This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
April 18 is the 108th day of the year (109th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 257 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1775, British troops march out of Boston on a mission to confiscate the American arsenal at Concord and to capture Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock, known to be hiding at Lexington. As the British departed, Boston Patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes set out on horseback from the city to warn Adams and Hancock and rouse the Minutemen.
By 1775, tensions between the American colonies and the British government had approached the breaking point, especially in Massachusetts, where Patriot leaders formed a shadow revolutionary government and trained militias to prepare for armed conflict with the British troops occupying Boston. In the spring of 1775, General Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, received instructions from Great Britain to seize all stores of weapons and gunpowder accessible to the American insurgents. On April 18, he ordered British troops to march against Concord and Lexington.
On the night of April 18-19, 1775, just hours before the battles of Lexington and Concord, Revere performed his “Midnight Ride”. He and William Dawes were instructed by Dr. Joseph Warren to ride from Boston to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the movements of the British Army, which was beginning a march from Boston to Lexington, ostensibly to arrest Hancock and Adams and seize the weapons stores in Concord.
The British army (the King’s “regulars”) had been stationed in Boston since the ports were closed in the wake of the Boston Tea Party, and was under constant surveillance by Revere and other patriots as word began to spread that they were planning a move. On the night of April 18, 1775, the army began its move across the Charles River toward Lexington, and the Sons of Liberty immediately went into action. At about 11 pm, Revere was sent by Dr. Warren across the Charles River to Charlestown, on the opposite shore, where he could begin a ride to Lexington, while Dawes was sent the long way around, via the Boston Neck and the land route to Lexington.
In the days before April 18, Revere had instructed Robert Newman, the sexton of the Old North Church, to send a signal by lantern to alert colonists in Charlestown as to the movements of the troops when the information became known. In what is well known today by the phrase “one if by land, two if by sea”, one lantern in the steeple would signal the army’s choice of the land route, while two lanterns would signal the route “by water” across the Charles River. This was done to get the message through to Charlestown in the event that both Revere and Dawes were captured. Newman and Captain John Pulling momentarily held two lanterns in the Old North Church as Revere himself set out on his ride, to indicate that the British soldiers were in fact crossing the Charles River that night. Revere rode a horse lent to him by John Larkin, Deacon of the Old North Church.
There were other riders that night besides Dawes, including a woman, Sybil Ludington. The other men were Israel Bissel and Samuel Prescott. a doctor who happened to be in Lexington “returning from a lady friend’s house at the awkward hour of 1 a.m.”
1506 – The cornerstone of the current St. Peter’s Basilica is laid.
1518 – Bona Sforza is crowned as queen consort of Poland.
1738 – Real Academia de la Historia (“Royal Academy of History”) founded in Madrid.
1775 – American Revolution: The British advancement by sea begins; Paul Revere and other riders warn the countryside of the troop movements.
1783 – Fighting ceases in the American Revolution, eight years to the day since it began.
1797 – The Battle of Neuwied – French victory against the Austrians.
1831 – The University of Alabama is founded.
1848 – American victory at the battle of Cerro Gordo opens the way for invasion of Mexico.
1857 – Released “The Spirits Book”, which marked the birth of Spiritualism in France, by Allan Kardec.
1864 – Battle of Dybbol: A Prussian-Austrian army defeats Denmark and gains control of Schleswig. Denmark surrenders the province in the following peace settlement.
1880 – An F4 tornado strikes Marshfield, Missouri, killing 99 people and injuring 100.
1881 – Billy the Kid escapes from the Lincoln County jail in Mesilla, New Mexico.
1897 – The Greco-Turkish War is declared between Greece and the Ottoman Empire.
1899 – The St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association is granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria.
1902 – Quetzaltenango, second largest city of Guatemala, destroyed by Earthquake.
1906 – The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire destroys much of San Francisco, California.
1906 – The Los Angeles Times story on the Azusa Street Revival launches Pentecostalism as a worldwide movement.
1909 – Joan of Arc is beatified in Rome.
1912 – The Cunard liner RMS Carpathia brings 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic to New York City.
1915 – French pilot Roland Garros is shot down and glides to a landing on the German side of the lines during World War I.
1923 – Yankee Stadium, “The House that Ruth Built,” opens.
1924 – Simon & Schuster publishes the first Crossword puzzle book.
1936 – The first Champions Day is celebrated in Detroit, Michigan.
1930 – BBC Radio announces that there is no news on that day.
1942 – World War II: The Doolittle Raid on Japan. Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe and Nagoya bombed.
1942 – Pierre Laval becomes Prime Minister of Vichy France.
1943 – World War II: Operation Vengeance, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is killed when his aircraft is shot down by U.S. fighters over Bougainville Island.
1945 – Over 1,000 bombers attack the small island of Heligoland, Germany.
1949 – The aircraft carrier USS United States (CVA-58) is laid down at Newport News Drydock and Shipbuilding. However, the United States is canceled five days later, resulting in the Revolt of the Admirals.
1954 – Gamal Abdal Nasser seizes power in Egypt.
1955 – 29 nations meet at Bandung, Indonesia, for the first Asian-African Conference.
1958 – A United States federal court rules that poet Ezra Pound is to be released from an insane asylum.
1961 – CONCP is founded in Casablanca as a united front of African movements opposing Portuguese colonial rule.
1974 – The Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto inaugurates Lahore Dry port.
1980 – The Republic of Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) comes into being, with Canaan Banana as the country’s first President. The Zimbabwe Dollar replaces the Rhodesian Dollar as the official currency of Zimbabwe.
1981 – The longest professional baseball game is begun in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The game was suspended at 4:00 the next morning and finally completed on June 23.
1983 – A suicide bomber destroys the United States embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 63 people.
1988 – The United States launches Operation Praying Mantis against Iranian naval forces in the largest naval battle since World War II.
1992 – General Abdul Rashid Dostum revolts against President Mohammad Najibullah of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and allies with Ahmed Shah Massoud to capture Kabul.
1996 – In Lebanon, at least 106 civilians are killed when the Israel Defense Forces shell the UN compound at Quana where more than 800 civilians had taken refuge.
2007 – The Supreme Court of the United States upholds the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in a 5-4 decision.
2007 – A series of bombings, two of them being suicides, occur in Baghdad, killing 198 and injuring 251.
* Army Day (Iran)
* Christian Feast Day:
Galdino della Sala
Eleutherius and Antia
Molaise of Leighlin
April 18 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Zimbabwe from United Kingdom in 1980.
* Invention Day (Japan)