April 24 – On this Day in History

This article presents a chronological list of significant historical events that occurred on April 24th. Spanning centuries and touching on a variety of global incidents, these events reflect pivotal moments in military, political, scientific, and cultural history.

From ancient battles and royal ascensions to significant technological advancements and tragedies, April 24th marks dates of profound importance that have shaped the course of history in diverse and lasting ways.

Each entry briefly explores the context and impact of these occurrences, offering insights into their enduring relevance in today’s world.

April 24th Events in History

1184 BC – Traditional date for the fall of Troy, marking the end of the legendary Trojan War

The traditional date for the fall of Troy comes from ancient Greek sources.

According to myth, the Greeks ended the 10-year-long Trojan War by deceiving the Trojans with the wooden horse, in which Greek soldiers hid and later opened the city gates for their army.

This event has been immortalized in classical literature, notably in Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey.”

Thutmose III

1479 BC – Thutmose III ascends to the throne of Egypt, although power effectively shifts to his aunt Hatshepsut who becomes his co-regent

Thutmose III was a pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Although his rule began in 1479 BC, he was initially co-regent with his aunt and stepmother, Hatshepsut, who effectively controlled the government.

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After her death, Thutmose III emerged as a powerful ruler, known for his expansive military campaigns and contributions to the development of Egypt during the New Kingdom era.

1533 – The Church of England annuls the marriage between Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII

The Church of England’s annulment of King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon was a pivotal moment in English history. It marked a significant break with the Roman Catholic Church, leading to the establishment of the Church of England.

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Henry’s desire for a male heir and his love affair with Anne Boleyn, whom he wanted to marry, were key reasons for this religious and political shift.

1704 – The first regular newspaper in the United States, the “Boston News-Letter,” is published

The “Boston News-Letter” holds the distinction of being the first regularly published newspaper in the United States. Its first issue was published on April 24, 1704, by John Campbell, a postmaster in Boston.

The newspaper featured various types of content including news from abroad, advertisements, and announcements, playing a vital role in the dissemination of information in early American society.

1800 – The Library of Congress is established with a $5,000 allocation from Congress

The Library of Congress was established on April 24, 1800, when President John Adams signed an act of Congress providing for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city, Washington D.C.

The act allocated $5,000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress.” Today, it is one of the largest and most prestigious libraries in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps, and manuscripts in its collections.

Russo-Turkish War

1877 – Russia declares war on the Ottoman Empire

In 1877, Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire, initiating the Russo-Turkish War. The conflict arose mainly due to the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the growing influence of Russia in the Balkan regions.

Russia supported the aspirations of Balkan Christians under Ottoman rule, which fueled nationalist movements. The war concluded with the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878, leading to significant territorial losses for the Ottomans and increased autonomy for various Balkan states.

1884 – Otto von Bismarck cables Cape Town that it is now a German colony

In 1884, Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of Germany, sent a cable to Cape Town declaring it a German colony. This was part of Bismarck’s broader strategy to establish and expand German colonies in Africa.

The move marked Germany’s entrance into the “Scramble for Africa,” where various European powers competed for colonial territories on the continent, significantly impacting the political landscape of Africa.

1898 – Spain declares war on the United States after rejecting America’s ultimatum to withdraw from Cuba

The Spanish-American War began when Spain declared war on the United States on April 24, 1898, following the U.S. ultimatum demanding Spanish withdrawal from Cuba.

The conflict was motivated by the U.S. support for the Cuban struggle for independence from Spanish rule, and it was fueled by the mysterious sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor.

The war marked the emergence of the U.S. as a significant global power and resulted in the U.S. acquiring territories like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

1915 – The Armenian Genocide begins with the arrest of hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople by Ottoman authorities

On April 24, 1915, the Ottoman government began the systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects from their historic homeland in the territory constituting present-day Turkey. The date marks the start of what would become known as the Armenian Genocide.

It began with the arrest and eventual execution of several hundred Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople, and it extended to mass killings and deportations, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians.

1916 – Ernest Shackleton and five men of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition launch a lifeboat from Elephant Island to South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean

Ernest Shackleton and five members of his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition launched a lifeboat from Elephant Island to South Georgia on April 24, 1916.

This was a desperate rescue mission across 800 miles of the stormy southern Atlantic Ocean after their ship, the Endurance, had been crushed by ice.

Their successful landing on South Georgia, followed by an arduous trek across the island to a whaling station, remains one of the greatest survival stories in the history of exploration.

