This Day in History – April 5

Today is the 95th day of 2021. There are 270 days left in the year.


2009: The US and its allies seek punishment for North Korea’s defiant launch of a rocket that apparently fizzles into the Pacific Ocean, holding an emergency UN meeting in response to the “provocative act” that some believe was a long-range missile test.


1664: Peace Treaty of Westminster ends first Anglo-Dutch War.

1818: At Battle of Maipu, Chilean and Argentine troops defeat Spaniards, sealing Chilean independence.

1881: Britain concludes Treaty of Pretoria with Boers, recognising independence of South African Republic of Transvaal.

1895: Playwright Oscar Wilde loses his criminal libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry, who had accused the writer of homosexual practices.

1896: Start of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens.

1939: All German children between ages 10 and 13 are ordered to serve in the Hitler Youth Organisation.

1958: Fidel Castro begins “total war” against Batista Government in Cuba.

1975: Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek dies after 47 years in power, first in China and later in Taiwan.

1988: Arabic-speaking hijackers commandeer Kuwaiti Airways plane with 112 people aboard and force it to land in Iran.

1992: With the support of the military, Peru’s President Alberto Fujimori suspends constitution and congress, claiming it is necessary to fight corruption, leftist guerrillas and drug trafficking.

1995: Israel launches its first spy satellite, putting it into an orbit that takes it over several Arab countries.

1998: The world’s longest suspension bridge, 3,911 metres (12,831 feet) long, opens in Japan, linking Shikoku with the main island Honshu, 5,350 cars cross in the first hour.

1999: Libya hands over to the UN two former government agents to stand trial for the bombing of a Pan Am aircraft over Lockerbie in 1988. The UN lifts sanctions against Libya the next day.

2001: A Dutch driver is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 14 years in prison for the deaths of 58 Chinese immigrants who suffocated in his truck in Dover, England, the previous summer.

2008: Morgan Tsvangirai calls on Robert Mugabe to step down as President of Zimbabwe and accuses the long-time ruler of plotting a campaign of violence to bolster his chances of winning a run-off.

2010: The US Government is seeking to fine Toyota a record US$16.4 million, accusing the Japanese auto giant of hiding a “dangerous defect” in its slow reporting of faulty gas pedals that have been blamed for unintended sudden accelerations and motorists’ deaths.


Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher (1588-1679); Joseph Lister, English surgeon, discoverer of antiseptics (1827-1912); Algernon C Swinburne, English poet (1837-1909); Bette Davis, US actress (1908-1989); Gregory Peck, US actor (1916-2003)

– AP

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