Today in History

Today is Wednesday, April 15, the 105th day of 2015. There are 260 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 15, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died nine hours after being shot the night before by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington; Andrew Johnson became the nation’s 17th president.

On this date:

In 1715, the Yamasee War began as members of the Yamasee tribe attacked English settlers in colonial South Carolina.

In 1850, the city of San Francisco was incorporated.

In 1912, the British luxury liner RMS Titanic foundered in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland more than 2 1/2 hours after hitting an iceberg; 1,514 people died, while less than half as many survived.

In 1945, during World War II, British and Canadian troops liberated the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died on April 12, was buried at the Roosevelt family home in Hyde Park, New York.

In 1955, Ray Kroc opened the first franchised McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois.

In 1960, a three-day conference to form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. (The group’s first chairman was Marion Barry.)

In 1974, members of the Symbionese Liberation Army held up a branch of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco; a member of the group was SLA kidnap victim Patricia Hearst, who by this time was going by the name “Tania” (Hearst later said she’d been forced to participate).

In 1985, South Africa said it would repeal laws prohibiting sex and marriage between whites and non-whites.

In 1986, the United States launched an air raid against Libya in response to the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin on April 5; Libya said 37 people, mostly civilians, were killed.

In 1989, 96 people died in a crush of soccer fans at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. Students in Beijing launched a series of pro-democracy protests; the demonstrations culminated in a government crackdown at Tiananmen Square.

In 1990, legendary actress Greta Garbo died in New York at age 84. The comedy sketch show “In Living Color” premiered on Fox TV.

In 2013, two bombs packed with nails and other metal shards exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line, killing two women and an 8-year-old boy and injuring more than 260. (Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is on trial; his brother and alleged accomplice, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in a shootout with police.)

Ten years ago: A Paris hotel fire killed 24 people, many of them African immigrants. A Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Central Asian steppes, catapulting three crew members on a two-day journey to the International Space Station. The final first-run episode of the situation comedy “8 Simple Rules” aired on ABC.

Five years ago: An ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano drifted over northern Europe, causing the largest disruption of flights since the 2001 terror attacks. President Barack Obama, visiting the Kennedy Space Center, predicted his new space exploration plans would lead American astronauts to Mars and back in his lifetime. Civil rights leader Benjamin Hooks, onetime executive director of the NAACP, died in Memphis, Tennessee, at age 85.

One year ago: Boko Haram terrorists kidnapped some 276 girls from a school in northeastern Nigeria. Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the first anniversary of the attack with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s resilience. Five young people were stabbed to death in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; suspect Matthew Douglas de Grood has been charged.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Roy Clark is 82. Author and politician Jeffrey Archer is 75. Rock singer-guitarist Dave Edmunds is 72. Actor Michael Tucci is 69. Actress Lois Chiles is 68. Writer-producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason is 68. Actress Amy Wright is 65. Columnist Heloise is 64. Actor Sam McMurray is 63. Actress-screenwriter Emma Thompson is 56. Bluegrass musician Jeff Parker is 54. Singer Samantha Fox is 49. Olympic gold, silver and bronze medal swimmer Dara Torres is 48. Rock musician Ed O’Brien (Radiohead) is 47. Actor Flex Alexander is 45. Actor Danny Pino is 41. Actor Douglas Spain is 41. Actor Luke Evans is 36. Rock musician Patrick Carney (The Black Keys) is 35. Actor-writer Seth Rogen is 33. Actress Alice Braga is 32. Rock musician De’Mar Hamilton (Plain White T’s) is 31. Actress Emma Watson is 25. Actress Maisie Williams (TV: “Game of Thrones”) is 18.

Thought for Today: “We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is the fact.” – Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher (born 1905, died this date in 1980).

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