On This Day in History April 16

April 16 – Events:

  • 1178 BC – A solar eclipse may have marked the return of Odysseus, legendary King of Ithaca, to his kingdom after the Trojan War.
  • 73 – Masada, a Jewish fortress, falls to the Romans after several months of siege, ending the Jewish Revolt.
  • 1071 – Bari falls to Robert Guiscard, ending Byzantine rule in Italy.
  • 1346 – Serbian Empire was proclaimed in Skopje by Dusan Silni, occupying much of the South-Eastern Europe.
  • 1395 – Azzo X d’Este is defeated at the Battle of Portomaggiore by Venetian-Ferrarese troops.
  • 1521 – Martin Luther’s first appearance before the Diet of Worms to be examined by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the other estates of the empire.
  • 1582 – Spanish conquistador Hernando de Lerma founds the settlement of Salta, Argentina.
  • 1746 – Battle of Culloden.
  • 1780 – The University of Münster in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany is founded.
  • 1799 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Mount Tabor – Napoleon drives Ottoman Turks across the River Jordan near Acre.
  • 1853 – The first passenger rail opens in India, from Bori Bunder, Bombay to Thane.
  • 1858 – The Wernerian Natural History Society, a former Scottish learned society, was wound up.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: Battle at Lee’s Mills in Virginia.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: A bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia became law.
  • 1863 – American Civil War: Siege of Vicksburg – ships led by Union Admiral David Dixon Porter move through heavy Confederate artillery fire on approach to Vicksburg, Mississippi.
  • 1881 – In Dodge City, Kansas, Bat Masterson fights his last gun battle.
  • 1891 – Arthur Tolkien, father of J.R.R. Tolkien, marries Mabel Suffield.
  • 1912 – Harriet Quimby becomes the first woman to fly an airplane across the English Channel.
  • 1917 – Vladimir Lenin returns to Saint Petersburg from exile in Finland.
  • 1919 – Mohandas Gandhi organizes a day of “prayer and fasting” in response to the British slaughter of Indian protestors in the Amritsar Massacre.
  • 1922 – The Treaty of Rapallo, in which Germany and the Soviet Union re-establish diplomatic relations between Berlin and Moscow, is signed.
  • 1925 – During the Communist St Nedelya Church assault in Sofia, 150 are killed and 500 are wounded.
  • 1941 – World War II: The Italian convoy Duisburg, directed to Tunisia, is attacked and destroyed by British ships.
  • 1943 – Dr. Albert Hofmann discovers the psychedelic effects of LSD.
  • 1945 – The Red Army begins the final assault on German forces around Berlin.
  • 1945 – The United States Army liberates Nazi Sonderlager (high security) Prisoner of War camp Oflag IVc .
  • 1945 – More than 7,000 die when the German refugee ship Goya is sunk by a Soviet submarine torpedo.
  • 1946 – Syria gains independence.
  • 1947 – Texas City Disaster: An explosion on board a freighter in port causes the city of Texas City, Texas, to catch fire, killing almost 600.
  • 1947 – Bernard Baruch coins the term “Cold War” to describe the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • 1953 – Queen Elizabeth II launches the Royal Yacht Britannia.
  • 1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pens his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail while incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting against segregation.
  • 1963 – Great Train Robbery – 12 men are sentenced to a total of 307 years.
  • 1972 – Apollo program: Apollo 16 launches towards the Moon from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • 1972 – Vietnam War: Nguyen Hue Offensive – Prompted by the North Vietnamese offensive, the United States resumes bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong.
  • 1987 – British Conservative MP Harvey Proctor appears at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court in London charged with gross indecency.
  • 1988 – In Forlì, Italy, Red Brigades kill Italian Senator Roberto Ruffilli, an advisor of Prime Minister Ciriaco de Mita.
  • 1992 – The Katina P. runs aground off of Maputo, Mozambique. 60,000 tons of crude oil spill into the ocean.
  • 2003 – The Treaty of Accession is signed in Athens admitting 10 new member states to the European Union.
  • 2007 – Virginia Tech massacre: the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, in which a gunman shoots 32 people to death and injures 23 others before committing suicide.

