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This Month in History April

Daisy and the sweet pea are the flowers of the month. Diamond is the birthstone for April

Here comes the Spring

April was the second month in an early Roman calendar, but became the fourth when the ancient Romans started using January as the first month. The Romans called the month Aprilis. It may come from a word meaning ‘to open’, or it may come from Aphrodite, the Greek name for the goddess of love.

Small animals that hibernate are usually coming out of their burrows in April. The birds fly back northward or they settle down to have their families. The bees and butterflies begin to gather nectar from the first flowers of the spring season.

In some parts of the world, it’s planting time. In other parts, including Pakistan it’s the harvest season.. Spring cleaning starts and people start mowing their yards again.

Special days celebrated in April begin with the first day of April, when children and grown-ups play jokes on one another. Arbor Day is a day for planting trees, and it is observed on various April days. The Jewish festival of Pescah (Passover) is celebrated early in April. Easter is almost always in April, and, with it comes other Christian celebrations such as Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday,and Good Friday.

April Fools’ Day, or All Fools’ Day, is the first day of April. No one knows where the custom began, but some historians believe it started in France. They had a New Year’s festival that was celebrated from March 25 to April 1, and they would then exchange gifts. But, later, King James IV changed the holiday to January 1 for New Years. The people that still celebrated it April 1 were called ‘April fish’ and sent mock presents.
April Fools’ Day may also be related to the ancient Roman spring festival Hilaria, which celebrates the resurrection of the god Attis.

The story of the Passover, also called Pesah, is told in the Bible in the book of Exodus, Chapter 12. It begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month Nisan, which usually begins in March or April.

The word Passover comes from the Biblical story of the 10th plague, which God brought on Egypt for keeping the Israelites in bondage. The story says that the blood of a lamb was put on the lintel and two side posts of each Israelites’ home. When God saw the blood, this would save the people in that house.

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, thus making it the most important Christian festival of the year. On the third day, Christ’ tomb was empty, he arose, and people talked with him. Christians believe his resurrection means that they too will some day receive a new life after death.

The holiday can fall on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25, since it is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon in the Northern Hemisphere.

The new plant life that comes in the spring is associated with the new life that Christians gain because of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. The word Easter may have come from the English word, Eastre. Some believe Eastre was the name of a pagan goddess of spring, a spring festival, or the name of a season.

Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week on the Christian calendar, and is the Sunday before Easter. People spread palms and clothing in front of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem, several days before his crucifixion. Today, many carry on the traditions and observe Palm Sunday by passing out palms.

What has happened in History in the month?

April 1
1998 – A federal judge in Little Rock, Arkansas, dismissed a sexual harassment case against President Bill Clinton, stating the case had no “genuine issues” worthy of trial. Although President Clinton had denied any wrongdoing, a unanimous ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 1997 allowed the case to proceed, thereby establishing a precedent allowing sitting presidents to be sued for personal conduct that allegedly occurred before taking office.

April 2
1982 – The beginning of the Falkland Islands War as troops from Argentina invaded and occupied the British colony located near the tip of South America. The British retaliated and defeated the Argentineans on June 15, 1982, after ten weeks of combat, with about 1,000 lives lost.

Birthday – Fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was born in Odense, Denmark. He created 168 fairy tales for children including the classics The Princess and the Pea, The Snow Queen and The Nightingale.

Birthday – French writer Emile Zola (1840-1902) was born in Paris. His works included a series of 20 books known as the Rougon-Macquart Novels in which he defined men and women as products of heredity and environment, portraying them as victims of their own passions and circumstances of birth. In his later years, he became involved in resolving the Dreyfus affair, a political-military scandal in which Captain Alfred Dreyfus had been wrongly accused of selling military secrets to the Germans was sent to Devil’s Island.

April 3
1948 – President Harry S. Truman signed the European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan, intended to stop the spread of Communism and restore the economies of European countries devastated by World War II. Over four years, the program distributed $12 billion to the nations of Western Europe. The program was first proposed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall during a historic speech at Harvard University on June 5, 1947.

April 4
1949 – Twelve nations signed the treaty creating NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The nations united for common military defense against the threat of expansion by Soviet Russia into Western Europe.

1968 – Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee. As head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he had championed non-violent resistance to end racial oppression and had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He is best remembered for his I Have a Dream speech delivered at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington. That march and King’s other efforts helped the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1986, Congress established the third Monday in January as a national holiday in his honour.

