Today in History


Associated Press

Today is April 17, the 107th day of 2021. There are 258 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 17, 1970, Apollo 13 astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft while en route to the moon.

On this date:

In 1492, a contract was signed by Christopher Columbus and a representative of Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, giving Columbus a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia.

In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Lochner v. New York, struck down, 5-4, a New York State law limiting the number of hours that bakers could be made to work. (This ruling was effectively overturned in 1937 by the high court’s West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish decision.)

In 1961, some 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in an attempt to topple Fidel Castro, whose forces crushed the incursion by the third day.

In 1969, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

In 1972, the Boston Marathon allowed women to compete for the first time; Nina Kuscsik was the first officially recognized women’s champion, with a time of 3:10:26.

In 1973, Federal Express (later FedEx) began operations as 14 planes carrying 186 packages took off from Memphis International Airport, bound for 25 U.S. cities.

In 1975, Cambodia’s five-year war ended as the capital Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge, which instituted brutal, radical policies that claimed an estimated 1.7 million lives until the regime was overthrown in 1979.

In 1986, at London’s Heathrow Airport, a bomb was discovered in the bag of Anne-Marie Murphy, a pregnant Irishwoman about to board an El Al jetliner to Israel; she’d been tricked into carrying the bomb by her Jordanian fiance, Nezar Hindawi. The bodies of kidnapped American Peter Kilburn and Britons Philip Padfield and Leigh Douglas were found near Beirut; they had been slain in apparent retaliation for the U.S. raid on Libya.

In 1991, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 3,000 for the first time, ending the day at 3,004.46, up 17.58.

In 1993, a federal jury in Los Angeles convicted two former police officers of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King; two other officers were acquitted. Turkish President Turgut Ozal died at age 66.

In 2013, 15 people were killed when a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas. Sports returned to Boston two days after the deadly Marathon bombing as the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Bruins in a 3-2 shootout (players on both teams wore “Boston Strong” decals on their helmets).

Ten years ago: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Japan, where she expressed confidence the country would fully recover from its tsunami and nuclear disasters. Actor Michael Sarrazin, 70, died in Montreal.

Five years ago: Brazil’s lower house of Congress voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, who repeatedly argued that the push against her was a “coup.” (Rousseff was removed the following August.) Pennsylvania became the 24th state to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program as Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill into law. Actor Doris Roberts, who played the tart-tongued, endlessly meddling mother on CBS’ “Everybody Loves Raymond,” died at age 90.

One year ago: President Donald Trump urged supporters to “LIBERATE” three states led by Democratic governors, apparently encouraging protests against stay-at-home mandates aimed at stopping the coronavirus. Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee accused Trump of “fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies.” Governors of both parties indicated that they would be cautious in returning to normal; some warned that they couldn’t do it without help from Washington to expand testing. Singer Taylor Swift canceled all of her performances and appearances for the rest of the year.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor David Bradley is 79. Composer-musician Jan Hammer is 73. Actor Olivia Hussey is 70. Actor Clarke Peters is 69. Rapper Afrika Bambaataa is 64. Actor Sean Bean is 62. Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason is 60. Actor Joel Murray is 59. Rock singer Maynard James Keenan is 57. Actor Lela Rochon is 57. Actor William Mapother is 56. Actor Leslie Bega is 54. Actor Henry Ian Cusick is 54. Actor Kimberly Elise is 54. Singer Liz Phair is 54. Director/producer Adam McKay is 53. Rapper-actor Redman is 51. Actor Jennifer Garner is 49. Country musician Craig Anderson is 48. Singer Victoria Beckham is 47. Actor-singer Lindsay Korman is 43. Actor Tate Ellington is 42. Actor Nicholas D’Agosto is 41. Actor Charlie Hofheimer is 40. Actor Rooney Mara is 36. Actor Jacqueline MacInnes Wood is 34. Actor Paulie Litt is 26. Actor Dee Dee Davis is 25.


Today is April 18, the 108th day of 2021. There are 257 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 18, 1906, a devastating earthquake struck San Francisco, followed by raging fires; estimates of the final death toll range between 3,000 and 6,000.

