Thursday, April 5.
1614 – In Virginia, Native American Pocahontas marries English colonist John Rolfe.
1621 – The Mayflower sets sail from Plymouth, Massachusetts on a return trip to Great Britain.
1722 – The Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen discovers Easter Island.
1792 – U.S. President George Washington exercises his authority to veto a bill, the first time this power is used in the United States.
1804 – High Possil Meteorite: The first recorded meteorite in Scotland falls in Possil.
1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Yorktown begins.
1922 – The American Birth Control League, forerunner of Planned Parenthood, is incorporated.
1923 – Firestone Tire and Rubber Company begins production of balloon-tires.
1930 – Mahatma Gandhi ends a 241 mile march to Dandi in the Salt Satyagraha.
1933 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs two executive orders: 6101 to establish the Civilian Conservation Corps, and 6102 “forbidding the Hoarding of Gold Coin, Gold Bullion, and Gold Certificates” by U.S. citizens.
1936 – Tupelo-Gainesville tornado outbreak: An F5 tornado kills 233 in Tupelo, Mississippi.
1942 – World War II: The Imperial Japanese Navy launches a carrier-based air attack on Colombo, Ceylon during the Indian Ocean Raid. Port and civilian facilities are damaged and the Royal Navy cruisers HMS Cornwall andHMS Dorsetshire are sunk southwest of the island.
1943 – World War II: American bomber aircraft accidentally cause more than 900 civilian deaths, including 209 children, and 1300 wounded among the civilian population of the Belgian town of Mortsel. The target is the Erla factory one kilometer from the residential area hit.
1944 – World War II: 270 inhabitants of the Greek town of Kleisoura are executed by the Germans.
1949 – Fireside Theater debuts on television.
1949 – A fire in a hospital in Effingham, Illinois, kills 77 people and leads to nationwide fire code improvements in the United States.
1951 – Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are sentenced to death for performing espionage for the Soviet Union.
1955 – Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom amid indications of failing health.
1956 – Fidel Castro declares himself at war with the President of Cuba.
1976 – In the People’s Republic of China, the April Fifth Movement leads to the Tiananmen incident.
1991 – An ASA EMB 120 crashes in Brunswick, Georgia, killing all 23 aboard.
1999 – Two Libyans suspected of bringing down Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 are handed over for eventual trial in the Netherlands.
2010 – Twenty-nine coal miners are killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia.
1856 – Booker T. Washington, American educator (d. 1915)
1900 – Spencer Tracy, American actor (d. 1967)
1908 – Bette Davis, American actress (d. 1989)
1909 – Albert R. Broccoli, American film producer (d. 1996)
1916 – Gregory Peck, American actor (d. 2003)
1926 – Roger Corman, American film director
1964 – Douglas MacArthur, American general (b. 1880)
1976 – Howard Hughes, American aviator (b. 1905)
1992 – Sam Walton, American retailer (b. 1918)
1994 – Kurt Cobain, musician (Nirvana) (b. 1967)
2002 – Layne Staley, American musician (Alice in Chains) (b. 1967)
2005 – Saul Bellow, Canadian born writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1915)
2008 – Charlton Heston, American actor (b. 1923)