1979:  Zulfikar Ali Bhutto hanged in Rawalpindi jail. He was a Pakistani politician who served as the President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973 and as the Pakistan from 1973 to 1977. He was the founder of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which is one of the largest political parties in Pakistan. His daughter Benazir Bhutto has also served twice as prime minister. Bhutto is often addressed as the Quaid-e-Awam .

1986 – A bomb exploded at a popular discotheque frequented by American military personnel in West Berlin, killing two U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman. American intelligence analysts attributed the attack to Muammar Qaddafi of Libya. Nine days later, President Ronald Reagan ordered a retaliatory air strike against Libya.

April 6
1896 – After a break of 1500 years, the first Olympics of the modern era was held in Athens, Greece.

1917 – Following a vote by Congress approving a declaration of war, the U.S. entered World War I in Europe.

1970 Pakistan’s first ordnance factory is inaugurated at Ghazipur.

1978  First of the 13-volume exhaustive Urdu Dictionary is published by Taraqqi-i-Urdu Board.

1994 – The beginning of genocide in Rwanda as a plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down. They had been meeting to discuss ways of ending ethnic rivalries between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. After their deaths, Rwanda descended into chaos, resulting in genocidal conflict between the tribes. Over 500,000 persons were killed with two million fleeing the country.

2000:  Nawaz Sharif sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of hijacking and terrorism.

Birthday – Renaissance artist Raphael (1483-1520) was born in Urbino, Italy. He created some of the world’s greatest masterpieces including 300 pictures with a Madonna theme. He died on his 37th birthday in Rome.

April 7
1712 – In New York City, 27 black slaves rebelled, shooting nine whites as they attempted to put out a fire started by the slaves. The state militia was called out to capture the rebels. Twenty one of the slaves were executed and six committed suicide.

April 8
Among Buddhists, celebrated as the birthday of Buddha (563-483 B.C.). An estimated 350 millions persons currently profess the Buddhist faith.

1950 Liaquat-Nehru agreement is signed in New Delhi on measures to deal with major Inter-

1976Sardari system is abolished in Balochistan.

1982Jahangir Khan wins British Open Squash Championship.

April 9
1866 – Despite a veto by President Andrew Johnson, the Civil Rights Bill of 1866 was passed by Congress granting blacks the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship.

April 10,
1973 Constitution of Pakistan enacted by the National Assembly.

1975Noted scholar and VC of Karachi University, Dr. Mehmood Hussain passes away

1988: Army ammunition blown up in Ojheri camp, Rawalpindi; more than 100 people die.

Birthday – Publisher Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911) was born in Budapest, Hungary. He came to America in 1864 and fought briefly in the Civil War for the Union. He then began a remarkable career in journalism and publishing. His newspapers included the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York World. He also endowed the journalism school at Columbia University and established a fund for the Pulitzer Prizes, awarded annually for excellence in journalism.

April 11
1968 – A week after the assassination of Martin Luther King, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The law prohibited discrimination in housing, protected civil rights workers and expanded the rights of Native Americans.

1970 – Apollo 13 was launched from Cape Kennedy at 2:13 p.m. Fifty-six hours into the flight an oxygen tank exploded in the service module. Astronaut John L. Swigert saw a warning light that accompanied the bang and said, “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” Swigert, James A. Lovell and Fred W. Haise then transferred into the lunar module, using it as a “lifeboat” and began a perilous return trip to Earth, splashing down safely on April 17th.

1973: Chaudhry Fazal Ilahi is elected as President. of Pakistan

April 12
1961 – Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. He traveled aboard the Soviet spacecraft Vostok I to an altitude of 187 miles (301 kilometers) above the earth and completed a single orbit in a flight lasting 108 minutes. The spectacular Russian success intensified the already ongoing Space Race between the Russians and Americans. Twenty-three days later, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. This was followed in 1962 by President Kennedy’s open call to land an American on the moon before the decade’s end.

1981 – The first space shuttle flight occurred with the launching of Columbia with astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen aboard. Columbia spent 54 hours in space, making 36 orbits, then landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

April 13
Birthday – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was born in Albermarle County, Virginia. He was an author, inventor, lawyer, politician, architect, and one of the finest minds of the 1700’s. He authored the American Declaration of Independence and later served as the 3rd U.S. President from 1801 to 1809. He died on July 4, 1826, the same day as his old friend and one-time political rival John Adams.

April 14
1828 – The first dictionary of American-style English was published by Noah Webster as the American Dictionary of the English Language.

1865 – President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded while watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in Washington. He was taken to a nearby house and died the following morning at 7:22 a.m.

