(Copyright 2004, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.  DO NOT REPRODUCE or distribute without permission.) 

For a more comprehensive list, including a Year by Year timeline, see our Research Guide.

Apr 1st. . .

1204--Eleanor of Aquitaine who married Louis VII of France, divorced him, then married Henry II of England, died.

1406--Robert III of Scotland died when news came that his son, James, had been on a vessel captured by the English.

1578--William Harvey, English physician who explained the circulation of blood, born.

1697--Abbe Prevost, French novelist of Manon Lescaut, born.

1766--From about this date, William Reeves began to sell the first paintboxes with watercolor tablets.

1786--William Mulready, Irish painter who designed the first penny postage envelope in 1840, born.

1815--Prince Otto von Bismarck, Prussian statesman, born.

1875--The first weather chart was published in The Times.

1891--The telephone link between London and Paris began operating.

1899--The first time British troops fought alongside U.S. troops was at Apia in the Samoan Campaign.


Apr 2nd. . .

742--Charlemagne, French Holy Roman Emperor, born.

1791--Honore Gabriel Riquetti, Vicomte de Mirabeau, French politician, orator and writer, died.

1792--The U.S. mint was established in the nation's capital, then Philadelphia.

1801--The British Fleet with Nelson on board the Elephant, engaged the Danish Fleet in the Battle of Copenhagen.

1805--Hans Christian Andersen, Danish author of fairy stories, born.

1827--William Holman Hunt, English Pre-Raphaelite painter of The Light of the World, born.

1840--Emile Zola, French writer of Therese Raquin, born.

1860--The first parliament in Italy met at Turin.

1872--Samuel Morse, U.S. inventor of the telegraph, died.

1873--British trains were fitted with toilets, 14 years after the U.S.

1877--At West's amphitheater in London, Zazel became the first lady fired from a cannon.

1884--The London debtor's prison, Fleet Prison, was closed.


Apr 3rd. . .

1367--Henry IV, son of John of Gaunt, first Lancastrian king of England, born.

1593--George Herbert, English clergyman and poet, born.

1682--Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Spanish painter, died.

1783--Washington Irving, U.S. historian and essayist, born.

1859--Reginald De Koven, American composer, born.

1860--The Pony Express started its regular run of almost 2000 miles from St. Joseph, Missouri to San Francisco.  It took about ten days at a speed of around 8m.p.h. and only operated for 18 months.

1862--Sir James Clark Ross, English polar explorer who has the Ross Barrier, Sea and Island named after him, died.

1866--J. B. Hertzog, South African statesman and nationalist Prime Minister, born.

1882--The American outlaw Jesse James, was shot in the back and killed by one of his own gang, Robert Ford, for a $5,000 reward.

1897--Johannes Brahms, German pianist and composer, died.


Apr 4th. . .

1581--Francis Drake returned to England having circumnavigated the world in The Golden Hind.  Queen Elizabeth I knighted him on board his ship.

1617--John Napier, Scottish inventor of logarithms, died.

1648--Grinling Gibbons, Dutch-born English woodcarver and sculptor, born.

1720--The House of Lords passed the South Sea Bill to allow the South Sea Company a monopoly of South American trade in return for a loan to ease the country's French War debt.

1758--Pierre Paul Prud'hon, French painter who became the court painter to the empress Josephine, Napoleon's wife, born.

1774--Oliver Goldsmith, English playwright, died.

1821--Linus Yale, American inventor of the cylindrical lock, born.

1823--Sir William Siemens, German metallurgist and inventor, born.

1841--William Henry Harrison, 9th U.S. president, died.

1896--The discovery of gold in the Yukon was reported.


Apr 5th. . .

1588--Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher, born.

1649--Elihu Yale, English official and first governor of Madras, whose money founded Yale College, born in the U.S. ALSO--John Winthrop, Puritan governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, died.

1724--Giovanni Jacopo Casanova, world's best known lover, born.

