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Events, deaths, births, of APR 26
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ALTERNATE SITES     ANY DAY  OF THE YEAR IN HISTORY   ART “4” APR 26     wikipedia
• Guernica atrocity... • Shakespeare baptized... • Nazi's French puppet arrested... • Allons enfants de la Patrie!... • Stalin's daughter's NY press conference... • Condamnés à mort par la Révolution... • Multiracial elections in South Africa... • Chernobyl nuclear disaster... • Shakespeare is baptized... • Girl's murder will lead to innocent Jew's lynching... • Lincoln's murderer shot dead... • Hess is born... • Land bought for luxury car plant... • Vietnam problem at Geneva Conference... • Loos is born... • Web newspapers discussed... • IBM's first profit in 4 years... • HP's chip flaw... • US troop strength in Vietnam at 5~year low... • Woolworth's losses...
^  On a 26 April:
2001 By a no-confidence vote of 263~69, Ukraine's Communist-dominated parliament dismisses reform-oriented Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko and his government, plunging the nation into political chaos. This slows reforms in the impoverished nation and damages its international standing. —  Los grupos comunista y centrista del Parlamento ucraniano forman una inusual alianza para provocar la caída del Gobierno reformista de Victor Yushchenko y agravar la crisis del presidente, Leonid Kuchma.
Dr. Shemenski^ 2001 Sick doctor rescued from South Pole.
      A small medevac propeller plane of Raytheon Polar Services, fitted with skis for an icy landing went to the South Pole to rescue a sick US doctor, after two days of howling winds and blinding snow eased enough to attempt the harrowing journey. Flying into the pitch black of the polar winter, the eight-seat Twin Otter began its 10-hour flight from the UK's Rothera base, on an island half-way up the west coast of the Antarctic peninsula across from Chile, to the pole, at 14:34 UT on 24 April. Even with the improved weather, the temperatures at the South Pole was at –61ºC. The visibility had improved to 8 km miles with gusting winds and blowing snow. [Current Rothera weather forecast]
      It was the second dramatic rescue attempt in 24 hours: Earlier on 24 April, a New Zealand air force plane successfully evacuated 11 US staffers from a research station on the other side of the frozen continent.
      Flights to the South Pole are normally halted from late February until November because of the extreme cold and darkness. But health emergencies at the isolated, frigid Antarctic outposts forced rescuers in both operations to make the dangerous flights.
     Dr. Ronald S. Shemenski, 59 [photo >], at the Amundsen Scott-South Pole station, the only physician among 50 researchers working at the station, had recently suffered a gall bladder attack and had the potentially life-threatening condition known as pancreatitis. A registered nurse at the South Pole helped take ultrasound images that were sent back to doctors in the US for diagnosis. Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas and can happen when a gallstone passes down the bile duct, irritating the gland. Shemenski needed surgery and had to be evacuated before harsher winter weather set it, making a future rescue impossible. In such a case, most people would have considered treatment within three weeks after the condition was diagnosed.
      The rescue team included two pilots, a flight engineer, and a replacement physician (Dr. Betty Carlisle) for the polar station. The plane arrived at 00:02 UT on 25 April in the dark, bone-chilling cold with a sheet of ice as a runway and no tower to guide the landing. Barrels of flaming debris are set up to light the runway. The cold-resistant plane refueled, its crew rested, and at 16:47 UT on 25 April headed back to Rothera, 2500 km away, where it arrives at 00:52 UT on 26 April. From there, at 15:10 UT, another plane flies Dr. Shemenski the 1480 km to Punta Arenas, arriving at 19:55 UT. After attending a press conference, spending the night there and being checked out, he would board a commercial flight to the US.
     This is the second time in two years that a doctor has been plucked from the pole in a medical emergency. On 16 October 1999, Dr. Jerri Nielsen, 47, — then the only physician at the Amundsen Scott-South Pole Station — was evacuated nearly five months after she discovered on herself a cancerous breast tumor, which she had been treating with herself with medical supplies dropped during a daring mission in July 1999 — the middle of winter in Antarctica, when it was impossible for a plane to land there. The supplies allowed her to perform her own biopsy and begin administering chemotherapy. She e-mailed photographs of slide samples of the tumor to doctors in the United States. Nielsen's rescue was possible only after the winter relented slightly and it became “warm” enough (–50ºC) to risk the flight, possibly the earliest post-winter flight to the South Pole.
      On the opposite coast from the Rothera base, rescuers were also forced to move quickly to evacuate four ill Americans at McMurdo Antarctic Base. In a 15-hour round-trip journey from Christchurch, New Zealand, a C130 Hercules landed on McMurdo's ice runway, spending just one hour on the ground to pick up the evacuees and refuel. Engines were kept running to prevent them freezing in the –30ºC air. The sick Americans were joined on the flight by seven other US staffers, returning because of family emergencies. Two of the evacuees were suffering from critical conditions, and were taken to a hospital in Christchurch.
      Antarctica is the third-largest continent, half again the size of the United States. Nations including the United States, Britain, New Zealand, and Argentina carry out experiments at bases dotted across the continent. They are regularly serviced by flights during the summer months but batten down the hatches and reduce staffing for the polar winter. Scientific research at the South Pole Station ranges from the study of the origins of the universe to the behavior of the ozone hole.