1972  First session of National Assembly. of Pakistan Bhutto elected President.

1986 – U.S. warplanes, on orders from President Ronald Reagan, bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi in retaliation for the April 5th terrorist bombing of a discotheque in West Berlin in which two American soldiers were killed. Among the 37 person killed in the air raid was the infant daughter of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s head of state.

1994:  Pakistan’s celebrated scientist Dr. Salimuzzaman Siddiqui passes away in Karachi.

April 15
1912 – In the icy waters off Newfoundland, the luxury liner Titanic with 2,224 persons on board sank at 2:27 a.m. after striking an iceberg just before midnight. Over 1,500 persons drowned while 700 were rescued by the liner Carpathia which arrived about two hours after Titanic went down.

1999 Pakistan conducts test of a nuclear-capable short-range ballistic missile, Shaheen

April 16
1862 – Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia and appropriated $1 million to compensate owners of freed slaves.

1995 – Iqbal Masih, a young boy from Pakistan who spoke out against child labour, was shot to death. At age four, he had been sold into servitude as a carpet weaver and spent the next six years shackled to a loom. At age ten, he escaped and began speaking out, attracting worldwide attention as a featured speaker during an international labour conference in Sweden.

Birthday – American aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright (1867-1912) was born in Millville, Indiana. On December 17, 1903, along with his brother Orville, the Wright brothers made the first successful flight of a motor driven aircraft. It flew for 12 seconds and traveled 120 feet. By 1905, they had built a plane that could stay airborne for half an hour, performing figure eights and other aerial maneuvers. Wilbur died of Typhoid fever in May 1912.

Birthday – Film comedian Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) was born in London. He began in vaudeville and was discovered by American film producer Mack Sennett. He then went to Hollywood to make silent movies, developing the funny ‘Little Tramp’ film character. Chaplin’s classics include The Kid, The Gold Rush, City Lights and Modern Times. In 1940, he made The Great Dictator poking fun at Adolf Hitler, who bore a resemblance to Chaplin. In his later years, Chaplin had a falling out with Americans, but returned in 1972 to receive a special Academy Award. In 1975, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

April 17
1953: Muhammad Ali Bogra is sworn is as Prime Minister.of Pakistan

1989 – The Polish labor union Solidarity was granted legal status after nearly a decade of struggle, paving the way for the downfall of the Polish Communist Party. In the elections that followed, Solidarity candidates won 99 out of 100 parliamentary seats and eventually forced the acceptance of a Solidarity government led by Lech Walesa.

April 18
1959 Government takes over dailies The Pakistan Times, and Imroze and weekly Lail-o-Nihar.

1993: President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dissolves National Assembly, dismisses Nawaz Sharif government. Balkh Sher Mazari becomes care-take prime minister.

April 19
1995 – At 9:02 a.m., a massive car-bomb explosion destroyed the entire side of a nine story federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 persons, including 19 children inside a day care center. A decorated Gulf War veteran was later convicted for the attack.

April 20
1999 – The deadliest school shooting in U.S. history occurred in Littleton, Colorado, as two students armed with guns and explosives stormed into Columbine High School at lunch time then killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded more than 20 other persons before killing themselves.

Birthday – Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria. As leader of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, he waged a war of expansion in Europe, precipitating the deaths of an estimated 50 million persons through military conflict and through the Holocaust in which the Nazis attempted to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe.

April 21

1938:  Allama Sir Dr Muhammad Iqbal Died. Iqbal is known as Shair-e-Mushriq meaning Poet of the East. He is also called Muffakir-e-Pakistan (“The Inceptor of Pakistan”), and Hakeem-ul-Ummat (“The Sage of the Ummah”). Pakistan has officially recognised him as its “National Poet”. In Iran and Afghanistan he is famous as Iqbal-e LāhorÄ« (Iqbal of Lahore), and he is most appreciated for his Persian work.
His birthday is celebrated on November 9 and is a public holiday in Pakistan.[

1963:  The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors adopts code of Press Ethics.
1972: Martial Law lifted; constitutional rule is restored in the country. Hamoodu-ur-Rehman is sworn in as Chief Justice of Pakistan.

April 22
1864 – “In God We Trust” was included on all newly minted U.S. coins by an Act of Congress.

1961:  Government of Pakistan institutes Film Awards

Birthday – Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) was born in Simbirsk, Russia. He led the Russian Revolution of October 1917 which toppled Czar Nicholas and paved the way for a harsh Communist regime. Following his death in 1924, his body was embalmed and placed on display in Moscow’s Red Square, becoming a shrine that was visited by millions during the years of the Soviet Union.

