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Events, deaths, births, of APR 27

[For Apr 27 Julian go to Gregorian date:
1583~1699: May 071700s: May 081800s: May 091900~2099: May 10]
• Tea Act... • Magellan killed... • Plus d'esclaves des français... • Papal interdict on Venice... • 1500 returning POWs die as riverboat explodes... • Condamnés à mort par la Révolution... • Morse is born... • To the shores of Tripoli... • UAW separates from AFL... • Milton sells copyright to Paradise Lost... • Penn Central formed by merger... • Microsoft can't buy Intuit... • Computer mouse... • Prodigy president quits... • Afghan president murdered in Communist coup... • Explorer, general Pike killed... • North Vietnamese attack Quang Tri... • Humphrey's presidential candidacy... • “Grandmother” of Frankestein is born...
On a 27 April:
1995 Justice Department blocks Microsoft's acquisition of Intuit.       ^top^
      The US Justice Department files an antitrust suit to block Microsoft from buying Intuit, makers of the popular Quicken financial software, for $2.1 billion. The suit argued that financial software was one of the only remaining software sectors not dominated by Microsoft. Intuit dominated about 70% of the personal finance software segment, while Microsoft Money held only 22%. Microsoft voluntarily abandoned the merger in May.
1995 Prodigy president quits.       ^top^
      Ross Glatzer, president of Prodigy Services Co., quits amid tension between parent companies IBM and Sears. IBM reportedly wanted more power over the online venture, which had just started showing signs of profitability. The two companies had invested $1 billion in the venture since 1985. In March, Prodigy's second-in-command, Scott Kurnit, left the company to join MCI's new Internet venture. The company continued to struggle after Glatzer's departure. In 1996, Prodigy's management purchased the company and began transforming it into an Internet service provider.
1992 The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is proclaimed in Belgrade by the two republics of Serbia and of Montenegro.
1992 Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics are admitted into the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
1989 Beijing students take over Tiananmen Square.
1987 The US Justice Department bars Austrian Chancellor Kurt Waldheim from entering the US, due to his aid to the Nazis in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War II.
1982 Trial of John W Hinckley Jr., attempted assassin of Reagan, begins. Hinckley would be acquitted by reason of insanity and confined to a mental hospital.
1981 Computer mouse introduced by Xerox       ^top^
      Xerox introduces its STAR 8010 information system, the first computer on the market to boast a mouse and a point-and-click interface. The STAR was based on cutting-edge work at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, which had developed a graphic user interface using a mouse for a machine called the Alto. The mouse, first demonstrated in 1968 by Douglas Engelbart of the Stanford Research Institute, would not catch on until the Apple Macintosh was introduced in 1984. Xerox devoted nine years and some $50 million to developing the STAR, but the product failed, partly because of its sky-high price tag of $16,500.
1978 Pro-Soviet Marxists seize control of Afghanistan. (National Day).
1975 Saigon is encircled by North Vietnamese troops.
1973 During the Watergate crisis, acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray resigns.
1972 North Vietnamese attack outskirts of Quang Tri.       ^top^
      North Vietnamese troops shatter defenses north of Quang Tri and move to within 4 km of the city. Using Russian-built tanks, they took Dong Ha, 11 km north of Quang Tri, the next day and continued to tighten their ring around Quang Tri, shelling it heavily. South Vietnamese troops suffered their highest casualties for any week in the war in the bitter fighting. This was the northern-most front of the North Vietnamese Nguyen Hue Offensive, launched on 30 March when more than 120'000 North Vietnamese troops invaded South Vietnam.
      The attacks on Quang Tri were followed by attacks on Binh Long province, just 120 km north of Saigon, and Kontum in the Central Highlands. Hanoi's 304th Division, supported by tanks, artillery, and antiaircraft units, swept across the Demilitarized Zone and routed the South Vietnamese division that had been guarding outlying positions on the approach to Quang Tri. The attackers quickly overwhelmed the South Vietnamese troops, who fell back toward the city of Quang Tri. The North Vietnamese encircled the city and continued to pound it with artillery and rockets. On 01 May, the North Vietnamese captured the city as the South Vietnamese 3rd Division collapsed as a fighting force. This was the first provincial capital to fall during the North Vietnamese offensive and ultimately the North Vietnamese controlled the entire province. Hanoi claimed 10'000 South Vietnamese and Allied casualties were captured during the battle for Quang Tri.
1968 Humphrey announces his candidacy.       ^top^
      Vice President Hubert Humphrey announces his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. In an interview, he said he supported the current US policy of sending troops "where required by our own national security." On March 31, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson, frustrated with his inability to reach a solution in Vietnam, announced that he would neither seek nor accept the nomination of his party for re-election. This set up a contest for the Democratic nomination. Humphrey's main competition was Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-Minnesota), who had come within a few hundred votes of beating Lyndon Johnson in the New Hampshire primary. Robert Kennedy had entered the race and won most of the Democratic primaries until he was assassinated in June. When the Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago in August, a conflict immediately erupted over the party's Vietnam platform. While demonstrations against the war took place in the streets outside the convention hall, Humphrey won the party nomination. He was ultimately defeated in the general election by Republican Richard Nixon, who criticized the Johnson's handling of the war and ran on a platform of achieving "peace with honor" in Vietnam.
