It happened today – this day in history – April 2

742: Birth of Charlemagne.

1513: Juan Ponce de Leon claims Florida for Spain.

1725: Giacomo Casanova, writer, adventurer and famous lover, born in Venice.

1783: William Cavendish-Bentinck becomes prime minister of Britain after an opposition coalition of Henry Fox and Frederick North forces William Petty to resign.

1800: First performance of Beethoven’s 1st Symphony in C.

1801: The British, led by Horatio Nelson destroy the Danish fleet in the naval Battle of Copenhagen.

1805: Birth of author Hans Christian Andersen in Odense, Denmark.

1836: Charles Dickens marries Catherine Thomson Hogarth.

1845: H L Fizeau & Leon Foucault take the first photo of the Sun.

1872: Samuel Morse, developer of the electric telegraph, dies at 80.

1912: The Titanic undergoes sea trials under its own power.

1917: US President Woodrow Wilson asks Congress to declare war against Germany.

1921: Albert Einstein lectures in New York City on his new “Theory of Relativity”

1930: Ras Tafari Makonnen becomes Emperor Haile Selassie of Abyssinia.

1932: Charles Lindbergh hands over $50,000 ransom for his kidnapped son unaware that the baby is already dead.

1935: Physicist Robert Watson-Watt receives a British patent for RADAR.

1939: Ralph Guldahl wins his only Masters golf title with a tournament record 279 (−9), 1 stroke ahead of runner-up Sam Snead.

1944: Dmitri Shostakovich’s 8th Symphony premieres in New York. On the same day, the Soviet Army marches into pro-German Romania.

1955: Dennis Wilshaw of Wolves becomes the only Englishman to score four goals against Scotland in England’s 7-2 victory at Wembley Stadium.

1960: Cuba buys oil from the USSR.

1962: The new Panda pedestrian crossing causes confusion among drivers and pedestrians following its launch in London.

1964: The Beach Boys record I Get Around, their first No 1 single. On the same day, with advanced sales of over 2.1 million, The Beatles’ Can’t Buy Me Love breaks the record for the greatest advanced orders for a single in the UK.

Singles chart:


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  1. Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles
  2. Little Children – Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas
  3. Just One Look – The Hollies
  4. Not Fade Away – The Rolling Stones
  5. I Love You Because – Jim Reeves
  6. I Believe – The Bachelors
  7. Bits And Pieces – The Dave Clark Five
  8. Diane – The Bachelors
  9. That Girl Belongs To Yesterday – Gene Pitney
  10. Anyone Who Had A Heart – Cilla Black

1966: The Soviet Union’s Luna 10 becomes the first spacecraft to orbit the Moon.

1967: 154 Rolling Stones fans are arrested after a riot breaks out at a 14,000-seater gig in Austria.

1967: The Monkees

Album chart:

  1. The Sound Of Music – Original Soundtrack
  2. The Monkees – The Monkees
  3. Best Of – The Beach Boys
  4. Four Tops Live – The Four Tops
  5. Come The Day – The Seekers
  6. Trini Lopez In London – Trini Lopez
  7. Hand Clappin’, Foot Stompin’, Funky Butt Live – Geno Washington
  8. Between The Buttons – The Rolling Stones
  9. Going Places – Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
  10. Images – The Walker Brothers

1968: The film 2001- A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick, premieres in Washington D.C.

1974: Tatum O’Neal, aged 10, becomes the youngest winner of an Oscar as best supporting actress for her role in the film Paper Moon.

1975: Thousands of civilian refugees flee from the Quang Ngai Province in front of advancing North Vietnamese troops.

1977: Red Rum gallops into racing history by winning the Grand National for a record third time. Charlotte Brew is the first female to ride in the race.

1978: Velcro goes on sale for the first time.

1982: Argentina invades the Falkland Islands. On the same day, Ken Bates buys heavily-in-debt Chelsea FC for £1.

1986: Four people are killed after they are sucked through a hole blown in the side of a TWA jet flying to Athens.

1987: Jazz drummer Buddy Rich dies aged 69 from a brain tumour.

1992: Edith Cresson, France’s first female premier, resigns. On the same day, Mafia boss John Gotti is found guilty of five murders plus conspiracy to murder, loan sharking, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice, bribery and tax evasion.

1998: Former French cabinet minister Maurice Papon is found guilty of war crimes for his part in deporting Jews from France during the Second World War. On the same day, Rob Pilatus, one half of pop duo Milli Vanilli is found dead in a Frankfurt Hotel room after taking a lethal combination of drugs and alcohol.

2003: Soul singer Edwin Starr died at his British home in Nottingham aged 61.

2005: Pope John Paul II dies at the age of 84.

2006: A John Lennon schoolbook containing the 12-year-old’s drawing of Lewis Carroll’s poem The Walrus and the Carpenter was sold at auction for £126,500.

2011: India becomes the first team to win the Cricket World Cup on home soil, defeating Sri Lanka by six wickets.

2018: Death of Winnie Mandela, aged 81.

2019: NASA states it wants to send astronauts to Mars by 2033, and land on the Moon again in 2024.

2020: The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide passes 1 million, with 1,002,159 cases and 51,485 deaths reported.

BIRTHDAYS: Linda (Lydia) Hunt, actress, 76; Emmylou Harris, singer, 74; Paul Gambaccini, broadcaster, 71; Linford Christie, athlete, 61; Christopher Meloni, actor, 60; Clark (Robert) Gregg, actor/director, 59; Keren Woodward, singer, (Bananarama), 58; Karl Beattie, director and producer (Most Haunted) 58; Teddy Sherringham, footballer, 55; Helen Chamberlain, broadcaster, 54; Chico, (Yousseph Slimani), singer, 50; Michael Fassbender, actor, 44; Aiden Turner, actor, 44; Jesse Plemons, actor, 33.

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