19 April 1971

The first space station, Salyut 1 is launched.

Salyut 1 was the first space station of any kind, launched into low Earth orbit by the Soviet Union on April 19, 1971. The Salyut program followed this with five more successful launches out of seven more stations. The final module of the program, Zvezda became the core of the Russian segment of the International Space Station and remains in orbit.

Background
Salyut 1 originated as a modification of the military Almaz space station program then in development. After the landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon in July 1969, the Soviets began shifting the primary emphasis of their manned space program to orbiting space stations, with a possible lunar landing later in the 1970s if the N-1 booster became flight-worthy. One other motivation for the space station program was a desire to one-up the US Skylab program then in development. The basic structure of Salyut 1 was adapted from the Almaz with a few modifications and would form the basis of all Soviet space stations through Mir.

Civilian Soviet space stations were internally referred to as “DOS”, although publicly, the Salyut name was used for the first six DOS stations. Several military experiments were nonetheless carried on Salyut 1, including the OD-4 optical visual ranger, the Orion ultraviolet instrument for characterizing rocket exhaust plumes, and the highly classified Svinets radiometer.

Construction and operational history
Construction of Salyut 1 began in early 1970, and after nearly a year it was shipped to the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Some remaining assembly work had yet to be done and this was completed at the launch center. The Salyut programme was managed by Kerim Kerimov, chairman of the state commission for Soyuz missions.

Launch was planned for April 12, 1971 to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight on Vostok 1, but technical problems delayed it until the 19th. The first crew launched later in the Soyuz 10 mission, but they ran into troubles while docking and were unable to enter the station; the Soyuz 10 mission was aborted and the crew returned safely to Earth. A replacement crew launched in Soyuz 11 and remained on board for 23 days. This was the first time in the history of spaceflight that a space station had been manned, and a new record time was set in space. This success was, however, short-lived when the crew was killed during re-entry, as a pressure-equalization valve in the Soyuz 11 re-entry capsule had opened prematurely, causing the crew to asphyxiate. After this accident, all missions were suspended while the Soyuz spacecraft was redesigned. The station was intentionally destroyed by de-orbiting after six months in orbit, because it ran out of fuel before a redesigned Soyuz spacecraft could be launched to it.

Structure
At launch, the announced purpose of Salyut was to test the elements of the systems of a space station and to conduct scientific research and experiments. The craft was described as being 20 m in length, 4 m in maximum diameter, and 99 m3 in interior space with an on-orbit dry mass of 18,425 kg. Of its several compartments, three were pressurized, and two could be entered by the crew.

Transfer compartment
The transfer compartment was equipped with the only docking port of Salyut 1, which allowed one Soyuz 7K-OKS spacecraft to dock. It was the first use of the Soviet “probe and drogue” type docking system that allowed internal crew transfer, a system that is in use today. The docking cone had a 2 m front diameter and a 3 m aft diameter.

Main compartment
The second, and main, compartment was about 4 m in diameter. Televised views showed enough space for eight big chairs, several control panels, and 20 portholes.

Auxiliary compartments
The third pressurized compartment contained the control and communications equipment, the power supply, the life support system, and other auxiliary equipment. The fourth, and final, unpressurized compartment was about 2 m in diameter and contained the engine installations and associated control equipment. Salyut had buffer chemical batteries, reserve supplies of oxygen and water, and regeneration systems. Externally mounted were two double sets of solar cell panels that extended like wings from the smaller compartments at each end, the heat regulation system’s radiators, and orientation and control devices.

Salyut 1 was modified from one of the Almaz airframes. The unpressurized service module was the modified service module of a Soyuz craft.

Orion 1 Space Observatory
The astrophysical Orion 1 Space Observatory designed by Grigor Gurzadyan of Byurakan Observatory in Armenia, was installed in Salyut 1. Ultraviolet spectrograms of stars were obtained with the help of a mirror telescope of the Mersenne system and a spectrograph of the Wadsworth system using film sensitive to the far ultraviolet. The dispersion of the spectrograph was 32 Å/mm, while the resolution of the spectrograms derived was about 5 Å at 2600 Å. Slitless spectrograms were obtained of the stars Vega and Beta Centauri between 2000 and 3800 Å. The telescope was operated by crew member Viktor Patsayev, who became the first man to operate a telescope outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

18 April 1909

Joan of Arc is beatified in Rome.