1961 UK grants Sierra Leone independence
1960 France grants Togo independence (Natl Day).
1953 The US offered $50'000 and political asylum to any Communist pilot who delivers a MIG fighter jet.
1950 The modern state of Israel is officially recognized by the British government.
1950 South Africa passed the Group Areas Act, which segregates races.
1948 Arab legion attacks Gesher bridge on Jordan River
1945 2nd Republic of Austria forms
1941 The German army enters Athens, ending Greek resistance. All mainland Greece and all the Greek Aegean islands except Crete are under German occupation by May 11. In fending off the Axis invaders, the Greeks suffer the loss of 15'700 men. Greece will not be liberated until 1944, by British troops from the Mediterranean theater.
1937 First US Social Security payment made.
1936 UAW separates from AFL.       ^top^
      The UAW, or United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, gains autonomy from the American Federation of Labor (AFL) on this day in 1936. In doing so, the UAW became the first democratic, independent labor union concerned with the rights of unskilled and semi-skilled laborers. The AFL was seen as America's most powerful labor organization, but it was essentially an institution concerned with guaranteeing the rights of skilled workers, and as such it fought for salary stratification on the basis of skill. The AFL's skilled laborers cared little for the plight of the many thousands of unskilled workers who worked in Detroit's automotive industry. Organized labor in general had been made possible through legislation resulting from the New Deal.
      In 1935 Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act — also called the Wagner Act after New York Senator Robert Wagner — which guaranteed the rights of laborers to bargain collectively with their employers, and which created the National Labor Relations Board to act as a quasi-judicial tribunal that could argue its decisions in federal court. These rights, however, were impossible to implement for unskilled laborers as large companies continued to discriminate heavily against union sympathizers on the grounds that they were Communists. Nevertheless, the constitutional guarantee of rights was a crucial step that emboldened the AFL to expand its activities. The AFL's craft structure provided no means by which unskilled laborers could obtain bargaining leverage with their employers. UAW members campaigned for autonomy from the overbearing and exclusionary AFL, a right they were provisionally granted in August of 1935. The AFL allowed the autoworkers a national union charter. Unfortunately, AFL president William Green caved in to the demands of national craft union leaders, and the charter he granted the UAW did not even allow the autoworkers to elect their own leaders.
      Disgruntled auto unionists, angered at the election of an AFL loyalist who knew little about cars, convene in South Bend, Indiana, on this day in 1936 and vote to cast off their AFL affiliation. The newly independent UAW instead affiliated itself with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Considered a renegade institution by the AFL, John Lewis's CIO had been created to foster organization of industrial workers in mass-production industries. The UAW was officially free and democratically controlled, but the strain caused by its difficult birth had left the organization with only thirty thousand loyal members. The union's greatest challenge was yet to come in increasing its membership and organizing to the degree that it could exert force as a collective bargaining entity. Under the lead of Wyndham Mortimer, a Cleveland auto worker who was considered a Communist agitator, the UAW began to organize a drive in Flint, Michigan aimed at securing rights for GM workers. On New Year's Eve of 1936, the famed sit-down strike at GM's Fisher body plant became the center stage for all unskilled labor struggles. GM moved to legally block the strike and evict the workers from its facilities, but unlike strikes of the previous era, the state government, under the direction of Governor Frank Murphy, protected the rights of the workers to bargain collectively. The governor's attention may have been accountable to concurrent Senate hearings on the abusive tactics used by GM on its laborers. The workers invoked the Wagner Act and GM was forced to settle with the UAW, recognizing the union and signing a contract. The event was the first victory by unskilled laborers in America's largest industry.
1931 100ºF (38ºC), Pahala, Hawaii (state record)
1922 Yakut ASSR formed in Russian SFSR
1909 Sultan of Turkey Abdul Hamid II is overthrown.
1865 Explosion of the riverboat Sultana
1863 Streight's Raid through northern Alabama begins.
1863 Siege of Suffolk, Virginia by Confederates continues.
1862 Siege of Yorktown, Virginia continues.
1861 West Virginia secedes from Virginia after Virginia secedes from US.
1861 US President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus.
1848 Abolition de l'esclavage dans les colonies françaises.       ^top^
      Le gouvernement français proclame l'abolition immédiate de l'esclavage dans les colonies, à l'initiative d'un riche philanthrope libéral, Victor Schoelcher. C'est l'aboutissement d'un long effort. En 1537, dès sa réapparition dans les pays chrétiens, l'esclavage avait été condamné par le pape Paul III (mais les injonctions pontificales n'avaient pas eu plus de succès qu'elles n'en ont aujourd'hui en matière de moeurs). Pendant la Révolution française, les députés de la Convention abolissent une première fois l'esclavage pour tenter de pacifier les Antilles et empêcher l'Angleterre de s'en emparer. Mais Napoléon Bonaparte annule cette mesure à la demande du Sénat et sur l'insistance de sa femme, Joséphine, une créole de la Martinique. En 1833, les Anglais prennent les premiers l'initiative d'abolir définitivement l'esclavage dans leurs colonies, sous la pression de leurs sociétés philanthropiques. Les Français attendent la chute du roi Louis-Philippe 1er et l'instauration de la Deuxième République pour faire de même. Par la volonté de Victor Schoelcher, 250.000 esclaves noirs ou métis sont libérés aux Antilles, à la Réunion comme à Saint-Louis du Sénégal, cependant que les planteurs reçoivent une indemnité forfaitaire. Démentant les sombres prophéties des planteurs, la fin de l'esclavage se solde par un regain de l’activité économique dans les colonies. Victor Schoelcher va militer avec moins de succès contre la peine de mort. Il sera à sa mort inhumé au Panthéon en reconnaissance de son civisme
1838 Fire destroys half of Charleston
1805 To the shores of Tripoli.       ^top^
      After marching 800 km from Egypt, US agent William Eaton leads a small force of US Marines and Berber mercenaries against the Tripolitan port city of Derna.
