April 2

1513 - Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted Florida. The next day he went ashore. 

1792 - The U.S. Congress passed the Coinage Act to regulate the coins of the United States. The act authorized $10 Eagle, $5 half-Eagle & 2.50 quarter-Eagle gold coins & silver dollar, dollar, quarter, dime & half-dime to be minted. 

1801 - During the Napoleonic Wars, the Danish fleet was destroyed by the British at the Battle of Copenhagen. 

1860 - The first Italian Parliament met in Turin. 

1865 - Confederate President Davis and most of his Cabinet fled the Confederate capital of Richmond, VA

1872 - G.B. Brayton received a patent for the gas-powered streetcar. 

1877 - The first Egg Roll was held on the grounds of the White House in Washington, DC

1889 - Charles Hall patented aluminum. 

1902 - The first motion picture theatre opened in Los Angeles with the name Electric Theatre. 

1905 - The Simplon rail tunnel officially opened. The tunnel went under the Alps and linked Switzerland and Italy. 

1910 - Karl Harris perfected the process for the artificial synthesis of rubber. 

1914 - The U.S. Federal Reserve Board announced plans to divide the country into 12 districts. 

1917 - U.S. President Woodrow Wilson presented a declaration of war against Germany to the U.S. Congress. 

1932 - A $50,000 ransom was paid for the infant son of Charles and Anna Lindbergh. He child was not returned and was found dead the next month. 

1935 - Sir Watson-Watt was granted a patent for RADAR. 

1944 - The Soviet Union announced that its troops had crossed the Prut River and entered Romania. 

1947 - "The Big Story" debuted on NBC radio. It was on the air for eight years. 

1947 - The U.N. Security Council voted to appoint the U.S. as trustee for former Japanese-held Pacific Islands. 

1951 - U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower assumed command of all allied forces in the Western Mediterranean area and Europe. 

1956 - "The Edge of Night" and "As the World Turns" debuted on CBS-TV. 

1958 - The National Advisory Council on Aeronautics was renamed NASA. 

1960 - France signed an agreement with Madagascar that proclaimed the country an independent state within the French community. 

1963 - Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King began the first non-violent campaign in Birmingham, AL

1966 - South Vietnamese troops joined in demonstrations at Hue and Da Nang for an end to military rule. 

1967 - In Peking, hundreds of thousands demonstrated against Mao foe Liu Shao-chi. 

1972 - Burt Reynolds appeared nude in "Cosmopolitan" magazine. 

1978 - The first episode of "Dallas" aired on CBS. 

1981 - In Lebanon, thirty-seven people were reported killed during fighting in the cities of Beirut and Zahle. It was the worst violence since the 1976 cease fire. 

1982 - Argentina invaded the British-owned Falkland Islands. The following June Britain took the islands back. 

1983 - The New Jersey Transit strike that began on March 1 came to an end. 

1984 - John Thompson became the first black coach to lead his team to the NCAA college basketball championship. 

1984 - In Jerusalem, three Arab gunmen wounded 48 people when they opened fire into a crowd of shoppers. 

1985 - The NCAA Rules Committee adopted the 45-second shot clock for men’s basketball to begin in the 1986 season. 

1986 - On a TWA airliner flying from Rome to Athens a bomb exploded under a seat killing four Americans. 

1987 - The speed limit on U.S. interstate highways was increased to 65 miles per hour in limited areas. 

1988 - U.S. Special Prosecutor James McKay declined to indict Attorney General Edwin Meese for criminal wrongdoing. 

1989 - An editorial in the "New York Times" declared that the Cold War was over. 

1989 - General Prosper Avril, Haiti's military leader, survived a coup attempt. The attempt was apparently provoked by Avril's U.S.-backed efforts to fight drug trafficking. 

1990 - Iraqi President Saddam Hussein threatened to incinerate half of Israel with chemical weapons if Israel joined a conspiracy against Iraq. 

1992 - Mob boss John Gotti was convicted in New York of murder and racketeering. He was later sentenced to life in prison. 