1732--Jean Honore Fragonard, French painter and engraver, born.

1794--Georges Jacques Danton, French revolutionary leader, guillotined.

1811--Robert Raikes, English philanthropist and founder of the Sunday School Movement, died.

1827--Joseph Lister, English surgeon and pioneer of antiseptics, born.

1837--Algernon Charles Swinburne, English poet, born.

1874--The first performance in Vienna of Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II took place.

1895--Oscar Wilde was arrested at the Cadogan Hotel, Sloane Square, London. For offences arising from his friendship with Lord Alfred Douglas.


Apr 6th. . .

1199--Richard I, Coeur de Lion, King of England, died while besieging the castle of Chaluz during the Crusades.

1520--Raphael, Italian Renaissance painter, died.

1528--Albrecht Durer, German artist and engraver, died.

1580--An earthquake damaged many of London's churches, including St. Paul's.

1652--Jan van Riebeck arrived at the Cape, South Africa to establish the trading station for the Dutch East India ships en route to the east.

1758--Maximilien Francois Robespierre, French revolutionary, born.

1789--George Washington became the first President of the 12 American states after the War of Independence.

1830--The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, whose adherents are known as Mormons, was founded by Joseph Smith.

1843--William Wordsworth was appointed Poet Laureate.

1874--Harry Houdini, U.S escapologist, born.


Apr 7th. . .

1506--St. Francis Xavier, Spanish priest ordained in Venice, born.

1614--El Greco, Spanish painter, died.

1739--Dick Turpin, English highwayman, was hanged in York for the murder of an innkeeper in Epping.

1770--William Wordsworth, English Romantic poet and Poet Laureate, born.

1780--William Ellery Channing, Unitarian leader, born.

1827--The first matches were sold, invented by John Walker, a chemist in Stockton-on-Tees.

1832--Joseph Thompson, a farmer, came to Carlisle to sell his wife for 50 shillings. After an hour, the price came down to 20 shillings and included a Newfoundland dog in the deal.

1859--Walter Camp, father of American football, born.

1862--In the U.S. Civil War, General Ulysses Grant forced the Confederate troops to retreat at the Battle of Shiloh.

1891--Phineas Taylor Barnum, U.S. showman, died.


Apr 8th. . .

217--Caracalla, Roman emperor, was assassinated after a reign of terror.

1460--Ponce de Leon, Spanish soldier who landed in Florida near the present site of St. Augustine, claiming the land for Spain, born.

1492--Lorenzo de'Medici, Florentine statesman, died.

1692--Giuseppe Tartini, Italian violinist and composer, born.

1812--Louisiana became the 18th state of the Union.

1831--Jem Mace, British pugilist whose career lasted 35 years, born.

1838--Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Western sailed from Bristol on her maiden voyage to New York, the first steamship to make regular Atlantic crossings.

1850--William Henry Welch, American pathologist and bacteriologist, born.

1861--Elisha Graves Otis, U.S. inventor of the safety lift, died.

1875--Albert I, King of the Belgians, born.


Apr 9th. . .

1483--Edward IV, King of England died suddenly.  The young Edward V acceded to the throne, but was murdered in the Tower 75 days later.

1553--Francois Rabelais, French satirical writer, died.

1626--Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans, English statesman and writer, died.

1649--James Scott, Duke of Monmouth who led a failed rebellion against James II, born.

1747--The Jacobite, Lord Lovat, became last prisoner to be beheaded in England, a form of execution which had been reserved for the nobility.

1806--Isambard Kingdom Brunel, English engineer of bridges and ships, born.

1835--Leopold II, King of the Belgians, born.

1865--At Appotomax, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant in the U.S. Civil War.

1869--The Hudson Bay Company agreed to cede its considerable territorial rights to Canada.

1882--Dante Gabriel Rossetti, English Pre-Raphaelite painter and poet, died.


Apr 10th. . .

1512--James V, King of Scotland, born.