      The Marines and Berbers were on a mission to depose Yusuf Karamanli, the ruling pasha of Tripoli, who had seized power from his brother, Hamet Karamanli, a pasha who was sympathetic to the United States. The First Barbary War had begun four years earlier, when US President Thomas Jefferson ordered US Navy vessels to the Mediterranean Sea in protest of continuing raids against US ships by pirates from the Barbary states — Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania. American sailors were often abducted along with the captured booty and ransomed back to the US at an exorbitant price.
      After two years of minor confrontations, sustained action began in June of 1803 when a small US expeditionary force attacked Tripoli harbor in present-day Libya. In February of 1804, a force of US Marines under Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led an expedition into Tripoli harbor to destroy a captured American vessel; a mission that famed British Admiral Horatio Nelson later called the "most daring act of the age."
      Six months later, Decatur returned to Tripoli Harbor as part of a larger American offensive, and emerged as a hero again during the so-called "Battle of the Gunboats," a naval battle that saw hand-to-hand combat between the Americans and the Tripolitans.
      In April of 1805, another American victory came during the Derna campaign, which was the first campaign undertaken by US land forces in North Africa. Supported by the heavy guns of the USS. Argus and the USS. Hornet, Marines and Arab mercenaries under William Eaton captured Derna and deposed Yusuf Karamanli. Lieutenant Presely O’ Bannon, commanding the Marines, performed so heroically in the battle that Hamet Karamanli presented him with an elaborately designed sword that now serves as the pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers. The phrase "to the shores of Tripoli" from the official song of the US Marine Corps also has its origins in the Derna campaign.
1794 (8 floréal an II) BISSOT Pierre François, âgé de 43 ans, maître de musique, adjudant major de la section des Invalides, BONIE Pierre, âgé de 33 ans, officier de santé, et ROCHE Jean Baptiste, âgé de 43 ans, limonadier, natif de Rheims (Marne), domiciliés à Paris, sont condamnés à 6 années de gêne par le tribunal révolutionnaire de Paris, comme convaincus d'avoir sciemment et à dessein attesté de faux certificats de résidence, pour les conspirateur Mortet (ou Mortel, ou Morlet), agent de l'infâme Condé, et Manssion (ou Maussion), émigrés qui ont été frappés du glaive de la loi.
1794 (8 floréal an II) NAUDET Henri, menuisier, domicilié à Paris, département de la Seine, est condamné à mort par contumace, le 8 floréal an 2, par le tribunal criminel du département de la Seine, comme fabricateur de faux assignats.
1773 British Parliament passes the Tea Act.       ^top^
      The British Parliament passes the Tea Act, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and thus granting it a monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allows the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled out of America, and many colonists view the act as another example of taxation without representation.
      When three tea ships, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbor, the colonists demanded that the tea be returned to England. After Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused, Patriot leader Samuel Adams organized the so-called "Boston Tea Party" with about sixty members of the "Sons of Liberty." On December 16, 1773, the Patriots boarded the three British ships disguised as Mohawk Indians, and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. The destroyed tea was valued at approximately ten thousand pounds.
      Parliament, outraged by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, in the following year. The colonists in turn responded by calling the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance against the British.
1667 English poet John Milton, 58, sells the copyright to his religious epic "Paradise Lost" for ten English pounds
1667 John Milton sells the copyright to Paradise Lost.       ^top^
      Blind poet John Milton sells the copyright to his masterpiece Paradise Lost (1667) for a mere 10 pounds. Milton was born and raised the indulged son of a prosperous London businessman. He excelled at languages in grammar school and at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he took a bachelor's and a master's, which he completed in 1632. He then decided to continue his own education, spending six years reading every major work of literature in several languages. He published an elegy for a college classmate, Lycidas, in 1637 and went abroad in 1638 to continue his studies. In 1642, Milton married 17-year-old Mary Powell, who left him just weeks later. Milton wrote a series of pamphlets arguing for the institution of divorce based on incompatibility. The idea, however mild it seems today, was scandalous at the time, and Milton experienced a vehement backlash for his writing. Milton's wife returned to him in 1645, and the pair had three daughters. However, he continued espousing controversial views. He supported the execution of Charles I, he railed against the control of the church by bishops, and he upheld the institution of Cromwell's commonwealth, for which he became secretary of foreign languages. In 1651, he lost his sight but fulfilled his government duties with the help of assistants, including poet Andrew Marvell. His wife died the following year. He remarried in 1656, but his second wife died in childbirth. Four years later, the commonwealth was overturned, and Milton was thrown in jail, saved only by the intervention of friends. The blind man lost his position and property. He remarried in 1663. Blind, impoverished, and jobless, he began to dictate his poem Paradise Lost to his family. When the poem was ready for publication, he sold it for 10 pounds. Once printed, the poem was immediately hailed as a masterpiece of the English language. In 1671, he wrote Paradise Regained, followed by Samson Agonistes. He died in 1674.
     Born on 9 December 1608, John Milton, became one of the greatest poets of the English language. He also was a noted historian, scholar, pamphleteer, and civil servant for the Parliamentarians and the Puritan Commonwealth. Milton ranks second only to Shakespeare among English poets; his writings and his influence are an important part of the history of English literature, culture, and libertarian thought. He is best known for Paradise Lost, which is generally regarded as the greatest epic poem in the English language. Milton's prose works, however, are also important as a valuable interpretation of the Puritan revolution, and they have their place in modern histories of political and religious thought.