April 16 – Birthdays:

  • 778 – King Louis the Pious (d. 840)
  • 1319 – King John II of France (d. 1364)
  • 1495 – Petrus Apianus, German mathematician (d. 1557)
  • 1646 – Jules Hardouin Mansart, French architect (d. 1708)
  • 1660 – Hans Sloane, British collector and physician (d. 1753)
  • 1661 – Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, British poet and statesman (d. 1715)
  • 1682 – John Hadley, British inventor (d. 1744)
  • 1693 – Anne Sophie Reventlow, queen of Denmark and Norway (d. 1743)
  • 1728 – Joseph Black, Scottish chemist (d. 1799)
  • 1738 – Henry Clinton, British general (d. 1795)
  • 1755 – Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, French painter (d. 1842)
  • 1800 – George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan, British soldier (d. 1888)
  • 1821 – Ford Madox Brown, English painter (d. 1893)
  • 1823 – Ferdinand Eisenstein, German mathematician (d. 1852)
  • 1827 – Octave Crémazie, French Canadian poet (d. 1879)
  • 1844 – Anatole France, French writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1924)
  • 1847 – Hans Auer, Swiss architect, (d. 1906)
  • 1848 – Kandukuri Veeresalingam, Social Reformer of Andhra Pradesh, India (d. 1919)
  • 1859 – Winifred Cochrane, Countess of Dundonald, philanthropist (d. 1924)
  • 1865 – Henry George Chauvel, Australian general (d. 1945)
  • 1866 – José de Diego, Puerto Rico statesman and journalist (d. 1918)
  • 1867 – Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer (d. 1912)
  • 1871 – John Millington Synge, Irish writer (d. 1909)
  • 1878 – Tip Foster, English cricketer (d. 1914)
  • 1886 – Ernst Thälmann, German politician (d. 1944)
  • 1889 – Charles Chaplin, English actor, writer, and film producer (d. 1977)
  • 1895 – Robert Dean Frisbie, American writer (d. 1948)
  • 1896 – Tristan Tzara, Romanian poet and essayist (d. 1963)
  • 1904 – Fifi D’Orsay, Canadian actress (d. 1983)
  • 1905 – Frits Philips, Dutch businessman (d. 2005)
  • 1907 – August Eigruber, Austrian war criminal (d. 1947)
  • 1907 – Joseph-Armand Bombardier, French-Canadian inventor and businessman (Bombardier) (d. 1964)
  • 1912 – Garth Williams, American illustrator (d. 1996)
  • 1912 – Catherine Scorsese, Italian-American actress (d. 1997)
  • 1915 – Gerard McLarnon, Irish playwright (d. 1997)
  • 1917 – Barry Nelson, American actor (d. 2007)
  • 1918 – Spike Milligan, Irish comedian (d. 2002)
  • 1918 – Joan Alexander, American actress
  • 1918 – Dick Gibson, British racing driver
  • 1919 – Merce Cunningham, American dancer and choreographer
  • 1919 – Tom Willmore, English geometer (d. 2005)
  • 1921 – Peter Ustinov, English actor (d. 2004)
  • 1922 – Kingsley Amis, English author (d. 1995)
  • 1924 – John Harvey-Jones, Industrialist (d. 2008)
  • 1924 – Henry Mancini, American composer (d. 1994)
  • 1924 – Rudy Pompilli, American musician (Bill Haley & His Comets) (d. 1976)
  • 1927 – Edie Adams, American actress
  • 1927 – Pope Benedict XVI
  • 1927 – Peter Mark Richman, American actor
  • 1928 – “Night Train” Lane, American football player (d. 2002)
  • 1929 – Ed Townsend, American singer and songwriter (d. 2003)
  • 1930 – Herbie Mann, American jazz flute player (d. 2003)
  • 1933 – Joan Bakewell, British broadcaster
  • 1935 – Sarah Kirsch, German poet
  • 1935 – Bobby Vinton, American singer
  • 1937 – Joseph Whipp, American actor
  • 1938 – Gordon Wilson, Scottish politician
  • 1938 – Rich Rollins, American baseballer
  • 1939 – Dusty Springfield, English singer (d. 1999)
