[This is the scene of a heinous crime, a savage attack against the United States and all it stands for... In fact, prior to 9/11 it was the gravest act of terrorism ever committed on American soil. But was it caused by al-Qaeda, or even Muslim extremists of any kind? Not even close.]
1054 - Pope Leo IX died; he was succeeded by Gebhard, Count of Calw, Tollenstein, and Hirschberg - who reigned as Victor II - on April 13th of the following year.
1587 - English privateer Francis Drake sank the Spanish fleet in the harbour at Cádiz; it is thought that Drake's act of daring lessened the impact of the Spanish Armada, which was launched by King Felipe II the following year, and which ultimately failed in its stated aim (namely, to conquer England).
1713 - Having no living male heirs the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI, issued the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 to ensure that lands then controlled by the Habsburg Dynasty (as well as the Austrian throne) could be inherited by his daughter, should the need arise... The need didn't so much arise when Maria Theresa was born in May 1717 as when she ascended to the throne following her father's death in October 1740 - at which time France, Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony (having initially agreed) refused to honour it, triggering the War of the Austrian Succession.
1770 - Marie Antoinette of Austria married France's Dauphin (the future King Louis XVI) by Proxy marriage at Vienna's Augustinian Church.
1775 - The American Revolution began, at the Battle of Lexington and Concord.
1782 - John Adams secured the Dutch Republic's recognition of the United States as an independent government, whereupon the house which he had purchased in The Hague became the first American embassy.
1809 - A corps of the Austrian army commanded by Archduke Ferdinand attacked and was defeated by the forces of the Duchy of Warsaw led by Józef Poniatowski at the Battle of Raszyn, part of the ongoing struggles of the Fifth Coalition; on the same day the main body of the Austrian army under Archduke Charles was defeated by a First French Empire corps led by Napoleon and his commander Louis-Nicolas Davout at the Battle of Teugen-Hausen in Bavaria, itself part of a four day campaign which resulted in a French victory.
1810 - Venezuela achieved home rule - whereupon Vicente Emparan, Governor of the Captaincy General, was removed from his position by the people of Caracas and a junta was installed.
1839 - The Kingdom of Belgium was created by the Treaty of London, nine years after the Opera House Riot set off the Belgian Revolution in August 1830; as their first King Belgians chose a minor German prince who'd already proven his personal ambition in England, and whose reign as Leopold I began in July 1831.
1861 - At the outset of the American Civil War, a pro-secession mob in Baltimore attacked Union Army troops marching through the city.
1904 - Fire destroyed most of downtown Toronto.
1971 - Salyut 1 - the first human-made space station - was launched, by the Soviet Union.
1975 - India's first satellite, Aryabhata, was launched.
1985 - Advance Australia Fair was proclaimed as Australia's national anthem, with green and gold as the national colours.
1993 - Depending on your perspective, the 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco either went horribly wrong or entirely according to plan.
1995 - The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed by Timothy McVeigh in retaliation for the Waco Siege two years previously to the day, and the execution on that very day of Richard Wayne Snell, who had previously planned an attack on the same building, only to have it thwarted. 168 people died - including 19 children at an on-site daycare center.
2005 - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI on the second day of the Papal conclave to elect a successor to John Paul II.
2008 - The Bowie Seamount - northwest of Haida Gwaii off the coast of British Columbia - became a Marine Protected Area.
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