     The indulged son of a prosperous London businessman, Milton excelled at languages in grammar school and at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he took a bachelor's degree and then a master's. He decided to continue his education on his own, spending six years reading every major work of literature in several languages. He published Comus in 1637, several years after its first performance. The same year, he published an elegy for a college classmate, Lycidas. In 1638, he went abroad to continue his studies.
      In 1642, Milton married 17-year-old Mary Powell, but she left him a few weeks later. Milton wrote a series of pamphlets arguing for the legalization of divorce based on incompatibility. The idea, however mild it seems today, was scandalous at the time, and Milton experienced a vehement backlash. Milton's wife returned to him in 1645, and the pair had three daughters. However, he continued to spout controversial views. He supported the execution of Charles I, he railed against the control of the church by bishops, and he upheld the institution of Cromwell's Commonwealth, of which he became secretary of foreign languages.
      In 1651, Milton lost his sight but fulfilled his government duties with the help of assistants, including poet Andrew Marvell. His wife died the following year. He remarried in 1656, but his second wife died in childbirth. Four years later, the Commonwealth was overthrown, and Milton went to jail. The blind man lost his position and property, but was saved from a lifetime in prison by the intervention of loyal friends. Milton remarried in 1663. Blind, impoverished, and jobless, he began to dictate his poem Paradise Lost to his family. When the poem was ready for publication, he sold it for 10 pounds. Once printed, the poem was immediately hailed as a masterpiece of the English language. In 1671, he wrote Paradise Regained, followed by Samson Agonistes. Milton died on 8 November 1674.
  • Milton Reading Room
  • Areopagitica
  • Areopagitica
  • Areopagitica
  • Colasterion
  • Colasterion
  • Comus, A Mask
  • The History of Britain
  • Il Penseroso
  • L'Allegro
  • The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce
  • The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce
  • Lycidas
  • Of Education
  • Of Education
  • Paradise Lost (multiple editions)
  • Paradise Lost
  • Paradise Lost
  • Paradise Lost (1667)
  • Paradise Lost: A Poem in Twelve Books (1674)
  • Paradise Regained
  • Paradise Regained
  • Paradise Regained
  • Poems of Mr. John Milton, Both English and Latin, Compos'd at Several Times (1645)
  • The Poetical Works of John Milton
  • Samson Agonistes
  • Samson Agonistes
  • Tetrachordon
  • contributor to John Milton: Poet, Priest and Prophet
  • translator of The Judgment of Martin Bucer Concerning Divorce
  • 1565 First Spanish settlement in Philippines, Cebu City, is established.
    click for 1512 portrait by Raphael1509 Papal interdict on Venice.       ^top^
          Pope Julius II (05 Dec 1443 — 21 Feb 1513, crowned pope 28 Nov 1503) places under interdict the Venice republic. [click image for Julius II portrait by Raphael >]
          Under pretence of humiliating Cesare Borgia, whom Alexander VI had made Duke of the Romagna, the Venetians had reduced various places in the Romagna under their own authority. The Romagna was ecclesiastical territory, and every one of its cities added to the Venetian republic was lost to the papacy. Julius, therefore, ordered Cesare Borgia to surrender the fortified places of the Romagna into his own hands. Cesare Borgia refused and was arrested by the pope's order. Venice stubbornly refused to give back the cities which it had previously taken. A temporary settlement was reached in March, 1505, when Venice restored most of its conquests in the Romagna.
          However the Venetians continued to hold Rimini and Faenza, two important places in the Romagna: they moreover encroached upon the papal rights by filling the vacant episcopal sees in their territory independently of the pope, and they subjected the clergy to the secular tribunal and in many other ways disrespected the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Julius II. Unable to cope alone with the powerful Republic of Venice, he reluctantly joined the League of Cambrai on 23 March 1509. This League had been formed by Emperor Maximilian I and Louis XII of France chiefly with the purpose of forcing Venice to restore its recent continental conquests to their original owners.
          On 27 April 1509, Julius II places Venice under interdict and dispatches his troops into the Romagna. Venice was too weak to contend against the combined forces of the League, and suffered a complete defeat at the battle of Agnadello on 14 May 1509. The Venetians were now ready to enter negotiations with Julius II, who withdrew from the League and freed the Venetians from the ban on 24 February 1510, after they agreed upon the following terms. (1) to restore the disputed towns in the Romagna; (2) to renounce their claims to fill vacant benefices; (3) to acknowledge the ecclesiastical tribunal for ecclesiastics and exempt them from taxes; (4) to revoke all treaties made with papal cities; (5) to permit papal subjects free navigation on the Adriatic.
    4977 -BC- Johannes Kepler's date for creation of universe
    Danielle ShefiDeaths which occurred on a 27 April:   ^top^
    2002 Mrs. Ruth Handler, 85, a founder of Mattel with her husband Elliot Handler and Harold “Matt” Matson in 1945, creator of the Barbie doll (which first went on sale on 13 Feb 1959, and of which over a billion had been sold, in 150 countries, by the time Mrs. Handler died), resigned from Mattel and pleaded no contest to charges of stock fraud in 1978, founded Ruthton Corporation to design and market artificial breasts. [Mattel official history]. The first Mattel products, in 1945, were picture frames made in a garage workshop in southern California. Elliot soon developed a side business in dollhouse furniture made from picture frame scraps. Matson soon sold out to his partners and the Handlers turned the company's emphasis to toys.