Joan of Arc was formally canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church on 16 May 1920 by Pope Benedict XV in his bull Divina Disponente, which concluded the canonization process that the Sacred Congregation of Rites instigated after a petition of 1869 of the French Catholic hierarchy. Although pro-English clergy had Joan burnt at the stake for heresy in 1431, she was rehabilitated in 1456 after a posthumous retrial. Subsequently she became a folk saint among French Catholics and soldiers inspired by her story of being commanded by God to fight for France against England. Many French regimes encouraged her cult, and the Third Republic was sympathetic to the canonization petition prior to the 1905 separation of church and state.

As with other saints who were excommunicated or investigated by ecclesiastic courts, such as Athanasius, Teresa of Ávila, and John of the Cross, Joan was put on trial by an Inquisitorial court. In her case, the court was influenced by the English, which occupied northern France, leading to her execution in the marketplace of Rouen. When the French retook Rouen in 1449, a series of investigations were launched. Her now-widowed mother Isabelle Romée and Joan’s brothers Jéan and Pierre, who were with Joan at the Siege of Orleans, petitioned Pope Nicholas V to reopen her case. The formal appeal was conducted in 1455 by Jean Bréhal, Inquisitor-General of France, under the aegis of Pope Callixtus III. Isabelle addressed the opening session of the appellate trial at Notre Dame with an impassioned plea to clear her daughter’s name. Joan was exonerated on 7 July 1456, with Bréhal’s summary of case evidence describing her as a martyr who had been executed by a court which itself had violated Church law. In 1457, Callixtus excommunicated the now-deceased Bishop Pierre Cauchon for his persecution and condemnation of Joan.

The city of Orléans had commemorated her death each year beginning in 1432, and from 1435 onward performed a religious play centered on the lifting of the siege. The play represented her as a divinely-sent savior guided by angels. In 1452, during one of the postwar investigations into her execution, Cardinal d’Estouteville declared that this play would merit qualification as a pilgrimage site by which attendees could gain an indulgence.

Not long after the appeal, Pope Pius II wrote an approving piece about her in his memoirs.

16th century
Joan was utilized as a symbol of the Catholic League, a group organized to fight against Protestant groups during the Wars of Religion. An anonymous author wrote a biography of Joan’s life, stating that it was compiled “By order of the King, Louis XII of that name” in circa 1500.

18th and 19th centuries
Joan’s cult of personality was opposed by the leaders of the French Revolution as she was a devout Catholic who had served the monarchy. They banned the yearly celebration of the lifting of the siege of Orleans, and Joan’s relics, including her sword and banner, were destroyed. A statue of Joan erected by the people of Orléans in 1571 was melted down and made into a cannon.
Recognizing he could use Joan for his nationalist purposes, Napoleon allowed Orléans to resume its yearly celebration of the lifting of the siege, commissioned Augustin Dupré to strike a commemorative coin, and had Jean-Antoine Chaptal inform the mayor of Orléans that he approved of a resolution by the municipal council for Edme-François-Étienne Gois to erect his statue of Joan:

“The illustrious career of Joan of Arc proves that there is no miracle French genius cannot perform in the face of a threat against national freedom.”

Gois’s work was relocated to Place Dauphiné in 1855, replaced with a statue of Joan by Denis Foyatier.

Although Nicolas Lenglet Du Fresnoy and Clément Charles François de Laverdy are credited with the first full-length biographies of Joan, several English authors ironically sparked a movement which lead to her canonization. Harvard University English literature professor Herschel Baker noted in his introduction to Henry VI for The Riverside Shakespeare how appalled William Warburton was by the depiction of Joan in Henry VI, Part 1, and that Edmond Malone sought in “Dissertation on the Three Parts of Henry VI” to prove Shakespeare had no hand in its authorship. Charles Lamb chided Samuel Taylor Coleridge for reducing Joan to “a pot girl” in the first drafts of The Destiny of Nations, initially part of Robert Southey’s Joan of Arc. She was the subject of essays by Lord Mahon for The Quarterly Review, and by Thomas De Quincey for Tait’s. In 1890, the Joan of Arc Church was dedicated to her.