  • 1939 – Boris Dvornik, Croatian actor
  • 1940 – Margrethe II of Denmark, queen regnant
  • 1940 – Benoît Bouchard, French-Canadian politician
  • 1942 – Sir Frank Williams, English F1 constructor and team principle (WilliamsF1)
  • 1942 – Jim Lonborg, American baseball player
  • 1943 – Ruth Madoc, British actress
  • 1943 – Dave Peverett, English musician (Foghat, Savoy Brown) (d. 2000)
  • 1946 – Margot Adler, American journalist
  • 1947 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, American basketball player
  • 1947 – Gerry Rafferty, British musician and songwriter
  • 1948 – Lynne Franks, British public relations consultant
  • 1949 – Melody Patterson, American actress
  • 1951 – Pierre Toutain-Dorbec, French photographer
  • 1951 – Ioan Mihai Cochinescu, Romanian writer and photographer
  • 1951 – Björgvin Halldórsson, Icelandic singer
  • 1952 – Bill Belichick, American football coach
  • 1952 – Billy West, American voice actor
  • 1953 – Peter Garrett, Australian musician (Midnight Oil)
  • 1953 – J. Neil Schulman, American writer
  • 1954 – Ellen Barkin, American actress
  • 1954 – John Bowe, Australian racing driver
  • 1955 – Bruce Bochy, American baseball player and manager
  • 1956 – Lise-Marie Morerod, Swiss skier
  • 1959 – Alison Ramsay, Scottish field hockey player
  • 1960 – Rafael Benítez, Spanish football manager
  • 1960 – Pierre Littbarski, German footballer
  • 1960 – Wahab Akbar, Filipino politician (d. 2007)
  • 1961 – Doris Dragovic, Croatian singer
  • 1962 – Ian MacKaye, American musician, (Fugazi and Minor Threat)
  • 1963 – Jimmy Osmond, American pop singer (The Osmonds)
  • 1964 – Dave Pirner, American rock singer (Soul Asylum)
  • 1964 – David Kohan, American television producer
  • 1965 – Jon Cryer, American actor
  • 1965 – Martin Lawrence, American actor
  • 1965 – Michael Wong Man Tak, Hong Kong actor and director
  • 1969 – Fernando Viña, American Baseball Player
  • 1971 – Peter Billingsley, American actor
  • 1971 – Selena, American singer (d. 1995)
  • 1971 – Moses Chan, Hong Kong actor
  • 1971 – Seigo Yamamoto, Japanese racing driver
  • 1972 – Conchita Martinez, Spanish tennis player
  • 1973 – Bonnie Pink, Japanese singer
  • 1974 – Mat Devine, American singer (Kill Hannah)
  • 1974 – Xu Jinglei, Chinese actress, singer and director
  • 1975 – Sean Maher, American actor
  • 1975 – Nick Pickard, British actor
  • 1976 – Lukas Haas, American actor
  • 1976 – Dan Kellner, American fencer
  • 1976 – Shu Qi, Taiwanese actress
  • 1977 – Alek Wek, Sudanese supermodel
  • 1977 – Fredrik Ljungberg, Swedish footballer
  • 1978 – Matthew Lloyd, Australian rules footballer
  • 1978 – Lara Dutta, Indian actress
  • 1979 – Christijan Albers, Dutch Formula One driver
  • 1979 – Sixto Peralta, Argentine footballer
  • 1980 – Paul London, American professional wrestler
  • 1982 – Boris Diaw, French basketball player
  • 1982 – Barry Jones, Scottish magician
  • 1982 – Jonathan Vilma, American football player
  • 1983 – Cat Osterman, American softball pitcher
  • 1983 – George Patis, Greek badminton player
  • 1983 – Marié Digby, American Singer
  • 1984 – Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, American author
  • 1985 – Mark Baker, Welsh author and historian
  • 1985 – Luol Deng, British-Sudanese basketball player
  • 1986 – Paul di Resta, British racing driver
  • 1987 – Aaron Lennon, English footballer
  • 1990 – Lorraine Nicholson, American actress
  • 1994 – Liliana Mumy, American actress

