History: April 1

April 1

1572 The Sea Beggars under Guillaume de la Marck land in Holland and capture the small town of Briel. "The Sea Beggars were an international group of anti-Spanish exiles and criminals, among them many Englishmen. Their brazen piracy, however, forced Queen Elizabeth to disassociate herself from them and to bar their ships from English ports. In 1572 they captured Brill and other seaports in Zeeland and Holland (the Spanish Netherlands). Mixing with the native population, they quickly sparked rebellions against the Duke of Alba in town after town and spread the resistance southward."

1578 Birth: William Harvey, English physician and biologist. After earning a degree at Cambridge University at the age of twenty, he will journey to Italy to study medicine at the University of Padua. Padua is the centre for western European medical instruction at that time. Harvey will graduate with honours in 1602 and return to England where he will earn yet another medical degree from Cambridge University. He will then settle down to begin practicing medicine. Harvey will be fascinated by the way blood flows through the human body. Most people of the day believed that food is converted into blood by the liver, then is consumed as fuel by the body. Harvey will discover that this is untrue through his firsthand observations of human and animal dissections. In 1628 Harvey will publishe An Anatomical Study of the Motion of the Heart and of the Blood in Animals which will explain how blood is pumped from the heart throughout the body, then returns to the heart and re-circulates. The views this book will express wwill be very controversial and lose Harvey many patients, but it will become the basis for all modern research on the heart and blood vessels. A second ground-breaking book will published by Harvey in 1651, Essays on the Generation of Animals; considered the basis for modern embryology. Despite the uproar over each of Harvey's unconventional anatomical theories, he will be recognised as a medical leader in his day. He will be doctor to King Charles I of England and will be appointed doctor of physics at Oxford. At the time of his death in 1657, Harvey's medical and scientific genius will be celebrated throughout the European medical community. (Bradley)

1582 April Fool's Day, or All Fool's Day, seems to have evolved simultaneously in several cultures, from celebrations involving the first day of spring. The closest point in time that can be identified as the beginning of this tradition is in 1582 in France. Prior to that year, the new year was celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25 and culminating on April 1st. With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1st. Some people had not heard about or didn't believe the change in date, so they continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April first. These backward folk are labeled as 'fools' by the others and are subject to ridicule, sent on 'fools errands' or made the butt of practical jokes and called April Fools. The harassment will evolve, over time, into a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April. The tradition will spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century and will later be introduced to the American colonies of both the English and French. (Bradley) ("The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year. " - Mark Twain)

1621 The first colonial treaty with Native Americans is signed between Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoags and English pilgrims on behalf of King James I at Strawberry Hill, Massachusetts.

1693 Colonial clergyman Cotton Mather's first-born son dies at the age of four days. Mather suspectes witchcraft as the cause, and had previously published Wonders of the Invisible World, affirming his belief in spectral phenomena.

1760 The Poor Robin's Almanack publishes one of the first celebrations of April Fools' Day. "The first of April, some do say, Is set apart for All Fools' Day. But why the people call it so, Nor I, nor they themselves do know. But on this day are people sent, On purpose for pure merriment. -- Poor Robin's Almanac (1790)

1778 Oliver Pollock, a New Orleans businessman, creates the dollar sign.

1789 The US House of Representatives holds its first full meeting, in New York City. Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania is elected the first House Speaker.

1815 Birth: Otto Von Bismarck, chancellor of Germany from 1866-90. "Under the "Iron Chancellor", Otto von Bismarck, Germany grew from a loose confederation of weak states to a unified powerful empire. His smart and dashing way of making politics (winning three wars in eight years!) led to the extension of German borders and the rapid growth of German industry. Bismarck was born on April 1, 1815, in the aristocratic family of estate owners at Schoenhausen in Prussia. He went to the prestige school in Berlin, and then studied law in Hanover. Bismarck was not an outstanding student, and spent much of his time drinking with his fellows in an aristocratic fraternity. After the university he enrolled into the Prussian civil service where he did not stay long because of the boredom inevitably cast by the bureaucracy. He didn't appear in the politics till 1847. Meanwhile, he spent 8 comfortable years helping his father manage the estate. He also married Johanna von Puttkamer in these years. His wife came from a conservative aristocratic family, which was greatly to Bismarck's liking, who later entered German politics as an archconservative. The marriage was a very happy one. Bismarck's political views in the beginning of his career were those of a typical country squire. He soon joined the conservative Gerlach group who stood for the noble estate and defended it from the bureaucratic centralization. When the democratic revolutions swept across Europe and reached Berlin in 1848, his first impulse was to arm the peasants of his estate in defense of King and the country. However in a very short time he realized that being principled and tradition-bound like the reactionary Gerlach group was not enough..."

