Historic April

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Among many other events, April saw English naval explorer James Cook (picture to the left) arrive in Botany Bay, Australia, the first European to do so.


1 April.


British King Charles II grants royal patronage to a group of scientists and academics founding the Royal Society of London.

2 April.


Admiral Horatio Nelson, aboard HMS Elephant, defiantly ignores orders from his commander-in-chief to withdraw his forces and proceeds to sink the pro French Danish fleet off its home port of Copenhagen.

3 April.


Robert Walpole became the first Prime Minister of Britain.

4 April.


The Beatles fill the first five places in the US singles chart with "Please Please Me", "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You", "Twist and Shout" and "Can't Buy Me Love".

5 April.


Death of Englishman John Winthrop, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company.

6 April.


Richard I (the Lion-Heart) of England dies from an infected wound while besieging Chalus Castle.

7 April.


Travellers throughout England breathe a sigh of relief, safe in the knowledge that the most notorious of highwaymen Dick Turpin, was hanged today in York.

8 April.


Brunel's new steamship Great Western left Bristol today on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic to Boston.

9 April.


Birthday of English engineer and inventor Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Perhaps the greatest of the 19th-century engineers, he designed railways, bridges, tunnels, viaducts and ships.

10 April.


Bananas, never seen before in England, went on sale in a London shop.

11 April.


The joint coronation of William III, Prince of Orange and champion of Protestantism, and his wife Mary II took place in London.

12 April.


The Union Flag becomes the official flag of Britain.

13 April.


British troops fired into a crowd of 10,000 Sikhs that had gathered to protest at the arrest of two Indian Congress Party leaders, 379 people were killed and 1,200 wounded in the Holy City of Amritsar, India.

14 April.


The first cordless telephone went on sale in Britain.

15 April.


English lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson published his Dictionary; he had taken nine years to compile it.

16 April.


Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) was defeated at the Battle of Culloden Moor in Scotland by an English Army under the the command of William, Duke of Cumberland. Stuart fled the battlefield.


17 April.


The age at which a person is eligible to vote in Britain was lowered from 21 to 18.

18 April.


At the start of the War of American Independence, US patriot Paul Revere rode from Charleston to Lexington, warning people that British troops were advancing.

19 April.


The first battle in the War of American Independence took place at Lexington, Massachusetts (Britain1 - Colonists 0).

20 April.


The Irish-born writer Bram Stoker, author of Count Dracula, died at his London home. He was 65.

21 April.


Henry VIII becomes King of England, following the death of his father Henry VII.

22 April.


The first steamship to cross the Atlantic, the British ship Sirius, arrived at New York; it made the crossing in 18 days.

23 April.


Death of William Shakespeare, playwright and poet, aged 52. He leaves behind a wife, Anne, two daughters, Judith and Susanna as well as a wealth of literary treasures.

Feast day of St George, Patron Saint of England.

24 April.


At the second attempt, the biggest bell in the world, Big Ben, is finally ready for hanging in the clock tower of Westminster Palace, London.

25 April.


In World War I, over 70,000 Australian, New Zealand and British troops met fierce resistance from Turkish forces as they landed at Gallipoli.

26 April.


The Duke of York and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, were married in Westminster Abbey, London.

27 April.


The Zoological Society of London opened a zoological gardens in Regent's Park. Lady visitors were politely requested to refrain from poking the beasts through the bars of the cages.

28 April.


English naval explorer James Cook arrived in Botany Bay, Australia, the first European to do so.

29 April.


Oxford University agreed to admit female students to examinations. However, woman are not to be awarded degrees.

30 April.


In his hideaway bunker in Berlin, Adolf Hitler shoots himself . His wife of 48 hours and former mistress, Eva Braun, took a cyanide capsule. In accordance with Hitler's instructions both bodies were then burnt.


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Historic Events in January

Historic Events in February

Historic Events in March

Historic Events in April

Historic Events in May

Historic Events in June

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Historic Events in October

Historic Events in November

Historic Events in December