – English actor John Le Mesurier is born

1916 – Actor Gregory Peck is born

1917 – Novelist Robert Bloch is born

1918 – General Erich Ludendorff formally ends Operation Michael, the first stage of the final major German offensive of World War I

1919 – Eamon de Valera becomes President of Ireland

1920 – Novelist Arthur Hailey is born

1923 – President of South Vietnam, Nguyen Van Thieu is born

1928 – Cricket player Roy Kilner dies

1930 – Mahatma Gandhi defies British law by making salt in India instead of buying it from the British

1936 – The towns of Tupelo and Gainesville are nearly wiped out by tornadoes that kill 200-and the storms move on throughout Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee, one tornado after another, killing 466 over four days and injuring 3,500

1937 – US Army General and Secretary of State, Colin Powell, is born

1941 – German commandos secure docks along the Danube in preparation for Germany’s invasion

1943 – The British 8th Army attacks the next blocking position of the retreating Axis forces at Wadi Akarit

1945 – Yugoslavian leader Tito signs a “friendship treaty” with the Soviet Union

1951 – American Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are sentenced to death for espionage

1955 – Winston Churchill resigns as British Prime Minister

1968 – Boston, Massachusetts enjoys peace and calm while the other major cities experienced civil unrest and President Johnson’s state-of-emergency declaration on the heels of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, thanks to James Brown paying the city a visit and sharing with it his music

1969 – Antiwar demonstrations are held across the US in protest of Vietnam

1971 – Canadian Fran Phipps becomes the first woman to reach the North Pole

1975 – President of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek dies

1976 – One of the richest men from the American West, Howard Robard Hughes, dies

1984 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scores the 31,420th point of his career, breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time scoring record in the NBA

1986 – A bomb explodes in West Berlin, inside a disco packed with American soldiers, killing 3

1992 – Several hundred thousand people demonstrate in support of abortion rights for women in Washington, DC

1994 – Lead singer of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, ingests a near fatal amount of Valium and heroin and then shoots himself, in his Seattle home, leaving behind a suicide note quoting Neil Young’s lyric that it is “better to burn out than to fade away.” Many rumors floated about that his wife, Courtney Love, had hired someone to kill him, but ultimately the police determined it was indeed a suicide

1997 – American poet Allen Ginsberg dies

1998 – The world’s largest suspension bridge, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan, opens to traffic

1999 – Libya gave over two suspects in the Scotland Pan Am bombing

2000 – NASCAR legend, Lee Petty dies

2008 – Actor and president of the National Rifle Association, Charlton Heston, dies

Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.

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