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 Delassie of Abyssinia.

1932: Charles Lindbergh hands over $50,000 as ransom for his kidnapped son.

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.

1960: Cuba buys oil from the USSR.

1965: The first edition of music show ‘Ready Steady Goes Live!’ was shown on ITV, featuring presenters Cathy McGowan and Keith Fordyce.

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

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

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

1977: Red Rum wins a record third Grand National, this time with Tommy Stack riding. Also, Charlotte Brew becomes the first female jockey to ride in the National.

1978: Velcro goes on sale for the first time.

1982: Several thousand Argentine troops invade the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands.

1987: Drummer Buddy Rich died aged 69 due to complications caused by 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: Rob Pilatus, one half of pop duo Milli Vanilli was 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 (Karol Wojtyla) dies of heart failure at 84.

2011: India becomes the first team to win the Cricket World C up 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.

BIRTHDAYS: Penelope Keith, actress, 80; Emmylou Harris, singer, 73; Paul Gambaccini, broadcaster, 71; Linford Christie, former sprinter, 60; Christopher Meloni, actor, 59; Clark Gregg, actor/director, 58; Keren Woodward, singer, Bananarama, 57; Karl Beattie, director and producer (Most Haunted) 57; Teddy Sherringham, former footballer, 54; Helen Chamberlain, broadcaster, 53; Chico (Yousseph Slimani), singer, 49; Michael; Fassbender, actor, 43; Aiden Turner, actor, 43.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]