#TodayInHistory – April 14
April 14 – Some important events on this day
43 BC 👉🏼 Battle of Forum Gallorum: Mark Antony, besieging Julius Caesar’s assassin Decimus Junius Brutus in Mutina, defeats the forces of the consul Pansa, who is killed.
By the time of his assassination on 15 March (the Ides of March) 44BC, Julius Caesar was at the height of his power, having recently been declared dictator perpetuo by the Roman Senate.
This kind of power made many senators nervous that Caesar would overthrow the senate and establish one-man tyranny. Thus they planned to murder him and restore the authority of the Roman Republic.
Despite being warned of the plot in the days before, Caesar went to the Senate on the 15th. There, a group of about 30 Senators – including Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius – attacked him with knives, stabbing him numerous times. Records of his last words vary; some mentioned that he said nothing, or said “You too, child?” in Greek. The most famous supposed phrase, “Et tu, Brute?” comes from William Shakespeare’s 1599 play Julius Caesar and has no basis in fact.
In any case the goals of the assassination failed. It led to civil war and the eventual assumption to power of Augustus, who became the first Roman Emperor.
1434 👉🏼 The foundation stone of Cathedral St. Peter and St. Paul in Nantes, France is laid 🇫🇷
1792 👉🏼 France declares war on Austria, starting French Revolutionary Wars
1818 👉🏼 Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language is printed.
Noah Webster, a Yale-educated lawyer with an avid interest in language and education, publishes one of the first lexicons to include distinctly American words. The dictionary, which took him more than two decades to complete, introduced more than 10,000 “Americanisms.”
1841 👉🏼 1st detective story published, Edgar Allan Poe’s “Murders in Rue Morgue”
1865 👉🏼 US President Abraham Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington
1871 👉🏼 Canada sets denominations of currency as dollars, cents, & mills 💵
1894 👉🏼 1st public showing of Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope (moving pictures)
1903 👉🏼 Dr Harry Plotz discovers vaccine against typhoid (NYC) 💉
1912 👉🏼 RMS Titanic hits an iceberg at 11.40pm off Newfoundland
The most famous ship sinking of all time, the RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat in the world when it hit an iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912. When the disaster occurred the ship was on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, carrying an eclectic grouping of 2,224 passengers that included some of the world’s wealthiest people and many immigrants seeking a new life in America.
While in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Titanic hit an iceberg near midnight on 14 April and sank two hours and forty minutes later on the morning of 15 April. The Titanic band, led by Wallace Hartley, famously played on as the ship sank and all perished. Captain Edward Smith went down with the ship, in line with maritime tradition.
Despite her size, she was only equipped with enough lifeboats for roughly half her passengers, due to outdated maritime regulations. Consequently, when the ship sank, she went down with more than 1,000 people on board. Most of those who jumped into the water died of cold shock in the freezing temperatures. In all, around 1,500 people died, making it one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters ever.
The RMS Carpathia arrived an hour and a half after the sinking; the last passengers in lifeboats were rescued around 9am on 15 April. The sinking of the Titanic shocked and outraged the world, leading to changes in maritime rules and the establishment two years later of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.
1918 👉🏼 American pilots engage in first dogfight over the western front.
Six days after being assigned for the first time to the western front, two American pilots from the U.S. First Aero Squadron engage in America’s first aerial dogfight with enemy aircraft. In a battle fought almost directly over the Allied Squadron Aerodome at Toul, France, U.S. fliers Douglas Campbell and Alan Winslow succeeded in shooting down two German two-seaters. By the end of May, Campbell had shot down five enemy aircraft, making him the first American to qualify as a “flying ace” in World War I.
1927 👉🏼 The first Volvo car premieres in Gothenburg, Sweden 🚗
1931 👉🏼 Spain becomes republic with overthrow of King Alfonso XIII 🇪🇸
1935 👉🏼 Black Sunday: Severe sandstorm ravages the US Midwest, creating the “Dust Bowl”.
It was one of the most devastating storms of the 1930s and swept across the region on this day. High winds kicked up clouds of millions of tons of dirt and dust so dense and dark that some eyewitnesses believed the world was coming to an end.
The term “dust bowl” was reportedly coined by a reporter in the mid-1930s and referred to the plains of western Kansas, southeastern Colorado, the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and northeastern New Mexico. By the early 1930s, the grassy plains of this region had been over-plowed by farmers and overgrazed by cattle and sheep. The resulting soil erosion, combined with an eight-year drought which began in 1931, created a dire situation for farmers and ranchers. Crops and businesses failed and an increasing number of dust storms made people and animals sick. Many residents fled the region in search of work in other states such as California.
By the mid-1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt s administration introduced programs to help alleviate the farming crisis. The Dust Bowl era finally came to a close when the rains arrived and the drought ended in 1939. Although drought would continue to be an inevitable part of life in the region, improved farming techniques significantly reduced the problem of soil erosion and prevented a repeat of a similar devastation.
1944 👉🏼 1st Jews transported from Athens arrive at Auschwitz
1975 👉🏼 Operation “Baby Lift” concludes after flying 2,600 South Vietnamese orphans to the U.S.
The American airlift of Vietnamese orphans to the United States ends after 2,600 children are transported to America. The operation began disastrously on April 4 when an Air Force cargo jet crashed shortly after take-off from Tan Son Nhut airbase in Saigon. More than 138 of the passengers, mostly children, were killed. Operation Baby Lift was initiated to bring South Vietnamese orphans to the United States for adoption by American parents. Baby Lift lasted 10 days and was carried out during the final, desperate phase of the war, as North Vietnamese forces were closing in on Saigon. Although the first flight ended in tragedy, all other flights took place without incident, and Baby Lift aircraft ferried orphans across the Pacific until the mission concluded on this day, only 16 days before the fall of Saigon and the end of the war.
1981 👉🏼 1st Space Shuttle, Columbia 1, returns to Earth 🌍
2003 👉🏼 The Human Genome Project is completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%
2015 👉🏼 Archeologists announce they have found at Lomekwi in Kenya 3.3 million-year old stone tools, the oldest ever discovered and which pre-date the earliest humans.