What Happened on April 18?

  • Paul Revere went on his famous nighttime ride. (1775) Revere and William Dawes rode throughout Massachusetts to warn revolutionary leaders of a British plot. The next morning the British came up against prepared revolutionary fighters, the "shot heard round the world" was fired, and the Revolutionary War began.

  • The BBC Radio announced that there was no news on that day. (1930) The entire radio broadcast consisted of the following: "Today is Good Friday. There is no news."

  • A US federal court decreed that Ezra Pound could be released from an insane asylum. (1958) Pound had been committed in 1945 after being accused of treason; it is thought that his commitment kept him from a lifetime prison sentence. In an unusual memo, the hospitals' supervisor supported Pound's release not because he was cured, but because he was so insane that the asylum wouldn't do him any good.

  • Simon and Schuster published the first crossword book. (1924) Richard Simon's aunt was the inspiration for the first crossword book when she asked her nephew if he could make her a book of crossword puzzles, which had just become popular in 1913. The book came with a pencil attached as a gimmick, and was what made the company take off.

  • The Great San Francisco Earthquake occurred. (1906) A massive slip on the San Andreas fault caused an earthquake that destroying over 30,000 buildings and killing over 3,000 people.

  • The cornerstone was laid in St. Peter's basilica. (1506) The basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world, and took over a century to complete. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a cathedral, since it is not the seat of a bishop.

  • The Doolittle raids took place in Japan. (1942) The raids took place over Tokyo, and were led by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, who received a congressional medal of honor for his actions. Though the raid did not do much material damage to Japan, it was a huge blow to the country's prestige, and a major event in the war.

  • Joan of Arc was beatified. (1909) Beatification is the first step towards becoming a saint; Joan became one nine years later and quickly became one of the most beloved saints in the Catholic church.

  • Pentecostalism started to become a worldwide phenomenon. (1906) Pentecostalism, a type of charismatic Christianity, got its modern start when The Los Angeles Times covered the Azusa Street Revival, a historical Pentecostal revival that included then-controversial mixing of races, speaking in tongues, and dramatic, emotional worship services.

  • Albert Einstein died. (1955) Named as TIME magazine's "Man of the Century," Einstein was a phenomenally influential mathematician and physicist. He is perhaps best known for his theories on space and time, and for this theory of general relativity.

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