15 World Historical Events That Happened in April

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As April comes to a close, and May blooms begin sprouting, it is a good time to reflect on what historical events have happened in the world during this month. Important events have happened not only in 2024, but there are events from the past that still influence us today. 

The list below just scratches the surface of the world-rocking events that have taken place in April. The Civil War ending, the bomb exploding during the Boston Marathon, and statesman Benjamin Franklin passing away are just a few more of the significant events that have occurred in this month. 

Here are 15 notable events from History.com and OnThisDay.com that occurred in the month of April. 

April 2, 2024 

“Forbes Magazine” reported that there were 141 more billionaires this year in the world than there were in 2023, including Taylor Swift. Overall there are now 2,781 billionaires. 

April 4, 1917 

The United States officially entered World War I on this day as a response to Germany attacking American ships. President Woodrow Wilson decided to mobilize the nation and join the Allied Powers against the Central Powers. 

April 8, 2024

Forty-four million people were plunged into darkness during the total eclipse this year. The eclipse stretched from Newfoundland to Mexico. 

April 11, 1970 

Launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Apollo 13 was sent towards the moon for a lunar landing. When an oxygen tank exploded two days into the mission, all plans were aborted. Instead, the crew undertook a life or death journey back to earth that had the world watching from the edge of their seats. They landed safely in the Pacific Ocean on April 17. 

April 12, 1861 

When General P.G.T. Beauregard fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861, he initiated the first military engagement of what would become the bloody and transformative American Civil War. The northern and southern states of the United States plunged into a conflict that would tear the country apart and bring the loss of thousands and thousands of lives as the two halves of the country struggled over the issues of slavery, states’ rights, and national identity. 

April 13, 1928 

Departing from Baldonnel, Ireland, the first non-stop flight to North America landed in Greenly Island, Canada 36 hours later after battling both treacherous weather and technical difficulties. Crew members Captain Hermann Köhl, Major James Fitzmaurice, and Baron Ehrenfried Günther Freiherr von Hünefeld flew a Junkers W33 plane in what would mark a revolutionary change in transatlantic travel.  

April 14, 1865 

It was on this day that actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D. C., altering the course of history after Lincoln led the nation through the Civil War and abolished slavery in America. 

April 15, 1912 

One of the deadliest maritime tragedies in history, about 1,500 people lost their lives when the RMS Titanic sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. Its sinking sparked many updates in maritime safety regulations, and has been noted as the beginning of significant social change. Called “unsinkable” at the time of its building, the Titanic disaster was caused by a mixture of arrogance, a design flaw and lack of an organized evacuation plan. It has since been the subject of many books, plays, movies and musical scores. 

April 15, 1947 

Jackie Robinson became the first African American player in Major League Baseball when he took over first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. Until that moment, black players were relegated to the Negro leagues beginning in the 1880s. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

This event heralded the integration of professional sports. 

April 19, 1775 

The “shot heard around the world” took place on April 19, 1775 sparking the Battles of Lexington and Concord that ignited the American Revolution. This day marks the beginning of the United States’ move towards independence from Great Briton. 

April 20, 1999 

Shocking the world, the Columbine High School massacre took place on a quiet morning in Littleton, Colorado. Two disenfranchised seniors took 13 lives and wounded many others before having their own lives cut short. The actions of these two young men have sadly been copied many times around the country since then, including just a year ago in Nashville at Covenant School. This event has sparked debates about gun control, school safety and teen mental health. 

April 22, 1978 

Bob Marley headlined the One Love Peace Concert in Kingston, Jamaica during their political civil war in 1978. During the concert, he made headlines by joining the hands of political rivals Michael Manley of the People’s National Party and Edward Seaga of the Jamaican Labour Party, both of whom had turned to violence during their campaigns to become the president of Jamaica. 

April 24, 1982 

Jane Fonda revolutionized the fitness industry when she released her first workout video. It changed the way people thought about health and exercise. 

April 29, 1972 

The Watergate scandal took a turn when President Richard Nixon released transcripts of infamous tapes he had made of conversations taking place in the Oval Office. The revelations of political espionage from these tapes changed the way Americans think about politicians and the political process. It also led to Nixon’s resignation. The scandal caused the push for government accountability and transparency. 

April 29, 2011 

Prince William, son of King Charles III, married Catherine “Kate” Middleton, a commoner he met in college. The wedding took place before 160 million people from around the world who watched the event on television.

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