Monday, April 4, 2011

April's Special Days and Oddities

What’s special about April? Most people have heard of April Fools’ Day (April 1st) but few know where it originated from. It’s recognized and celebrated around the world as a day for playing practical jokes or pranks. Some historians believe it originated in France, but it may be related to the Roman Festival of Hilaria held on March 25 and the Medieval Festival of Fools.


Arbor Day is also celebrated in April. The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska. It was created by Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), a Nebraska journalist and politician. He felt Nebraska’s landscape and economy would improve with the wide-scale planting of trees. He proposed that a special day be set aside for the planting of trees, and he planted many orchards, shade trees and tree breaks on his own farm. In 1885 Arbor Day became a legal holiday in the state on April 22 to coincide with Morton’s birthday. In 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday of April as National Arbor Day.

Special Dates in April:

• April 2

Hans Christian Andersen, Danish writer of fairy tales, born 1805.

Emile Zola, French novelist, born 1840.

Automaker Walter P. Chrysler born 1875.

• April 3

Washington Irving, American author, born 1783.

John Burroughs, American naturalist, born 1837.

First pony express service began, 1860.

• April 4

• Congress adopted the flag with 13 stripes and with 1 star for each state, 1818.

April 5

Pocahontas married John Rolfe, 1614.

American educator Booker T. Washington born 1856.

• April 6

Robert Peary reached what he claimed to be the North Pole, 1909.

The United States declared war on Germany in World War I, 1917.

• April 7

William Wordsworth, English poet, born 1770.

Robert Marcel Casadesus, French pianist and composer, born 1899.

• April 8

Sonja Henie, Norwegian-American figure-skater and motion-picture actress, born 1912.

Henry Aaron broke Babe Ruth's career major-league home run record, 1974.

• April 9

• General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War, 1865.

Charles P. Steinmetz, American physicist and electrical engineer, born in Germany, 1865.

Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines fell to Japan, 1942.

• April 10

• Newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer born 1847.

April 11

Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated the first time, 1814.

• April 12

• The Civil War began at Fort Sumter, 1861.

Yuri Gagarin, Soviet astronaut, became first person to orbit the earth, 1961.

• April 13

Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States, born in Goochland (now Albemarle) County, Va., 1743.

F. W. Woolworth, American merchant, born 1852.

• April 14

• Christiaan Huygens, Dutch physicist, born 1629.

Noah Webster copyrighted the first edition of his dictionary, 1828.

John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln, 1865.

• April 15

Leonardo da Vinci, Italian painter, sculptor, and scientist, born 1452.

The Revolutionary War declared ended, 1783.

Henry James, American novelist, born 1843.

Painter Thomas Hart Benton born 1889.

Liner Titanic struck an iceberg and sank, 1912.

• April 16

Anatole France, French novelist, born 1844.

Inventor Wilbur Wright born 1867.

• April 17

Samuel Chase, American jurist, born 1741.

J. P. Morgan, American financier, born 1837.

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev born 1894.

Queen Elizabeth II signed the Constitution Act, making Canada completely independent of Britain, 1982.

• April 18

Paul Revere made his famous ride, 1775.

San Francisco earthquake and fire began, 1906.

Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle led carrier-based planes in a raid on Tokyo, in World War II, 1942.

• April 19

• The Revolutionary War began in Lexington, 1775.

• April 20

Adolf Hitler, dictator of Germany, born 1889.

• April 21

• Rome founded, according to tradition, 753 B.C.

Friedrich Frobel, German founder of the kindergarten system, born 1782.

Novelist Charlotte Bronte born 1816.

Hippolyte Taine, French historian and critic, born 1828.

Texans routed the Mexicans in the Battle of San Jacinto, 1836.

The Spanish-American War began, 1898.

Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, born 1926.

• April 22

Isabella I, patron of Columbus, born 1451.

Henry Fielding, English novelist, born 1707.

German philosopher Immanuel Kant born 1724.

V. I. Lenin, first dictator of the Soviet Union, born 1870 (April 10 on the Russian calendar then in use).

• April 23

• Traditional birth date of William Shakespeare, 1564.

James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States, born in Stony Batter, near Mercersburg, Pa., 1791.

Sergei Prokofiev, Russian composer, born 1891.

The first public showing of a motion picture, in New York City, 1896.

Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson born 1897.

• April 24

• Library of Congress established, 1800.

April 25

Oliver Cromwell, English general, born 1599.

Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of wireless telegraphy, born 1874.

San Francisco Conference to establish the United Nations began, 1945.

• April 26

John James Audubon, American ornithologist and painter, born 1785.

April 27

• Historian Edward Gibbon born 1737.

Samuel F. B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph, born 1791.

Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States, born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, 1822.

• April 28

James Monroe, fifth President of the United States, born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, 1758.

Maryland ratified the Constitution, 1788.

Mutiny on the British ship Bounty, 1789.

• April 29

Lorado Taft, American sculptor, born 1860.

William Randolph Hearst, publisher, born 1863.

Conductor Sir Thomas Beecham born 1879.

• April 30

Washington inaugurated as the first President of the United States, 1789.

Louisiana Territory purchased from France by U.S., 1803 (treaty was signed May 2, but dated April 30).

Louisiana became the 18th state, 1812.

Television first publicly broadcast, from the Empire State Building, 1939.

Vietnam War ended with South Vietnam's surrender to North Vietnam

So do you have a special day in April? Or have you played an interesting April Fools’ trick at some time in your life you’d like to share?
DeNita Tuttle
I love doing contests. And I haven't stopped celebrating my new release in the 1-800-DOM-help seriesAuthor Island is running a contest for me for EMERALD DUNGEON from Ellora's Cave. Win a free Ellora's Cave print book of my choosing along with a number of goodies I plan to throw in. Click HERE for more information.

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