The world this week: Grace Kelly marries royalty and The Rolling Stones make their debut

Libby Stanford trawls the archives for the key events and notable deaths from this week in history

Thursday 11 April 2019 14:46
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Students participate at the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing which began on 15 April 1989
Students participate at the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing which began on 15 April 1989

The world this week...

15 April

The Kodak company launched its photographic film, Kodachrome, in 1935. It was discontinued in 2009.

The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated in 1945. There were about 53,000 prisoners in the camp, but tens of thousands died before and after the liberation.

The United States launched airstrikes against Libya in 1986, in retaliation for the bombing of a West Berlin discotheque frequented by US soldiers. Around 40 people were killed in Operation El Dorado Canyon.

Students protested for democracy on Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. The demonstrations were triggered by the death of reformer Hu Yaobang.

Deaths: Abraham Lincoln, 1865, president of the United States; Father Damien, 1889, Flemish missionary and priest; Jean-Paul Sartre, 1980, French philosopher and writer; Greta Garbo, 1990, Swedish actress; Pol Pot, 1998, prime minister of Cambodia.

The Stones’ debut album appeared in 1964 

16 April

US aviator Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel in 1912.

Vladimir Lenin returned to Russia from exile in 1917. He later became the first premier of the Soviet Union in 1922.

The Rolling Stones released their eponymous debut album in 1964. It topped the UK charts for 12 weeks.

The Treaty of Accession admitted Poland, Cyprus, and the Czech Republic to the EU in 2003.

Deaths: Francisco Goya, 1828, Spanish painter; Marie Tussaud, 1850, founder of Madame Tussauds; Alexis de Tocqueville, 1859, French historian and scientist; Bernadette Soubirous, 1879, French mystic; Rosalind Franklin, 1958, English scientist.

Cuban soldiers after thwarting the ill-fated, US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion

17 April

Martin Luther faced charges for his religious writings in 1521. The leader of the Protestant Reformation was excommunicated.

The Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba took place in 1961. The US failed in its attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro.

A communist coup in Afghanistan was triggered after the assassination of Mir Akbar Khyber in 1978.

Deaths: Kateri Tekakwitha, 1680, American saint; Benjamin Franklin, 1790, American politician and scientist; Louise Nevelson, 1988, American sculptor; Karpal Singh, 2014, Malaysian politician; Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 2014, Colombian author and Nobel Prize laureate.

Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III wave to the crowds as they leave their wedding ceremony in 1956

18 April

Construction began on St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican in 1506.

Three thousand people died in an earthquake in San Francisco, California in 1906. Over 80 percent of the city was destroyed.

Ireland became an independent republic in 1949.

Actor Grace Kelly married Rainier III, the prince of Monaco, at a civil ceremony in 1956. A religious ceremony took place the following day

Deaths: Isoroku Yamamoto, 1943, Japanese admiral; Albert Einstein, 1955, German/American physicist and Nobel Prize laureate; Ben Hecht, 1964, American screenwriter, director and producer; Thor Heyerdahl, 2002, Norwegian explorer; Dick Clark, 2012, American television host.

The Albert P Murrah Federal Building after it was bombed in Oklahoma City in 1995

19 April

The American Revolutionary War began in 1775 with the battles of Lexington and Concord.

Leslie Irvin became the first person to free-fall with a parachute in 1919. He broke a leg upon landing.

The Soviet Union launched the world’s first manned space station in 1971 called Salyut 1.

The first episode of the popular American TV programme The Simpsons aired in 1987. It debuted on The Tracey Ullman Show in one-minute shorts.

In 1995, 168 people died in a bombing in Oklahoma City. Timothy McVeigh killed 19 babies and children in the attack.

Deaths: Lord Byron, 1824, English poet; Charles Darwin, 1882, English scientist and theorist; Charles Sanders Peirce, 1914, American philosopher; Konrad Adenauer, 1967, German politician; John Maynard Smith, 2004, English biologist.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in 2010

20 April

Romanian surgeon Dan Gavriliu became the first person to surgically replace an organ.

Soviet air defence shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 902 in 1976. The crew had miscalculated their route and ended up in Soviet airspace at the height of the Cold War.

Two teenagers opened fire at Columbine High School in Denver, Colorado in 1999. Fifteen people died and 24 were injured.

In 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers, leading to the largest accidental marine oil spill in history.

Deaths: Zhengde, 1521, emperor of China; Karl Ferdinand Braun, 1918, German and American physicist and Nobel Prize laureate; Steve Marriott, 1991, English singer-songwriter; Don Siegel, 1991, American film director; Cantinflas, 1993, Mexican actor, screenwriter and producer.

The Daily Mail published a photo purportedly of the Loch Ness monster in 1934

21 April

Henry VIII became king of England in 1509.

Manfred von Richthofen, or The Red Baron, was shot down and killed in 1918 during the First World War. He was famous for achieving 80 air combat victories in the war.

The Daily Mail published a photo purportedly of the Loch Ness monster in 1934. In reality the photo depicts a toy submarine with a head and neck made of wood putty.

Georgios Papadopoulos seized power in a military coup in Greece in 1967. The dictator led the country for six years.

Polish astronomer Aleksander Wolszczan discovered the first exoplanets in 1992.

Deaths: Prince Eugene of Savoy, 1736; Mark Twain, 1910, American author; John Maynard Keynes, 1946, English economist; Nina Simone, 2003, American singer-songwriter and pianist; Prince, 2016, American musician.

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