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26th April: Find Out What Happened On This Day In History

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“The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history, then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long that nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was… The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”
— Milan Kundera


Kundera’s words are proof that history is everything. That’s why having some knowledge of past occurrences is imperative.


26th April is the 116th day of the year (117th in leap years). 249 days remain until the end of the year. It is also the World Intellectual Property Day. Take a look at some of the important events that occurred on this day in history.


Historical events

1220 — German king Frederick II grants bishops sovereign rights.

1336 — Italian Renaissance poet Francesco Petrarch famously climbs Mont Ventoux.

1478 — Pazzi conspirators attack Lorenzo de’Medici and kill Giuliano de’Medici in Florence.

1514 — Copernicus makes his 1st observations of Saturn.

1564 — William Shakespeare is baptised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.

1575 — Marie de’ Medici, queen of Henry IV of France is born.

1654 — Jews are expelled from Brazil.

1755 — First Russian university opens in Moscow.

1803 — Thousands of meteor fragments fall from the skies of L’Aigle, France; the event convinces European scientists that meteors exist.

meteor fragments fall from the skies
Meteor fragments fall from the skies

1841 — “Bombay Gazette” begins publishing on silk.

1859 — Dan Sickles is acquitted of murder on grounds of temporary insanity. This is the first time this defence used successfully in the US.

1865 — John Wilkes Booth, American actor and assassin of Abraham Lincoln, dies.

1887 — Huntsville Electric Co forms to sell electricity.


26th April in the 20th Century

1920 — Harlow Shapley and Heber D. Curtis hold “great debate” on the nature of nebulae, galaxies and size of the universe at US National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.

1926 — Germany and Russia sign a neutrality peace treaty.

1933 — Jewish students are barred from school in Germany.

1936 — Composer Dmitri Shostakovich completes his Fourth Symphony.

1949 — Transjordan is officially renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

1954 — Nationwide test of the Salk anti-polio vaccine begins.

1954 — The New Polio Vaccine is given for the first time in the USA in a nation-wide polio vaccine test.

1960 — Forced out by the April Revolution, President of South Korea Syngman Rhee resigns after twelve years of dictatorial rule.

1962 — NASA’s Ranger 4 spacecraft crashes into the Moon.

1962 — The first US rocket lands on the moon Ranger IV three years after the first Russian landing of Lunik II in 1959.

Rocket launch
Rocket launch

1963 — In Libya, amendments to the constitution transform Libya (United Kingdom of Libya) into one national unity (Kingdom of Libya). It allows for female participation in elections.

1964 — Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge to form Tanzania.


More dates

1966 — A new government, led by Ambroise Noumazalaye, forms in the Republic of the Congo.

1966 — An earthquake of magnitude 7.5 destroys Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

1974 — Malta adopts a constitution.

1980 — Longest jump by a jet boat set at 120 feet.

1981 — Dr Michael R. Harrison of the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center performs the world’s first human open fetal surgery.

1982 — A gunman mugs singer Rod Stewart and steals his $50,000 Porsche.

1986 — In the world’s worst nuclear disaster, the fourth reactor at Chernobyl nuclear power station in USSR explodes. 31 die and radioactive contamination reaches much of Western Europe.

1989 — Heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson gets a speeding ticket for drag racing his Lamborghini in Albany, New York.

Heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson
Heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson

1991 — Seventy tornadoes break out in the central United States. Before the outbreak’s end, Andover, Kansas would record the year’s only F5 tornado.

1993 — STS-55 (Columbia) launches into orbit.

1994 — This is the first day of voting in first ever multi-racial elections in South Africa. Dr Nomaza Paintin in NZ is the first black South African to vote.

1994 — Physicists announce first evidence of the top quark subatomic particle.

1994 — China Airlines Flight 140 crashes at Nagoya Airport in Japan, killing 264 of the 271 people on board.


26th April in the 20th Century

2000 — Vermont governor, Howard Dean, signs the USA’s first bill allowing same-s*x couples to form civil unions.

2002 — Robert Steinhäuser kills 16 at Gutenberg-Gymnasium in Erfurt, Germany before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot.

2005 — Under international pressure, Syria withdraws the last of its 14,000 troop military garrison in Lebanon. This ends its 29-year military domination of that country.

2009 — Responding to what health officials are fearing is the beginning of a global pandemic, American health officials declare a public health emergency from the twenty cases of swine flu that have been confirmed.

2010 — “Iron Man 2”, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, premieres in Los Angeles.

"Iron Man 2" starring Robert Downey Jr.
“Iron Man 2” starring Robert Downey Jr.

2017 — “The Handmaid’s Tale”, based on the book by Margaret Atwood, debuts on Hulu starring Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski.

2018 — Police identify serial killer “Golden State Killer” after 40 years as a former police officer. He is responsible for 12 killings and 50 rapes in California.

2018 — Court finds American comedian Bill Cosby guilty in Pennsylvania of s****l assault.

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