1913: Over 360 people were killed and 20,000 homes destroyed in the Great Dayton Flood in Dayton, Ohio.
1925: The Butler Act was signed to prohibit the teaching of human evolution in Tennessee.
1928: President Calvin Coolidge presented Charles Lindbergh with the Medal of Honor at the White House for completing the first solo trans-Atlantic flight.
1952: Ohio radio disc jockey Alan Freed organized and promoted the first rock and roll concert, a five-act show called “The Moondog Coronation Ball,” at the Cleveland Arena.
1963: Alcatraz prison closed permanently.
1967: Charles Manson was released from Terminal Island prison in Los Angeles, despite his pleadings to be kept in prison because, he said, it was his only true home. (After being released, he went to San Francisco and began forming what would become the infamous, murderous Manson Family.)
2006: The Southern Poverty Law Center issued a report that said the number of Ku Klux Klan groups increased from 162 in 2004 to 179 in 2005. The two largest groups, the Imperial Klans of America and the Brotherhood of Klans, both continued to expand, and three new groups were formed. (All KKK groups continue to use the Confederate battle flag as the primary symbol of their hatred for non-whites, Jews and Catholics.)
1621: The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony signed a peace treaty with Massasoit of the Wampanoags.
1622: Algonquin Indians killed 347 English settlers around Jamestown, Va., a third of the colony’s population.
1630: The Massachusetts Bay Colony outlawed the possession of cards, dice and gaming tables.
1871: In North Carolina, William Woods Holden became the first governor of a U.S. state to be removed from office by impeachment.
1960: Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes received the first patent for a laser.
1963: The Beatles’ first album, Please Please Me, was released in the United Kingdom.
1978: Karl Wallenda of the Flying Wallendas died after falling off a tight-rope between two hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
1993: The Intel Corporation shipped the first Pentium chips (80586), featuring a 60 MHz clock speed, 100+ MIPS, and a 64-bit data path.
1997: The Comet Hale-Bopp had its closest approach to Earth.
2014: A huge landslide in Darrington, Wash., buried one square mile of a populated area under mud and debris up to 40 feet deep. Dozens of houses were destroyed, 21 bodies were recovered and 30 were lost and presumed entombed.
1775: Patrick Henry delivered his speech, “Give me liberty or give me death!” at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, Va.
1857: Elisha Otis’ first elevator was installed at 488 Broadway, New York City.
1933: The Reichstag passed the Enabling Act of 1933, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.
1956: Pakistan became the first Islamic republic in the world, and adopted Sharia law.
1961: Soviet cosmonaut trainee Valentin Bondarenko, 24, died after suffering third-degree burns from a flash fire in the pure oxygen environment of a training simulator in Moscow.
1980: Jacob Miller, lead singer of the reggae band Inner Circle, died in a car accident in Kingston, Jamaica, at age 27, joining the 27 Club.
1983: President Ronald Reagan made his first proposal to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles from outer space, a.k.a. Star Wars.
1989: Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced their discovery of cold fusion at the University of Utah.
1994: A U.S. Air Force F-16 aircraft collided with a USAF C-130 at Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, N.C., and then crashed, killing 24 U.S. Army soldiers on the ground. (This later became known as the Green Ramp disaster.) Aeroflot Flight 593 crashed in Siberia when the pilot’s 16-year-old son unknowingly disengaged the autopilot, killing all 75 people on board.
2001: The Russian Mir space station was allowed to re-enter the atmosphere, where if broke apart and fell into the southern Pacific Ocean near Fiji.
1663: The Province of Carolina was granted by charter to eight British lords as a reward for their help in restoring Charles II of England to the throne.
1707: The Acts of Union 1707 was signed, officially uniting the kingdoms of England and Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain.
1721: Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated six concertos to Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt, now commonly called the Brandenburg Concertos.
1832: A group of men in Hiram, Ohio, beat, tarred, and feathered Mormon founder Joseph Smith.
1854: Slavery was abolished in Venezuela.
1882: German physician and microbiologist Robert Koch (1843-1910) announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis.
1896: Russian physicist Alexander Stepanovich Popov (1859-1906) made the first radio signal transmission in history.
