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A 1912 watercolor of the Sinking of the Titanic by German artist Willy Stower

Major historical anniversaries in April

Image Credit: | Above: A 1912 watercolor of the Sinking of the Titanic by German artist Willy Stower

Ever wondered what major events in history took place during the month of April? Read on to find out.

1 April

RAF founded (1918)

Founded shortly before the end of WWI, the RAF is the oldest independent air force in the world. It played a vital role in defending Britain from Nazi Germany during the Battle of Britain in WWII.

2 April

Argentina invades the Falklands (1982)

On this day in 1982, troops from Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a South Atlantic archipelago that is a colony of the UK. The move sparked a ten-week conflict known as the Falklands War, at the end of which the UK emerged victorious.

4 April

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated (1968)

American civil rights leader and activist Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot by James Earl Ray in a motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 39 years old.

Microsoft founded (1975)

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded a software company called Microsoft. Just over a decade later, the company made Gates the world's youngest billionaire at 31.

NATO created (1949)

12 nations came together to sign the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The mutual defence pact united the countries against the threat of Soviet expansion into Western Europe.

6 April

First modern Olympic Games (1896)

The ancient Greeks invented the first Olympic games around 776 BC and the event continued until 393 AD. Then 1,500 years passed before the games were revived as the modern Olympics, an event we continue to celebrate every four years.

7 April

Rwandan genocide begins (1994)

It’s estimated that around 500,000 – one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus died during the Rwandan genocide, which lasted around 100 days and saw the country descend into chaos.

8 April

Margaret Thatcher dies (2013)

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the first woman in British history to become Prime Minister. She led the country for 11 years.

Death of Pablo Picasso (1973)

One of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso was believed to have created nearly 50,000 works of art during his lifetime.

9 April

Baghdad falls to Coalition forces (2003)

The United States, along with coalition forces, initiated war on Iraq as part of President George W. Bush’s ‘war on terror’. On this day in 2003, Baghdad fell and with it the reign of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel born (1806)

Famed English engineer and inventor, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was born on this day in 1806. Throughout his career, he designed several railways, bridges, tunnels, viaducts and ships.

12 April

Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space (1961)

Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, flew into space aboard the Soviet spacecraft Vostok I. In doing so, he became the first human being to have ventured into the black void.

13 April

The first James Bond novel released (1953)

On this day in 1953, British writer Ian Fleming published Casino Royale, the first of 12 books featuring secret agent James Bond, aka 007.

14 April

John Wilkes Booth shoots Abraham Lincoln (1865)

Whilst enjoying a theatre show in Washington, President Abraham Lincoln was shot by actor and Confederate sympathiser John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln died the next morning becoming the first U.S. president to be assassinated.

15 April

The Titanic sinks (1912)

At the launch of the Titanic, it was famously declared: ‘Not even God himself could sink this ship.' In the end, the luxury liner met its end in the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg.

Boston Marathon bombing (2013)

Three people are killed, including an eight-year-old boy, after two bombs went off near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. Four days later, police killed one of the bombers in a shootout and captured the other alive.

19 April

The American War of Independence begins (1775)

After years of simmering tensions between American colonists and the British, things boiled over in Massachusetts, as the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War broke out within the towns of Lexington and Concord.

21 April

Rome founded (753 BC)

The legend of the founding of Rome was famous amongst ancient Romans. They believed that on 21 April, 753 BC, brothers Romulus and Remus founded the city on the site where they were suckled by a she-wolf when they were infants.

23 April

Shakespeare born (1564)

On this day in 1564, England’s most famous Bard came into the world. Shakespeare wrote nearly 40 plays during his life, including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Macbeth.

26 April

Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurs (1986)

On 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near the city of Pripyat in Ukraine, a late-night safety test went wrong and the world experienced the worst nuclear accident in history. Dozens of people were killed in the immediate aftermath and thousands more in the ensuing years as the disaster released 400 times more radiation into the atmosphere than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima during WWII.

30 April

The Bristol Bus Boycott begins (1963)

By 1963, the state-owned Bristol Omnibus Company was yet to employ a single non-white driver or conductor in its network. The Bristol Bus Boycott, spearheaded by the West Indian Development Council (WIDC), was a watershed moment in black British history that led to meaningful change in the country's discrimination laws.

Adolf Hitler commits suicide in the Führerbunker (1945)

With Soviet tanks rolling in from the east and Allied forces racing towards Berlin from the west, Adolf Hitler knew his ideological dream of Nazi Germany was over. Hitler decided to end his life before he could be captured and shot himself in the head.

Saigon falls (1975)

On this day in 1975, the South Vietnamese capital city of Saigon fell to North Vietnamese forces, effectively bringing an end to the Vietnam War.