Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April's History Springs Forth

Peach blossoms in April
April Birthstone: Diamond     
Flower: Daisy or Sweet Pea
Famous Quotes: 
"Sweet April showers do spring May flowers." - Thomas Tusser

"And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast, Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest." -
  Percy Bysshe Shelley

April, the name of the fourth month in our calendar, evolved from the Roman month Aprilis which most probably derived from the Latin verb Aperire, “to open” - as the opening, or blossoming, of trees and flowers.  In the Northern Hemisphere this 30 day month brings us bees, butterflies, flowers, the planting season, household spring cleaning, romantic notions of love, and the opening season of professional baseball. What could be better?

Explore a few more historic facts for each day of April which I have listed below; some dates have more than one entry.

April's Historic Events

April 1 - April Fool’s Day. This celebration has many possible origins, one of which is associated with the change from the old Julian calendar to the newer Gregorian calendar ordered in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. This new calendar shifted the New Year to January 1 instead of April 1. The change did not take hold right away. Many folks continued to celebrate the new year on April 1 and perhaps were seen as fools.

April 2, 1513 – Ponce de Leon is credited with the discovery of Florida for Spain. However, some historians argue that John Cabot and his son Sebastian my have discovered the pennisula first in the years 1497 to 1498.

April 3, 1860 – The Pony Express debuts with a goal to hasten mail delivery across the continental U.S.. The service lasted only 19 months
when the completion of the Pacific Telegraph line ended the need for its existence (Pony Express National Museum).

April 3, 2012 – Not beautiful weather today in Denver, Colorado.  The day brings a wet snow after a warm March and makes inhabitants feel a bit under the weather.

April 4, 1968 – Martin Luther King was assassinated on his hotel balcony in Memphis, TN – the man was killed but his dream lived on.

April 5, 1614 – Pocahontas marries John Rolfe, a Virginian tobacco farmer.

April 6, 1896
- The tradition of the Olympic Games is reborn again in Athens after 1,500 years of being banned.

April 7, 1994
– Civil war breaks out in Rwanda after President Habyarimana was killed when his plane was shot down.  Hutu extremists brutally murdered an estimated 500,000 to 1 million innocent civilian Tutsis and moderate Hutus. It is considered the worst episode of ethnic genocide since World War II.

April 7, 2012 – First day of Passover (Pesach) will be celebrated. God commanded the Death Angel to “pass over” the Israelites and save them from experiencing 10th plague that would befall the Egyptians, if they would paint the blood of a Lamb onto their side posts and lintels of their front door.

April 8 – Hanamatsuri or Buddha’s Birthday (born Prince Siddhartha Gautama) is often celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th Lunar month (which can be May in some Asian calendars).
April 8, 1974 - Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run.

April 8, 2012 – Easter Sunday, the day that celebrates Jesus' rising from the dead after three days. This speaks to the promise of life after death.

April 9, 1865 – General Robert E. Lee surrenders his troops to Ulysses S. Grant, ending the American Civil War.

April 10, 1866
– ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is founded by Henry Bergh in New York City.

April 10, 1925 – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, “The Great Gatsby,” was published.

April 11, 1814 – Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, abdicates his throne and is banished to Elba, an island in the Mediterranean Sea.

April 12, 1861 – Civil War in America begins at Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

April 12, 1945 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the longest serving President of the United States, dies in Warm Springs, GA.

April 13 – Thai, Laotian, Burmese, Cambodian New Year.

April 14, 1865 – President Lincoln is shot at the Ford Theater and dies the next day.

April 15 – Tax day (IRS filing of income taxes due) in the U.S.

April 15, 1912 – The "unsinkable ship," the RMS Titanic, goes down in the Atlantic Ocean after colliding with an iceberg.
Only 705 people were rescued from over 2,200 passengers on board.

April 15, 1947 – Jackie Robinson becomes the first African-American major league baseball player.

April 16, 1943 – A Swiss chemist discovers LSD-25, a synthetic drug he created to help fight severe alcoholism but that produces hallucinations of its own.

April 17, 1970 – Apollo 13 returns safely to Earth after experiencing a problem two days into the mission. One of the oxygen tanks in the spacecraft blew up and many maneuvers were incorporated by the crew to offset the tragedy.

April 18, 1775 – Paul Revere’s famous ride commenced to warn the community that the British were coming.

April 19, 1775 – The American Revolution begins with a shot heard round the world.

April 19, 1897- First Boston Marathon was held.

April 20, 1999 – Columbine High School Massacre in Colorado. 

April 20 or 420 - Cannabis Culture Day - a counterculture celebration of the decriminalization of non-medical cannabis in the U.S.

April 21, 1838 – John Muir, father of the naturalist movement, is born. 
John Muir photo  - courtesy pbs.org

April 22 – Earth day began in the U.S. in 1970 with young Americans wanting to give the environment a voice; it eventually inspired the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency. Today it is celebrated throughout the world by honoring nature and giving back to the environment.

April 23, 1581 – William Shakespeare is born in Stratford-on-Avon. He dies on the same day in 1613.

April 24, 1800 – Library of Congress is established in Washington DC. It is the largest library in the world today.

April 25 – ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day, and marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

April 25, 1953 – DNA is discovered by James Watson and Frances Crick, who would go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in Physiology in 1962.

April 26, 1954 – Polio vaccine trials begin in an elementary school in Virginia and after almost a year the vaccine was announced to be safe and effective immunization against the dreaded crippling virus.

April 27, 2012 – Arbor Day is traditionally celebrated by planting trees in the U.S. to improve communities.

April 28, 1945 – Benito Mussolini is executed by his countrymen.

April 29, 1945 – Prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp are liberated by U.S. soldiers. 
Dachau Liberation by U.S. soldiers April 1945 - photo courtesy Google Images

April 30, 1945 – Adolf Hitler commits suicide.

April 30, 1975 – South Vietnam surrenders to North Vietnam after the fall of its capitol, Saigon, ending the long war. 


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