On this date:

In 1775, Paul Revere began his famous ride from Charlestown to Lexington, Mass., warning colonists that British Regular troops were approaching.

In 1865, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman near Durham Station in North Carolina.

In 1910, suffragists showed up at the U.S. Capitol with half a million signatures demanding that women be given the right to vote.

In 1954, Gamal Abdel Nasser seized power as he became prime minister of Egypt.

In 1955, physicist Albert Einstein died in Princeton, N.J., at age 76.

In 1966, Bill Russell was named player-coach of the Boston Celtics, becoming the NBA’s first Black coach.

In 1978, the Senate approved the Panama Canal Treaty, providing for the complete turnover of control of the waterway to Panama on the last day of 1999.

In 1983, 63 people, including 17 Americans, were killed at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, by a suicide bomber.

In 1995, quarterback Joe Montana retired from professional football. The Houston Post closed after more than a century in business.

In 2015, a ship believed to be carrying more than 800 migrants from Africa sank in the Mediterranean off Libya; only about 30 people were rescued.

In 2019, the final report from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation was made public; it outlined Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election but did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government. (Mueller offered no conclusion on the question of whether the president obstructed justice.)

Ten years ago: Standard & Poor’s lowered its long-term outlook for the U.S. government’s fiscal health from “stable” to “negative,” and warned of serious consequences if lawmakers failed to reach a deal to control the massive federal deficit. Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai won the Boston Marathon in 2:03:02, the fastest anyone had ever run the 26.2-mile distance; fellow Kenyan Caroline Kilel won the women’s race in 2:22:36.

Five years ago: The U.S. agreed to deploy more than 200 additional troops to Iraq and to send eight Apache helicopters for the first time into the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq, the first major increase in U.S. forces in nearly a year. “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop stage biography of America’s first treasury secretary, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

One year ago: In an effort to show that the country was on course to gradually reopening from coronavirus shutdowns, Vice President Mike Pence delivered a commencement address to the U.S. Air Force Academy’s graduating class, telling cadets that they “inspire confidence that we will prevail against the invisible enemy in our time.” The daily toll of coronavirus deaths in New York state hit its lowest point in more than two weeks.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Clive Revill is 91. Actor Robert Hooks is 84. Actor Hayley Mills is 75. Actor James Woods is 74. Actor-director Dorothy Lyman is 74. Actor Cindy Pickett is 74. Country musician Jim Scholten (Sawyer Brown) is 69. Actor Rick Moranis is 68. Actor Melody Thomas Scott is 65. Actor Eric Roberts is 65. Actor John James is 65. Rock musician Les Pattinson (Echo and the Bunnymen) is 63. Author-journalist Susan Faludi is 62. Actor Jane Leeves is 60. Ventriloquist-comedian Jeff Dunham is 59. Talk show host Conan O’Brien is 58. Actor Eric McCormack is 58. Actor Maria Bello is 54. Actor Mary Birdsong is 53. Actor David Hewlett is 53. Rock musician Greg Eklund (The Oolahs) is 51. Actor Lisa Locicero is 51. Actor Tamara Braun is 50. TV chef Ludovic Lefebvre is 50. Actor Fredro Starr is 50. Actor David Tennant is 50. Rock musician Mark Tremonti is 47. R&B singer Trina (Trina and Tamara) is 47. Actor Melissa Joan Hart is 45. Actor Sean Maguire is 45. Actor Kevin Rankin is 45. Actor Bryce Johnson is 44. Reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian is 42. Detroit Tigers first baseman and DH Miguel Cabrera is 38. Actor America Ferrera is 37. Actor Tom Hughes is 36. Actor Ellen Woglom (TV: “Marvel’s Inhumans”) is 34. Actor Vanessa Kirby is 33. Actor Alia Shawkat is 32. Actor Britt Robertson is 31. Actor Chloe Bennet is 29. Rock singer Nathan Sykes (The Wanted) is 28. Actor Moises Arias is 27.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)


Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today