1633--Bananas were displayed in the London shop window of Thomas Johnson, the first time the fruit had been seen in Britain.

1710--The Copyright Act came into effect in Britain, allowing the author to hold exclusive rights to his or her work for up to 50 years after their death.

1755--Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, German physician who founded homeopathic medicine, born.

1820--The first British settlers arrived at Algoa Bay in the eastern Cape Province, South Africa.

1827--Lewis Wallace, U.S. novelist and author of Ben Hur, born.

1829--William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, born.

1841--The New York Tribune was first published.

1847--Joseph Pulitzer, U.S. newspaper proprietor who instituted the Pulitzer Prize for journalism, novels, plays and other writings, born.

1849--The safety pin was patented in the U.S. by Walter Hunt of New York.  He later sold the rights for $400.

1860--The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot was published.


Apr 11th. . .

1142--Peter Abelard, French theologian, died on his way to Rome to face charges of heresy.

1514--Donato Bramante, Italian architect, died while working on the rebuilding of St. Peter's in Rome.

1689--William III and Mary II were crowned joint monarchs of Great Britain by the Bishop of London.  The Archbishop of Canterbury refused to officiate.

1713--Gibraltar and Newfoundland were ceded to Britain by France.

1770--George Canning, British Prime Minister who died after only a few months in office, born.

1775--James Parkinson, English physician who discovered Parkinson's disease, born.

1794--Edward Everett, American statesman and orator, born.

1814--Napoleon abdicated and was banished to the island of Elba.

1819--Sir Charles Halle, British pianist and conductor, born in Germany.


Apr 12th. . .

1204--The Fourth Crusade was diverted by the Venetians to the riches of Constantinople, sacked this day.

1606--The Union Jack became the official flag of England.

1692--Giuseppe Tartini, Italian violinist and composer who invented a new type of bow, born.

1709--The Tatler magazine was first published in Britain.

1777--Henry Clay, U.S. statesman and orator who was Speaker of the House, born.

1817--Charles Joseph Messier, French astronomer who published the first list of the nebulae, born.

1838--English settlers in South Africa won the Battle of Tugela against the Zulus.

1861--The American Civil War began when the Confederate Army under General Pierre Beauregarde besieged Fort Sumter in South Carolina.


Apr 13th. . .

193--Marcus Diderius Salvius Julianus was proclaimed Emperor of Rome, but 49 days later he was put to death by order of the Senate.

1605--Boris Feodorovich Godunov, Tsar of Russia, died.

1668--John Dryden was appointed the first Poet Laureate and Royal Historiographer.

1695--Jean de La Fontaine, French writer of fables, died.

1732--Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guildford who levied the tax on tea that so incensed the American colonists, born.

1741--The Royal Military Academy was established at Woolwich.

1742--The first performance of Handel's Messiah took place in Dublin.

1743--Thomas Jefferson, third U.S. President, born.

1771--Richard Trevithick, English engineer and mechanic who developed the first practical steam locomotive, born.

1821--John Horwood was hanged at Bristol for the murder of Eliza Balsam.  His entire body was used for scientific purposes.

1852--Frank Winfield Woolworth, U.S. chain store pioneer, born.


Apr 14th. . .

1471--The Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians at the Battle of Barnet.

1527--Philip II of Spain, who tried to conquer England, born.  ALSO--Ortelius, Dtuch cartographer and engraver, born.

1629--Christiaan Huygens, Dutch physicist and astronomer who built the first pendulum clock, born.

1759--George Fredrick Handel, German composer, died in London.

1802--Horace Bushnell, New England Congregational preacher and theologian, born.

1828--Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language.

1865--On this Good Friday, at Ford's Theatre, Washington D.C., actor John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln.

1912--The S.S. Titanic, on its maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York, struck an iceberg and sank.


Apr 15th. . .

1469--Nanak, founder of Sikhism, born.

1755--Dr. Samuel Johnson published his Dictionary.

1764--Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, Louis XV's mistress, died.

