Today in History: April 4 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: April 4

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


April 4

527   In Constantinople, Justin, seriously ill, crowns his nephew Justinian as his co-emperor.
1581   Francis Drake completes circumnavigation of the world.
1812   The territory of Orleans becomes the 18th state and will become known as Louisiana.
1818   The United States flag is declared to have 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars.
1841   President William Henry Harrison, aged 68, becomes the first president to die in office, just a month after being sworn in.
1862   The Battle of Yorktown begins as Union gen. George B. McClellan closes in on Richmond, Va.
1917   The U.S. Senate votes 90-6 to enter World War I on Allied side.
1918   The Battle of the Somme ends.
1925   The Schutzstaffel—commonly known as the SS—is founded in Germany. It begins as a group of Nazi party volunteers providing security at official meetings but during Hitler’s time in power it will become one of the most powerful paramilitary organizations in history. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1941   Field Marshal Erwin Rommel captures the British held town of Benghazi in North Africa.
1949   The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) treaty is signed.
1968   Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
1974   Hank Aaron ties Babe Ruth’s home-run record.
1979   Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the president of Pakistan is executed.
1985   A coup in Sudan ousts President Nimeiry and replaces him with General Dahab.
Born on April 4
1780   Edward Hicks, Quaker preacher and painter (The Peaceable Kingdom).
1792   Thaddeus Stevens, U.S. Republican congressional leader.
1802   Dorothea Dix, American social reformer.
1821   Linus Yale, inventor of the Yale lock.
1884   Isoroku Yamamoto, Japanese naval commander during WWII.
1896   Arthur Murray, ballroom dance instructor.
1896   Robert Sherwood, playwright.
1914   Marguerite Duras, French author (The Lover).
1915   Muddy Waters, American blues musician.
1928   Maya Angelou, American poet and author.
1932   Anthony Perkins, actor (Psycho).
1938   Bart Giamatti, baseball commissioner, president of Yale.