1521 – Martin Luther confronted the emperor Charles V in the Diet of Worms and refused to retract his views that led to his excommunication.
1676 – Sudbury, Massachusetts, was attacked by Indians.
1775 – American revolutionaries Paul Revere, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott rode though the towns of Massachusetts giving the warning that “the Regulars are coming out.” Later, the phrase “the British are coming” was attributed to Revere.
1791 – National Guardsmen prevented Louis XVI and his family from leaving Paris.
1818 – A regiment of Indians and blacks were defeated at the Battle of Suwann, in Florida, ending the first Seminole War.
1834 – William Lamb became prime minister of England.
1838 – The Wilkes’ expedition to the South Pole set sail.
1846 – The telegraph ticker was patented by R.E. House
1847 – U.S. troops defeated almost 17,000 Mexican soldiers commanded by Santa Anna at Cerro Gordo. (Mexican-American War)
1853 – The first train in Asia began running from Bombay to Tanna.
1861 – Colonel Robert E. Lee turned down an offer to command the Union armies during the U.S. Civil War.
1877 – Charles Cros wrote a paper that described the process of recording and reproducing sound. In France, Cros is regarded as the inventor of the phonograph. In the U.S., Thomas Edison gets the credit.
1895 – New York State passed an act that established free public baths.
1906 – San Francisco, CA, was hit with an earthquake. The original death toll was cited at about 700. Later information indicated that the death toll may have been 3 to 4 times the original estimate.
1910 – Walter R. Brookins made the first airplane flight at night.
1923 – Yankee Stadium opened in the Bronx, NY. The Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1. John Phillip Sousa’s band played the National Anthem.
1924 – Simon and Schuster, Inc. published the first “Crossword Puzzle Book.”
1934 – The first Laundromat opened in Fort Worth, TX.
1937 – Leon Trotsky called for the overthrow of Soviet leader Josef Stalin.
1938 – Superman, the world’s first super hero, appeared in the first issue of Action Comics. The cover date was June 1938.
1938 – U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt threw out the first ball preceding the season opener between the Washington Senators and the Philadelphia Athletics.
1942 – James H. Doolittle and his squadron, from the USS Hornet, raided Tokyo and other Japanese cities.
1942 – The Vichy government capitulated to Adolf Hitler and invited Pierre Laval to form a new government in France.
1943 – Traveling in a bomber, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, was shot down by American P-38 fighters.
1945 – American war correspondent Ernie Pyle was killed by Japanese gunfire on the Pacific island of Ie Shima, off Okinawa. He was 44 years old.
1946 – The League of Nations was dissolved.
1949 – The Republic of Ireland was established.
1950 – The first transatlantic jet passenger trip was completed.
1954 – Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser seized power in Egypt.
1955 – Albert Einstein died.
1956 – Actress Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco were married. The religious ceremony took place April 19.
1960 – The Mutual Broadcasting System was sold to the 3M Company of Minnesota for $1.25 million.
1978 – The U.S. Senate approved the transfer of the Panama Canal to Panama on December 31, 1999.
1979 – The TV show “Real People” premiered.
1980 – Rhodesia became in independent nation of Zimbabwe.
1983 – The U.S. Embassy in Beirut was blown up by a suicide car-bomber. 63 people were killed including 17 Americans.
1984 – Daredevils Mike MacCarthy and Amanda Tucker made a sky dive from the Eiffel Tower. The jump ended safely.
1985 – Ted Turner filed for a hostile takeover of CBS.
1985 – Tulane University abolished its 72-year-old basketball program. The reason was charges of fixed games, drug abuse, and payments to players.
1989 – Thousands of Chinese students demanding democracy tried to storm Communist Party headquarters in Beijing.
1999 – Wayne Gretzky (New York Rangers) played his final game in the NHL. He retired as the NHL’s all-time leading scorer and holder of 61 individual records.
2000 – The Nasdaq had the biggest one-day point gain in its history.
2000 – Joan Lunden and Jeff Konigsberg were married.
2002 – Actor Robert Blake and his bodyguard were arrested in connection with the shooting death of Blake’s wife about a year before.
2002 – The Amtrack Auto Train derailed in a remote area of north Florida. Four people were killed and 133 were injured.
2002 – The city legislature of Berlin decided to make Marlene Dietrich an honorary citizen. Dietrich had gone to the United States in 1930. She refused to return to Germany after Adolf Hitler came to power.