1772--Etienne Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire, French zoologist who began the collection at the Jardin des Plantes, born.

1793--Friedrich Georg Struve, German astronomer who constructed an observatory near St. Petersburg, born.  ALSO--The Bank of England issued the first five-pound notes.  ALSO--At Spithead in the Solent, British naval personnel mutinied over poor conditions and pay.

1800--Sir James Clark Ross, English explorer who discovered the North magnetic pole, born.

1843--Henry James, U.S. novelist of The Ambassadors, born.

1852--The first screw-top bottles were patented by Francois Joseph Belzung of Paris.

1865--Abraham Lincoln, U.S. president, died after being shot at Ford's Theatre, Washington.  Andrew Jackson was sworn in as the new leader.


Apr 16th. . .

1646--Jules Hardouin-Mansart, French architect, born.

1661--Charles Montague, 1st Earl of Halifax and founder of the Bank of England, born.

1689--Aphra Behn, the only English woman writer to be buried in Westmintser Abbey, died.

1696--Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Italian painter, born.

1660--Sir Hans Sloane, English physician and naturalist whose home and library was the basis of the British Museum and British Library, born in Ireland.

1746--The Duke of Cumberland's forces defeated the Jacobite Scots at the Battle of Culloden near Inverness.

1828--Francisco Jose de Goya, Spanish painter, died.

1844--Anatole France, French novelist of Penguin Island, born.

1850--Marie Tussaud, Swiss wax modeler who made death masks during the French Revolution, died.

1867--Wilbur Wright, U.S. aviation pioneer, born.

1879--St. Bernadette of Lourdes, French saint, died.

1883--Paul Kruger became the President of the South Africa Republic.


Apr 17th. . .

1421--At Dort, Holland, the sea broke through the dykes and an estimated 100,000 people were drowned.

1521--Martin Luther was excommunicated by the diet at Worms.

1622--Henry Vaughan, Welsh religious poet, born.

1790--Benjamin Franklin, U.S. author, scientist and diplomat, died.

1837--John Pierpont Morgan, U.S. financier and son of the founder of the international banking house of Morgan, born.

1860--The first international boxing match, between a U.S. boxer and a British boxer, took place.

1880--Sir Leonard Woolley, English archaeologist who carried out the excavation at Ur in Mesopotamia, born.

1897--Thornton Wilder, U.S. playwright and novelist, born.


Apr 18th. . .

1480--Lucrezia Borgia, illegitimate daughter of Pope Alexander VI, born.

1689--Judge George Jeffreys, chief justice of the king's bench and responsible for hanging a vast number of people, born.

1775--Paul revere made his famous ride from Charlestown to rouse the minutemen on the eve of the War of Independence.

1797--Louis Adolphe Thiers, President of France who put down the Paris Commune, born.

1817--George Henry Lewes, English philosopher and writer and lover of George Eliot, born.

1819--Franz von Suppe, Austrian composer, born.

1857--Clarence Darrow, American lawyer famous for his defense of the murderers Leopold and Loeb, born.

1881--The Natural History Museum in London was opened.


Apr 19th. . .

1588--Paolo Veronese, Italian painter, died.

1637--Amye Everard became the first English woman to be granted a patent for her tincture of saffron and essence of roses.

1689--Queen Christina of Sweden who abdicated to further her intellectual pursuits, died.

1775--The American War of Independence began when General Gage fired into a crowd at Lexington, Massachusetts.

1824--Lord Byron, English poet, died of marsh fever at Missolonghi.

1880--The first news report from a battlefield was sent when a war correspondent from The Times sent a report of the Battle of Ahmed Khel.

1881--Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield and British Prime Minister, died.

1882--Charles Darwin, English biologist who wrote The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, died.

1883--At a meeting in Liverpool to establish a home for dogs, the Liverpool Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was formed instead.


Apr 20th. . .

1653--Oliver Cromwell dissolved the Long Parliament which had governed during the Civil War.