As Joan found her way further into popular culture, the Government of France commissioned Emmanuel Frémiet to erect a statue of her in the Place des Pyramides — the only public commission of the state from 1870 to 1914. The French Navy dedicated four vessels to her: a 52-gun frigate; a 42-gun frigate; an ironclad corvette warship ; and an armored cruiser. Philippe-Alexandre Le Brun de Charmettes’s biography, and Jules Quicherat’s account of her trial and rehabilitation seemed to have inspired canonization efforts.

In 1869, to celebrate the 440th anniversary of Joan lifting the Siege of Orléans, Félix Dupanloup, Bishop of Orleans, invited the bishops whose dioceses included the towns which Joan entered or liberated during her career to Orléans. Supported by Henri-Alexandre Wallon, Dupanloup submitted a petition, signed by the attending dignitaries, to Pope Pius IX for Joan to be canonized, but the Franco-Prussian War postponed further action.

In 1874, depositions began to be collected, received by Cardinal Luigi Bilio in 1876. Dupanloup’s successor, Bishop Pierre-Hector Coullié, directed an inquest to authenticate her acts and testimony from her trial and rehabilitation. On January 27, 1894, the Curia voted unanimously that Pope Leo XIII sign the Commissio Introductionis Causæ Servæ Dei Joannæ d’Arc, which he did that afternoon.

17 April 1961

A group of Cuban exiles financed and trained by the CIA lands at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro.

The Bay of Pigs Invasion was a failed military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency CIA-sponsored paramilitary group Brigade 2506 on 17 April 1961. A counter-revolutionary military group, trained and funded by the CIA, Brigade 2506 fronted the armed wing of the Democratic Revolutionary Front and intended to overthrow the increasingly communist government of Fidel Castro. Launched from Guatemala and Nicaragua, the invading force was defeated within three days by the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, under the direct command of Castro.

The coup of 1952 led by General Fulgencio Batista, an ally of the United States, against President Carlos Prio, forced Prio into exile to Miami, Florida. Prio’s exile was the reason for the 26th July Movement led by Castro. The movement, which did not succeed until after the Cuban Revolution of 31 December 1958, severed the country’s formerly strong links with the US after nationalizing American economic assets.

It was after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, that Castro forged strong economic links with the Soviet Union, with which, at the time, the United States was engaged in the Cold War. US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was very concerned at the direction Castro’s government was taking, and in March 1960 he allocated $13.1 million to the CIA to plan Castro’s overthrow. The CIA proceeded to organize the operation with the aid of various Cuban counter-revolutionary forces, training Brigade 2506 in Guatemala. Eisenhower’s successor, John F. Kennedy, approved the final invasion plan on 4 April 1961.

Over 1,400 paramilitaries, divided into five infantry battalions and one paratrooper battalion, assembled in Guatemala before setting out for Cuba by boat on 13 April 1961. Two days later, on 15 April, eight CIA-supplied B-26 bombers attacked Cuban airfields and then returned to the US. On the night of 16 April, the main invasion landed at a beach named Playa Girón in the Bay of Pigs. It initially overwhelmed a local revolutionary militia. The Cuban Army’s counter-offensive was led by José Ramón Fernández, before Castro decided to take personal control of the operation. As the US involvement became apparent to the world, and with the initiative turning against the invasion, Kennedy decided against providing further air cover. As a result, the operation only had half the forces the CIA had deemed necessary. The original plan devised during Eisenhower’s presidency had required both air and naval support. On 20 April, the invaders surrendered after only three days, with the majority being publicly interrogated and put into Cuban prisons.

The failed invasion helped to strengthen the position of Castro’s leadership, made him a national hero, and entrenched the rocky relationship between the former allies. It also strengthened the relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union. This eventually led to the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The invasion was a major failure for US foreign policy; Kennedy ordered a number of internal investigations across Latin America. Cuban forces under Castro’s leadership clashed directly with US forces during the Invasion of Grenada over 20 years later.

16 April 1941

The Italian-German Tarigo convoy is attacked and destroyed by British ships during World War II.

The Battle of the Tarigo Convoy was a naval battle of World War II, part of the Battle of the Mediterranean. It was fought on 16 April 1941, between four British and three Italian destroyers, near the Kerkennah Islands off Sfax, in the Tunisian coast. The battle was named after the Italian flagship, the destroyer Luca Tarigo.

