Thursday, April 15, 2010

POPnews - April 15th

[Many's the performer who can be said to have died
on stage; Tommy Cooper, though, actually did it!]

1450 - At the Battle of Formigny, which was fought near the end of the Hundred Years' War, the French under the Comte de Clermont and Arthur III, Duke of Brittany, attacked and nearly annihilated Thomas Kyriell's English forces, finally ending the English domination of Northern France that began when Normandy's William the Conqueror invaded England in October 1066.

1632 - At the Battle of Rain - during the Thirty Years' War - Swedish forces under Gustavus Adolphus defeated the armies of the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic League commanded by Count Johan Tzerclaes of Tilly.

1715 - The Pocotaligo Massacre triggered the start of the Yamasee War in Colonial South Carolina.

1738 - Serse - an opera, in Italian, by George Frideric Handel - premiered at London's King's Theatre, Haymarket.

1755 - Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published, by Richard Bentley, in London.

1802 - William Wordsworth was out for a walk with his sister Dorothy when he saw a 'long belt' of daffodils, inspiring him to write I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud - although, at Dorothy's insistence, he didn't open his poem with the line 'I wandered lonely as a cow' like he'd wanted. Smart lady...

1865 - US President Abraham Lincoln died, having been shot the previous evening by John Wilkes Booth; upon his death Andrew Johnson became the 17th President of the United States.

1920 - Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti allegedly murdered two security guards while robbing the Slater-Morrill Shoe Company in South Braintree, Massachusetts; in the more than seven years that followed prior to their August 1927 execution their case became a cause célèbre, involving the luminous likes of Dorothy Parker, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Bertrand Russell, John Dos Passos, Upton Sinclair, George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells among many others.

1941 - During the Belfast Blitz, two hundred Luftwaffe bombers attacked that Ulster city, killing more than nine hundred people, injuring 1,500 (400 of them seriously) and damaging half of the city's 70,000 houses - leaving 100,000 homeless in a population of 425,000.

1942 - The George Cross, Britain's highest civilian honour for valour, was awarded to 'the island fortress of Malta - its people and defenders' by King George VI.

1945 - The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated.

1947 - Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking baseball's color line.

1955 - Ray Kroc opened his first franchise of a McDonald's restaurant, in Des Plaines, Illinois; although it was technically the ninth McDonald's overall, Kroc soon ended up taking over the entire company.

1957 - The British Columbia town of White Rock officially separated from Surrey and was incorporated as a new city; to be honest, though, the only reason I've mentioned it here is because both of them have since been gobbled up by Metro Vancouver.

1967 - Scotland defeated rival England 3-2 at Wembley Stadium, causing Scottish football fans to jokingly claim their side as 'Unofficial World Champions', creating the phenomenon of the Unofficial Football World Championships.

1984 - British comedian Tommy Cooper suffered a massive heart attack while performing on the ITV variety programme, Live From Her Majesty's; he was later pronounced dead on arrival at Westminster Hospital.

1986 - In retaliation for the bombing of the La Belle Discotheque in West Berlin on April 5th - in which two U.S. servicemen and a Turkish woman were killed - US President Ronald Reagan ordered major bombing raids against the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi, which killed 60 people - including Muammar Gaddafi's 15-month-old adopted daughter, Hanna.

1989 - The death of Hu Yaobang ignited the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing; this last organized campaign aimed at bringing democracy to China was savagely suppressed by Communist authorities by June 4th.

2003 - US troops in Baghdad captured Abu Abbas, leader of the Palestine Liberation Front, which killed American Leon Klinghoffer on the hijacked cruise liner the Achille Lauro in October 1985.
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