26th April: Today In History

Today is Wednesday, April 26th, the 116th day of 2017. There are 249 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Events:
1777:  According to a widely accepted account from the American Revolutionary War, 16-year-old Sybil Ludington, the eldest child of Col. Henry Ludington, a militia commander in Dutchess County, New York, rode her horse into the night to alert her father’s men of the approach of British regular troops who were sacking Danbury, Connecticut. (Ludington, sometimes referred to as “the female Paul Revere,” was said to have covered 40 miles, more than twice the distance of the Boston silversmith’s ride.)
1607:  English colonists went ashore at present-day Cape Henry, Virginia, on an expedition to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1865, John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was surrounded by federal troops near Port Royal, Virginia, and killed.
1913:  Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old worker at a Georgia pencil factory, was strangled; Leo Frank, the factory superintendent, was convicted of her murder and sentenced to death. (Frank’s death sentence was commuted, but he was lynched by an anti-Semitic mob in 1915.)
1923:  Britain’s Prince Albert, Duke of York (the future King George VI), married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon at Westminster Abbey.
1937:  German and Italian warplanes raided the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War; estimates of the number of people killed vary from the hundreds to the thousands.
1945:  Marshal Henri Philippe Petain (an-REE’ fee-LEEP’ pay-TAN’), the head of France’s Vichy government during World War II, was arrested.
1952:  The destroyer-minesweeper USS Hobson sank in the central Atlantic after colliding with the aircraft carrier USS Wasp with the loss of 176 crew members.
1964:  The African nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.
1972:  The first Lockheed L-1011 TriStar went into commercial service with Eastern Airlines.
1986:  An explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) caused radioactive fallout to begin spewing into the atmosphere. (Dozens of people were killed in the immediate aftermath of the disaster while the long-term death toll from radiation poisoning is believed to number in the thousands.)
1994:  Voting began in South Africa’s first all-race elections, resulting in victory for the African National Congress and the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president. China Airlines Flight 140, a Taiwanese Airbus A-300, crashed while landing in Nagoya, Japan, killing 264 people (there were seven survivors).
2000:  Vermont Gov. Howard Dean signed the nation’s first bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions.

Birthdays:
Architect I.M. Pei is 100.
Movie composer Francis Lai is 85.
Actress-comedian Carol Burnett is 84.
Rhythm-and-blues singer Maurice Williams is 79.
Songwriter-musician Duane Eddy is 79.
Singer Bobby Rydell is 75.
Rock musician Gary Wright is 74. 

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