Control of the sea between Italy and Libya was heavily disputed as both sides sought to safeguard their own convoys while interdicting those of their opponent. Axis convoys to North Africa supplied the German and Italian armies there, and British attacks were based on Malta, itself dependent upon convoys.

In mid-April, 1941, a five ship Axis convoy sailed from Naples, en route to Tripoli. It consisted of four German troopships and an Italian ammunition ship. The convoy was escorted by a Navigatori-class destroyer Luca Tarigo and two Folgore-class destroyers, Baleno and Lampo, all commanded by Commander Pietro de Cristofaro. The convoy was delayed by bad weather, sailing in the evening of 13 April.

The British had been alerted to the convoy’s sailing by intercepted radio messages. On 15 April, a British Maryland reconnaissance plane sighted and shadowed the convoy. Two Italian SM.79s that were ordered to provide air cover did not arrive, due to the continuing bad weather. During the night of 15–16 April, the convoy was intercepted by the British 14th Destroyer Flotilla, HMS Janus, HMS Nubian, and HMS Mohawk, commanded by Captain Philip Mack. At least three of these destroyers were equipped with radar. The encounter took place as the Italian convoy maneuvered around the shallow waters surrounding the Kerkennah Islands.

By the use of the radar, the British force ambushed the Axis convoy in the dark. As the convoy passed a buoy marking sandbanks, the British opened fire at 2,000 yards and closed to as near as 50 yards. Three of the Axis transports were sunk, and the other two beached on the sandbar and became a total loss. Lampo was run aground and later salvaged, while Baleno sank in shallow waters. The flotilla commander, Commander de Cristofaro, on board Tarigo, had his leg shot off and later died of his wounds; he was posthumously awarded the Medaglia d’Oro launched two torpedoes which hit HMS Mohawk. Mohawk was subsequently scuttled by HMS Jervis, and settled on the sandy bottom at a depth of 12 metres. The outcome of the battle marked the end of the relatively unopposed Axis transport to Libya, which they had enjoyed since June 1940.

15 April 1945

The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is liberated.

ergen-Belsen, or Belsen, was a Nazi concentration camp in what is today Lower Saxony in northern Germany, southwest of the town of Bergen near Celle. Originally established as a prisoner of war camp, in 1943, parts of it became a concentration camp. Initially this was an “exchange camp”, where Jewish hostages were held with the intention of exchanging them for German prisoners of war held overseas. The camp was later expanded to accommodate Jews from other concentration camps.

After 1945 the name was applied to the displaced persons camp established nearby, but it is most commonly associated with the concentration camp. From 1941 to 1945, almost 20,000 Soviet prisoners of war and a further 50,000 inmates died there. Overcrowding, lack of food and poor sanitary conditions caused outbreaks of typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever and dysentery, leading to the deaths of more than 35,000 people in the first few months of 1945, shortly before and after the liberation.

The camp was liberated on April 15, 1945, by the British 11th Armoured Division. The soldiers discovered approximately 60,000 prisoners inside, most of them half-starved and seriously ill, and another 13,000 corpses, including those of Anne and Margot Frank, lying around the camp unburied. The horrors of the camp, documented on film and in pictures, made the name “Belsen” emblematic of Nazi crimes in general for public opinion in many countries in the immediate post-1945 period. Today, there is a memorial with an exhibition hall at the site.

When the British and Canadians advanced on Bergen-Belsen in 1945, the German army negotiated a truce and exclusion zone around the camp to prevent the spread of typhus. On April 11, 1945 Heinrich Himmler agreed to have the camp handed over without a fight. SS guards ordered prisoners to bury some of the dead. The next day, Wehrmacht representatives approached the British and were brought to VIII Corps. At around 1 a.m. on April 13, an agreement was signed, designating an area of 48 square kilometers around the camp as a neutral zone. Most of the SS were allowed to leave. Only a small number of SS men and women, including the camp commandant Kramer, remained to “uphold order inside the camp”. The outside was guarded by Hungarian and regular German troops. Due to heavy fighting near Winsen and Walle, the British were unable to reach Bergen-Belsen on April 14, as originally planned. The camp was liberated on the afternoon of April 15, 1945. The first two to reach the camp were a British Special Air Service officer, Lieutenant John Randall, and his jeep driver, who were on a reconnaissance mission and discovered the camp by chance.

