April 15th in History

This day in historyApril 15 is the 105th day of the year (106th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 260 days remaining until the end of the year. This is typically the last day to turn in your taxes.



In 769,  The Lateran Council condemned the Council of Hieria and anathematized its iconoclastic rulings.

In 1071,  Bari, the last Byzantine possession in southern Italy, is surrendered to Robert Guiscard.

In 1395,  Tokhtamysh–Timur war: Battle of the Terek River: Timur defeats Tokhtamysh of the Golden Horde at the Volga. The Golden Horde capital city, Sarai, is razed to the ground and Timur installs a puppet ruler on the Golden Horde throne. Tokhtamysh escapes to Lithuania.

In 1450,  Battle of Formigny: Toward the end of the Hundred Years’ War, the French attack and nearly annihilate English forces, ending English domination in Northern France.

In 1632,  Battle of Rain: Swedes under Gustavus Adolphus defeat the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years’ War.

In 1642,  Irish Confederate Wars: A Confederate Irish militia is routed in the Battle of Kilrush when it attempts to halt the progress of a Parliamentarian army.

In 1715,  The Pocotaligo Massacre triggers the start of the Yamasee War in colonial South Carolina.

In 1738,  Serse, an Italian opera by George Frideric Handel receives its premiere performance in London, England.

Jacopo Francesco Riccati (1676-1754).jpgIn 1754,  Jacopo Riccati, Italian mathematician (b. 1676) dies. He was an Italian mathematician, born in Venice. He is now remembered for the Riccati equation. He died in Treviso in 1754.

I know this might seem a bit boring but in mathematics, a Riccati equation is any first-order ordinary differential equation that is quadratic in the unknown function. In other words, it is an equation of the form

 y'(x) = q_0(x) + q_1(x) \, y(x) + q_2(x) \, y^2(x)

where q_0(x) \neq 0 and q_2(x) \neq 0. If q_0(x) = 0 the equation reduces to a Bernoulli equation, while if q_2(x) = 0 the equation becomes a first order linear ordinary differential equation.

More generally, the term “Riccati equation” is used to refer to matrix equations with an analogous quadratic term, which occur in both continuous-time and discrete-time linear-quadratic-Gaussian control. The steady-state (non-dynamic) version of these is referred to as the algebraic Riccati equation.

In 1755,  Samuel Johnson‘s A Dictionary of the English Language is published in London.

In 1783,  Preliminary articles of peace ending the American Revolutionary War (or American War of Independence) are ratified.

In 1802,  William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy see a “long belt” of daffodils, inspiring the former to pen I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

In 1817,  Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc founded the American School for the Deaf, the first American school for deaf students, in Hartford, Connecticut.

An iconic black and white photograph of a bearded Abraham Lincoln showing his head and shoulders.In 1861,  President Abraham Lincoln calls for 75,000 Volunteers to quell the insurrection that soon became the American Civil War

In 1865,  President Abraham Lincoln dies after being shot the previous evening by actor John Wilkes Booth. Vice President Andrew Johnson, becomes President upon Lincoln’s death. He was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. In 1860 Lincoln secured the Republican Party presidential nomination as a moderate from a swing state. With very little support in the slaveholding states of the South, he swept the North and was elected president in 1860. His election prompted seven southern slave states to form the Confederate States of America before he was sworn into office. No compromise or reconciliation was found regarding slavery and secession. Politically, Lincoln fought back by pitting his opponents against each other, by appealing to the American people with his powers of oratory, and by carefully planned political patronage.

In 1892,  The General Electric Company is formed.

RMS Titanic disaster.

In  1896,  Closing ceremony of the Games of the I Olympiad in Athens, Greece.

In 1900,  Philippine–American War: Filipino guerrillas launch a surprise attack on U.S. infantry and begin a four-day siege of Catubig, Philippines.

In 1907,  Triangle Fraternity is founded at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

In 1912,  The British passenger liner RMS Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic at 2:20 a.m., two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg. Only 710 of 2,227 passengers and crew on board survive.

In 1920,  Two security guards are murdered during a robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts. Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti would be convicted of and executed for the crime, amid much controversy.

In 1921,  Black Friday: Mine owners announce more wage and price cuts, leading to the threat of a strike all across England.

In 1922,  U.S. Senator John B. Kendrick of Wyoming introduces a resolution calling for an investigation of a secret land deal, which leads to the discovery of the Teapot Dome scandal.

In 1923,  Insulin becomes generally available for use by people with diabetes.

In 1924,  Rand McNally publishes its first road atlas.

In 1927,  The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the most destructive river flood in U.S. history, begins.

In 1935,  Roerich Pact signed in Washington, D.C.

In 1936,  First day of the Arab revolt in Mandatory Palestine.

In 1936,  Aer Lingus (Aer Loingeas) is founded by the Irish government as the national airline of the Republic of Ireland.

In 1940,  The Allies begin their attack on the Norwegian town of Narvik which is occupied by Nazi Germany.

In 1941,  In the Belfast Blitz, two-hundred bombers of the German Luftwaffe attack Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom killing one thousand people.

In 1942,  The George Cross is awarded “to the island fortress of Malta: Its people and defenders” by King George VI.

In 1945,  The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is liberated.

