1841 - Edgar Allen Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue," published. The Orangutan did it.
1846 – The Donner Party departs Springfield, Illinois, for California, on what would become one of the greatest tragedies in the history of westward migration. Go west, young man, Ima eat you.
1865 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is shot in Ford’s Theatre. John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer first plotted to kidnap the president, but upon later reflection decided, fuck it, let’s go for broke.
He and his co-conspirators aimed to knock out the Union government and throw it into a state of panic. He assigned his crew the assassination of Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward. They failed.
That evening, at around 10 p.m., as the play (Our American Cousin), progressed, John Wilkes Booth slipped into Lincoln's private box and shot him in the back of the head with a .44 caliber Derringer. Booth leapt to the stage and shouted "Sic semper tyrannis! (Thus always to tyrants)–the South is avenged!" gawh, actors.
He broke his leg on the way down, but still managed to escape on horseback. The pursuit lasted twelve days; Booth was eventually cornered in a Virginia barn, and shot. Other people were punished.
The President was taken across the street from the theater to the Petersen House, where he lay in a coma for nine hours before dying. At 7:22 a.m. the next morning, Lincoln, age 56, died–the first U.S. president to be assassinated.
Never trust three-namers.
1912 – The British passenger liner RMS Titanic hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 11:40pm. The ship sinks the following morning with the loss of 1,517 lives. Four days earlier, the Titanic, one of the largest and most fancy-dancy ocean liners ever built, departed Southampton, England, on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. Designed by the Irish shipbuilder William Pirrie it spanned 883 feet from stern to bow, and was considered unsinkable. Iceberg smash. At about 2:20 a.m. on the morning of April 15, the massive ship sank into the North Atlantic. It dies a maiden pure.
1977 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer is born.
1986 - We bomb Libya. President Reagan went on national television to discuss the air strikes. "When our citizens are abused or attacked anywhere in the world," he said, "we will respond in self-defense. Today we have done what we had to do. If necessary, we shall do it again."