When British and Canadian troops finally entered they found over 13,000 unburied bodies and around 60,000 inmates, most acutely sick and starving. The prisoners had been without food or water for days before the Allied arrival, partially due to allied bombing. Immediately before and after liberation, prisoners were dying at around 500 per day, mostly from typhus. The scenes that greeted British troops were described by the BBC’s Richard Dimbleby, who accompanied them:

“ …Here over an acre of ground lay dead and dying people. You could not see which was which… The living lay with their heads against the corpses and around them moved the awful, ghostly procession of emaciated, aimless people, with nothing to do and with no hope of life, unable to move out of your way, unable to look at the terrible sights around them … Babies had been born here, tiny wizened things that could not live … A mother, driven mad, screamed at a British sentry to give her milk for her child, and thrust the tiny mite into his arms, then ran off, crying terribly. He opened the bundle and found the baby had been dead for days.
This day at Belsen was the most horrible of my life.

Initially lacking sufficient manpower, the British allowed the Hungarians to remain in charge and only commandant Kramer was arrested. Subsequently, SS and Hungarian guards shot and killed some of the starving prisoners who were trying to get their hands on food supplies from the store houses. The British started to provide emergency medical care, clothing and food. Immediately following the liberation, revenge killings took place in the satellite camp the SS had created in the area of the army barracks that later became Hohne-Camp. Around 15,000 prisoners from Mittelbau-Dora had been relocated there in early April. These prisoners were in much better physical condition than most of the others. Some of these men turned on those who had been their overseers at Mittelbau. About 170 of these “Kapos” were killed on April 15, 1945. On April 20, four German fighter planes attacked the camp, damaging the water supply and killing three British medical orderlies.

Over the next days the surviving prisoners were deloused and moved to a nearby German Panzer army camp, which became the Bergen-Belsen DP camp. Over a period of four weeks, almost 29,000 of the survivors were moved there. Before the handover, the SS had managed to destroy the camp’s administrative files, thereby eradicating most written evidence.

The British forced the former SS camp personnel to help bury the thousands of dead bodies in mass graves. Some civil servants from Celle and Landkreis Celle were brought to Belsen and confronted with the crimes committed on their doorstep. Military photographers and cameramen of No. 5 Army Film and Photographic Unit documented the conditions in the camp and the measures of the British Army to ameliorate them. Many of the pictures they took and the films they made from April 15 to June 9, 1945 were published or shown abroad. Today, the originals are in the Imperial War Museum. These documents had a lasting impact on the international perception and memory of Nazi concentration camps to this day. According to Habbo Knoch, head of the institution that runs the memorial today: “Bergen-Belsen became a synonym world-wide for German crimes committed during the time of Nazi rule.”

Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was then burned to the ground by flamethrowing “Bren gun” carriers and Churchill Crocodile tanks because of the typhus epidemic and louse infestation. As the concentration camp ceased to exist at this point, the name Belsen after this time refers to events at the Bergen-Belsen DP camp.

There were massive efforts to help the survivors with food and medical treatment, led by Brigadier Glyn Hughes, Deputy Director of Medical Services of 2nd Army, and James Johnston, the Senior Medical Officer. Despite their efforts, about another 9,000 died in April, and by the end of June 1945 another 4,000 had died. After liberation 13,994 people died.

Two specialist teams were dispatched from Britain to deal with the feeding problem. The first, led by Dr A. P. Meiklejohn, included 96 medical student volunteers from London teaching hospitals who were later credited with significantly reducing the death rate amongst prisoners. A research team led by Dr Janet Vaughan was dispatched by the Medical Research Council to test the effectiveness of various feeding regimes.

14 April 1881

The Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight is fought in El Paso, Texas.

On April 14, 1881, a group of about 75 heavily armed Mexicans moved into El Paso, Texas looking for two missing vaqueros named Sanchez and Juarique, who had been searching for 30 head of cattle stolen from Mexico. Solomon Schutz, mayor of El Paso, made an exception for the Mexicans, allowing them to enter the city limits with their firearms. Gus Krempkau, an El Paso County constable, accompanied the posse to the ranch of Johnny Hale, a local ranch owner and suspected cattle rustler, who lived some 13 miles northwest of El Paso in the Upper Valley. The corpses of the two missing men were located near Hale’s ranch and were carried back to El Paso.

