On this Day – April 2

The Mercury, Australia

April 2 2004

Highlights in history on this date

1993 – Armenian forces seize Kelbajar in Azerbaijan, completing a
land link to the Armenian enclave Nagorno-Karabach.

1512 – Beyazid II, Sultan of Turkey, abdicates in favour of son,
Selim I.
1559 – Peace treaty between France and Spain is signed at
Cateau-Cambresis, France, leaving Spain the dominant power in Italy
for the next 150 years.
1612 – Protestant Union of Germany signs defensive alliance with
1682 – Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Spanish painter best known for his
populist religious works, dies.
1721 – Sir Robert Walpole is appointed first lord of the treasury and
chancellor of the exchequer, effectively Britain’s first prime
1833 – Attempt by revolutionaries to take over Frankfurt Diet in
Germany is crushed.
1860 – The legendary Pony Express begins a US mail service between St
Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California.
1865 – In the American Civil War, Union forces occupy the Confederate
capital Richmond, Virginia.
1882 – After more than 15 years of robbing banks and trains, US
outlaw Jesse James is shot in the back at St Joseph, Missouri by a
member of his gang.
1883 – State Premier Thomas McIlwraith claims British New Guinea as a
Queensland possession; the claim was later disallowed by Britain.
1897 – Death of Johannes Brahms, German composer and pianist.
1913 – English suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst is found guilty of
encouraging supporters to arson and sentenced to three years in
1920 – US author F Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre are married, four
days after publication of his novel This Side of Paradise.
1922 – Joseph Stalin is appointed General Secretary of the Soviet
Communist Party.
1930 – Ras Tafari becomes Emperor Haile Selassie of Abyssinia
1933 – First flight over Mt Everest in the Himalayas is made by four
Britons in two biplanes.
1936 – Bruno Hauptmann is electrocuted for the kidnap-murder of US
aviator Charles Lindbergh’s infant son.
1941 – British troops evacuate Libyan port Bengazi during World War
1943 – Death of German actor Conrad Veidt, best known for his roles
in The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and Casablanca.
1948 – United States creates the Marshall Plan, allocating $US5.33
billion in aid to 16 European nations to help in rebuilding after
1949 – Transjordan signs an armistice with the newly founded state
1968 – Less than 24 hours before his assassination in Memphis,
Tennessee, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr delivers his
famous “mountaintop” speech to a rally of striking sanitation
1974 – More than 300 people die when a series of deadly tornadoes
strike wide parts of the US South and Midwest before jumping across
the border into Canada.
1975 – Russian Anatoly Karpov, 23, becomes world chess champion when
American Bobby Fischer fails to show up for their match in Manila.
1982 – Britain dispatches a naval task force to the south Atlantic to
reclaim the disputed Falkland Islands from Argentina; UN Security
Council votes 10-1 in favour of a resolution demanding withdrawal of
Argentine forces; A new state Labor government, under John Cain, is
elected in Victoria.
1986 – Peter Pears, British operatic tenor, dies.
1987 – The late Duchess of Windsor’s jewels are auctioned, fetching
nearly $US45 million.
1989 – Guerrillas and South African-led security forces wage fierce
hand-to-hand battles in northern Nigeria.
1990 – Jazz singer Sarah Vaughan dies in suburban Los Angeles at age
1991 – UN Security Council votes 12-1 to accept a ceasefire
resolution requiring Iraq to destroy its weapons of mass destruction
and authorising peacekeeping troops to be deployed in the region;
Death of British novelist Graham Greene, aged 86, in Switzerland.
1992 – Communist Ramiz Alia resigns as president of Albania, two
weeks after a non-Communist parliament is elected.
1993 – Armenian forces seize Kelbajar in Azerbaijan, completing a
land link to the Armenian enclave Nagorno-Karabach.
1994 – Thousands jam a Sarajevo cathedral for the first peaceful
Easter in two years, but fighting continues along Serb-Muslim front
1995 – At least 150 Hutus, mostly women and children, are massacred
in a single village in north-eastern Burundi.
1996 – A US Air Force military plane carrying US Commerce Secretary
Ron Brown and 34 others crashes in stormy weather on a hillside
outside Dubrovnik, Croatia, killing all aboard; Former maths
professor Theodore Kaczynski is arrested, accused of being America’s
murderous Unabomber.
1997 – Iraq begins distributing the first shipments of 400,000 tonnes
of wheat bought under a deal with the United Nations allowing the
sale of oil for food.
1998 – The Dow Jones industrial average of the New York Stock
Exchange reaches 9,000 for the first time, five months after the
Dow’s biggest one-day drop had many thinking the market was going
into a recession; Australian Defence Force ends its six-month drought
relief operation in Papua New Guinea after delivering 3.2 million kg
of aid to remote areas.
1999 – Christians and Muslims armed with swords, spears and homemade
bombs riot and burn a church, a mosque and several houses in Ambon,
the eastern Indonesian province where chronic rioting has killed more
than 200 people; Lionel Bart, British composer of the musical Oliver,
dies aged 68.
2000 – A federal judge in Washington rules that Microsoft Corp has
violated US antitrust laws by keeping “an oppressive thumb” on
competitors during the race to link Americans to the internet.
2001 – The death toll in a meningitis outbreak in Burkina Faso tops
1,000. The government and the World Health Organisation scramble to
secure millions of vaccine doses to control the epidemic which is
spreading to neighbouring countries.
2002 – The Afghan Army is reborn when the first 600 soldiers trained
for six weeks by international peacekeepers graduate in a ceremony
attended by interim leader Hamid Karzai.
2003 – The World Health Organisation reports 2,270 illnesses,
including 79 deaths, from a spreading epidemic of a new respiratory
ailment known as SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome; The US
Congress overwhelmingly votes to approve nearly $US80 billion
($A107.65 billion) to finance the war in Iraq, reward key allies,
bolster anti-terrorism efforts and help struggling airlines.