In 1947,  Jackie Robinson debuts for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking baseball’s color line.

Wallace Beery-publicity.JPGIn 1949,  Wallace Beery, American actor (b. 1885) dies. He was an American actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Bill in Min and Bill opposite Marie Dressler, as Long John Silver in Treasure Island, as Pancho Villa in Viva Villa!, and his titular role in The Champ, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Beery appeared in some 250 movies in a 36-year career. He was the brother of actor Noah Beery, Sr. and uncle of actor Noah Beery, Jr. Beery was born in Clay County, Missouri near Smithville. The youngest of three boys for Noah Webster Beery (1856-1937) and Frances Margaret Fitzgerald (1859-1931), he and his brothers William C. Beery and Noah Beery became Hollywood actors. The Beery family left the farm in the 1890s and moved to nearby Kansas City, Missouri where the father was a police officer. A noteworthy episode in Beery’s life is chronicled in the 5th episode of Ken Burns’ documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea: In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order creating Jackson Hole National Monument to protect the land adjoining the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Local ranchers, outraged at the loss of grazing lands, compared FDR’s action to Hitler’s taking of Austria. Led by an aging Beery, they protested by herding 500 cattle across the monument lands without a permit

In 1952,  The maiden flight of the B-52 Stratofortress

In 1955,  McDonald’s restaurant dates its founding to the opening of a franchised restaurant by Ray Kroc, in Des Plaines, Illinois

In 1957,  White Rock, British Columbia officially separates from Surrey, British Columbia and is incorporated as a new city.

In 1960,  At Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, Ella Baker leads a conference that results in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, one of the principal organizations of the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

In 1962, Clara Blandick, American actress (b. 1880) dies. She was an American stage and screen actress, best known for her role as Aunt Em, the wife of Uncle Henry, in MGM‘s The Wizard of Oz.

In 1929, Blandick moved to Hollywood. By the 1930s, she was well known in theatrical and film circles as an established supporting actress. Though she landed roles like Aunt Polly in the 1930 film Tom Sawyer (a role she reprised in the 1931 film Huckleberry Finn), she spent much of the decade as a character actor, often going uncredited. In Pre-Code films she often played mothers, including those of characters played by Joan Crawford (Possessed) and Joan Blondell (Three on a Match). At a time when many actors were permanently attached to a single studio, she played a wide number of bit parts for almost every major Hollywood studio (though she would later be under contract with 20th Century Fox). In 1930, she acted in nine different films. In 1931 she was in thirteen different films. As is the case with some other busy character actors, it is difficult to make an exact tally of the films in which Blandick appeared but a reasonable estimate would fall between 150 and 200.

After The Wizard of Oz, Blandick returned to her staple of character acting in supporting and bit roles. She would continue to act in a wide variety of roles in dozens of films. She played the spiteful Mrs. Pringle in 1940s Anne of Windy Poplars, a surprised customer in the 1941 Marx Brothers film The Big Store, a fashionable socialite in the 1944 musical Can’t Help Singing, and a cold-blooded murderer in the 1947 mystery Philo Vance Returns. Her final two roles both came in 1950 – playing a housekeeper and a landlady in Key to the City and Love That Brute, respectively. She retired from acting at the age of 69 and went into seclusion at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Throughout the 1950s, Blandick’s health steadily began to fail. She started going blind and began suffering from severe arthritis. On April 15, 1962, she returned home from Palm Sunday services at her church. Her residence was 1735 North Wilcox Avenue, Los Angeles, California. She began rearranging her room, placing her favorite photos and memorabilia in prominent places. She laid out her resume and a collection of press clippings from her lengthy career. She dressed immaculately, in an elegant royal blue dressing gown. Then, with her hair properly styled, she took an overdose of sleeping pills. She lay down on a couch, covered herself with a gold blanket over her shoulders, and tied a plastic bag over her head. Blandick left the following note:

“I am now about to make the great adventure. I cannot endure this agonizing pain any longer. It is all over my body. Neither can I face the impending blindness. I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.”

In 1964,  The first Ford Mustang rolls off the show room floor, two days before it is set to go on sale nationwide.

In 1969,  The EC-121 shootdown incident: North Korea shoots down a United States Navy aircraft over the Sea of Japan, killing all 31 on board.

In 1970,  During the Cambodian Civil War, massacres of the Vietnamese minority results in 800 bodies flowing down the Mekong river into South Vietnam.

In 1984,  The inaugural World Youth Day is held in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City.

In 1986,  The United States launches Operation El Dorado Canyon, its bombing raids against Libyan targets in response to a bombing in West Germany that killed two U.S. servicemen.

In 1989,  Hillsborough disaster: A human crush occurs at Hillsborough Stadium, home of Sheffield Wednesday, in the FA Cup Semi-final, resulting in the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans.

In 1989,  Upon Hu Yaobang‘s death, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 begin in China.

In 2013,  Two bombs explode near the finish line at the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, killing three people and injuring 264 others.

In 2014,  More than 200 female students are declared missing after a mass kidnapping in Borno State, Nigeria.

In 2014,  A total lunar eclipse occurs, producing a Blood Moon.

In 2015, Lambuth Area Neighborhood Association sponsors a Mayoral Debate at U of Memphis Lambuth Campus. Four of the five candidates were at the event.

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