Ernest Shackleton

1953 – Winston Churchill is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II

Winston Churchill, the renowned British Prime Minister who led Britain through World War II, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on April 24, 1953. He was made a Knight of the Garter, the highest order of chivalry in the United Kingdom.

This honor was bestowed in recognition of his outstanding leadership and service to the country during a time of great peril. Churchill’s leadership during the war had been instrumental in boosting British morale and played a key role in the Allied victory.

1961 – The 17th-century Swedish warship Vasa is raised from the floor of Stockholm harbor where it had sunk on its maiden voyage in 1628

The Vasa, a 17th-century Swedish warship, was raised from the waters of Stockholm harbor on April 24, 1961. The ship sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 due to design flaws and has since become one of the most important and popular historical artifacts in Sweden.

After being salvaged, the Vasa underwent extensive preservation and restoration processes and is now displayed in the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, where it attracts millions of visitors annually.

1967 – Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1 when his parachute fails to open on re-entry

Vladimir Komarov, a Soviet cosmonaut, tragically died on April 24, 1967, when his spacecraft, Soyuz 1, crashed upon re-entry to Earth. The parachute failed to deploy properly, leading to the fatal crash. Komarov’s mission had been plagued with technical issues from the start, and his death raised significant concerns about the safety of space travel. He is remembered as a hero in Russia, and his death marked a significant moment in the space race.

1970 – The first Chinese satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, is launched

On April 24, 1970, China successfully launched its first satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, meaning “The East is Red.” The satellite was launched aboard a Long March rocket and marked China’s entry into the space race.

The satellite primarily served for radio transmissions and demonstrated China’s growing capabilities in space technology. This achievement significantly boosted China’s national pride and its stature in global geopolitics and technology.

1980 – Operation Eagle Claw, the ill-fated mission to rescue 52 hostages in Iran, ends in disaster when a helicopter collides with a transport plane, killing eight U.S. servicemen

Operation Eagle Claw was a United States military operation aimed at rescuing 52 hostages from the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran. The operation, which took place on April 24, 1980, ended in disaster when one of the helicopters collided with a transport plane at the Desert One refueling point in the Iranian desert.

The accident resulted in the deaths of eight American servicemen and the failure of the mission. This event had significant political and military repercussions, ultimately affecting U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign and leading to changes in U.S. special operations.

1981 – The IBM Personal Computer is introduced

On April 24, 1981, IBM introduced the IBM Personal Computer (IBM PC), which became a foundational model in the development of the personal computing industry.

The IBM PC was notable for its open architecture, which allowed third-party companies to produce compatible hardware and software.

This significantly influenced the computer market, leading to widespread adoption and the growth of a vast ecosystem of PC-compatible products. The IBM PC was designed to be affordable and accessible, helping to bring personal computers into both the workplace and the home.

1990 – The Hubble Space Telescope is launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. As one of the largest and most versatile space telescopes, Hubble has provided unparalleled views of the universe, contributing to major advances in astronomy and cosmology.

Over the years, it has captured stunning images of distant galaxies, nebulae, and other celestial phenomena, helping scientists to understand the structure and evolution of the universe.

1993 – An IRA bomb in Bishopsgate, London kills one, injures 44, and causes massive damage

On April 24, 1993, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated a powerful truck bomb in Bishopsgate, a major thoroughfare in London’s financial district.

The bombing resulted in the death of one person and injuries to over 40 others, in addition to causing significant structural damage to surrounding buildings. This act of terrorism was part of the IRA’s campaign to pressure the British government to negotiate a political solution to the conflicts in Northern Ireland.

2005 – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is inaugurated as Pope Benedict XVI

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was inaugurated as Pope Benedict XVI on April 24, 2005, following the death of Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict XVI, a theological conservative, had a profound influence on the direction of the Catholic Church, emphasizing traditional Catholic doctrine and values.

During his tenure, he faced various challenges, including addressing the sexual abuse scandals within the church. He resigned in 2013, becoming the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years.

2013 – A building housing garment factories collapses in Savar, Bangladesh, killing over 1,100 people and injuring thousands more

On April 24, 2013, an eight-story commercial building known as Rana Plaza collapsed in Savar, a suburb of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The building housed several garment factories, a bank, and hundreds of shops.

Over 1,100 people died, and thousands more were injured, making it one of the deadliest industrial accidents in history. The tragedy brought international attention to the unsafe working conditions and labor practices in the global textile industry, leading to calls for reforms and improved safety standards.