April is the fourth month of the year, and the events for April throughout history have included starting of wars, since as winter finished, the land was accessible for traveling. In the northern hemisphere is associated with spring, and in the southern it is autumn. April is seen as the time of beginnings, as in Finland the land in cleared for farming, and in China, royalty will symbolically come and plow the land to signify the new season of planting.
April 1, 1960 – The first satellite that was capable of sensing the Earth was launched. TIROS-1 orbited the earth and would snap pictures. Upon sensing a download station, it would transmit the pictures, then erase it’s memory and re-use the space to take new pictures.
April 2, 1912 – HMS Titanic is completed and goes to sea to begin sea trials. Trials last about twelve hours where she is put through her paces, and she was declared seaworthy.
April 3, 1996 – Ted Kaczynski is arrested when he is suspected of being the “Unabomber”. He was later convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. During his crime spree, he sent 16 bombs, which injured 23 people and killed three others.
April 4, 1968 – James Earl Ray assassinates Martin Luther King, Jr. while King is standing on a second floor balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was captured two months later, and was sentenced to 99 years after confessing to the crime. He later recanted the confession and tried for the rest of his life to get a retrial. He died in prison in April 23, 1998, at the age of 70.
April 5, 1956 – Fidel Castro declares Cuban President Fulgencio Batista needs to be overthrown and he is at war with him. Castro leads a guerilla war against Batista and overthrows him in 1959. Castro became Commander in chief of the armed forces, and shortly after the Prime Minister of Cuba.
April 6, 1965 – Early Bird, the first communications satellite, is successfully placed in geosynchronous orbit. The satellite was originally planned to operate for 18 months, but operated for four years, then was deactivated. It was activated in 1969 to help with the Apollo 11 flight and again in 1990 for a 25year anniversary of its launch date. It is still in orbit today.
April 7, 2001 – The Mars Odyssey is launched and the orbiter reached Mars on October 23, 2001. The Odyssey took up orbit around Mars, and as of 2012 is still functioning. The mission of the Odyssey is to serve as a communications relay for rovers sent to Mars. It also takes pictures of planet, mapping it for future explorations.
April 8, 2005 – The funeral for Pope John Paul II is held on this day, six days after his death. It is estimated that more than four million gathered in Rome as mourners. There were more than 90 world leaders at the funeral, more than any other in history.
April 9, 2005 – Prince Charles marries Camilla Parker Bowles in a civil ceremony. Both were previously married, and some objections were made about a royal member being married in a civil ceremony, but it was decided that it was no problem.
April 10, 1953 – House Of Wax, the first color 3-D motion picture from a major American studio, premiers on this day. It was one of several 3-D pictures released close to each other, and led the way to a 3-D picture craze in the 1950s.
April 11, 1976 – The first Apple Computer, later named Apple I, was released on this day, and sold for $666.66. The Apple I was sold until October of 1977, with the price decreasing over time. The Apple II had come out in April of 1977. There are approximately 40-50 still in existence, and are estimated to be worth about $15,000 today.
April 12, 1945 – While serving his fourth term in office, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies from a stroke. Roosevelt was only a few months into his fourth term, and his Vice President, Harry S Truman was sworn in to finish the term.
April 13, 1997 – Tiger Woods wins the U.S. Masters, one of the four major championships that take place in professional golf. Woods wins by twelve strokes, and was only 21 years old, making him the youngest ever to win the tournament.
April 14, 1981 – The first space shuttle, Columbia (OV-102), makes the first of its test flights. It made the first flight of the space shuttle program and had 27 successful flights before exploding on re-entry on the 28th mission.
April 15, 1947 – The first black baseball player, Jackie Robinson, plays his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. Robinson went on to play in the 1949 All-Star Game, the first All-Star Game to have black players. He played until 1956, and was starting to show signs of diabetes, as well as losing interest in baseball.
April 16, 2007 – Seung-Hui Cho goes on a shooting spree at Virginia polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, and kills 32 people and wounds another 25. He finished by killing himself. This is the worst single act perpetrated by a single shooter in United States history. It was later found that Cho was diagnosed as unstable, and the University took no action, while loopholes in Virginia’s gun laws allowed him to purchase guns.
April 17, 1970 – Apollo 13, the spacecraft that had an explosion while making the trip to the Moon, returns to Earth safely.
April 18, 1981 – A baseball game between the Paytucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings, members of the Triple-A International League begins in Rhode Island at 8:25 p.m. after a 30 minute delay. The game continued to 4:07 a.m. the next morning, and then was finally halted. Normal league rules have a curfew rule, but the copy of the rules available that day did not have one.
The game resumed on June 23, 1981, and was finished in one inning lasting 18 minutes. The total length of the game was 33 innings lasting 8 hours and 25 minutes. This is the record for a professional baseball game.
April 19, 1995 – The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States, is bombed by four Americans, because of their views of the oppressive nature of the government. There were 168 people killed and another 680 wounded.
April 20, 1961 – United States backed troops tried to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs on April 17, 1961 and fail. The Cuban troops take three days to repel the invasion, and on April 20, 1961, the invaders finish their withdrawal.
April 21, 1994 – Astronomer Alexander Wolszczan announced his discovery of planets outside of our solar system. Wolszczan had discovered a pulsar earlier, and found the pulse was not regular like many pulsars. He concluded that the variance must be from the gravity of planets around it, and proved it, then announced his discovery.
April 22, 1970 – Earth Day, a day used to raise awareness of the Earth’s natural environment, and ways that we can preserve it, is first observed in 1970. Over 20 million people were reached the first year, and now more than 500 million people worldwide observe this holiday.
April 23, 1985 – New Coke is released by Coca-Cola, and less than three months later the original Coke formula was re-introduced. New Coke faded out quickly. Under blind taste test, New Coke often outperformed all others drinks, but people were loyal to their drink. The fumble with formulas did re-vitalize the brand and the Coca-Cola Company was stronger than when the whole thing was over.
April 24, 1967 – The first person to die during a space mission is Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov when the parachute of Soyuz 1 fails to deploy when returning to Earth. This was the first flight of the new Soyuz spacecraft for the Soviet lunar program, and the test flights had failed and there were many identified problems with the craft. It is thought now that the Russian political leaders wanted the flight made to stay ahead of the American space program.
April 25, 1961 – Robert Noyce was awarded a patent for the integrated circuit, and later went on to found Intel Corporation with Gordon E. Moore.
April 26, 1986 – The world’s worst nuclear disaster takes place at Chernobyl nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union. During a system test of one of the reactors, there was a problem which led to a reactor vessel rupture and several explosions. The ensuing fire sent radioactive smoke into the atmosphere and went long distances. Over 300,000 were eventually relocated.
April 27, 1994 – The first general election in South Africa in which its black citizens were allowed to vote happened in 1994. This marked the end of Apartheid in South Africa. Nelson Mandela, in jail from 1962 to 1990 for fighting against apartheid was elected to be the South African President.
April 28, 2001 – Dennis Tito, after paying an estimated $20 million dollars, becomes the first space tourist and flies into space and spends 7 days on the International Space Station.
April 29, 2004 – After 107 years of production, Oldsmobile builds its last car. Oldsmobile at that time was the oldest American car brand. Oldsmobile was closed during the bankruptcy reorganization of General Motors in 2009.
April 30, 1961 – The commissioning of the first Soviet nuclear submarine with nuclear missiles happens on this day in 1961. The K-19 served until April 19, 1990. There were many accidents during the life of the submarine, earning her the name of Hiroshima and The Widowmaker.