April 23
Birthday – William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born at Stratford-on-Avon, England. Renowned as the most influential writer in the English language, he created 36 plays and 154 sonnets, including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice.

April 24
1800 – The Library of Congress was established in Washington, D.C. It is America’s oldest federal cultural institution and the world’s largest library. Among the 145 million items in its collections are more than 33 million books, 3 million recordings, 12.5 million photographs, 5.3 million maps, 6 million pieces of sheet music and 63 million manuscripts. About 10,000 new items are added each day.

April 25
1967 – The first law legalizing abortion was signed by Colorado Governor John Love, allowing abortions in cases in which a panel of three doctors unanimously agreed.

1995: Veteran politician, G. M. Syed dies in Karachi.

1996 Imran Khan launches new political party, Tehrik-i-Insaf.

Birthday – Radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) was born in Bologna, Italy. He pioneered the use of wireless telegraphy in the 1890’s. By 1921, Marconi’s invention had been developed into wireless telephony (voice radio).

April 26
1986 – At the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, an explosion caused a meltdown of the nuclear fuel and spread a radioactive cloud into the atmosphere, eventually covering most of Europe. A 300-square-mile area around the plant was evacuated. Thirty one persons were reported to have died while an additional thousand cases of cancer from radiation were expected. The plant was then encased in a solid concrete tomb to prevent the release of further radiation.

1992: Pakistan’s Alam Channa enters Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest man in the world.

1994 – Multiracial elections were held for the first time in the history of South Africa. With approximately 18 million blacks voting, Nelson Mandela was elected president and F.W. de Klerk vice president.

2006:  Pervez Musharraf lays foundation-stone of Diamir-Bhasha dam.

April 27
1962Vetern statesman of Pakistan, A. K. Fazlul Haq passes away in Dhaka at age 89.

1984: Ban imposed on use of Islamic nomenclature by Ahmadis.

Birthday – Telegraph inventor Samuel F.B. Morse (1791-1872) was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He developed the idea of an electromagnetic telegraph in the 1830’s and tapped out his first message “What hath God wrought?” in 1844 on the first telegraph line, running from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore. The construction of the first telegraph line was funded by Congress ($30,000) after Morse failed to get any other financial backing. After Western Union was founded in 1856, telegraph lines were quickly strung from coast to coast in America.

April 28
1945 – Twenty-three years of Fascist rule in Italy ended abruptly as Italian partisans shot former Dictator Benito Mussolini. Other leaders of the Fascist Party and friends of Mussolini were also killed along with his mistress, Clara Petacci. Their bodies were then hung upside down and pelted with stones by jeering crowds in Milan.

April 29
April 29, 1992 – Riots erupted in Los Angeles following the announcement that a jury in Simi Valley, California, had failed to convict four Los Angeles police officers accused in the videotaped beating of an African American man.

April 30
1789 – George Washington became the first U.S. President as he was administered the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets in New York City.

1948 – Palestinian Jews declared their independence from British rule and established the new state of Israel. The country soon became a destination for tens of thousands of Nazi Holocaust survivors and a strong U.S. ally.

1967 – Boxer Muhammad Ali was stripped of his world heavyweight boxing championship after refusing to be inducted into the American military. He had claimed religious exemption.

2002: Musharraf wins in a referendum.

Days to be commemorated this month International/World Days
2 April  World Autism Awareness Day.
4 April  International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
7 April Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Rwanda Genocide .
7 April World Health Day.
12 April International Day of Human Space Flight.
22 April International Mother Earth Day.
23 April World Book and Copyright Day.
25 April World Malaria Day.
26 April World Intellectual Property Day.
28 April World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
29 April Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical.
30 April International Jazz Day.

Independence/National Days of Various Countries
Definition: Independence or National Days are perhaps the most important day for a country to commemorate as a national holiday.
For many nations the date is the country’s day of independence, often in hard fought battles to claim their freedom.
Some national holidays commemorate a significant day in the history of the country, or the birth of a national hero who helped establish the day the country’s independence was declared.
The following list signifies each country listed below celebrates her Independence Day, National Day or other significant day.
Hungary – Liberation Day April 4
Senegal – Independence Day April 4
Denmark – Queen’s Birthday April 16
Syria – Independence Day April 17
Zimbabwe/Rhodesia – Independence Day April 18
Austria – Founding of the Second Republic April 27
Sierra Leone – Independence Day April 27
Togo – Independence Day April 27
Japan – Emporer’s Birthday April 29
The Netherlands/Holland – Queen’s Birthday April 30

By: Zaheer Ahmad Anjum

 

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