April 3, 2012. 272 days left in 2012. What happened today in American and world history?
33 – Generally agreed-upon date for the historical crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, the central figure of Christianity.
1860 – The first successful United States Pony Express run from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California begins.
1865 – American Civil War: Union forces capture Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America.
1882 – American Old West: Jesse James is killed by Robert Ford.
1885 – Gottlieb Daimler is granted a German patent for his engine design.
1888 – The first of 11 unsolved brutal murders of women committed in or near the impoverished Whitechapel district in the East End of London, occurs.
1895 – Trial of the libel case instigated by Oscar Wilde begins, eventually resulting in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality.
1922 – Joseph Stalin becomes the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
1933 – First flight over Mount Everest, a British expedition, led by the Marquis of Clydesdale, and funded by Lucy, Lady Houston
1936 – Bruno Richard Hauptmann is executed for the kidnapping and death of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., the baby son of pilot Charles Lindbergh.
1942 – World War II: Japanese forces begin an assault on the United States and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula.
1946 – Japanese Lt. General Masaharu Homma is executed in the Philippines for leading the Bataan Death March.
1948 – President Harry S. Truman signs the Marshall Plan, authorizing $5 billion in aid for 16 countries.
1955 – The American Civil Liberties Union announces it will defend Allen Ginsberg‘s book Howl against obscenity charges.
1956 – Hudsonville-Standale Tornado: The western half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan is struck by a deadly F5 tornado.
1968 – Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.
1969 – Vietnam War: United States Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announces that the United States will start to “Vietnamize” the war effort.
1973 – Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first handheld mobile phone call to Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs, though it took ten years for the DynaTAC 8000X to become the first such phone to be commercially released.
1974 – The Super Outbreak occurs, the biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history. The death toll is 315, with nearly 5,500 injured.
1981 – The Osborne 1, the first successful portable computer, is unveiled at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco.
1996 – Suspected “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski is arrested at his cabin in Montana, United States.
1996 – A United States Air Force airplane carrying United States Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown crashes in Croatia, killing all 35 on board.
2000 – United States v. Microsoft: Microsoft is ruled to have violated United States antitrust laws by keeping “an oppressive thumb” on its competitors.
2004 – Islamic terrorists involved in the 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks are trapped by the police in their apartment and kill themselves.
2008 – ATA Airlines, once one of the 10 largest U.S. passenger airlines and largest charter airline, files for bankruptcy for the second time in 5 years and ceases all operations.
2008 – Texas law enforcement cordons off the FLDS‘s YFZ Ranch. Eventually 533 women and children will be removed and taken into state custody.
1924 – Doris Day, American actress, singer and animal rights activist
1924 – Marlon Brando, American actor (d. 2004)
1942 – Wayne Newton, American singer
1958 – Alec Baldwin, American actor
1959 – David Hyde Pierce, American actor
1961 – Eddie Murphy, American actor and comedian
1882 – Jesse James, American outlaw (b. 1847)
1996 – Ron Brown, U.S. Secretary of Commerce (b. 1941)