23 April 1660

The Treaty of Oliva is signed between Sweden and Poland.

The Treaty or Peace of Oliva of 23 April 1660 was one of the peace treaties ending the Second Northern War At Oliva , Royal Prussia, peace was made between Sweden, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Habsburgs and Brandenburg-Prussia.

Sweden was accepted as sovereign in Swedish Livonia, Brandenburg was accepted as sovereign in Ducal Prussia, and John II Casimir Vasa withdrew his claims to the Swedish throne, though he was to retain the title of a hereditary Swedish king for life. All occupied territories were restored to their pre-war sovereigns. Catholics in Livonia and Prussia were granted religious freedom.

The signatories were the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, Elector Frederick William I of Brandenburg and King John II Casimir Vasa of Poland. Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie, head of the Swedish delegation and the minor regency, signed on behalf of his nephew, King Charles XI of Sweden, who was still a minor at the time.

In the treaty John II Casimir renounced his claims to the Swedish crown, which his father Sigismund III Vasa had lost in 1599. Poland also formally ceded to Sweden Livonia and the city of Riga, which had been under Swedish control since the 1620s. The treaty settled conflicts between Sweden and Poland left standing since the War against Sigismund, the Polish-Swedish War, and the Northern Wars.

The Hohenzollern dynasty of Brandenburg was also confirmed as independent and sovereign over the Duchy of Prussia; previously they had held the territory as a fief of Poland. In case of an end to the Hohenzollern dynasty in Prussia, the territory was to revert to the Polish crown. The treaty was achieved by Brandenburg’s diplomat, Christoph Caspar von Blumenthal, on the first diplomatic mission of his career.

The Treaty of Oliva, the Treaty of Copenhagen the same year and the Treaty of Cardis following year marked the high point of the Swedish Empire.

22 April 1809

The Austrian army is defeated by the First French Empire army led by Napoleon and driven over the Danube in Regensburg.

The Battle of Ratisbon, also called the Battle of Regensburg, was fought on the 22 April 1809, during the Napoleonic Wars, between the army of the First French Empire, led by Napoleon I, and that of the Austrian Empire, led by Archduke Charles. Scene of the last engagement of the Bavaria phase of the campaign of 1809, the brief defense of the city and installation of a pontoon bridge to the east enabled the retreating Austrian army to escape into Bohemia. During the assault, Marshal Jean Lannes led his troops up ladders onto the walls, and Napoleon was wounded in his ankle by a small artillery round. The shot had been fired at great distance and did not severely hurt the Emperor, but caused a contusion.

At dawn on 23 April the French advance continued in a pincer movement toward Ratisbon, with General Louis-Pierre Montbrun coming from the southwest and Napoleon moving up from the south. Around 9:00 A.M. 10,000 French cavalry, led by General Étienne Nansouty’s two cuirassier divisions, began to engage the Austrian cavalry, who despite poorly coordinated charges were able to hold them for almost three hours to facilitate the army’s escape, before they slipped away. Only then did the French discover the pontoon bridge, but its last defenders were able to hold on and cut the securing ropes to prevent the French from using it.

French casualties, including a wounded-in-the-ankle Bonaparte, were between 1,500 and 2,000 while the Austrians lost at least 6,000 men killed, injured or captured. Sending Marshal Louis Davout to guard the north bank across the Danube, Bonaparte was now free to move on Vienna.

21 April 1962

The Seattle World’s Fair opens.

The Century 21 Exposition – also known as the Seattle World’s Fair – was held between April 21 and October 21, 1962 drew almost 10 million visitors. A defining moment in the history of Seattle, this fair began life as the brainchild of City Councilman Al Rochester. By 1955, the councilman had generated considerable interest in his idea from decision makers at the state and city level, and in January Washington’s legislature allocated $5,000 for a small commission to study the feasibility of such a fair. Public excitement, spurred on by effective advertisement, soon gave the project further momentum; in 1957 Seattle voters passed a $7.5 million Civic Center bond for possible fairground development, an amount which was then matched by the legislature.