    3 of the Adura dead2002 Arik Becker, 22, Katrina Greenberg, 43 [<<<], Danielle Shefi, 5 [>>>], and Ya'akov Katz, 51, Israelis in Adura enclave settlement, West Bank, shot in their homes by three Palestinian infiltrators in Israeli uniforms (who escape), at about 09:00. An armed Palestinian thought to be one of the three is later killed by Israeli troops.
    2002 At least 25 civilians in Gardez, Afghanistan, subjected to a rocket assault by the troops of warlord Bacha Khan Zardran. US troops at the southern edge of the city let it all happen, saying that it is not their primary mission to stop such carnage.
    2002 Sixteen Maoist rebels killed by Nepalese government forces, 12 at a rebel base in Khotang district, and 4 rebels at a guerrilla training camp in Sindhupalchowk district.
    2002 A Nepalese soldier in a convoy ambushed by Maoist rebels. Another 10 soldiers are wounded.
    2001 Greg Chan, Kayla Rosenberg, Stephen Glidden, 7th-graders, and Melissa Leung, 8th-grader, in bus that overturns in Canada, in the early hours, on the way to a band competition in Halifax, with 42 kids from Oak Hill Middle School, Newton, Massachusetts, 5 chaperones and two bus drivers. 36 others are injured, mostly lightly.
    1997 Jeffrey Trail, beaten to death with a claw hammer, in Minneapolis, by Andrew Cunanan, who goes on a killing spree. On 29 April he kills David Madson with two shots to the head, in East Rush Lake. Then in Chicago he binds millionaire Lee Miglin, 72, with duct tape, stabs him with garden shears, and cuts his throat with a saw. On 09 May he kills another person in New Jersey. On 14 July he kills designer Gianni Versace outside his mansion in the South Beach section of Miami. On 25 July Cunanan shoots himself in the head on a houseboat in Miami Beach, when the police is alerted to his presence.
    1979 Gheorghe Vranceanu, Romanian mathematician born on 30 June 1900..
    1978 Mohammed Daoud, Afghan president, murdered in Communist coup.       ^top^
          Afghanistan's President Sardar Mohammed Daoud is overthrown and murdered in a coup led by procommunist rebels. The brutal action marked the beginning of political upheaval in Afghanistan that resulted in intervention by Soviet troops less than two years later. Daoud had ruled Afghanistan since coming to power in a coup in 1973. His relations with the neighboring Soviet Union had grown progressively worse since that time as he pursued a campaign against Afghan communists. The murder of a leading Afghan Communist Party leader in early April 1978 may have encouraged the communists to launch their successful campaign against the Daoud regime later that month. In the political chaos that followed the death of Daoud, Nur Mohammed Taraki, head of the Afghan Communist Party, took over the presidency. In December 1978, Afghanistan signed a 20-year "friendship treaty" with the Soviet Union, by which increasing amounts of Russian military and economic assistance flowed into the country. None of this, however, could stabilize the Taraki government. His dictatorial style and his decision to turn Afghanistan into a one-party state alienated many people in the heavily Moslem country. In September 1979, Taraki was himself overthrown and murdered. Three months later, Soviet troops crossed into Afghanistan and installed a government acceptable to the Russians, and a war between Afghan rebels and Soviet troops erupted. The conflict lasted until Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev withdrew the Soviet forces in 1988. In the years following the Soviet intervention, Afghanistan became a Cold War battlefield. The United States responded quickly and harshly to the Soviet action by freezing arms talks, cutting wheat sales to Russia, and boycotting the 1980 Olympic games in Moscow. Tension increased after Ronald Reagan became president in 1981. The United States provided arms and other assistance to what Reagan referred to as the "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan. For the Soviets, the Afghanistan intervention was a disaster, draining both Soviet finances and manpower. In the United States, commentators were quick to label the battle in Afghanistan "Russia's Vietnam."
    1972 Kwame Nkrumah, 62, president of Ghana
    1957 George Barker Jeffrey, English mathematician born on 09 May 1891.
    1952 Guido Castelnuovo, Italian mathematician born on 14 August 1865.
    1936 Karl Pearson, 78, English mathematician born on 27 March 1857. He applied statistics to biological problems of heredity and evolution.
    1932 Hart Crane, 32, US poet, drowns after jumping from a steamer while en route to New York.
    1886 Louis Gabriel Eugène Isabey, French artist born on 22 July 1803. — MORE ON ISABEY AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
    1878 Charles Victor Thirion, French artist born on 30 March 1833.
    1865 Some 1500 returning Union POWs and 100 others, as riverboat explodes.       ^top^
    1865, the steamer Sultana exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tenn., killing more than 1400 Union prisoners of war.
          Days after the end of the Civil War, the worst maritime disaster in US history occurred when the steamboat Sultana, carrying 2100 passengers, explodes and sank on the Mississippi River, killing all but 400 of those aboard. The Mississippi, with its dikes and levees damaged by four years of war, stood at flood stage, and most of those who died were drowned in the surging river. All but one hundred of those killed were Union veterans, and most were Yankee survivors of Andersonville and other brutal Confederate prisoners of war camps, finally returning to their homes in the North. It was tragic that these men had endured the horrendous conditions at the Rebel camps only to die during their long-awaited trip home. The Sultana, overloaded with passengers, explodes just north of Memphis, Tennessee, in the early morning hours. The cause of the blast is a boiler malfunction.
