[The Mercury Seven - Alan Shepard Jr., Virgil (Gus) Grissom, Leroy Cooper Jr. (L to R, back row) and Walter (Wally) Schirra Jr., Donald (Deke) Slayton, John Glenn Jr., Malcolm Carpenter (L to R, front row) - looking somewhat like the Andromeda Five, here pose for their only photograph together in uniform even though Slayton and Glenn aren't wearing their proper space boots but rather spray-painted work boots! My question is... Why not just put them in the back row, rather than front and center?]
1024 - Pope Benedict VIII died; he was succeeded by John XIX on April 12th. Most interestingly, the new pope and his predecessor had been brothers, both being sons of Gregory I, Count of Tusculum, and his countess, Maria. As if that weren't interesting enough*, John XIX would be succeeded upon his death in October 1032 by his teenaged nephew, who reigned as Benedict IX.
*And chances are it wasn't...
1440 - Christopher of Bavaria was appointed King of Denmark, and would eventually become King of both Sweden and Norway as well.
1682 - Robert Cavelier de La Salle discovered the mouth of the Mississippi River, claimed it for France, and named it Louisiana.
1865 - Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to the more than 25,000 troops of the Army of Northern Virginia led by Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, effectively ending the American Civil War.
1867 - The treaty with Russia which authorized the Alaska Purchase was passed in the US Senate by a single vote.
1909 - The US Congress passed the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act.
1937 - The Kamikaze arrived at London's Croydon Airport - making it the first Japanese-built aircraft to fly to Europe, which it did in 51 hours, 17 minutes and 23 seconds.
1948 - Popular presidential candidate Jorge Eliécer Gaitán's assassination provoked the Bogotazo, a series of violent riots in Bogotá and a decade-long spasm of violence in the rest of Colombia - a period now known as La Violencia. The man murdered by the mob for the crime - Juan Roa Sierra - may have been an innocent bystander.
1959 - NASA announced the selection of America's first seven astronauts, who would serve their country in the Mercury Program; the press quickly dubbed them the Mercury Seven.
1965 - The Houston Astrodome opened, and the first indoor baseball game was played.
1975 - The first game of the Philippine Basketball Association, the second oldest professional basketball league in the world, was held at Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
1989 - During the April 9 Tragedy in Tbilisi a series of peaceful anti-Soviet demonstrations and hunger strikes, demanding the restoration of Georgian sovereignty was dispersed by the Soviet army, resulting in 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries. A memorial to the tragedy was later erected on the city's Rustaveli Avenue.
1991 - Georgia declared its independence from the Soviet Union, following an attack on a peaceful demonstration by occupying troops, two years to the day after a similar tragedy; the day is still observed as there as the Day of National Unity.
1999 - Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara, the President of Niger, was assassinated at the culmination of a coup as he was boarding a helicopter at the airport in the capital city, Niamey; he was succeeded by the leader of the coup, Daouda Malam Wanké.2003 - Baghdad fell to American forces during their invasion of Iraq.
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