On This Day … 10 April


  • 1500 – Ludovico Sforza is captured by Swiss troops at Novara and is handed over to the French.
  • 1606 – The Virginia Company of London is established by royal charter by James I of England with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.
  • 1741 – War of the Austrian Succession: Prussia gains control of Silesia at the Battle of Mollwitz.
  • 1809 – Napoleonic Wars: The War of the Fifth Coalition begins when forces of the Austrian Empire invade Bavaria.
  • 1826 – The 10,500 inhabitants of the Greek town of Missolonghi begin leaving the town after a year’s siege by Turkish forces. Very few of them survive.
  • 1864 – Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg is proclaimed emperor of Mexico during the French intervention in Mexico.
  • 1865 – American Civil War: A day after his surrender to Union forces, Confederate General Robert E. Lee addresses his troops for the last time.
  • 1868 – At Arogee in Abyssinia, British and Indian forces defeat an army of Emperor Tewodros II. While 700 Ethiopians are killed and many more injured, only two British/Indian troops die.
  • 1919 – Mexican Revolution leader Emiliano Zapata is ambushed and shot dead by government forces in Morelos.
  • 1938 – The 1938 German parliamentary election and referendum seeks approval for a single list of Nazi candidates and the recent annexation of Austria.
  • 1941 – World War II: The Axis powers establish the Independent State of Croatia.
  • 1944 – Rudolf Vrba and Alfréd Wetzler escape from Birkenau death camp.
  • 1957 – The Suez Canal is reopened for all shipping after being closed for three months.
  • 1963 – One hundred twenty-nine American sailors die when the submarine USS Thresher sinks at sea.
  • 1971 – Ping-pong diplomacy: In an attempt to thaw relations with the United States, China hosts the U.S. table tennis team for a week-long visit.
  • 1972 – Tombs containing bamboo slips, among them Sun Tzu’s Art of War and Sun Bin’s lost military treatise, are accidentally discovered by construction workers in Shandong.
  • 1972 – Vietnam War: For the first time since November 1967, American B-52 bombers reportedly begin bombing North Vietnam.
  • 1988 – The Ojhri Camp (military storage centre) explosion kills or injures more than 1,000 people in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • 1998 – The Good Friday Agreement is signed in Northern Ireland.
  • 2009 – President of Fiji Ratu Josefa Iloilo announces the abrogation of the constitution and assumes all governance in the country, creating a constitutional crisis.
  • 2010 – Polish Air Force Tu-154M crashes near Smolensk, Russia, killing 96 people, including Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife, and dozens of other senior officials and dignitaries.

People (Births)

  • 1794 – Matthew C. Perry, English-Scottish American commander (d. 1858).
  • 1806 – Leonidas Polk, Scottish-American general and bishop (d. 1884).
  • 1827 – Lew Wallace, American general, lawyer, and politician, 11th Governor of New Mexico Territory (d. 1905).
  • 1913 – Stefan Heym, German-American soldier and author (d. 2001).
  • 1921 – Jake Warren, Canadian soldier and diplomat, Canadian Ambassador to the United States (d. 2008).
  • 1924 – Kenneth Noland, American soldier and painter (d. 2010).
  • 1935 – John A. Bennett, American soldier (d. 1961).
  • 1974 – Eric Greitens, American soldier, author and politician.

People (Deaths)

  • 1601 – Mark Alexander Boyd, Scottish soldier and poet (b. 1562).
  • 1786 – John Byron, English admiral and politician, 24th Commodore Governor of Newfoundland (b. 1723).
  • 1806 – Horatio Gates, English-American general (b. 1727).
  • 1871 – Lucio Norberto Mansilla, Argentinian general and politician (b. 1789).
  • 1919 – Emiliano Zapata, Mexican general (b. 1879).
  • 1947 – Charles Nordhoff, English-American lieutenant and author (b. 1887).
  • 1950 – Fevzi Çakmak, Turkish field marshal and politician, 2nd Prime Minister of Turkey (b. 1876).
  • 1966 – Evelyn Waugh, English soldier, novelist, journalist and critic (b. 1903).
  • 1968 – Gustavs Celmiņš, Latvian lieutenant and politician (b. 1899).
  • 2010 – Casualties in the 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash included:
    • Ryszard Kaczorowski, Polish soldier and politician, 6th President of the Republic of Poland (b. 1919).
    • Maria Kaczyńska, Polish economist, First Lady of Poland (b. 1942).
    • Lech Kaczyński, Polish lawyer and politician, 4th President of Poland (b. 1949).
    • Anna Walentynowicz, Ukrainian-Polish journalist and activist (b. 1929).

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