April 16 – Deaths:

  • 69 – Otho, Roman Emperor (b. 32)
  • 744 – al-Walid II, Umayyad caliph
  • 924 – Berengar of Friuli, King of Italy
  • 1113 – Sviatopolk II of Kiev, Russian prince (b. 1050)
  • 1118 – Adelaide del Vasto, wife of Roger II of Sicily
  • 1198 – Duke Frederick I of Austria
  • 1645 – Tobias Hume, English composer
  • 1687 – George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, English statesman (b. 1628)
  • 1689 – Aphra Behn, English dramatist (b. 1640)
  • 1783 – Christian Mayer, Czech astronomer (b. 1719)
  • 1788 – Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, French naturalist (b. 1707)
  • 1828 – Francisco de Goya, Spanish painter (b. 1746)
  • 1846 – Domenico Dragonetti, Italian composer (b. 1763)
  • 1850 – Marie Tussaud, founder of the Madame Tussauds wax museum (b. 1761)
  • 1859 – Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian (b. 1805)
  • 1879 – Bernadette Soubirous, French shepherd girl (b. 1844)
  • 1888 – Zygmunt Florenty Wróblewski, Polish physicist (b. 1845)
  • 1904 – Maximilian Kronberger, German poet (b. 1888)
  • 1904 – Samuel Smiles, Scottish writer and reformer (b. 1812)
  • 1914 – George William Hill, American astronomer (b. 1838)
  • 1915 – Nelson W. Aldrich, American politician (b. 1841)
  • 1928 – Henry Birks, Canadian businessman, founder of Henri Birks and Sons (b. 1840)
  • 1930 – José Carlos Mariátegui, Peruvian journalist, political philosopher and activist (b. 1894)
  • 1938 – Steve Bloomer, English footballer (b. 1874)
  • 1946 – Arthur Chevrolet, Swiss-born race car driver and automobile designer (b. 1884)
  • 1947 – Rudolf Hoess, commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp (b. 1900)
  • 1958 – Rosalind Franklin, British chemist (b. 1920)
  • 1968 – Edna Ferber, American author (b. 1885)
  • 1970 – Richard Neutra, American architect (b. 1892)
  • 1972 – Kawabata Yasunari, Japanese writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1899)
  • 1978 – Lucius Clay, American general (b. 1897)
  • 1985 – Scott Brady, American actor (b. 1924)
  • 1991 – David Lean, British film director (b. 1908)
  • 1992 – Neville Brand, American actor (b. 1920)
  • 1994 – Ralph Ellison, American writer (b. 1913)
  • 1995 – Arthur English, English actor and comedian (b. 1919)
  • 1995 – Iqbal Masih, Pakistani child slave labourer, activist (b. 1982)
  • 1996 – Stavros Niarchos, Greek shipping tycoon (b. 1909)
  • 1997 – Doris Angleton, American socialite (b. 1951)
  • 1997 – Roland Topor, French illustrator (b. 1938)
  • 1998 – Fred Davis, English snooker player (b. 1913)
  • 1998 – Alberto Calderón, Argentine mathematician (b. 1920)
  • 1999 – Skip Spence, Canadian-born guitarist, singer and songwriter (Jefferson Airplane) (b. 1946)
  • 2001 – Michael Ritchie, American film director (b. 1920)
  • 2001 – Alec Stock, English football manager (b. 1917)
  • 2002 – Ruth Fertel, American restaurateur (b. 1927)
  • 2002 – Robert Urich, American actor (b. 1946)
  • 2003 – Graham Stuart Thomas, English author and garden designer (b. 1909)
  • 2005 – Kay Walsh, British actress (b. 1911)
  • 2005 – Kim Mu-saeng, South Korean actor (b. 1943)
  • 2005 – Marla Ruzicka, American humanitarian worker and peace activist (b. 1976)
  • 2006 – Francisco Adam, Portuguese actor and model (b. 1983)
  • 2007 – Gaetan Duchesne, Canadian hockey player (b. 1962)
  • 2007 – Maria Lenk, Brazilian swimmer and first Brazilian woman to compete in the Olympic Games (b. 1915)
  • 2007 – Frank Bateson, New Zealand astronomer (b. 1909)

April 16 – Holidays:

  • Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C.
  • In the Roman Catholic Church:
    • Saint Benedict Joseph Labre
    • Saint Drogo
    • Saint Fructuosus
    • Saint Paternus
    • Saint Turibius
    • Saints Martial, Urban, Eventius, Caecilian, Julia, and their companions, martyrs of 304
    • Saint Bernadette
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