By April 1962, all that remained to be done was to open the doors to the public, which occurred during an extravagant opening ceremony on the 21st. Amidst 538 clanging bells, 2000 balloons, and 10 Air Force F-102 fighters swooping overhead, Exposition president Joseph Gandy officially opened Century 21 for business. For the next six months, visitors would be entertained not just by the many exhibits, but also by an array of musicians, orchestras, dance troupes, art collections, singers, comedians, and other various shows traveling through the fair during its run. Adding to the star-studded atmosphere was the presence of the ‘King of Rock and Roll,’ Elvis Presley, who arrived to shoot a film, It Happened at the World’s Fair. Indeed, a number of celebrities came to the Exposition as tourists, including Vice-President Lyndon Johnson, Walt Disney, and Prince Phillip of Great Britain. By the close of the fair on October 21, a total of 9,609,969 people officially visited, largely satisfying attendance goals.

20 April 1908

The New Wales Rugby League competition starts.

The 1908 NSWRFL season was the inaugural season of the New South Wales Rugby Football League’s premiership, Australia’s first rugby league football club competition, in which nine clubs competed from April till August 1908. The season culminated in the first premiership final, for the Royal Agricultural Society Challenge Shield, which was contested by Eastern Suburbs and South Sydney. In 1908 the NSWRFL also assembled a New South Wales representative team for the first ever interstate series against Queensland, and towards the end of the season, the NSWRFL’s leading players were absent, having been selected to go on the first Kangaroo tour of Great Britain.

Early in 1908, a number of Rugby Football Union clubs held meetings across Sydney and Newcastle to decide whether or not breakaway clubs should be formed in preparation for the new Rugby Football League’s premiership that was to start in the following months. The popularity amongst players in support of the new competition was overwhelming, with only some players deciding to continue playing in the traditional amateur Rugby Football Union competition. The Rugby Football League clubs that were formed were essentially breakaway clubs, and in most instances, teams continued the use of their team colours into the new competition. A key aspect of the new code was that players would be paid for playing the game. Adopting the playing rules of the rebel Northern Union of England, the new competition began in earnest in Australia on Easter Monday, 20 April 1908.

19 April 2013

The suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is killed in a shootout with police.

An investigation involving more than 1,000 federal, state and local law enforcement personnel quickly was launched. A breakthrough in the case came less than two days later, when FBI analysts, who had pored through thousands of videos and photographs taken from security cameras in the area where the attack occurred, pinpointed two male suspects. The FBI released surveillance-camera images of the men, whose identities were then unknown, on the evening of April 18.

That night at around 10:30, Sean Collier, a 27-year-old police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was shot dead in his patrol car on the school’s Cambridge campus. Authorities later would link the murder to the Tsarnaev brothers, who allegedly attempted to steal the officer’s service weapon. Soon after Collier was killed, Tamerlan Tsarnaev allegedly carjacked a Mercedes SUV at gunpoint, taking the driver hostage and telling him he was one of the Boston Marathon bombers. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev followed behind in a Honda Civic before joining his older brother and the hostage in the SUV. The brothers drove around the Boston area with their hostage, forcing him to withdraw money from an ATM and discussing driving to New York City.

When they stopped at a Cambridge gas station, the hostage escaped and called police, informing them the SUV could be tracked by his cellphone, which was still in the vehicle. Shortly after midnight, police in the Boston suburb of Watertown spotted the suspects in the stolen SUV and Honda Civic and tried to apprehend them. A gun battle broke out on a Watertown street, with the Tsarnaevs exchanging fire with the police and hurling explosive devices at them. One officer was seriously injured by gunshots but survived. After Tamerlan Tsarnaev was tackled by police, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev drove the stolen SUV straight at them, running over his brother before speeding away. He abandoned the SUV nearby then fled on foot. A gravely wounded Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whose body was riddled with bullets, was taken to a hospital, where doctors were unable to resuscitate him.

18 April 1831

The University of Alabama is founded in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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The History of The University of Alabama begins with an act of United States Congress in 1818 authorizing the newly formed Alabama Territory to set aside a township for the establishment of a “seminary of learning.” Alabama was admitted to the Union on March 20, 1819 and a second township added to the land grant. The seminary was established by the General Assembly on December 18, 1820 and named The University of the State of Alabama. The legislature appointed a Board of Trustees to handle the building and opening of the campus, and its operation once complete. The Board selected Tuscaloosa, then capital of the Alabama, as the site of the university in 1827, and opened its doors to students on April 18, 1831.