1657--The British Admiral Blake destroyed the Spanish fleet in the harbor of Santa Cruz.

1768--Canaletto, Italian painter, died.

1769--Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawa Indians, was murdered by an Illinois Indian.

1770--Captain James Cook, English seafarer, discovered New South Wales.

1808--Napoleon III of France, whose empire collapsed during his reign, born.

1841--The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe, the first modern detective story, was published in Graham's magazine in the U.S.

1883--Edouard Manet, French painter, died.

1887--The first motor race was held in Paris.  Only one driver took part, Georges Bouton.


Apr 21st. . .

753BC--According to the historian Varro, this was the day that Romulus founded Rome.

1109--St. Anslem, Archbishop of Canterbury and English saint, died.

1509--Henry VII, King of England, died and Henry VIII ascended to the throne.

1634--Jan van Riebeck, Dutch naval surgeon who was put in charge of the Dutch East India Company's station at Cape of Good Hope, born.

1699--Jean Baptiste Racie, French playwright, died.

1782--Friedrich Froebel, German educational pioneer who developed the kindergarten system, born.

1816--Charlotte Bronte, eldest of the three Bronte sisters and author of Jane Eyre, born.

1836--The Mexicans were defeated by the Texans at the Battle of San Jacinto.

1894--Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man was performed for the first time in London.


Apr 22nd. . .

1500--Pedro Alvarez Cabral discovered Brazil and claimed it for the King of Portugal.

1707--Henry Fielding, English novelist of Tom Jones, born.

1760--The first known pair of roller-skates were worn by a young Belgian musical instrument maker who rolled into a London party while playing the violin, finally crashing into a mirror.

1766--Madame de Stael, Baronne de Stael-Holstein, French writer, born.

1769--Madame du Barry became Louis XV's official mistress.

1778--James Hargreaves, English inventor of the spinning jenny, died.

1827--Thomas Rowlandson, English cartoonist, died.

1838--The first steamship to cross the Atlantic to New York from England was the British packet steamer, Sirius.  The journey took 18 days and ten hours.

1870--Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, born.


Apr 23rd. . .

1564--William Shakespeare, English playwright, poet and actor, born.

1616--William Shakespeare died in Stratford-Upon-Avon.  ALSO--Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish author of Don Quixote, died.

1661--Charles II was crowned king of England.

1697--George Anson, English circumnavigator of the world, born.

1702--Queen Anne was crowned Queen of England.

1775--Joseph Mallard Turner, English landscape painter, born.

1791--James Buchanan, 15th U.S. president, born.

1850--William Wordsworth, British poet, died.

1858--Dame Ethel Smythe, English composer and campaigner for women's suffrage, born.

1861--Henry Hyman, Viscount Allenby, British Field Marshal, born.

1879--The first Shakespeare Memorial Theatre opened in Stratford-Upon-Avon.


Apr 24th. . .

1533--William I, Prince of Orange, born in Germany.

1704--The first issue of the Boston News Letter, the first permanent newspaper in America, was published.

1731--Daniel Defoe, English author of Robinson Crusoe, died.

1743--Edmund Cartwright, English inventor of the power loom, born.

1792--Claude Rouget de Lisle composed the French national anthem, the Marseillaise.

1800--The Library of Congress was established in the United States.

1815--Anthony Trollope, English novelist of the Barsetshire series, born.

1846--Marcus Andrew Hislop Clarke, Australian author of For the Term of His Natural Life, born in Britain.

1856--Philippe Petain, French statesman and Army marshal, born.

1895--Captain Joshua Slocum, in his sloop Spray, set sail from Boston to circumnavigate the world single-handed.


Apr 25th. . .

1214--St. Louis IX, King of France who led a crusade to Egypt, born.

1284--King Edward II, who became the first heir-apparent to bear the title Prince of Wales, born.

1559--Oliver Cromwell, Protector of England who led a Civil War against King Charles I, born.

1660--A Convention parliament in London voted for the restoration of Charles II.