A court in El Paso held an inquest into the deaths, with Constable Krempkau, who was fluent in Spanish, acting as an interpreter. The verdict was that Sanchez and Juarique had been in the vicinity of Hale’s ranch looking for the stolen cattle. The court determined that the American cattle rustlers, among them Hale, had feared the men would discover the cattle and return with a larger, armed Mexican force. Two American cattle rustlers, Pervey and Fredericks, were accused of the murders of Sanchez and Juarique after they were overheard bragging about killing two cowboys when they found them trailing the herd to Hale’s ranch during the night of April 13 or in the early morning of the 14th.

Meanwhile, a large crowd had gathered in El Paso, including John Hale and his friend, former town Marshal George Campbell. There was tension among some of the Americans, who were concerned that the Mexicans, with a combination of anger, restlessness, and being heavily armed, would become violent while demanding justice for their two murdered comrades. At the inquest, Pervey and Fredericks were formally charged with the murders and immediately arrested. Court was adjourned and the crowd dispersed. The arrestees were scheduled for trial at a later date. With the formerly tense situation defused, the Mexicans returned to Mexico with the two corpses for proper burial.

The Gun Fight
Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire, a noted gunfighter who had only started as town marshal on April 11, was present in the court room. After the court adjourned, he walked across the street for dinner. Constable Krempkau went to a saloon next door to retrieve his rifle and pistol. There, a confrontation took place with George Campbell over remarks he allegedly made about Krempkau’s translations, and his apparent friendship with the Mexicans. John Hale, who was reportedly unarmed, was heavily intoxicated and was also upset with Krempkau’s involvement in the matter. Hale grabbed one of Campbell’s two pistols and yelled, “George, I’ve got you covered!” He then shot Krempkau, who reeled backward. Slumping against a saloon door, Krempkau drew his own pistol.

Marshal Stoudenmire heard the shot, jumped up from his dining chair at the Globe Restaurant, pulled out his pistols, and ran out into the street. While running, Stoudenmire fired wildly, killing Ochoa, an innocent Mexican bystander who was running for cover. As the first shot was heard, John Hale sobered up quickly and jumped behind a thick adobe pillar. When he peered out from behind the pillar, Stoudenmire fired and struck Hale between the eyes, killing him instantly.

Campbell stepped from cover with his pistol drawn, saw Hale lying dead, and yelled to Stoudenmire that this was not his fight. However, Constable Krempkau, mistakenly believing that Campbell had shot him, then fired his pistol twice at Campbell before losing consciousness from loss of blood. Krempkau’s first bullet struck Campbell’s gun and broke his right wrist, while the second hit him in the foot. Campbell screamed in pain and scooped up his gun from the ground with his left hand. Stoudenmire whirled away from Hale and instantly fired at Campbell, who dropped his gun again, grabbed his stomach and collapsed onto the ground. Stoudenmire walked slowly toward Campbell and glared at him. In agony, Campbell yelled, “You big son of a bitch! You murdered me!” Stoudenmire said nothing. Both Campbell and Krempkau died within minutes.

After just a few seconds, four men lay dead or dying. Three Texas Rangers were standing nearby, but did not take part, saying later that they felt Stoudenmire had the situation well in hand.

Three days after the gunfight, on April 17, 1881, James Manning, a friend of Hale and Campbell, convinced former deputy Bill Johnson to assassinate Stoudenmire. Stoudenmire had publicly humiliated Johnson days before. Late at night of April 17, an intoxicated Johnson was hiding behind a pillar of bricks, but his wobbly legs gave in and he fell backward, squeezing the double triggers of his double barreled shotgun into the air and narrowly missing Stoudenmire. Stoudenmire immediately fired his pistols and sent a volley of eight bullets at Johnson, shooting off his testicles. Johnson bled to death quickly.

This began a feud between Stoudenmire and Manning and his brothers. Eventually, Stoudenmire’s brother-in-law Stanley “Doc” Cummings and later Stoudenmire himself died at the hands of the Mannings, who were acquitted in two trials where the juries were packed with their friends.

