On This Day … 24 April


  • 1183 BC – Traditional reckoning of the Fall of Troy marking the end of the legendary Trojan War, given by chief librarian of the Library of Alexandria Erastothenes, among others.
  • 1547 – Battle of Mühlberg. Duke of Alba, commanding Spanish-Imperial forces of Charles I of Spain, defeats the troops of Schmalkaldic League.
  • 1558 – Mary, Queen of Scots, marries the Dauphin of France, François, at Notre Dame de Paris.
  • 1877 – Russo-Turkish War: Russian Empire declares war on Ottoman Empire.
  • 1885 – American sharpshooter Annie Oakley is hired by Nate Salsbury to be a part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.
  • 1914 – The Franck–Hertz experiment, a pillar of quantum mechanics, is presented to the German Physical Society.
  • 1916 – Easter Rising: Irish rebels, led by Patrick Pearse and James Connolly, launch an uprising in Dublin against British rule and proclaim an Irish Republic.
  • 1918 – World War I: First tank-to-tank combat, during the second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux. Three British Mark IVs meet three German A7Vs.
  • 1926 – The Treaty of Berlin is signed. Germany and the Soviet Union each pledge neutrality in the event of an attack on the other by a third party for the next five years.
  • 1944 – World War II: The SBS launches a raid against the garrison of Santorini in Greece.
  • 1955 – The Bandung Conference ends: Twenty-nine non-aligned nations of Asia and Africa finish a meeting that condemns colonialism, racism, and the Cold War.
  • 1957 – Suez Crisis: The Suez Canal is reopened following the introduction of UNEF peacekeepers to the region.
  • 1965 – Civil war breaks out in the Dominican Republic when Colonel Francisco Caamaño overthrows the triumvirate that had been in power since the coup d’état against Juan Bosch.
  • 1967 – Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1 when its parachute fails to open. He is the first human to die during a space mission.
  • 1967 – Vietnam War: American General William Westmoreland says in a news conference that the enemy had “gained support in the United States that gives him hope that he can win politically that which he cannot win militarily”.
  • 1980 – Eight US servicemen die in Operation Eagle Claw as they attempt to end the Iran hostage crisis.
  • 1990 – Gruinard Island, Scotland, is officially declared free of the anthrax disease after 48 years of quarantine.
  • 1993 – An IRA bomb devastates the Bishopsgate area of London.
  • 1996 – In the United States, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 is passed into law.
  • 2004 – The United States lifts economic sanctions imposed on Libya 18 years previously, as a reward for its cooperation in eliminating weapons of mass destruction.
  • 2011 – WikiLeaks starts publishing the Guantanamo Bay files leak.

People (Births)

  • 1743 – Edmund Cartwright, English clergyman and engineer, invented the power loom (d. 1823).
  • 1856 – Philippe Pétain, French general and politician, 119th Prime Minister of France (d. 1951).
  • 1882 – Hugh Dowding, 1st Baron Dowding, Scottish-English air marshal (d. 1970).
  • 1897 – Manuel Ávila Camacho, Mexican colonel and politician, 45th President of Mexico (d. 1955).
  • 1906 – William Joyce, American-born Irish-British Nazi propaganda broadcaster (d. 1946).
  • 1948 – Paul Cellucci, American soldier and politician, 69th Governor of Massachusetts (d. 2013).
  • 1956 – James A. Winnefeld, Jr., American Admiral.
  • 1968 – Hashim Thaçi, Kosovan soldier and politician, 5th Prime Minister of Kosovo.

People (Deaths)

  • 1794 – Axel von Fersen the Elder, Swedish field marshal and politician (b. 1719).
  • 1891 – Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, German field marshal (b. 1800).
  • 1935 – Anastasios Papoulas, Greek general (b. 1857).
  • 1947 – Hans Biebow, German SS officer (b. 1902).
  • 1967 – Vladimir Komarov, Russian pilot, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1927).
  • 1997 – Eugene Stoner, American engineer, designed the AR-15 rifle (b. 1922).
  • 2005 – Ezer Weizman, Israeli general and politician, 7th President of Israel (b. 1924).

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