This Day in History – April 4

Today is the 94th day of 2021. There are 271 days left in the year.


1968: Civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.


1581: England’s Queen Elizabeth I knights Francis Drake, the first English captain to circumnavigate the globe.

1687: James II of England orders a pro-Catholic declaration read in church. Bishops refuse and the crisis culminates in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

1841: US President William Henry Harrison dies of pneumonia one month after his inauguration, becoming the first US president to die in office.

1902: The Rhodes Scholarship is established by Cecil Rhodes, empire builder and founder of Africa’s Rhodesia.

1942: Japanese naval forces sink three British warships in the Bay of Bengal during World War II.

1945: US forces liberate the Nazi death camp at Ohrdruf in Germany.

1979: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the deposed prime minister of Pakistan, is hung after he is convicted of conspiring to murder a political opponent.

1986: Israel formally asks for access to United Nations War Crimes Commission file on former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim.

1988: Iran hammers Iraq’s vital oil centres with missiles and fighter-bombers.

1993: Boris Yeltsin receives a $1.6-billion US aid package for Russia intended to help him fend off attacks from hardliners before the April 25 referendum on his reforms.

2002: Israel continues its sweeping military offensive in the West Bank, despite US calls to withdraw from Palestinian areas.

2006: In its most detailed report yet on alleged secret rendition flights of terror suspects, Amnesty International says three former detainees have lent support to the idea that eastern European countries may have been involved in secret CIA flights to so-called “black site” prisons.

2010: Nine miners are pulled to safety after spending more than a week trapped in a flooded coal mine in northern China, and state television reports more survivors may be found.

2011: A diplomatic push by Moammar Gadhafi’s regime runs into trouble as opponents at home and abroad reject any solution to the Libyan conflict that would involve one of his sons taking power.


Edith Soedergran, Finnish poet (1892-1923); Marguerite Duras, French writer (1914-1996); Maya Angelou, US poet (1928-2014); Anthony Perkins, US actor (1932-1992); Craig T Nelson, US actor (1944- ); Clive Davis, US music executive (1932- ); Robert Downey Jr, US actor (1965- )

— AP

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