This Day in History

April 26


1248      Sainte-Chapelle in Paris is consecrated   769
1444      the first great master of Flemish and Early Netherlandish painting Robert Campin dies, age around 69   573
1564      William Shakespeare baptised   453
1607      English colonists headed by Christopher Newport make "The First Landing" at Cape Henry—select Jamestown as site of the colony   410
1717      flagship of the pirate "Black Sam" Bellamy, Whydah Gally sinks in a storm off Cape Cod—Bellamy is drowned, age 28   300
1721      earthquake destroys Tabriz, Iran—estimated 80,000 casualties   296
1777      16-year old Sybil Ludington rides 40 miles through the Connecticut countryside to rouse the patriots of a British invasion   240
1785      American naturalist John James Audubon born in Haiti   232
1798      French Romantic artist Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix born   219
1865      Union troops corner and kill John Wilkes Booth 12 days after he assassinated Abraham Lincoln—he was 26   152
1865      William T. Sherman accepts the surrender of Joseph E. Johnston and the Army of Tennessee near present day Durham, North Carolina   152
1909      Michael "Doc" Powers crashes into a wall, becomes first major league baseball player to die due to on-field injury, age 38   108
1920      Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan dies, age 32   97
1920      Shapley-Curtis "Great Debate" concerning the nature of spiral nebulae   97
1929      first nonstop flight from England to India lands   88
1940      German chemist and Nobel laureate Carl Bosch dies in Heidelberg, age 65   77
1942      coal mine explosion in the Benxihu Colliery in Liaoning, China, kills 1549—deadliest mine disaster in history   75
1951      German physicist Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld dies in Munich, age 82   66
1952      peat diggers near the village of Grauballe in Jutland, Denmark, discover a 2000 year old body—Grauballe Man   65
1956      Ideal-X, a refitted tanker ship, makes first U.S. trip carrying modern containers from Newark to Houston   61
1961      first human open fetal surgery in the world performed at University of California, San Francisco by Michael Harrison   56
1962      Ranger 4 crash lands on backside of Moon   55
1964      Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar named Tanzania   53
1982      South Korean policeman begins a killing spree in South Gyeongsang Province—by the next morning 57 dead and 35 others wounded   35
1986      reactor at Chernobyl in Ukraine explodes—world's worst nuclear disaster   31
1988      Mexican astronomer Guillermo Haro dies, age 75   29
1989      American commedienne and actress Lucille Désirée Ball dies in Los Angeles, age 77   28
1989      Daulatpur-Saturia tornado strikes central Bangladesh—deadliest tornado in history with 1300 fatalities and 12,000 others injured   28
1994      physicists announce first evidence of the top quark   23
1996      Priroda is seventh and last module launches to dock with Mir   21
2002      an expelled student shoots and kills 17 in the Gutenberg-Gymnasium in Erfurt, Germany   15
2012      Charlotte Bobcats end a shortened NBA season with 7 wins and 59 losses—0.106 record is worst in NBA history   5
2014      American physicist Gerald Stanford "Gerry" Guralnik dies in Providence, Rhode Island, age 77   3
2016      Chinese-American civil rights activist Harry Wu dies in Honduras, age 79   1
2017      Cassini makes the first in a series of orbits through the 1,500-mile-wide (2,400-km) gap between Saturn and its rings   0

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

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