History: April 25

April 25

1507 German geographer and mapmaker Martin Waldseemuller publishes a book in which he names the newly discovered continent of the New World 'America,' after the man he mistakenly believes had discovered it: Italian navigator, and inspired self-promoter, Amerigo Vespucci.


1599 Birth: Oliver Cromwell, in Huntingdon, England. "...Oliver Cromwell rose from the middle ranks of English society to be Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland, the only non-royal ever to hold that position. He played a leading role in bringing Charles I to trial and to execution; he undertook the most complete and the most brutal military conquest ever undertaken by the English over their neighbours; he championed a degree of religious freedom otherwise unknown in England before the last one hundred years; but the experiment he led collapsed within two years of his death, and his corpse dangled from a gibbet at Tyburn. He was - and remains - one of the most contentious figures in world history..."

1792 Highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier becomes the first person under French law to be executed by the guillotine, on the Place de Greve in Paris.

1825 Birth: Charles Ferdinand Dowd; will standardize US time zones.

1850 Paul Julius Reuter, founder of the news agency that bears his name, begins utilizing 40 pigeons to carry stock market prices between Brussels and Aachen.

1859 Construction of the 100 mile Suez canal begins at Port Said, Egypt, supervised by the canals designer, French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps.


1862 US Civil War: New Orleans falls to the Union fleet of Admiral David Farragut. "The scene of confusion that ensued in New Orleans, when the people, on the morning of the 24th of April, awoke to the news that the enemy's fleet had passed the forts, and were actually approaching the city, defies all description. People were amazed, and could scarcely realize the awful fact, and ran hither and thither in speechless astonishment. Very soon the flames seen issuing from shipyards in Algiers and other places, convinced them that the news was authentic, and that Government officers were then busily engaged destroying everything that was likely to be of value to the enemy. The unfinished Mississippi and other vessels were scuttled or fired, ammunition destroyed, and shot sunk in the river. The people, on their part, proceeded to the various cotton-presses, rolled out thousands of bales, and applied the torch; countless cotton ships were also sunk or fired, and steamboats by the dozen similarly destroyed. The roar of cannon sounded in the distance; the heat of the sun, and conflagrations in every direction, made the atmosphere oppresively hot, while dense columns of smoke darkened the air. It was a scene of terrible grandeur. The baleful glare of the conflagration struggled in rivalry with the sunlight; masses of smoke ascended grandly to the sky; great ships and steamers, wrapped in fire, floated down the river, threatening the Federal vessels with destruction by their fiery contact. And in this scene of dire and sublime destruction, there were perpetually tolled the alarm-bells of the city..."

1874 Birth: Guglielmo Marconi , in Bologna, Italy, Radio pioneer; Nobel 1909.

1898 Spanish-American War: The United States demonstrates its intent to wage war on Spain. "In the wake of the Maine incident, Congress hurriedly appropriated $50 million to prepare the nation for war. "Big navy" supporters, including the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, appropriated the lion's share of the money. Next, President McKinley insisted that Spain agree to a cease-fire with the Cuban rebels and negotiate a permanent settlement with them. After a slight delay, Spain agreed to the American demands. Two days later, McKinley asked Congress for authority to use military force to end the Cuban conflict. Essentially, this was a declaration of war. The United States Army was not prepared for war. After the Civil War, the country had drastically reduced its army. Most army units had been scattered throughout the west, where they had fought and confined Native Americans. Volunteer and National Guard units quickly assembled in Tennessee. Regular-army divisions, filled with new recruits, rushed to Florida to await the invasion of Cuba. The navy, however, needed little preparation. The Pacific fleet was visiting Hong Kong when the news of war arrived. Commodore George Dewey quickly provisioned his ships and set off to attack the Spanish colony in the Philippine Islands..."

1901 New York becomes the first state to require automobile license plates, for a one dollar fee.


1915 WW1: Sir Ian Hamilton lands a force of British and Anzacs (Australia-New Zealand Army Corps) troops on the narrow Gallipoli Peninsula, in an unsuccessful attempt to take the Ottoman Turkish Empire out of the war. The Turks ring the tiny beachheads with entrenchment's, and the British find themselves locked in trench warfare much like that on the western front.

