On this day, two events occurred involving the South Pacific. Separated by 158 years, one was a mutiny, the other a grand adventure.
Apr 28, 1789: Mutiny on the HMS Bounty Mutiny on the Bounty: The mutiny was led by Fletcher Christian against the commanding officer, William Bligh. The sailors were attracted to the idyllic life on the Pacific island, and repelled by the alleged cruelty of their captain. Captain Bligh and 18 sailors were set a drift in the South Pacific, near the island of Tonga. Christian along with some of the mutineers and native Tahitians eventually settled on Pitcairn Island an uninhabited volcanic island about 1000 miles south of Tahiti. The mutineers who remained behind on Tahiti were eventually arrested and returned to England where three were hanged. The British never found Christian and the others. Captain Bligh and the 18 others eventually arrived in Timor.
Years later on 1808. am American whaling vessel discovered the colony of women and children led by the sole surviving mutineer, John Adams. The Bounty had been stripped and burned. Christian and the other 8 mutineers were dead. Adams was eventually granted amnesty and remained the patriarch of Pitcairn Island until his death in 1829.
1947 Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the Kon-Tiki to prove that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia. His crew of six fellow Norwegians set sail from Peru on a raft constructed from balsa logs and other materials that were indigenous to the region at the time of the Spanish Conquistadors. After 101 days crossing over 400 miles they crashed into a reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands on August 7, 1947. Heyerdahl’s book, “The Kon-Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas”, became a best seller, the documentary won an Academy Award in 1951. The original raft is on display in the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo. Heyerdahl died April 18, 2002 in Italy.
1253 Nichiren, a Japanese Buddhist monk, propounds Nam Myoho Renge Kyo for the very first time and declares it to be the essence of Buddhism, in effect founding Nichiren Buddhism.
1788 Maryland becomes the seventh state to ratify the Constitution of the United States.
1792 France invades the Austrian Netherlands (present day Belgium), beginning the French Revolutionary War.
1796 The Armistice of Cherasco is signed by Napoleon Bonaparte and Vittorio Amedeo III, the King of Sardinia, expanding French territory along the Mediterranean coast.
1862 American Civil War: Admiral David Farragut captures New Orleans, Louisiana.
1902 Using the ISO 8601 standard Year Zero definition for the Gregorian calendar preceded by the Julian calendar, the one billionth minute since the start of January 1, Year Zero occurs at 10:40 AM on this date.
1920 Azerbaijan is added to the Soviet Union.
1930 The first night game in organized baseball history takes place in Independence, Kansas.
1932 A vaccine for yellow fever is announced for use on humans.
1937 Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq (d. 2006)
1945 Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci are executed by a firing squad consisting of members of the Italian resistance movement.
1947 Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the Kon-Tiki to prove that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia.
1949 Former First Lady of the Philippines Aurora Quezon, 61, is assassinated while en route to dedicate a hospital in memory of her late husband; her daughter and 10 others are also killed.
1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower resigns as Supreme Commander of NATO.
1952 Occupied Japan: The United States occupation of Japan ends with the ratification of Treaty of San Francisco.
1952 The Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty (Treaty of Taipei) is signed in Taipei, Taiwan between Japan and the Republic of China to officially end the Second Sino-Japanese War.
1965 United States troops land in the Dominican Republic to “forestall establishment of a Communist dictatorship” and to evacuate U.S. Army troops.
1969 Charles de Gaulle resigns as President of France.
1969 Terence O’Neill announces his resignation as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.
1970 Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon formally authorizes American combat troops to fight communist sanctuaries in Cambodia.
1977 The Red Army Faction trial ends, with Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe found guilty of four counts of murder and more than 30 counts of attempted murder.
1977 The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure is signed.
1978 President of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daoud Khan, is overthrown and assassinated in a coup led by pro-communist rebels.
1986 The United States Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise becomes the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal, navigating from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to relieve the USS Coral Sea.
1987 American engineer Ben Linder is killed in an ambush by U.S.-funded Contras in northern Nicaragua.
1994 Former C.I.A. official Aldrich Ames pleads guilty to giving U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union and later Russia.
1996 Whitewater controversy: Bill Clinton gives a 4½ hour videotaped testimony for the defense.
84 Harper Lee, American author (“To Kill A Mockingbird”)
69 Ann-Margret, Swedish-born actress
69 Lucien Aimar, French cyclist
66 Alice Waters, American chef
62 Marcia Strassman, American actress, (“Welcome Back Kotter”, “Another Stakeout”), singer
62 Dorothée Berryman, French Canadian actress and singer
60 Jay Leno, American comedian and television host
57 Mary McDonnell, American actress
57 Tony Peters, Football player
56 Ron Zook, American Football Coach
55 Paul Guilfoyle, American actor (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”)
44 Too Short, Rapper
37 Big Gipp, Rapper
37 Elisabeth Rohm, Actress
36 Penelope Cruz, Actress
29 Jessica Alba, Actress (“Dark Angel”)