    1834 Thomas Stothard, born on 17 August 1755, English Romantic painter, designer, and illustrator. — MORE ON STOTHARD AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
    1827 Michel-François Damane-Demartrais, French artist born in 1763.
    1813 Zebulon Pike, explorer, general, as his troops conquer Toronto.       ^top^
          After surviving two dangerous exploratory expeditions into uncharted areas of the West, Zebulon Pike, 34, dies during a battle in the War of 1812. By the time he became a general in 1812, Pike had already faced many perilous situations. He joined the army when he was 15, and eventually took various military posts on the American frontier. In 1805, General James Wilkinson ordered Pike to lead 20 soldiers on a reconnaissance of the upper Mississippi River. Expecting to return before the rivers froze, Pike and his small band departed up the Mississippi in a 70-foot keelboat in early August. Slow progress, however, meant Pike and his men spent a hard winter near present-day Little Falls, Minnesota, before returning the following spring. Less than three months later, Wilkinson ordered Pike to head west again. This time, Pike and his men explored the headwaters of the Arkansas River, a route that took them into Colorado. There, Pike saw the towering peak that now bears his name, and he made an ill-advised attempt to climb it. Grossly underestimating the height of the mountain and dressed only in thin cotton uniforms, Pike and his men struggled with deep snow and sub-zero temperatures before finally abandoning the ascent. During this second expedition, Pike also became lost and wandered into Spanish-controlled territory. A Spanish patrol arrested him and took him into custody. Although Pike had indisputably lost his way, he had also hoped the Spanish would capture him so he could see more of their territory. This risky strategy paid off. Failing to recognize they were providing Pike with a golden opportunity to spy on the territory, the Spanish obligingly moved their prisoner first to Santa Fe and then to Chihuahua, before finally releasing him near the US boundary at Louisiana. Impressed with his daring and his reputation as an efficient officer, the military promoted Pike to brigadier general during the War of 1812. Having survived two perilous journeys into the Far West, Pike was killed on this day in 1813 while leading an attack on British troops in Toronto. He was 34 years old.
    1794 (8 floréal an II) Condamnés à mort par la Révolution:       ^top^
    Par le tribunal révolutionnaire de Paris:
    GUENOT Pierre, vigneron, domicilié à Gon-la-Montagne, âgé de 58 ans, né à St Sulpice-de-Faviers, domicilié à Hières (Var) [sic], comme contre-révolutionnaire.
    LAMBERT Jean Baptiste, âgé de 28 ans, natif de Guyenne (Seine et Marne), garçon boucher, domicilié à Mangy-Menie (Meurthe), comme convaincu d'avoir tenu des propos contre-révolutionnaires.
    LECLERC Charles Toussaints, âgé de 60 ans, cultivateur, né et domicilié à Bennecourt (Seine et Oise), comme contre-révolutionnaire, et pour avoir dit que les membres de l'assemblée nationale étaient tous des voleurs, et des scélérats; que l'arbre de la liberté était l'arbre des libertins, que la sacrée-bougre le liberté ne servait qu'à faire tuer tout le monde.
    SAVOYE François Germain, charretier d'artillerie dans l'armée révolutionnaire, âgé de 42 ans, né et domicilié à Bexet-Germain (Marne), comme contre-révolutionnaire, ayant dit, en parlant des papiers publique, que tout ce qui était dans les bulletins de la Convention, était des menteries; que les lois n'étaient pas justes, que nous ne gagnerons jamais, qu'on avait eu tort de faire mourir le roi, et que l'on faisait périr les bons patriotes.
    BOUCHER Marie Victoire, veuve Ponteville (dit RocheChouart), âgée de 49 ans, ex noble et vicomtesse, née et domiciliée à Paris, comme contre-révolutionnaire.
    Domiciliés à Paris, par le tribunal criminel du département de la Seine, comme distributeur de faux assignats:
    LEBEAU Pierre, marchand forain.— OUSTAL Jean Baptiste, porteur d'eau.
    A Arras:
    CANAU ou CARRAUX François Louis, âgé de 62 ans, né à Douai, receveur, guillotiné.
    MARBAIS Joseph François César, âgé de 37 ans, né à Gauchin le Gal, époux de Dufosse N., guillotiné.
    WILLEMETZ François, âgé de 48 ans, cultivateur, né à Gauchin le Gal.
    GASQUET Charles, magasinier, domicilié à Marseille (Bouches du Rhône), par le tribunal criminel dudit département, comme témoin calomniateur.
    LATOUR Pierre, herboriste, domicilié à Lyon (Rhône), comme conspirateur, par la commission révolutionnaire de Lyon.
    1793 MANGOT Désiré Charles, âgé de 21 ans, cocher de place, né et domicilié à Paris, département de la Seine, est condamné à mort, par le tribunal révolutionnaire de Paris, comme contre-révolutionnaire, ayant par des propos qu'il a tenu dans un corps de garde, où il était détenu, provoqué le rétablissement de la royauté, et avancé qu'il était chef de parti.
    1793 ROBIN Etienne, laboureur, domicilié à Aiguillon, département de la Vendée, est condamné à mort comme brigand de la Vendée, le 27 avril 1793, par la commission militaire séante aux Sables.
    1656 Gerrit van Honthorst. “Gherardo della Notte”, Dutch painter addicted to night scenes, born on 04 November 1590. — MORE ON VAN HONTHORST AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
    1521 Fernão de Magalhães, in Philippine tribal battle.       ^top^
         After traveling three-quarters of the way around the globe, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan is killed during a tribal skirmish on the island of Mactan in the Philippines.