13 April 1870

The New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art is opened in New York.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s earliest roots date back to 1866 in Paris, France, when a group of Americans agreed to create a “national institution and gallery of art” to bring art and art education to the American people. The lawyer John Jay, who proposed the idea, swiftly moved forward with the project upon his return to the United States from France. Under Jay’s presidency, the Union League Club in New York rallied civic leaders, businessmen, artists, art collectors, and philanthropists to the cause. On April 13, 1870, The Metropolitan Museum of Art was incorporated, opening to the public in the Dodworth Building at 681 Fifth Avenue. On November 20 of that same year, the Museum acquired its first object, a Roman sarcophagus. In 1871, 174 European paintings, including works by Anthony van Dyck, Nicolas Poussin, and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, entered the collection.

On March 30, 1880, after a brief move to the Douglas Mansion at 128 West 14th Street, the Museum opened to the public at its current site on Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street. The architects Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould designed the initial Ruskinian Gothic structure, the west facade of which is still visible in the Robert Lehman Wing. The building has since expanded greatly, and the various additions—built as early as 1888—now completely surround the original structure.

The Museum’s collection continued to grow throughout the rest of the 19th century. The 1874–76 purchase of the Cesnola Collection of Cypriot art—works dating from the Bronze Age to the end of the Roman period—helped to establish The Met’s reputation as a major repository of classical antiquities. When the American painter John Kensett died in 1872, 38 of his canvases came to the Museum, and in 1889, the Museum acquired two works by Édouard Manet.

The Museum’s Beaux-Arts Fifth Avenue facade and Great Hall, designed by the architect and founding Museum Trustee Richard Morris Hunt, opened to the public in December 1902. The Evening Post reported that at last New York had a neoclassical palace of art, “one of the finest in the world, and the only public building in recent years which approaches in dignity and grandeur the museums of the old world.”

By the 20th century, the Museum had become one of the world’s great art centers. In 1907, the Museum acquired a work by Auguste Renoir, and in 1910, The Met was the first public institution in the world to acquire a work of art by Henri Matisse. The ancient Egyptian hippopotamus statuette that is now the Museum’s unofficial mascot, “William,” entered the collection in 1917. Today, virtually all of the Museum’s 26,000 ancient Egyptian objects, the largest collection of Egyptian art outside of Cairo, are on display. By 1979, the Museum owned five of the fewer than 35 known paintings by Johannes Vermeer, and now The Met’s 2,500 European paintings comprise one of the greatest such collections in the world. The American Wing now houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts.

Other major collections belonging to the Museum include arms and armor, the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, ancient Near Eastern art, Asian art, costume, drawings and prints, European sculpture and decorative arts, Greek and Roman art, Islamic art, medieval art, modern and contemporary art, musical instruments, photographs, and the Robert Lehman Collection.

Today, tens of thousands of objects are on view at any given time in the Museum’s two-million-square-foot building.

A comprehensive architectural plan for the Museum by the architects Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates was approved in 1971 and completed in 1991. Among the additions to the Museum as part of the master plan are the Robert Lehman Wing, which houses an extraordinary collection of Old Masters, as well as Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art; The Sackler Wing, which houses the Temple of Dendur; The American Wing, whose diverse collection includes 25 recently renovated period rooms; The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing displaying the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing of modern and contemporary art; and the Henry R. Kravis Wing devoted to European sculpture and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the beginning of the 20th century.

With the expansion of the building complete, The Met has continued to refine and reorganize its collection. In 1998, the Arts of Korea gallery opened to the public, completing a major suite of galleries devoted to the arts of Asia. The Ancient Near Eastern Art galleries reopened to the public in 1999 following a renovation. In 2007, several major projects at the south end of the building were completed, most notably the 15-year renovation and reinstallation of the entire suite of Greek and Roman Art galleries. Galleries for Oceanic and Native North American Art also opened in 2007, as well as the new Galleries for Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Paintings and Sculpture and the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education.

On November 1, 2011, the Museum’s New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia opened to the public. On the north side of the Museum, The Met’s New American Wing Galleries for Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts reopened on January 16, 2012, signaling the completion of the third and final phase of The American Wing’s renovation.

Thomas P. Campbell became the ninth director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in January 2009, following the 31-year tenure of Philippe de Montebello. During the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2016, The Met welcomed 6.7 million visitors from around the world to The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters. Through fellowships and professional exchanges, ongoing excavation work, traveling exhibitions, and many other international initiatives, the Museum continues in the 21st century to fulfill its mission and serve the broadest possible audience.