Offering more than 100 undergraduate degree programs, students can also create their own major and minors. The university is home to four different museums including the Alabama Museum of Natural History, which has the Hodges meteorite on display; students are granted free admission. Additionally, students who are interested in the arts can participate in Creative Campus, a student-centered arts advocacy organization with over 40 interns. Seven UA students won Fulbright awards for 2016–17, and five won awards to research and teach abroad. One third of students participate in the 62 social Greek organizations on UA’s campus. The Alabama Crimson Tide compete in Division I athletics and has one of the strongest football teams in the U.S., having won 25 SEC titles and 16 national championships. The school’s rivalry with Auburn University is one of the staunchest in the nation.

17 April 1946

Syria gets its independence from the French occupation.

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In June 1940, after the Franco-German armistice, the French in Syria announced that they would cease hostilities against Germany and Italy and recognize the Vichy government. Political uncertainty and the growing scarcity of goods and rising prices caused unrest, which was led by one of the prominent nationalists, Shukri al-Quwatli. In May 1941 the Vichy government allowed German aircraft to land and refuel en route to Iraq, and in June, British, Commonwealth, and Free French forces invaded Syria. French troops resisted for a month, but Damascus was occupied on June 21, and hostilities ceased at midnight on July 11–12.

There followed two years of disagreement about the transfer of authority from the French administration to the Syrian and Lebanese governments. A crisis took place in 1945, when the French refusal to transfer control of the local armed forces led to disorders, culminating in a French bombardment of Damascus and British intervention. After long negotiations and discussion in the UN Security Council, agreement was reached on simultaneous British and French withdrawal from Syria and Lebanon. Withdrawal from Syria was completed by April 1946. Syria had already become a founder member of the UN and of the Arab League.

16 April 1990

Jack Kevorkian (“Doctor Death”)participates in his first assisted suicide.

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Dr. Jack Kevorkian has been known as “Dr. Death” since at least 1956, when he conducted a study photographing patients’ eyes as they died. Results established that blood vessels in the cornea contract and become invisible as the heart stops beating. In a 1958 paper, he suggested that death row inmates be euthanized, and their bodily organs harvested. In 1960, he proposed using condemned prisoners for medical experiments.

In 1989, a quadriplegic, too handicapped to kill himself, publicly asked for assistance, and Dr. Kevorkian began tinkering on a suicide machine. But a different patient — Janet Adkins, a 54-year-old with Alzheimer’s — was the first to test the device. It worked. Kevorkian then provided services to at least 45 and possibly more satisfied customers. Kevorkian was arrested and tried for his direct role in a case of voluntary euthanasia. He was convicted of second-degree murder and served eight years of a 10-to-25-year prison sentence. He was released on parole on June 1, 2007, on condition he would not offer advice nor participate nor be present in the act of any type of suicide involving euthanasia to any other person; as well as neither promote nor talk about the procedure of assisted suicide

In 1997, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Americans who want to kill themselves but are physically unable to do so have no Constitutional right to end their lives. Kevorkian is now serving 10-25 years in prison, and is reportedly in ill health.

15 April 1964

The first Ford Mustang come out.

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Ford’s Mustang was conceived in full knowledge that in the mid-’60s the biggest population bubble in history was coming of age in America. Baby boomers would rule the ’60s and there was little reason to think they wanted cars that were anything like their parents’ cars. The production Mustang was shown to the public for the first time inside the Ford Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964 — two months and nine days after the Beatles first came to New York to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. It went on sale at Ford dealers that same day.

The 1964 1/2 production Mustang followed two Mustang concept cars. The Mustang I shown in 1962 was a midengine two-seater powered by a V4. The Mustang II show car first displayed at the United States Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, N.Y., during October 1963, was a front-engine, four-seater foreshadowing the production machine that went on sale six months later. Compared to those two, the production machine was dowdy. Compared to every other American car then in production, except the Corvette, the Mustang was gorgeously sleek.

To make the Mustang affordable it needed to share much of its engineering with an existing Ford product. That product was the smallest Ford of the time, the compact Falcon. In fact, the first Mustangs were built in the same Dearborn, Mich., plant as the Falcon.