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This Day in History

01/4/1700 – English pranksters begin popularising the annual tradition of Aprils Fool’s Day by playing practical jokes on each other. Although the day, also called All Fool’s Day, has been celebrated for centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery. 

02/4/2005 – Pope John Paul II, history’s most well-travelled Pope, and the first non-Italian to hold the position since the 16th century, dies at his home in the Vatican. Six days later, two million people packed the Vatican City for his funeral, said to be the biggest funeral in history. 

04/4/1960 – Clocking in at three hours and thirty two minutes, the Hollywood Technicolour epic, Ben Hur, set an Oscar record winning 11 of the 12 categories for which it was nominated including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Charlton Heston. 

06/4/1896 – The first modern Olympic Games are held in Athens, Greece, with athletes from 14 countries participating. 

09/4/2005 – Nearly eight years after the death of Princess Diana, Prince Charles married his long time mistress, Camilla Parker Bowls.
10/4/1970 – Paul McCartney accidentally announces that The Beatles had broken up in an interview discussing his new solo album. 

11/4/1814 - Napoleon Bonapart, Emperor of France and one of the greatest military leaders in history abdicates the throne and under the Treaty of Fontainebleau, is banished to the Mediterranean island of Elea. 

12/4/1061 – Aboard the spacecraft Vostok 1, Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin becomes the first human being to travel in to space. 

15/4/1912 – The RMS Titanic, billed as the unsinkable ship, sinks in the icy waters of the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage, killing 1517 people. 

16/4/1889 – Future Hollywood legend, Charlie Chaplin was born Charles, Spencer, Chaplin in London England.

17/4/1970 – With the world anxiously watching, Apollo 13, a U.S lunar space craft suffered a sever malfunction on its journey to the moon, safely returns to earth. 

18/4/1956 - American actress Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco in a spectacular ceremony. 

20/4/2010 – An explosion and fore aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico kills 11 people and triggers the largest off-shore oil spill in American history, (spilling 4.9 million barrels of oil). 

23/4/1564 – Great English dramatist and poet William Shakespeare, famous for works including Hamlet, Othello, Julius Caesar and A Mid-Summer Nights Dream is born in Stratford-upon-Avon. 

24/4/1953 – Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. 

25/4/1915 – A week after Anglo-French naval attacks on the Dardanelles ended in dismal failure, British, French, Australian and New Zealander troops stormed the Gallipoli Peninsula in an effort to capture Constantinople (now known as Istanbul) an ally of Germany out of the war. The Turkish forces were well prepared for the invasion and the ANZACS were devastated by some of the best-trained Turkish defenders. We now celebrate the spirit of ANZAC, with its qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity every year in April 25. 

29/4/2011 – Prince William marries his long term girlfriend, Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey. Some 1900 guests were invited to the wedding, while another 1 million people lined the street and an estimated 2 billion people around the world watched on TV. 

30/4/1945 – Holed up in a bunker under his headquarters in Berlin, Adolf Hitler commits suicide by swallowing a cyanide tablet and shooting himself in the head. Soon after Germany surrendered to the Allied forces.


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