1900: Groundbreaking was held for New York’s first subway train line, that would link Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1958: Elvis Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army.
1975: Alex Mitchell, a 50-year-old bricklayer from Norfolk, England, died laughing while watching The Goodies. A particular scene had caused Mitchell to laugh nonstop for 25 minutes before dying of heart failure.
1980: Roman Catholic Archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated by government troops while celebrating Mass in San Salvador.
1989: The Exxon Valdez spilled 240,000 barrels of crude oil after running aground in Prince William Sound in Alaska.
1998: The Jonesboro Massacre took place when Mitchell Johnson, 11, and Andrew Golden, 13, fired upon teachers and students at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Four students and one teacher were killed, and nine students and one teacher were wounded.
2015: Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed in the French Alps in an apparent mass murder-suicide by the copilot; all 150 people on board died.
1584: Sir Walter Raleigh was granted a patent to colonize Virginia.
1911: In New York City, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed 146 garment workers.
1947: An explosion at a coal mine in Centralia, Ill., killed 111 people.
1948: The first successful tornado forecast predicted that a tornado would strike Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.
1957: The European Economic Community was established with West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg as the first members.
1965: Civil rights activists led by Martin Luther King Jr. successfully completed their four-day, 50-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
1971: Pakistan Armed Forces began slaughtering Bengali civilians by the thousands in East Pakistan to prevent them from breaking away to form Bangladesh.
1979: The first fully functional space shuttle orbiter, Columbia, was delivered to the John F. Kennedy Space Center to be prepared for its first launch.
1995: WikiWikiWeb, the world’s first wiki (user-editable website), and part of the Portland Pattern Repository, was made public by founder Ward Cunningham (born 1949) in Portland, Ore.
1996: An 81-day-long standoff began between the anti-government group Montana Freemen and law enforcement near Jordan, Montana.
1812: A political cartoon in the Boston Gazette coined the term “gerrymander” to describe oddly shaped electoral districts designed to help incumbents win re-election.
1830: The first edition of The Book of Mormon was published by Joseph Smith in Palmyra, New York.
1934: The first driving test was introduced in the United Kingdom.
1940: Born this day: actor James Caan; and Nancy Pelosi, 60th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
1942: The first female prisoners arrived at Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
1953: 74th Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee (2011-2015); and 24th U.S. Secretary of Labor under President George H.W. Bush) Elaine Chao.
1969: Dickie Pride, singer of the pop hit “Primrose Lane,” died in London from an overdose of sleeping pills at age 27, joining the 27 Club.
1977: The NBC show known as Saturday Night was renamed Saturday Night Live.
1982: A groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was held in Washington, D.C.
1997: Thirty-nine members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass suicide in a rented mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., in order to reach what they believed was an alien space craft following the Comet Hale-Bopp, which was then at its brightest.
1999: The “Melissa worm” infected Microsoft word processing and email systems around the world. A jury in Michigan found Dr. Jack Kevorkian (1928-2011) guilty of second-degree murder for administering a lethal injection to a terminally ill man.
1513:Juan Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer, reached The Bahamas on his first voyage to Florida.
1794: The U.S. government established a permanent navy and authorized the building of six frigates.
1851: Yosemite Valley was first seen by Europeans.
1915: Typhoid Mary (Mary Mallon, 1869-1938), the first healthy carrier of disease ever identified in the United States, was put in quarantine, where she remained until she died.
1964: The Good Friday Earthquake, the most powerful earthquake in U.S. history at a magnitude of 9.2, struck south-central Alaska, killing 125 people and inflicting massive damage to the city of Anchorage.
1975: Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline began.
1977: The worst airline disaster in history occurred when two Boeing 747 airliners collided on a foggy runway on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 583 (all 248 on KLM and 335 on Pan Am); 61 survived on the Pan Am flight.
1980: “Silver Thursday” occurred as a steep fall in silver prices, resulting from the Hunt Brothers attempting to corner the market in silver, led to panic on commodity and futures exchanges.
1998: Viagra was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of male impotence. It was the first time a pill was approved for this use in the U.S.
2000: An explosion of a Phillips Petroleum plant in Pasadena, Texas killed one person and injured 71.