          Earlier in the month, his ships had dropped anchor at the Philippine island of Cebu, and Magellan met with the local chief, who after converting to Christianity persuaded the Europeans to assist him in conquering a rival tribe on the neighboring island of Mactan. In the subsequent fighting, Magellan was hit by a poisoned arrow, and unable to escape with his comrades, was massacred by the Mactan warriors.
          Magellan, a Portuguese noble born about 1480, fought for his country against the Muslim domination of the Indian Ocean and Morocco. He participated in a number of key battles and in 1514 asked Portugal's King Manuel for an increase in his pension. The king refused, having heard unfounded rumors of improper conduct on Magellan's part after a siege in Morocco. In 1516, Magellan again made the request and the king again refused, so Magellan went to Spain in 1517 to offer his services to King Charles I, later Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
          In 1494, Portugal and Spain, at the prompting of Pope Alexander VI, settled disputes over newly discovered lands in America and elsewhere by dividing the world into two spheres of influence. A line of demarcation was agreed to in the Atlantic Ocean — all new discoveries west of the line were to be Spanish, and all to the east Portuguese. Thus, South and Central America became dominated by the Spanish, with the exception of Brazil, which was discovered by the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 and was somewhat east of the demarcation line. Other Portuguese discoveries in the early 16th century, such as the Moluccas Islands — the Spice Islands of Indonesia — made the Spanish jealous.
          To King Charles, Magellan proposed sailing west, finding a strait through the Americas, and then continuing west to the Moluccas, which would prove that the Spice Islands lay west of the demarcation line and thus in the Spanish sphere. Magellan knew that the world was round but underestimated its size, thinking that the Moluccas must be situated just west of the American continent, not on the other side of a great uncharted ocean. The king accepted the plan, and on 20 September 1519, Magellan set sail from Spain in command of five ships and 270 men. Magellan sailed to West Africa and then to Brazil, where he searched the South American coast for a strait that would take him to the Pacific. He searched the Río de la Plata, a large estuary south of Brazil, for a way through; failing, he continued south along the coast of Patagonia. At the end of March 1520, the expedition set up winter quarter at Port St. Julian. On Easter day at midnight, the Spanish captains mutinied against their Portuguese captain, but Magellan crushed the revolt, executing one of the captains and leaving another ashore when his ship left St. Julian in August.
          On 21 October, he finally discovered the strait he had been seeking. The Strait of Magellan, as it became known, is located near the tip of South America, separating Tierra del Fuego and the continental mainland. Only three ships entered the passage; one had been wrecked and another deserted. It took 38 days to navigate the treacherous strait, and when ocean was sighted at the other end Magellan wept with joy. He was the first European explorer to reach the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic. His fleet accomplished the westward crossing of the ocean in 99 days, crossing waters so strangely calm that the ocean was named "Pacific," from the Latin word pacificus, meaning "tranquil." By the end, the men were out of food and chewed the leather parts of their gear to keep themselves alive.
          On 06 March 1521, the expedition landed at the island of Guam. Ten days later, they reached the Philippines — they were only about 600 km from the Spice Islands. After Magellan's death, the survivors, in two ships, sailed on to the Moluccas and loaded the hulls with spice. One ship attempted, unsuccessfully, to return across the Pacific. The other ship, the Victoria, continued west under the command of the Basque navigator Juan Sebastián de Elcano. The vessel sailed across the Indian Ocean, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at Seville on 09 September 1522, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the globe.

    Lt. Grant, 1843Births which occurred on a 27 April:       ^top^
    1978 Herri Batasuna is founded as a coalition of Basque independentist parties.
    ^ 1966 Penn Central Railroad formed by merger.      ^top^
          For much of their respective histories, the Pennsylvania and New York Central Railroads stood as two of the mightiest rail concerns in the nation. Indeed, for a number of years the companies vied for dominance of the lucrative East Coast markets. But, following the close of World War II, a variety of factors, including the rise of the automobile as the vehicle of choice for a vast majority of Americans, toppled both railroads from their once-lofty perches. By 1966, the Pennsylvania and New York Railroads laid down their arms and merged. The deal, which was approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission, marked what was then the single biggest merger in US corporate history. Flush with $4 billion in assets, the newly christened Pennsylvania and New York Central Transportation Company (Penn Central) instantly became one of the ten biggest non-fiscal companies in America. Despite these gaudy numbers, and a subsequent acquisition of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Rail Company, Penn Central foundered; mismanagement and financial difficulties pushed Penn Central to file for bankruptcy in 1970.
    1960 First atomic powered electric-drive submarine launched (Tullibee)
    1927 Coretta Scott King, civil rights activist, wife of Martin Luther King Jr.
    1904 Arthur F. Burns economist/chairman (Federal Reserve Board).
    1896 Wallace Hume Carothers, US chemist; he developed nylon. He died on 29 April 1937.
    1892 Louis Victor de Broglie physicist (studied electrons)
    1856 Richard Thomas Moynan, British artist who died on 10 April 1906.
    1842 Emil Jakob Schindler, Austrian Impressionist painter specialized in Landscapes who died on 09 August 1892. — MORE ON SCHINDLER AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
    1837 Paul Albert Gordan, Prussian mathematician who died on 21 December 1912. He worked with Clebsch [19 Jan 1833 – 07 Nov 1872] on invariant theory and algebraic geometry. He also gave simplified proofs of the transcendence of e and p (pi).
