[Waco's shoddily built Mount Carmel Center met its fiery end on April 19th after a fifty-one day standoff (begun on this day in 1993) along with 79 pseudo-Christian fanatics obsessed with Armageddon who more than got their wish; the worst of it was that 21 of those who died were children, whose brief lives had already been tainted by hateful rhetoric, religious brainwashing and, it was reported, sexual abuse.]
870 CE - The Fourth Council of Constantinople closed.
1827 - The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America to offer the commercial transportation of both people and freight.
1838 - Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaimed the independence of Lower Canada - better known today as Québec.
1844 - A gun on the USS Princeton exploded while on a cruise of the Potomac River, killing 8 US Cabinet members - Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur and Secretary of the Navy Thomas Gilmer among them - and several others besides, including Colonel David Gardiner, the father of President John Tyler's fiance Julia Gardiner (both of whom had been lucky enough to escape injury).
1850 - The University of Utah opened in Salt Lake City.
1870 - The Bulgarian Exarchate was established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire.
1897 - Queen Ranavalona III, Madagascar's last reigning monarch, was deposed by a French military force.
1935 - Nylon was discovered by Wallace Carothers.
1947 - In Taiwan, civil disorder was put down at a loss of 30,000 civilian lives; the event later became known as the 228 Incident.
1953 - James D. Watson and Francis Crick announced to friends that they'd determined the chemical structure of DNA, which would be formally announced the following April.
1975 - A major crash at London's Moorgate Tube station killed 43 people.
1983 - The final episode of the long-running TV sitcom M*A*S*H was domestically broadcast, becoming the most watched television episode in history to date, with 106 million viewers in the US; these figures have since been surpassed, by Super Bowl XLIV, which attracted 106.5 million viewers in February 2010.
1985 - The Provisional IRA carried out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary police station at Newry, killing nine officers; it was the the highest loss of life for a single day in the history of the RUC.
1993 - Who could have guessed that when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raided the Branch Davidian church with a warrant to arrest the group's leader David Koresh that it would all end so thrillingly? While four ATF agents and five Davidians died in this initial raid, a further 82 Davidians (including their leader) died in the brimstone-less fire shown above.
1997 - The North Hollywood shootout took place, in which bank robbers Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Matasareanu were killed in a shootout with police.
2001 - The Nisqually Earthquake - measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale - affected the Nisqually Valley, Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia in Washington state.
2004 - Over 1 million Taiwanese took part in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally, forming a 500-kilometre (300-mile) long human chain to commemorate that country's 228 Incident in 1947.
2007 - The New Horizons spacecraft - on its way to Pluto - flew past Jupiter.
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