1826 Samuel Morey of Oxford, New Hampshire, patents the internal combustion engine.

1852 Birth: Edward Austin Abbey, US painter; Quest of the Holy Grail.

1853 Cincinnati becomes the first US city to pay its firefighters a regular salary.

1863 US Civil War: The first wartime conscription law goes into effect in the Norhern United States.

1864 The first ever travel accident policy is issued to James Batterson by the Travelers Insurance Company. Mr. Batterson will also receive the first general insurance policy issued by the firm in July, 1864.

1865 US Civil War: The battle of Five Forks ends with the defeat of the Confederate Army under Pickett. The defeat forces Lee to abandon both Petersburg and Richmond. Lee and his men flee westward.

1865 Birth: Richard Zsigmondy, in Germany, chemist, Nobel-1925.

1868 Birth: Edmond Rostand, French dramatist, poet, playwright; Cyrano de Bergerac.

1870 Death: Patrick Gass, Sergeant of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, at 98.

1873 The British White Star steamship Atlantic sinks off Nova Scotia, 547 die.

1875 Birth: Edgar Wallace, in London, England, journalist, playwright, novelist; The Terror. In his 28-year career he will write 173 books, 22 plays and hundreds of short stories.

1875 The Times of London becomes the first newspaper to print a daily weather chart.

1902 The treadmill is abolished in British prisons.

1905 The British East African Protectorate becomes the colony of Kenya.

1905 Berlin and Paris are linked by telephone.

1918 In Britain, the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Force amalgamate to form the Royal Air Force.

1920 The Church is disestablished in Wales.

1920 As part of the Red scare that is sweeping America, five members of the New York Legislature are expelled for being members of the Socialist Party. They will be legitimately reelected, but once again will be refused permission to sit in session. (Schlesinger I)

1922 Birth: William Manchester, outstanding US historian and biographer. 

1924 The Crown takes over Northern Rhodesia from the British South Africa Company.

1924 Weimar: Hitler is sentenced to a fine of 200 Gold Marks and five years in military prison at Landsberg Fortress. Hitler's compatriots, Weber, Kriebel, and Poehner, are also condemned to five years' imprisonment, while the slippery General Ludendorff is found not guilty and retires to his home in the country. Note: Hitler reads the second edition of the textbook, Menschliche Erblichkeitslehre und Rassenhygiene (The principles of human heredity and race-hygiene), written by E. Baur, E. Fischer, and F. Lenz, while imprisoned in Landsberg, and subsequently incorporates many of the racial ideas found there into his own book, Mein Kampf. (Science).

1925 On Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem, British statesman Lord Arthur James Balfour dedicates Hebrew University.

1927 The first automatic record changer is introduced by His Master's Voice.

1928 Birth: Herbert Klein, newscaster, press secretary, author. "...Herbert G. Klein, who had been associated with the political campaigns of Richard M. Nixon for two decades, became Director of Communications for the Executive Branch in January 1969. His duties included the coordination of all public relations activities, not only of the White House but also of the entire executive branch. Despite his sweeping responsibilities, Klein was soon overshadowed by other White House staff members. Klein later stated he would have left the administration before July 1973, but he did not want to give the impression his departure was connected with the deepening Watergate scandal. In May 1974, Klein returned briefly to the White House to help coordinate the release of the transcripts of the White House Tapes to the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment inquiry..."

