1478 – The Pazzi attack Lorenzo de' Medici and kill his brother Giuliano during High Mass at the Duomo. Giuliano was stabbed 19 times by a gang that included a priest, in front of 10,000 peeps. That is a lot of church folk. The plot failed and the conspirators were hunted down and killed. Jacopo de' Pazzi was tossed from a window, dragged naked through the street and thrown into a river. Salviati was hung on the walls of the Palazzo della Signoria, for all to see.
1900 – Charles Richter, American geophysicist, and scale creator, is born.
1937 –The Bombing of Guernica by the Nazi Luftwaffe. The Basque region opposed General Francisco Franco's Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War, but Guernica itself was a small rural city of only 5,000 inhabitants that had not directly engaged in the fight. With Franco's approval, the German’s began their attack at 4:30 p.m., the busiest hour of the market day in Guernica. For hours, the German planes poured down a continuous rain of bombs and gunfire on the town and surrounding countryside. One-third of Guernica's inhabitants were killed or wounded, and fires engulfed the city. Guernica had served as the testing ground for a new Nazi military tactic - blanket-bombing a civilian population to demoralize the enemy, it would come in handy later. Guernica would later became a symbol of fascist brutality.
1946 – Jim White, discoverer of Carlsbad Caverns dies. An inscription reading "J White 1898" was discovered deep within Carlsbad Caverns in the 1980s.
1970 – Gypsy Rose Lee, American burlesque entertainer and playwright, teases her way into heaven.
1986 - The worst nuclear accident to date occurs at the Chernobyl nuclear plant near Kiev in Ukraine. At 1:23 a.m., reactor 4 explodes. Dispersing large amounts of radioactive particulate and gaseous debris. A total of three explosions eventually blew the 1,000-ton steel top right off of the reactor. Flames shot into the air for two days, as the entire reactor began to melt down. Radioactive particles were carried by wind across international borders.
Only after dangerously high levels of radiation set off alarms at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden did the Soviet Union admit that an accident had occurred, but authorities attempted to conceal the scale of the disaster. The evacuation of Pripyat, 36 hours after the initial explosions, was silently completed before the disaster became known outside the Soviet Union.
The full toll from this disaster will probably never be known. Experts believe that thousands of people died and as many as 70,000 suffered severe poisoning. The 18-mile radius around Chernobyl was home to almost 150,000 people who had to be permanently relocated, and is considered unlivable. Some say 150 years, I say never.
1989 – Lucille Ball, American actress and comedian passes.