Home Today's History Lesson TODAY’S HISTORY LESSON: APRIL 18



1906 – A massive earthquake destroys San Francisco – About 3000 people died in the disaster. Over 80 percent of the city was destroyed by the quake and resulting fires.

1025 – Bolesaw I the Brave was crowned in Gniezno, becoming the first King of Poland

1521 – Diet of Worms: Cardinal Alexander questions Martin Luther

1676 – Sudbury, Massachusetts, was attacked by Indians.

1688 – “Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery”: Francis Daniel Pastorius presents 1st formal written protest against African-American slavery in English colonies in Germantown, Pennsylvania

1689 – Death of British Chief Justice Judge George Jeffreys in the Tower of London. He presided over the “”Bloody Assizes”” following the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685

1775 – American revolutionaries Paul Revere, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott rode though the towns of Massachusetts giving the warning that the Regulars were coming out. Later, the phrase “the British are coming” was attributed to Revere even though it is unlikely he used that wording.

1783 – American Revolution: George Washington issues General Order announcing the end of hostilities with Britain, giving thanks to the Almighty, and offering congratulations and authorizing an extra ration of alcohol to the troops to celebrate

1791 – National Guardsmen prevented Louis XVI and his family from leaving Paris.

1818 – A regiment of Indians and black people were defeated at the Battle of Suwann, in Florida, ending the first Seminole War.

1838 – The Wilkes’ expedition to the South Pole set sail.

1847 – U.S. troops defeated almost 17,000 Mexican soldiers commanded by Santa Anna at Cerro Gordo. (Mexican-American War)

1861 – Colonel Robert E. Lee turned down an offer to command the Union armies during the U.S. Civil War.

1877 – Charles Cros wrote a paper that described the process of recording and reproducing sound. In France, Cros is regarded as the inventor of the phonograph. In the U.S., Thomas Edison gets the credit.

1881 – Billy the Kid escapes from his two jailers at the Liconln County jail in Mesilla, New Mexico, killing James Bell and Robert Ollinger before stealing a horse and riding out of town.

1895 – New York State passed an act that established free public baths.

1906 – San Francisco, CA, was hit with an earthquake. The original death toll was cited at about 700. Later information indicated that the death toll may have been 3 to 4 times the original estimate.

1909 – Joan of Arc receives beatification by the Roman Catholic Church at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican

1912 – Tripolitan War: in continuing hostilities, Turkey closes the Dardanelles Straits after an Italian naval bombardment of the coastline

1916 – US Secretary of State Warns Germany that the USA may break diplomatic relations unless torpedo attacks on unarmed ships stop

1924 – Simon and Schuster, Inc. published the first “Crossword Puzzle Book.”

1927 – Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-Shek forms an anti-government in China

1934 – The first Laundromat opened in Fort Worth, TX.

1937 – Leon Trotsky called for the overthrow of Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

1938 – Superman made his debut when he appeared in the first issue of Action Comics. (Cover date June 1938)

1942 – James H. Doolittle and his squadron, from the USS Hornet, raided Tokyo and other Japanese cities.

1943 – Traveling in a bomber, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, was shot down by American P-38 fighters.

1945 – American war correspondent Ernie Pyle was killed by Japanese gunfire on the Pacific island of Ie Shima, off Okinawa. He was 44 years old.

1946 – The League of Nations was dissolved.

1949 – The Republic of Ireland was established.

1951 – The European Coal and Steel Community, a precursor of the European Union, is established

1954 – Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser seized power in Egypt.

1956 – Actress Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco were married. The religious ceremony took place April 19.

1958 – A U.S. federal court rules that poet Ezra Pound be released from an insane asylum.

1963 – Dr James Campbell performed the 1st human nerve transplant

1968 – 178,000 employees of US Bell Telephone System go on strike

1971 – Kingston penitentiary inmates stage four-day riot, holding five guards hostage; two convicts murdered, 11 injured.

1973 – US Government ends Mandatory Oil Import Program, established in 1959 by President Eisenhower

1974 – Red Brigade kidnaps Italian attorney general Mario Sossi

1978 – The U.S. Senate approved the transfer of the Panama Canal to Panama on December 31, 1999.

1980 – Rhodesia became in independent nation of Zimbabwe.

1983 – The U.S. Embassy in Beirut was blown up by a suicide car-bomber. 63 people were killed including 17 Americans.

1985 – Ted Turner filed for a hostile takeover of CBS.

1989 – Thousands of Chinese students demanding democracy tried to storm Communist Party headquarters in Beijing.

1990 – Supreme Court rules states could make it a crime to possess or look at child pornography, even in one’s home

1992 – General Abdul Rashid Dostum revolted against President Mohammad Najibullah of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and allied with Ahmed Shah Massoud to capture Kabul.

1996 – In Lebanon, at least 106 civilians are killed when the Israel Defense Forces shell the UN compound at Quana

2000 – The Nasdaq had the biggest one-day point gain in its history.

2002 – The Amtrack Auto Train derailed in a remote area of north Florida. Four people were killed and 133 were injured.

2007 – The US Supreme Court upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in a 5-4 decision.

2012 – The Casoria Contemporary Art Museum in Naples begins burning artworks after cultural institution budget cuts

2013 – 27 people are killed and 65 are injured in a cafe bombing in Baghdad, Iraq

2018 – Protests begin in Managua, Nicaragua, over proposed changes to social security, protesters beaten by suspected pro-government gangs

2019 – Irish Journalist Lyra McKee shot to death covering riots in Derry, Northern Ireland with dissident republican group the New IRA claiming responsibility

2020 – Canada’s worst modern mass shooting as a gunman kills 18 people, including a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, across Nova Scotia

2022 – US Federal judge rules as “unlawful” Biden administration’s mandate that masks be worn on public transportation

2023 – Fox News settles lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million, moments before trial, with Fox admitting it had defamed Dominion during US 2020 election by broadcasting conspiracy theories

REFERENCE: history.net, onthisday.com, thepeopleshistory.com, timeanddate.com, scopesys.com, on-this-day.com