1719--Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe was published in London.

1744--Anders Celsius, Swedish astronomer who devised the centigrade thermometer, died.

1792--Dr. Guillotin's new, improved model for beheading people was used for the first time in Paris.

1800--William Cowper, English poet, died.

1848--The first Royal yacht, Victoria and Albert, was launched at Pembroke Docks, after suffering serious damage when first floated.

1878--Anna Sewell, English author of Black Beauty, died.


Apr 26th. . .

121AD--Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and philosopher, born.

1452--Leonardo da Vinci, Italian painter of the Mona Lisa, sculptor, engineer and scientist, born.

1711--David Hume, Scottish philosopher and historian who wrote the Treatise of Human Nature, born.

1785--John James Audubon, U.S. naturalist and artist who published Birds of North America, born.

1798--Ferdinand Victor Delacroix, French painter of violent scenes, born.

1812--Alfred Krupp, German armaments manufacturer, born.

1865--John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was shot dead in a farmhouse some distance from Washington.

1876--The town of Deadwood, Arizona was officially laid out.

1895-At the Old Bailey the trial of Oscar Wilde for homosexuality, which was then a crime, began.


Apr 27th. . .

1296--Edward I defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar.

1521--Ferdinand Magellan, Portuguese navigator, was killed by natives on the island of Mactan in the Philippines.

1737--Edward Gibbon, English historian who wrote The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, born.

1759--Mary Wollstonecraft, English author and feminist pioneer, born.

1791--Samuel Morse, U.S. inventor who devised a magnetic telegraph, born.

1822-Ulysses S. Grant, American Civil War commander and 18th U.S. president, born.

1828--The London Zoological Gardens in Regents Park, London, were opened.

1840--Edward Whymper, English mountaineer who was the first to climb the Matterhorn, born.

1882--Ralph Waldo Emerson, U.S. philosopher and poet, died.

1888--The oil company Esso was established in London.


Apr 28th. . .

1442--King Edward IV, son of Richard, Duke of York, born.

1758--James Monroe, U.S. Republican statesman and 5th U.S. president, born.

1770--Captain James Cook landed at Sting Ray Bay, later renamed Botany Bay, in his ship, Endeavour.

1772--The world's most traveled goat, who circumnavigated the world twice, first in the Dolphin with Captain Wallace, and then in Cook's Endeavour, died in London.

1788--Maryland became the seventh state of the Union.

1789-The crew of the Bounty, led by Fletcher Christian, mutinied against Captain Bligh.

1795--Charles Sturt, English explorer who headed three Australian expeditions, born.

1801--Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, who introduced the Coal Mine's Act in1842, born.


Apr 29th. . .

1376--The first Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Peter de la Mere, took office.

1696--Three would-be assassins were executed for attempting to murder William III, King of England.

1769--Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, born.

1818--Alexander II, Tsar of Russia who emancipated the serfs in 1861, born.

1842--The Corn Bill, designed to ensure an adequate supply of corn for domestic use, received Royal Assent.

1863-William Randolph Hearst, U.S. newspaper magnate, born.

1879--Sir Thomas Beecham, English conductor and impresario, born.

1885--Women were granted permission to be admitted to Oxford University examination.


Apr 30th. . .

311--Galerius Valerius Maximanius issued the edict of Nicodemia which meant the Roman Empire legally recognized Christianity.

1651--Jean Baptiste, Abbe de la Salle, canon of Rheims who founded the Christian Brothers, born.

1770--David Thompson, Canadian explorer, born in London.

1772--John Clais of London patented the first dial weighing machine.

1777--Johann Gauss, German mathematician and atronomer, born.

1789--General George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States.

1803--The U.S. purchased Louisiana and New Orleans from the French.

1821--The first iron steamship, Aaron Manby, was completed at Rotherhithe.

1883--Edouard Manet, French Impressionist painter, died.

1885--Jens Peter Jacobsen, Danish poet and novelist, died.