12 April 1831

Soldiers marching on the Broughton Suspension Bridge in Manchester, England result in it collapsing.

On 12 April 1831, the 60th Rifle Corps carried out an exercise on Kirsal Moor under the command of Lieutenant Percy Slingsby Fitzgerald, the son of John Fitzgerald, Member of Parliament and brother of the poet Edward FitzGerald. As a detachment of 74 men returned to barracks in Salford by way of the bridge, the soldiers, who were marching four abreast, felt it begin to vibrate in time with their footsteps. Finding the vibration a pleasant sensation some of them started to whistle a marching tune, and to “humour it by the manner in which they stepped”, causing the bridge to vibrate even more. The head of the column had almost reached the Pendleton side when they heard “a sound resembling an irregular discharge of firearms”. Immediately, one of the iron columns supporting the suspension chains on the Broughton side of the river fell towards the bridge, carrying with it a large stone from the pier to which it had been bolted. The corner of the bridge, no longer supported, then fell 16 or 18 feet into the river, throwing about 40 of the soldiers into the water or against the chains. As the river was low and the water only about two feet deep at that point none of the men were killed, but 20 were injured, including six who suffered severe injuries including broken arms and legs, severe bruising, and contusions to the head.

An investigation found that a bolt in one of the stay-chains had snapped at the point where it was attached to the masonry of the ground anchor. There was criticism of the construction method used, as the attachment to the ground anchor relied on one bolt rather than two, and the bolt was found to have been badly forged. A number of other bolts were also bent but had not broken. It emerged that three years previously the distinguished Engineer, Eaton Hodgkinson FRS, had expressed some doubt about the strength of the stay chains compared with that of the suspension chains. He had said that they should be rigorously tested, but they were not. It also came to light that some time before the accident one of the cross bolts had started to bend and crack, although it was believed to have been replaced by the time of the accident. The conclusion was that, although the vibration caused by the marching had precipitated the bolt’s failure, it would have happened anyway.

11 April 1970

Apollo 13 is launched.

Apollo 13, NASA’s third crewed mission to the moon, launched on April 11, 1970. Two days later, on April 13, while the mission was en route to the moon, a fault in the electrical system of one of the Service Module’s oxygen tanks produced an explosion that caused both oxygen tanks to fail and also led to a loss of electrical power. The Command Module remained functional on its own batteries and oxygen tank, but these were usable only during the last hours of the mission. The crew shut down the Command Module and used the Lunar Module as a “lifeboat” during the return trip to Earth. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, and a shortage of potable water, the crew returned to Earth, and the mission was termed a “successful failure.”

This photograph of the Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center at the Manned Spacecraft Center now Johnson Space Center, Houston, was taken on April 13, 1970, during the fourth television transmission from the Apollo 13 mission. Eugene F. Kranz foreground, back to camera, one of four Apollo 13 flight directors, views the large screen at front as astronaut Fred W. Haise Jr., Lunar Module pilot, is seen on the screen.

10 April 1970

Paul McCartney announces that he is leaving The Beatles.

The legendary rock band the Beatles spent the better part of three years breaking up in the late 1960s, and even longer than that hashing out who did what and why. And by the spring of 1970, there was little more than a tangled set of business relationships keeping the group together. Each of the Beatles was pursuing his musical interests outside of the band, and there were no plans in place to record together as a group. But as far as the public knew, this was just a temporary state of affairs. That all changed on April 10, 1970, when an ambiguous Paul McCartney “self-interview” was seized upon by the international media as an official announcement of a Beatles breakup.

The occasion for the statements Paul released to the press that day was the upcoming release of his debut solo album, McCartney.Nothing in Paul’s answers constituted a definitive statement about the Beatles’ future, but his remarks were nevertheless reported in the press under headlines like “McCartney Breaks Off With Beatles” and “The Beatles sing their swan song.” And whatever his intent at the time, Paul’s statements drove a further wedge between himself and his bandmates. In the May 14, 1970, issue of Rolling Stone, John Lennon lashed out at Paul in a way he’d never done publicly: “He can’t have his own way, so he’s causing chaos,” John said. “I put out four albums last year, and I didn’t say a word about quitting.”

By year’s end, Paul would file suit to dissolve the Beatles’ business partnership, a formal process that would eventually make official the unofficial breakup he announced on this day in 1970.