- The American Revolution began. (1775) "The shot heard round the world" took place early in the morning in Lexington, Massachusetts, when 700 British troops came up against 77 American troops. It was the beginning of seven years of conflict between the two countries that eventually led to American independence.
- The Oklahoma City bombing occurred. (1995) The bombing was one of the most famous terrorist attacks in the US in the 20th century. Domestic terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were arrested, and McVeigh was executed by lethal injection in 2001.
- Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI married by proxy. (1770) The marriage was the result of months of diplomatic back and forth, during which Antoinette even had to undergo oral surgery to be deemed pretty enough for Louis. Her brother stood in as the groom for the wedding; Antoinette didn't actually meet Louis until May of the same year.
- Pope Benedict XVI was elected. (2005) Benedict was the longest-serving Cardinal in the church since the 1700s, and is also the oldest Pope to be elected; he was 78 when he took the papal throne.
- The Branch Davidian compound in Waco burned. (1993) The Davidians, an armed religious cult, had been in a standoff for 50 days with federal agents. The leader, David Koresh, died in the fire, along with some 80 other people.
- Mae West was sentenced to jail for obscenity. (1927) West was a famous vaudeville comedienne known for her risqué double entendres. She was arrested after writing and starring in a play called Sex and sentenced to ten days in jail for "corrupting the morals of youth."
- The Simpsons premiered. (1987) The popular TV show started off as a cartoon short on The Tracey Ullman Show, an 80s variety show. It ran as shorts for three years before being adapted into the 30 minute format and has since won dozens of awards, including being named TIME magazine's best TV show of the 20th century.
- The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began. (1943) The ghetto had been a haven of Jewish resistance, and matters came to a head when over 2,000 SS soldiers began attacking resistance members. The fighting went on for almost a month before German forces set the entire ghetto on fire.
- Douglas MacArthur retired. (1951) Having been recently relieved from his command by President Truman, MacArthur made one of his most famous speeches to Congress, stating, "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away."
- The first American embassy opened. (1782) Though Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the US, the first embassy was in the Netherlands, where John Adams served as the first ambassador.
Frequently Asked Questions
What significant historical event occurred on April 19, 1775?
The Battle of Lexington and Concord, which marked the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, occurred on April 19, 1775. This event is famously known as "the shot heard 'round the world," as it signified the start of the colonies' fight for independence from British rule. The confrontations at Lexington and Concord were the culmination of rising tensions and initiated a war that would last until 1783.
How did the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, impact the United States?
The Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, was a domestic terrorist truck bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. It killed 168 people, including 19 children, and injured over 680 others, according to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. This tragic event led to widespread reforms in U.S. security and law enforcement practices, including the passage of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.
What was the significance of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising that started on April 19, 1943?
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which began on April 19, 1943, was a significant act of Jewish resistance during World War II. Jewish inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland staged an armed revolt to prevent deportations to Nazi death camps. Although the uprising was ultimately crushed, it stands as a symbol of courage and defiance against overwhelming oppression and is commemorated worldwide as an example of resistance to tyranny.
What space exploration milestone occurred on April 19, 1971?
On April 19, 1971, the Soviet Union achieved a significant milestone in space exploration by launching the world's first space station, Salyut 1. This event marked the beginning of long-duration space habitation and research, paving the way for future space stations like Mir and the International Space Station. Salyut 1 hosted its first crew during the Soyuz 10 mission, although they were unable to dock successfully due to technical issues.
What are some notable cultural events that have taken place on April 19?
April 19 has been a date for several notable cultural events. For instance, the premiere of Charles Dickens' novel "A Tale of Two Cities" in literary form began serialization on this date in 1859. Additionally, the film "The Simpsons Movie" premiered in Springfield, Vermont, on April 19, 2007, after the town won a contest to host the event. These events reflect the diverse cultural milestones that can occur on a single calendar day.