Today in History – April 26

After the disaster, a large tract of land around the plant was designated as a forbidden zone and ordinary people were completely prohibited from entering it for decades.

1336 – Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) ascends Mont Ventoux.
1478 – The Pazzi family attack Lorenzo de’ Medici and kill his brother Giuliano during High Mass in Florence Cathedral.
1564 – Playwright William Shakespeare is baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England (date of actual birth is unknown).
1607 – English colonists make landfall at Cape Henry, Virginia.
1721 – A massive earthquake devastates the Iranian city of Tabriz.
1777 – Sybil Ludington, aged 16, rode 40 miles (64 km) to alert American colonial forces to the approach of the British regular forces
1794 – Battle of Beaumont during the Flanders Campaign of the War of the First Coalition.
1802 – Napoleon Bonaparte signs a general amnesty to allow all but about one thousand of the most notorious émigrés of the French Revolution to return to France.
1803 – Thousands of meteor fragments fall from the skies of L’Aigle, France; the event convinces European scientists that meteors exist.
1805 – First Barbary War: United States Marines captured Derne under the command of First Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon.
1865 – American Civil War: Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrenders his army to General William Tecumseh Sherman at the Bennett Place near Durham, North Carolina. Also the date of Confederate Memorial Day for two states.
1865 – Union cavalry troopers corner and shoot dead John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, in Virginia.
1903 – Atlético Madrid Association football club is founded
1923 – The Duke of York weds Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon at Westminster Abbey.
1925 – Paul von Hindenburg defeats Wilhelm Marx in the second round of the German presidential election to become the first directly elected head of state of the Weimar Republic.
1933 – The Gestapo, the official secret police force of Nazi Germany, is established.
1937 – Spanish Civil War: Guernica, Spain, is bombed by German Luftwaffe.
1942 – Benxihu Colliery accident in Manchukuo leaves 1549 Chinese miners dead.
1943 – The Easter Riots break out in Uppsala, Sweden.
1944 – Georgios Papandreou becomes head of the Greek government-in-exile based in Egypt.
1944 – Heinrich Kreipe is captured by Allied commandos in occupied Crete.
1945 – World War II: Battle of Bautzen: Last successful German tank-offensive of the war and last noteworthy victory of the Wehrmacht.
1945 – World War II: Filipino troops of the 66th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Commonwealth Army, USAFIP-NL and the American troops of the 33rd and 37th Infantry Division, United States Army are liberated in Baguio and they fight against the Japanese forces under General Tomoyuki Yamashita.
1954 – The Geneva Conference, an effort to restore peace in Indochina and Korea, begins.
1956 – SS Ideal X, the world’s first successful container ship, leaves Port Newark, New Jersey, for Houston, Texas.
1958 – Final run of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Royal Blue from Washington, D.C., to New York City after 68 years, the first U.S. passenger train to use electric locomotives.
1960 – Forced out by the April Revolution, President of South Korea Syngman Rhee resigns after 12 years of dictatorial rule.
1962 – NASA’s Ranger 4 spacecraft crashes into the Moon.
1963 – In Libya, amendments to the constitution transform Libya (United Kingdom of Libya) into one national unity (Kingdom of Libya) and allows for female participation in elections.
1964 – Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge to form Tanzania.
1966 – The magnitude 5.1 Tashkent earthquake affects the largest city in Soviet Central Asia with a maximum MSK intensity of VII (Very strong). Tashkent is mostly destroyed and 15–200 are killed.
1966 – A new government is formed in the Republic of the Congo, led by Ambroise Noumazalaye.
1970 – The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization enters into force.
1981 – Dr. Michael R. Harrison of the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center performs the world’s first human open fetal surgery.
1982 – Fifty-seven people are killed by former police officer Woo Bum-kon in a shooting spree in South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea.
1986 – A nuclear reactor accident occurs at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in the Soviet Union, creating the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
1989 – The deadliest known tornado strikes Central Bangladesh, killing upwards of 1,300, injuring 12,000, and leaving as many as 80,000 homeless.
1989 – People’s Daily publishes the April 26 Editorial which inflames the nascent Tiananmen Square protests.
1991 – 55 tornadoes break out in the central United States. Before the outbreak’s end, Andover, Kansas, would record the year’s only F5 tornado.
1994 – China Airlines Flight 140 crashes at Nagoya Airport in Japan, killing 264 of the 271 people on board.
2002 – Robert Steinhäuser kills 16 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 (Syrian occupation of Lebanon).
2018 – American comedian Bill Cosby is found guilty of sexual assault.