1929 The yo-yo is introduced in the United States by Louie Marx.

1930 Death: Zawditu, first reigning female monarch of Ethiopia.

1933 Church and Reich: The Catholic Teacher Organization publishes a declaration noting with approval that Adolf Hitler and his movement have overcome the un-German spirit which triumphed in the revolution of 1918. (Lewy)

1933 Holocaust: Hitler stages a nationwide, one-day boycott of Jewish businesses, physicians and lawyers. Armed SA men are posted in front of Jewish-owned shops and stores to prevent would-be customers from entering. In an effort to silence foreign criticism of Germany's treatment of the Jews, signs are posted in English implying that Jewish claims of persecution are false.(Apparatus)

1933 Holocaust: Prussian Jews are forbidden to act as notary publics.

1933 Holocaust: Himmler is appointed chief of the Bavarian Political Police.

1933 Holocaust: SA men demolish the interior of the Mannheim synagogue.

1933 All religious literature printed by Jehovah's Witnesses is banned from circulation in Germany. (Smith)

1934 Holocaust: Jewish shops in Germany are again boycotted.

1934 Heinrich Himmler is appointed Reichsführer-SS. (Edelheit)

1935 Austria violates the Treaty of St. Germain by reinstituting compulsory military service.

1935 Jehovah's Witnesses are banned from all civil service jobs and arrested throughout Germany. Pension and employment benefits are confiscated. Marriage to a Jehovah's Witnesses becomes legal grounds for divorce. Children of Jehovah's Witnesses are banned from attending school. Some children taken from parents will be raised in Nazi homes and reform schools. (Smith)

1938 Holocaust:  A number of Austrian Jews are sent to Dachau concentration camp.

1938 Holocaust: Jewish patients are barred from Danzig's public hospitals and welfare institutions. All Jewish doctors and nurses are dismissed.

1939 Hitler tells General Keitel that it is a shame that "sly, old Marshal Pilsudski," with whom he had signed a nonaggression pact, had died so prematurely, but the same could happen to him at any time, and that is why it is so important to resolve the problem of East Prussia as soon as possible.

1939 Hitler makes a major foreign policy speech at Wilhelmshaven. "In place of a great number of parties, social ranks, and societies, a single community now has taken its place: The German national community! To bring it to realization and to deepen it more and more is our task. I had to hurt many in this time. However, I believe that the good fortune in which the entire nation is participating today must richly compensate every single one for what he had to give up dearly on his own part. You all have sacrificed your parties, societies, and associations, but you have obtained in return a great strong Reich. And the Reich today, thank God, is strong enough to take your rights under its protection..."

1939 The United States recognises the Franco government in Spain following the end of the Spanish Civil War.

1940 WW2: Hitler approves final plans for the invasion of Norway

1941 WW2: The British withdraw from Mersa Brega, abandoning one of the last defensible positions available.

1941 The US Navy takes over Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.

1942 Mexico changes from 3 time zones to 2.

1942 Birth: Samuel R. Delany, sci-fi author; Dhalgren. Note: If there is anyone out there who has read this inscrutable novel (anything written by Tolsoy or Ellison is obvious in comparison), and actually figured out what the heck is going on, please kindly e-mail me a short explaination.

1942 WW2: The US Navy begins a partial convoy system in the Atlantic.

1943 Above is Norman Rockwell's April Fool's Day cover for this days Saturday Evening Post.

1945 WW2: After suffering the loss of 116 planes, and damage to three aircraft carriers, 50,000 US combat troops of the 10th Army, under the command of Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner Jr., land on the southwest coast of the Japanese island of Okinawa, 350 miles south of Kyushu, the southern main island of Japan. Determined to seize Okinawa as a base of operations for the army ground and air forces for a later assault on mainland Japan, more than 1,300 ships converge on the island, finally putting ashore 50,000 combat troops on 1 April. The Americans quickly seize two airfields and advance inland to cut the island's waist. They battle nearly 120,000 Japanese army, militia, and labour troops under the command of Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima. The Japanese surprise the American forces with a change in strategy, drawing them into the mainland rather than confronting them at the water's edge. While Americans land without loss of men, they will suffer more than 50,000 casualties, including more than 12,000 deaths, as the Japanese stage a desperate defense of the island, a defense that includes waves of kamikaze ('divine wind') air attacks. Eventually, these suicide raids will prove counterproductive, as the Japanese finally run out of planes and resolve, with some 4,000 finally surrendering. Japanese casualties will number some 117,000. Lieutenant Buckner, son of a Civil War general, is among the casualties, killed by enemy artillery fire just three days before the Japanese surrender. Japanese General Ushijima will commit ritual suicide upon defeat of his forces. (Bradley)