    1829 Benjamin Marc Louis Vautier, German artist who died on 25 April 1898.
    1822 Ulysses Simpson Grant (18th US President [1869 - 1877]) [as a lieutenant recently graduated from West Point, 1843 >]
    1820 Herbert Spencer Derby England, Victorian philosopher (Social Statics). He died on 08 December 1903. — SPENCER ONLINE: : First PrinciplesThe Man Versus the State
    1791 Samuel Finley Breese Morse, US painter, telegraph pioneer.  
          Morse was a painter, but not having the success he expected, he ceased painting in 1837 at the age of forty-six, and devoted the last thirty-five years of his life to perfecting the electromagnetic telegraph, which he first demonstrated in 1838. Several years later, he received a grant from Congress to build an experimental telegraph line, from Baltimore to Washington DC. On 24 May 1844, Morse transmitted the historic message, "What hath God wrought?" He died on 02 April 1872. — MORE ON MORSE with links to images.
    ^ 1759 Mary Wollstonecraft (Mrs. Godwin), feminist writer.
         Reviled in her day as a “hyena in petticoats”, Mary Wollstonecraft is one of the pioneers of British and US feminism. In her most famous work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, which was published in 1792 during the French Revolution, Wollstonecraft applies radical principles of liberty and equality to sexual politics. Rights of Woman is a devastating critique of the 'false system of education' which she argues forced the middle-class women of her time to live within a stifling ideal of femininity: 'Taught from infancy that beauty is women's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage seeks only to adore its prison'. Instead, Wollenstonecraft dares to address women as 'rational creatures', and she urges them to aspire to a wider human ideal which combines feeling with reason and the right to independence.
          Wollstonecraft's difficult, brave and tragically short life was itself a continual quest for financial, intellectual and sexual independence. She was determined to make her own living. She initially endured the orthodox female occupations of paid companion and governess, but by the time she published Rights of Woman, she had established herself in radical London circles as a professional writer. In all her writing, Wollstonecraft struggled to break conventional forms, and to communicate her ideas to different audiences. Her most experimental works are A Short Residence in Sweden and her unfinished Maria.
          In 1795, accompanied only by her two-year-old daughter and a maid, Wollstonecraft travelled to Scandinavia on behalf of her unfaithful lover Gilbert Imlay. A Short Residence is the story of that journey. Based on a series of personal letters, it defies any simple categorization as travel writing, political commentary or love story. Maria, or The Wrongs of Woman is Wollstonecraft's sequel to Rights of Woman. In it, she uses the forms of popular fiction to paint a disturbing portrait of a society which abuses and excludes women of all classes.
          Wollstonecraft died of puerperal fever on 10 September 1797, eleven days after the birth of her second daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft (30 Aug 1797 – 01 Feb 1851), who would elope (28 Jul 1814) with married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (04 Aug 1792 – 08 Jul 1822) and, after his abandoned wife drowned herself, marry him (30 Dec 1816) and become famous as the author of Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus (1818).
          In 1798, the older Wollstonecraft's husband, the political philosopher William Godwin (03 Mar 1756 – 07 Apr 1836), published his agonizing Memoirs of the Author of “The Rights of Woman”. Wollstonecraft's political opponents seized gleefully on the details of her unorthodox personal life, and condemned her as an 'unsex'd female'. But her work survives as an example and a challenge to the nineteenth-century women's movement, and she remains an inspiring figure whose writings are vital to understanding the origins of modern feminism.
    — WOLLSTONECRAFT ONLINE: Maria: or, The Wrongs of WomanMaria: or, The Wrongs of WomanA Vindication of the Rights of WomanA Vindication of the Rights of WomanA Vindication of the Rights of Woman A Vindication of the Rights of WomanLetters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark
    1755 Marc-Antoine Parseval des Chênes , French mathematician who died on 16 August 1836.
    1744 (Julian date: go to 08 May for Nikolay Novikov).
    1737 (Julian date: go to 08 May for Edward Gibbon)
    1673 Claude Gillot, French painter, engraver and theatrical designer, who died on 04 May 1722.
    1642 Jean-François “Francisque” Millet, French painter who died on 03 June 1679. — Not to be confused with the better known Jean-François Millet [04 Oct 1814 – 20 Jan 1875] — MORE ON MILLET AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
    1537 Geneva's first Protestant catechism is published. Based on Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, it was compiled by John Calvin, 27, and/or by fellow French reformer, Guillaume Farel, 48.
    Holidays Austria : 2nd Republic Day (1945) / Sierra Leone-1961, Togo-1960 : Independence Day

    Religious Observances RC : St Peter Canisius, confessor/doctor/apostle of Germany / RC : St Turibius of Mogrovejo, bishop/confessor / Sainte Zita naît au XIIIe siècle, à Lucques, en Italie. Sixième enfant d'une famille pauvre, elle est ainsi nommée d'après la sixième lettre de l'alphabet grec (zêta). Toute sa vie, elle sert comme domestique sans oublier ses devoirs de chrétienne ce qui lui vaut d'être devenue la sainte patronne des gens de maison.
    Thoughts for the day:
    “No-man can serve two masters, yes-man can serve hundreds, uselessly.”
    “Perhaps-man can serve no master.”
    “No-man lives in No-man's-land.”
    “No man can serve two Masses, you need two altar boys.”
    “Don't misunderestimate me.”
    — USurper-President “Dubya” Bush (Jr.)
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