April 15

1755   English lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson publishes his Dictionary of the English Language.
1784   The first balloon is flown in Ireland.
1813   U.S. troops under James Wilkinson lay siege to the Spanish-held city of Mobile in the future state of Alabama.
1858   At the Battle of Azimghur, the Mexicans defeat Spanish loyalists.
1871   ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok becomes the marshal of Abilene, Kansas.
1861   President Lincoln mobilizes the Federal army.
1865   Abraham Lincoln dies from John Wilkes Booth‘s assassination bullet.
1912   With her band playing on the deck, the ocean liner Titanic sinks at 2:27 a.m. in the North Atlantic.
1917   British forces defeat the Germans at the Battle of Arras.
1923   Insulin becomes generally available for people suffering with diabetes.
1923   The first sound films shown to a paying audience are exhibited at the Rialto Theater in New York City.
1940   French and British troops land at Narvik, Norway.
1941   Some 200 German bombers pound the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland, in a series of air raids on Easter Tuesday that will become known as the Belfast Blitz. More than 900 civilians are killed and some 1,500 injured, 400 of them seriously. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1945   President Franklin D. Roosevelt is buried on the grounds of his Hyde Park home.
1948   Arab forces are defeated in a battle with Israeli forces.
1952   President Harry Truman signs the official Japanese peace treaty.
1955   Ray Kroc starts the McDonald’s chain of fast food restaurants.
1959   Cuban leader Fidel Castro begins a U.S. goodwill tour.
1960   The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizes at Shaw University.
1971   North Vietnamese troops ambush a company of Delta Raiders from the 101st Airborne Division near Fire Support Base Bastogne in Vietnam. The American troops are on a rescue mission.
1986   U.S. warplanes attack Libya.
Born on April 15
1452   Leonardo da Vinci, Italian painter, sculptor, scientist and visionary
1684   Catherine I, empress of Russia
1741   Charles Wilson Peale, portrait painter and inventor
1800   Sir James Clark Ross, Scottish explorer who located the Magnetic North Pole.
1832   Wilhelm Busch, German painter and poet, created the precursor to the comic strip.
1843   Henry James, writer and critic.
1874   George Harrison Shull, American botanist, developer of hybrid corn.
1874   Johannes Stark, Novel Prize-winning German physicist.
1880   Max Wertheimer, Czech-born psychologist.
1889   Thomas Hart Benton, painter, muralist.
1889   Asa Phillip Randolph, American labor leader and Civil Rights advocate.
1898   Bessie Smith, American blues singer.
1904   Arshile Gorky, abstract painter.
1922   Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago
1922   Neville Mariner, conductor.
1932   Eva Figes, British novelist.
1940   Jeffrey Archer, English novelist and politician (Kane and Abel, Honor Among Thieves).

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