Highlight in History
On April 15, 2013, two bombs packed with nails and other lethal metal shards exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line, killing two women and an 8-year-old boy and injuring more than 260 people. (Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction; his brother and alleged accomplice, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in a shootout with police.)
On this date
In 1764, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, the highly influential mistress of France’s King Louis XV, died at Versailles at age 42.
In 1850, the city of San Francisco was incorporated.
In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died, nine hours after being shot the night before by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington; Andrew Johnson became the nation’s 17th president.
In 1912, the British luxury liner RMS Titanic foundered in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland more than 2 1/2 hours after hitting an iceberg; 1,514 people died, while less than half as many survived.
In 1945, during World War II, British and Canadian troops liberated the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson, baseball’s first black major league player, made his official debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on opening day. (The Dodgers defeated the Boston Braves, 5-3.)
In 1974, members of the Symbionese Liberation Army held up a branch of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco; a member of the group was SLA kidnap victim Patricia Hearst, who by this time was going by the name “Tania” (Hearst later said she’d been forced to participate).
In 1986, the United States launched an air raid against Libya in response to the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin on April 5; Libya said 37 people, mostly civilians, were killed.
In 1989, 96 people died in a crush of soccer fans at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. Students in Beijing launched a series of pro-democracy protests; the demonstrations culminated in a government crackdown at Tiananmen Square.