1945 WW2: The final Allied offensive in Italy begins.

1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: Nazi Foriegn Minister Ribbentrop testifies for the first of two days. (Maser II)

1946 Tsunamis generated by a quake in the Aleutian Trench strike Hilo, Hawaii, resulting in more than 170 deaths.

1947 The school leaving age is raised to 15 in Britain.

1948 Stalin's Russia begins imposing rigid checks on road and rail traffic between Berlin and West Germany. The fear is that this will turn into a full-scale blockade to squeeze out the West from the four-power city. Britain declares it will resist any attempt to stop its trains, but cars on the road to the capital are all being delayed. (Bradley)

1950 Italy assumes trusteeship of Somaliland, taking over from the British administration.

1951 Korea: UN forces move northward again across the 38th Parallel.

1952 The Big Bang theory is first proposed publicly in 'Physical Review' by Alpher, Bethe, and Gamow.

1954 The first US army helicopter battalion is formed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

1957 All of Great Britain is fooled this April Fool’s Day by England’s famous newscaster, Richard Dimbleby. The newscaster, wrapping up the day’s news on Panorama, the BBC’s current affairs program, reports about the 'spring spaghetti crop in Italy'. The filmed report shows the spaghetti (some ten pounds of the stuff) being picked from a tree. Many people fall for the gag faster than a meatball falls to the floor. (Bradley)

1961 Jim Bakker weds Tammy Faye.

1962 In a referendum, the Swiss people reject a proposed amendment to the Constitution prohibiting manufacture of atomic weapons on Swiss territory.

1965 King Hussein of Jordan appoints his younger brother Prince Hassan as his heir.

1965 Greater London is incorporated, comprising the City of London plus 32 metropolitan boroughs.

1968 The Nam: The US Army launches Operation Pegasus, the reopening of a land route to the besieged Khe Sanh Marine base.

1970 The Nam: The US Army charges Captain Ernest Medina for his role in the My Lai massacre.

1970 President Nixon signs a measure banning cigarette advertisments on radio and television, to take effect after 1 January 1971.

1970 John and Yoko declare that they are having dual sex change operations. (Bradley)

1973 John and Yoko form a new country with no laws or boundaries, called Nutopia, its national anthem is silence. (Bradley)

1973 Japan allows its citizens to own gold.

1979 Iran proclaim an Islamic Republic following the fall of the Shah.

1981 Heavy fighting breaks out in Beirut and Zahle between Arab peace-keeping force and Lebanese right-wing militia.

1982 The United States formerly transfers control of the Panama Canal Zone to Panama.

1985 George Plimpton April Fool’s the readers of Sports Illustrated. Plimpton introduces the entire nation to Sidd Finch, a 28-year-old aspiring monk, who can throw a 168 MPH fastball! Finch is said to be a free-agent pitcher in the New York Mets’ spring training camp; that he had “learned the art of the pitch” while playing the French horn in his spare time. Plimpton will later admit that Finch is the figment of a most active imagination. (Bradley)

1986 The US submarine USS Nathaniel Green runs aground in the Irish Sea.

1986 World oil prices dip below $10 a barrel.

1990 It becomes illegal in Salem, Oregon to be within 2 feet of nude dancers.

1990 Soviet military vehicles roll through the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, a day after Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev warns the Baltic republic to annul its independence bid.

1991 The US minimum wage goes from $3.80 to $4.25 per hour.

1991 The Warsaw Pact officially dissolves.

1996 The world's largest bank is created when the merger of the Mitsubishi Bank and the Bank of Tokyo is completed in Japan.




2003 Allied commanders blame Iraq's 'tactics of terrorism' after US troops open fire on two cars, killing at least eight civilians.


2005 World oil prices top 50$ a barrel.






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