This Day in History – April 6

Today is the 97th day of 2020. There are 269 days left in the year.


2009: Rescue workers using bare hands and buckets search frantically for students believed buried after Italy’s deadliest earthquake in nearly three decades strikes the central city of L’Aquila, killing more than 150 people, injuring 1,500 and leaving thousands homeless.



1327: Italian poet Petrarch first sees and loves “Laura” in the Church of St Clare at Avignon, and will write poems about her until his death.

1593: Henry Barrow, a Puritan, is executed for slandering England’s Queen Elizabeth I.

1648: Naples is restored to Spanish rule after a revolt the year before.

1652: Jan van Riebeeck, representing the Dutch East India Company, arrives in Table Bay to build the first colonial settlement in what became South Africa.

1793: Committee of Public Safety is established in France with dictatorial powers, dominated by G J Danton.

1823: French forces cross Bidossoa River to crush liberalism in Spain.

1830: The first Church of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) is organised by Joseph Smith in Seneca, New York.

1897: Sultan of Zanzibar abolishes slavery.

1909: US explorer Robert E Peary and Matthew Henson reach the North Pole with a team of Inuit guides, making them the first modern team ever to reach the world’s northernmost point. Henson was the first African American to reach to the North Pole.

1917: United States declares war on Germany, entering World War I.

1928: Palmas Island near the Philippines is awarded to Holland in arbitration of dispute with the US.

1941: Germany invades Greece and bombs Belgrade, killing some 2,500 people and burning down hundreds of buildings.

1945: Sarajevo is liberated from Nazi occupation by Tito’s partisans; US naval forces score major victory over Japanese at Kyushu in World War II.

1972: Egypt breaks ties with Jordan because of Jordanian King Hussein’s proposal for new Palestine State.

1978: US President Jimmy Carter signs legislation extending the mandatory retirement age from 65 to 70.

1990: Police open fire on pro-democracy demonstrators in Nepal, killing at least 35 people.

1991: Iraq reluctantly accepts UN conditions for ending the Gulf War.

1992: The European Community recognises Bosnia as an independent country while Serb artillery pounds Sarajevo, the capital.

1993: A tank of radioactive waste explodes and burns at a weapons plant in the secret Siberian city of Tomsk.

1994: The presidents of Rwanda and Burundi are killed in a plane crash in Rwanda, setting off the slaughter of 500,000 Rwandans, mostly minority Tutsis, over the next three months.

1995: The first genocide trials begin in Kigali, Rwanda, against some of the 30,000 majority Hutus accused of killing Tutsis.

1996: Thousands of Liberians flee their homes amid fierce fighting between government troops and members of an ethnic faction.

1998: After months of negotiations, a peace proposal for Northern Ireland is laid forth by American negotiator George Mitchell. It is later accepted by the parties of the 20-year conflict. Pakistan successfully tests a medium-range missile capable of striking neighbouring India.

1999: Anti-independence fighters, allegedly backed by Indonesian troops, attack villagers outside a church in East Timor.

2001: Algerian Ahmed Ressam is convicted of terrorism for bringing a car loaded with explosives into the United States as part of an alleged plan to bomb buildings during millennium celebrations.

2004: Lawmakers remove Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas from office in a vote because of his ties to a businessman who police said was linked to the Russian mob, ending the worst political crisis in the Baltic State’s recent history.

2006: An Opposition congressman in Guatemala City is shot to death as he steps out of his party’s headquarters, the second lawmaker assassinated in the past two years in violence-plagued Guatemala.

2007: Pasteur Bizimungu, Rwanda’s first post-genocide leader, is freed from prison after serving two years of a 15-year term as an act of clemency by President Paul Kagame to build national unity.

2010: The Vatican heatedly defends Pope Benedict XVI, claiming accusations that he helped cover up the actions of paedophile priests are part of an anti-Catholic “hate” campaign targeting the pope for his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

2011: The Moroccan teen at the centre of the underage prostitution scandal enveloping Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi insists any damage she has suffered has been at the hands of the media — not the Italian premier.

2008: Incumbent Filip Vujanovic claims victory in Montenegro’s first presidential elections since the tiny Balkan nation split from Serbia.

2012: Al-Qaeda militants and other Islamist fighters descend on northern Mali in the chaotic aftermath of a military coup, creating a potential haven for terrorists in a part of the Sahara bristling with heavy weapons looted from Libya.

2013: Iran and six world powers fail to reach an agreement on how to reduce fears that Tehran might use its nuclear technology to make weapons.

2014: The leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group says the Government of Syrian President Bashar Assad is no longer in danger of falling.



Gustave Moreau, French artist (1826-1898); Anthony Fokker, Dutch aircraft designer (1890-1939); Andre Previn, German-born composer-conductor-pianist (1929-2019); Zach Braff, US actor (1975- ); Paul Rudd, US actor (1969- )


— AP

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