1920 Polish-Soviet War: War breaks out between Poland and the Soviet Union; the result of both traditional Polish-Russian hostility and ideological factors. Lenin is convinced that Polish workers and peasants want a Polish Soviet Republic. He also hopes to push toward Germany, to establish socialism there, and to secure German military and economic assistance.


1925 Weimar: Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg becomes the second president of Germany's postwar Weimar Republic. Gustav Stresemann's diary entry concerning Hindenburg's victory: "There can be no doubt that the personal element won the day. During the turmoil of the election campaign there was no lack of effort to discredit the significance of Hindenburg's personality. But with little success. Many indeed were doubtful whether the burden of age might not be too heavy for one who aspired to the Presidential office. But in the end the great name produced its effect, and brought forth reserves of voters who would hardly otherwise have been available in such numbers if they had not regarded it as a patriotic duty to record their votes for the great commander in the Great War. On the other side, Hindenburg's nomination combined the Weimar Coalition even more firmly than would have otherwise been the case. Anyone acquainted with the reports of the meetings held by the Social Democratic Party at the time of the elections knows how violent was the reaction against the idea of electing a leading member of the Centre Party to the Presidency. It was opposed by the Levi Group, which saw a betrayal of the conception of the Class War in any co-operation with the Centre bourgeoisie. It was opposed by the whole body of Freethinkers - and where are these stronger than in the ranks of the Social Democratic Party? - who had no notion of voting for the champion of denominational schools, and the avowed supporter of the Christian attitude to the State and the world. It was opposed above all by the women in the areas where the denominational conflict is acute, owing to their fear that the election of Marx would lead to a strengthening of Catholicism. And the opposition was much more intense among the Democrats. Not only from Bavaria came protests against the support of the Centre candidate. In other districts too the Democratic creed was shaken."

1933 Holocaust: The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute receives a letter from the Ministry of the Interior containing directions that the law for the restoration of the professional civil service be applied to the society's employees. Two days later, the Secretary General instructs the directors to carry out these measures. (Science)

1933 Holocaust: The Law for Preventing Overcrowding in German Schools and colleges is promulgated, limiting admittance to 1.5 percent for "non-Aryans" seeking higher education.

1938 Holocaust: Nazis stage anti-Jewish riots in Theusing, Germany.

1942 Holocaust: 105 Jews from Bamberg are deported to Izbica and Belzec. (Atlas)

1944 WW2: 3,000 Jewish soldiers (from a total of 4,200) have deserted the Polish Army in the Middle East. Some join British units or enter terrorist groups like Irgun. Among them is Menachim Begin. About 838 Jews will remain in Polish uniform to fight the Nazis.


1945 WW2: The last B-17 attack against Nazi Germany occurs.

1945 WW2: US and Soviet forces link up at Torgau, Germany, on the Elbe River, a meeting that dramatizes the collapse of Nazi Germany's defenses.


1945 WW2: Soviet forces surround Berlin. "...Zhukov and Koniev had completed the encirclement of the city by 25 April and started to close in to what Goebbel's Propaganda Ministry was describing as 'Fortress Berlin.' While the city had been preparing for a siege since January, the defences were still rudimentary and makeshift due to the lack of resources – certainly no match for the forces that were about to assault them but the defending forces could muster almost 100,000 troops (including the LVI Panzer Corps, reinforced by the 18th Panzergrenadier and 11th SS ‘Nordland’ Panzergrenadier Divisions) in a variety of makeshift formations. Certainly the urban terrain, with its many canals and rivers and damage done by bombing and artillery fire, naturally favored the defense. The main attack started the next day, with the Germans fighting tenaciously, making skillful use of buildings and rubble to conduct sniping, counterattacks and ambushes, while many of the high flak towers were able to fire down onto the advancing Soviet forces. After two days of bitter fighting, Zhukov's forces had reached Charlottenburg in the west and the River Spree in the Moabit area further east..."