1995 - The costliest strike in professional sports history ended when baseball owners agreed to let players play without a contract. 

1996 - Russia and Belarus signed a treaty that created a political and economic alliance in an effort to reunite the two former Soviet republics. 

1996 - Lech Walesa resumed his old job as an electrician at the Gdansk shipyard. He was the former Solidarity union leader who became Poland's first post-war democratic president. 

2002 - Israeli troops surrounded the Church of the Nativity. More than 200 Palestinians had taken refuge at the church when Israel invaded Bethlehem.

April 1

0527 - Justinianus became the emperor of Byzantium. 

1572 - The Sea Beggars under Guillaume de la Marck landed in Holland and captured the small town of Briel. 

1578 - William Harvey of England discovered blood circulation. 

1621 - The Plymouth, MA, colonists created the first treaty with Native Americans. 

1724 - Jonathan Swift published Drapier's letters. 

1748 - The ruins of Pompeii were found. 

1778 - Oliver Pollock, a New Orleans businessman, created the "$" symbol. 

1789 - The U.S. House of Representatives held its first full meeting in New York City. Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected the first House Speaker. 

1793 - In Japan, the volcano Unsen erupted killing about 53,000. 

1826 - Samuel Mory patented the internal combustion engine. 

1853 - Cincinnati became the first U.S. city to pay fire fighters a regular salary. 

1863 - The first wartime conscription law goes into effect in the U.S. 

1864 - The first travel accident policy was issued to James Batterson by the Travelers Insurance Company. 

1865 - At the Battle of Five Forks in Petersburg, VA, Gen. Robert E. Lee began his final offensive. 

1867 - Blacks voted in the municipal election in Tuscumbia, AL

1867 - The International Exhibition opened in Paris. 

1867 - Singapore, Penang & Malakka became British crown colonies. 

1868 - The Hampton Institute opened. 

1872 - The first edition of "The Standard" was published. 

1873 - The British White Star steamship Atlantic sank off Nova Scotia killing 547. 

1873 - Mehmed Kemals play "Vatan" premiered in Constantinople. 

1881 - Anti-Jewish riots took place in Jerusalem. 

1881 - Kingdom post office in Netherlands opened. 

1889 - The first dishwashing machine was marketed (in Chicago). 

1891 - The London-Paris telephone connection opened. 

1905 - The British East African Protectorate became the colony of Kenya. 

1905 - Paris and Berlin were linked by telephone. 

1916 - The first U.S. national women's swimming championships were held. 

1918 - England's Royal Flying Corps was replaced by the Royal Air Force. 

1924 - Adolf Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison for high treason in relation to the "Beer Hall Putsch." 

1924 - Imperial Airways was formed in Britain. 

1927 - The first automatic record changer was introduced by His Master's Voice. 

1928 - China's Chiang Kai-shek began attacking communists. 

1929 - Louie Marx introduced the Yo-Yo. 

1930 - Leo Hartnett of the Chicago Cubs broke the altitude record for a catch by catching a baseball dropped from the Goodyear blimp 800 feet over Los Angeles, CA

1931 - An Earthquake devastated Managua Nicaragua killing 2,000. 

1931 - Jackie Mitchell became the first female in professional baseball when she signed with the Chattanooga Baseball Club. 

1933 - Nazi Germany began the persecution of Jews by boycotting Jewish businesses. 

1934 - Bonnie & Clyde killed 2 police officers. 

1935 - The first radio tube to be made of metal was announced. 

1937 - Aden became a British colony. 

1938 - The first commercially successful fluorescent lamps were introduced. 

1938 - The Baseball Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown, NY

1939 - The U.S. recognized the Franco government in Spain at end of Spanish civil war. 

1941 - The first contract for advertising on a commercial FM radio station began on W71NY in New York City. 

1945 - U.S. forces invaded Okinawa during World War II. It was the last campaign of World War II. 

1946 - Weight Watchers was formed. 

