History of the Day for:
- 1607: An expedition of English colonists, including Capt. John Smith, went ashore at Cape Henry, Va., to establish the first permanent English settlement in the New World.
- 1785: American naturalist and artist John James Audubon was born in Haiti.
- 1865: John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, died in a shoot-out with federal troops 11 days after Lincoln's death.
- 1900: Seismologist Charles Richter, who devised the earthquake-measuring scale that bears his name, was born in Hamilton, Ohio.
- 1937: Spanish Civil War: Guernica, Spain is bombed by German Luftwaffe.
- 1945: Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, leader of France's Vichy collaborationist regime during World War II, was arrested for treason.
- 1964: The African nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.
- 1970: The Broadway musical "Company" opened in New York City.
- 1986: The fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear complex in the Ukraine exploded and caught fire, spreading a radioactive cloud across Europe and causing the world's worst nuclear disaster.
- 1993: Conan O'Brien was named to succeed David Letterman as host of NBC's "Late Night" program.
- 1994: A China Airlines Airbus A300-600R crashes at Nagoya Airport, Japan killing everyone on board, with a death toll amounting to 264. See also China Airlines flight 140.
- 1994: Physicists announce first evidence of the top quark subatomic particle.
- 2002: Robert Steinhäuser infiltrates and kills 17 at Gutenberg-Gymnasium in Erfurt,Germany before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot.
- 2005: Under international pressure, Syria withdraws the last of its 14,000 troop military garrison in Lebanon, ending its 29-year military domination of that country.
- 2007: Queen's Pier is officially closed by the Hong Kong Government, after a bitter struggle by conservationists, in order to facilitate land reclamation in Hong Kong's Central district.