1945 Holocaust: In southern Germany, French troops stumble across evidence of mass murder and recent killings at four villages in the Swabian Alps and along the Danube. Mass graves are found of Jews evacuated from the east. With typical Gestapo thoroughness, the names, ages and birthplaces of all the victims had been recorded. The villages were Tuttlingen, Schmberg, Schrzlngen, and Spaichlingen. (Atlas)

1945 Delegates from some 50 countries meet in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.


1953 Francis Crick and James D. Watson, scientists at Cambridge University's Cavendish Laboratories, publish an article in the British scientific journal, Nature, defining the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). They present it as a double helix - two intertwined, spiraling strands of polymers (large molecules made up of a linked series of small molecules). When DNA separates into individual strands, each strand becomes the foundation on which another identical one is built. Each new molecule contains the same genetic information as the original strand. Thus are genes and eventually, chromosomes (DNA) duplicated, and genetic traits reproduced.

1961 Robert Noyce receives a patent for the integrated circuit, or chip, a small complex of electronic components placed in a slice of semiconductor material. The actual invention of the chip is attributed to two engineers working for different companies in the 1950s: Noyce and Jack Kilby.

1961 An unmanned Mercury test rocket explodes on its launch pad.

1962 Ranger 4 lands on the moon.

1963 US Civil War, Slight Return: Alabama governor George Wallace defies the federal government's desegregation laws.


1964 The head of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is sawn off and stolen.

1967 Colorado Governor John Arthur Love signs the first law legalizing abortion in the United States. The law is limited to therapeutic abortions when agreed to, unanimously, by a panel of three physicians.

1967 Britain grants internal self-government to Swaziland.

1971 The Nam: 200,000 anti-Vietnam War protesters march on Washington.

1975 Portugal holds its first free elections for 50 years, the Socialist Party under Mario Soares wins most of the seats.

1976 Elections take place in Vietnam for a National Assembly to reunite the two halves of the country.

1978 The US Supreme Court rules that pension plans can't require women to pay more.


1980 A US Delta Force commando mission to rescue 53 American embassy hostages in Iran is abandoned in the desert with the loss of eight American lives when a helicopter collides with a tanker aircraft. Above: A page of the 'Farsi Survival Guide' issued to the commando's.

1982 Falklands War: British troops recapture South Georgia, part of the Falkland Islands, from occupying Argentine forces.

1982 Israel turns over the final third of the occupied Sinai Peninsula to Egypt under the Camp David peace agreement.


1983 In Germany, Stern magazine publishes extracts from the so-called Hitler Diaries. They are also published by the Sunday Times in Britain. They will later be found to be forgeries; the biggest literary hoax in history.

1983 The Pioneer 10 spacecraft crosses Pluto's orbit, on its voyage through the Milky Way.

1985 Smokey Bear goes into hibernation; the first time in 40 years. The symbol of the US Forest Service is put aside for a public service announcement about an arson suspect being booked at the police station. Representatives of the Ad Council (the public service agency that produces these messages for radio and TV) wants to keep his image 'warm and fuzzy'.

1989 Japanese Premier Noboru Takeshita announces his resignation over the Recruit Affair, the country's biggest political scandal in decades.

1990 Violeta Chamorro is sworn in as president of Nicaragua after having defeated Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, ending more than a decade of leftist Sandinista rule.

1991 The United States announces its first financial aid to Hanoi since the 1960s: $1 million to make artificial limbs for Vietnamese disabled during the war.

1992 Pentagon officials announce that an airman is missing and two others injured after a US Air Force C-130 drug-interdiction aircraft is fired on by Peruvian jets.

1996 A court in Gdansk, Poland, drops proceedings against General Wojciech Jaruzelski over the 1970 fatal shootings of 44 protesters by security forces when he was defense minister.

1997 A federal district court in Greensboro, North Carolina, rules that the Food and Drug Administration has the power to regulate the distribution, sale and use of tobacco products.

1998 Whitewater: US First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies via videotape for the Little Rock, Arkansas grand jury, in the Whitewater case.

1999 Columbine: Vice President Al Gore is among the 70,000 who attend a memorial service in Littleton, Colorado, for the victims of the Columbine High School shootings five days earlier.

2000 The Vermont House of Representatives approves a measure legalizing 'civil unions' among same sex couples. The governor signs the bill into law, making Vermont the first state in America to give homosexual couples the same legal status as heterosexual married couples.

2001

2002

2002 Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia presents President George W. Bush with an Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal and reportedly warns Bush that the US must do more to stop Israeli incursions in Palestinian territory or lose credibility in the Middle East.

2003 US forces interrogate Saddam Hussein's former spy chief and ex-deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz about the dictator's whereabouts.

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