1946 - A tidal wave (tsunami) struck the Hawaiian Islands killing more than 170 people. 

1948 - The Berlin Airlift began. 

1949 - "Happy Pappy" premiered. It was the first all-black-cast variety show. 

1950 - Italian Somalia became a United Nations trust territory under Italian administration. 

1952 - The Big Bang theory was proposed in "Physical Review" by Alpher, Bethe & Gamow. 

1953 - The U.S. Congress created the Department of Health Education and Welfare. 

1954 - The U.S. Air Force Academy was formed in Colorado. 

1955 - "One Man's Family" was seen on TV for the final time after a six-year run on NBC-TV. 

1960 - France exploded 2 atom bombs in the Sahara Desert. 

1960 - The U.S. launched TIROS-1. It was the first weather satellite. 

1963 - Workers of the International Typographical Union ended their strike that had closed nine New York City newspapers. The strike ended 114 days after it began on December 8, 1962. 

1963 - The Soap operas "General Hospital" and "Doctors" premiered on television. 

1970 - The U.S. Army charged Captain Ernest Medina in the My Lai massacre. 

1970 - U.S. President Nixon signed the bill, the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, that banned cigarette advertisements to be effective on January 1, 1971. 

1971 - The United Kingdom lifted all restrictions on gold ownership. 

1972 - North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops renewed their offensive in South Vietnam. 

1973 - Japan allowed its citizens to own gold. 

1976 - Apple Computer began operations. 

1979 - Iran was proclaimed to be an Islamic Republic by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after the fall of the Shah. 

1980 - A failed assassination attempt against Iraqi vice-premier Tariq Aziz occurred. 

1982 - The U.S. transferred the Canal Zone to Panama. 

1983 - New York Islander Mike Bossy became the first National Hockey League (NHL) player to score 60 goals in 3 consecutive seasons. 

1985 - World oil prices dropped below $10 a barrel. 

1986 - The U.S. submarine Nathaniel Green ran aground in the Irish Sea. 

1987 - Steve Newman became the first man to walk around the world. The walk was 22,000 miles and took 4 years. 

1987 - U.S. President Reagan told doctors in Philadelphia, "We've declared AIDS public health enemy No. 1." 

1991 - Iran released British hostage Roger Cooper after 5 years. 

1991 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that jurors could not be barred from serving due to their race. 

1991 - The Warsaw Pact was officially dissolved. 

1992 - Players began the first strike in the 75-year history of the National Hockey League (NHL)

1996 - U.S. President Bill Clinton threw out the first ball preceding a game between the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles.

1997 - David Carradine received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

1998 - A federal judge dismissed the Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against U.S. President Clinton saying that the claims fell "far short" of being worthy of a trial. 

1999 - In Zhytomyr, Ukraine, Anatoliy Onoprienko was sentenced to death for the deaths of 52 men, women and children. 43 of the killings occurred in a 6-month period. 

1999 - The Canadian territory of Nunavut was created. It was carved from the eastern part of the Northwest Territories and covered about 772,000 square miles. 

2001 - China began holding 24 crewmembers of a U.S. surveillance plane. The EP-3E U.S. Navy crew had made an emergency landing after an in-flight collision with a Chinese fighter jet. The Chinese pilot was missing and presumed dead. The U.S. crew was released on April 11, 2001. 

2001 - Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was arrested on corruption charges after a 26-hour standoff with the police at his Belgrade villa. 

2003 - North Korea test-fired an anti-ship missile off its west coast. 

2003 - Jason Mewes was ordered to complete drug rehabilitation or face five years in jail stemming from a drug conviction in 1999. 

2004 - U.S. President George W. Bush signed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. The bill made it a crime to harm a fetus during an assault on a pregnant woman. 

2004 - Gateway Inc. announced that it would be closing all of its 188 stores on April 9. 

2009 - Albania and Croatia joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 

2010 - The U.S. Congress cut Medicare reimbursements to physicians by 21%.