      World Clock
2001 In Bac Ninh province, east of Hanoi, Phan Thi Hien, 31, is sentenced to 30 months in prison for forcing her stepson, 10, to make a needle and thread stitch through his lips as punishment for stealing 200 dong (1.3 US cents). Her husband, Nguyen Viet Honh, is sentenced to 12 months in prison.
2000  Giuliano Amato jura su cargo como primer ministro del 58º Gobierno republicano de Italia y presenta al presidente Carlo Azeglio Ciampi un Gabinete de 24 ministerios.
2000 Vermont Governor Howard Dean signs the US's first bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions.
^ 1997 Woolworth sinks under operating losses.
      Woolworth, the once-mighty retail giant for the first quarter of the new fiscal year finds that it had operating losses of $24 million. The first quarter floundering continued an ominous trend for Woolworth, which had posted $37 million in losses during the previous fiscal year. In the wake of the news, retail analysts opined that Woolworth's trademark "five and dime" stores were outmoded. Sure enough, the mounting money woes, coupled with the rise of hard-charging competitors, including the Wal-Mart chain, ultimately spelled doom for Woolworth's bargain-basement merchandising stores. That summer, the 117-year-old chain would abanhon the five-and-dime format, closing its remaining discount stores. However, the closings did not necessarily signal the end for Woolworth, which still operates more lucrative specialty outlets, including the popular Foot Locker chain.
1996 After 16 days of bloodshed, Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas pledge to end the worst fighting in the Mideast in three years, agreeing to a US brokered truce.
1995 Hewlett-Packard discloses chip flaw.
      Hewlett-Packard announced that a chip flaw in some of its workstations and servers could corrupt data and crash servers for some twenty thousand corporate customers, and the company promised to replace the chips for free. Several months earlier, Intel had also encountered bugs in some of their Pentium processors but had provoked a customer outcry when it balked at replacing the chips.
^ 1994 South Africa holds first multiracial elections.
      More than twenty-two million South Africans turned out to cast ballots in the country's first ever multiracial parliamentary elections. An overwhelming majority chose anti-apartheid leader Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela to lead a new coalition government that included his African National Congress (ANC) party, former President F. W. de Klerk's National party, and Zulu leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom party. On May 4, Mandela was inaugurated as president, becoming South Africa's first black head of state.
      In 1944, Mandela, a lawyer, joined the ANC, the oldest black political organization in South Africa, where he became a leader of Johannesburg's youth wing of the party. In 1952, he became deputy national president of the ANC, advocating nonviolent resistance to apartheid--South Africa's institutionalized system of white supremacy and racial segregation. However, after the massacre of peaceful black demonstrators at Sharpeville in 1960, Nelson helped organize a paramilitary branch of the ANC to engage in guerrilla warfare against the white minority government.
      In 1961, he was arrested for treason, and, although acquitted, he was arrested again in 1964 for sabotage and was convicted along with several other ANC leaders at the Rivonia Trial. Sentenced to life in prison, he became a symbol of the South African and international movement to end apartheid. In 1989, F. W. de Klerk became South African president, and set about dismantling apartheid. De Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC, suspended executions, and in February of 1990, ordered the release of Nelson Mandela after seventy-seven years at Robben Island prison. Mandela subsequently led the ANC in its negotiations with the minority government for an end to apartheid and the establishment of a multiracial government. In 1993, Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and in April of 1994, Mandela was elected South African president in the country's first free elections.
—  El Consejo Nacional Africano de Nelson Rolihalahla Dalibhunga Mandela gana las primeras elecciones multirraciales de Sudáfrica con el 62,6% de los votos, frente al 20,4% del gobernante Partido Nacional.
1994 A division of Black & Decker announces its contract to design for the FBI a fingerprint identification and networking system.
1994 IBM announces first profit in four years.       ^top^
      IBM Chairman Lou Gerstner announced that the company would see its first profits since 1990. The previous year, the company had lost $8.1 billion. Gerstner had been on the job for just over a year. During that time, he adopted a turnaround strategy for the struggling company, which included reducing dependence on the mainframe business and increasing the emphasis on client-server computing.
1993 Newspapers meet to discuss news via computer.       ^top^
     Newspapers from around the country gathered to discuss new ways of delivering the news via computers. Although newspapers had traditionally been at the forefront of electronic information transmission-including the telegraph, telephone, fax, teletype, and other remote transmission systems-the industry had been scared away from costly electronic publishing ventures in the 1980's after a series of high-profile failures. Among the failed attempts to deliver news electronically to readers were Knight-Ridder's Viewtron, a proprietary terminal letting users read the paper, play video games, send e-mail, bank, and shop at home; and Gateway, an electronic newspaper service which Times Mirror Co. shut down in the mid-1980's. Such high-profile electronic failures had long intimidated newspaper publishers. However, with the rise of online services and handheld computers, newspapers realized they would soon be competing with instant information services from online providers.
1991 The US government reports that the nation has sunk deeper into recession in the first quarter of 1991 as the gross national product shrank at an annual rate of 2.8%.
1988  La policía francesa intercepta en Bayona 725 millones de pesetas entregados a ETA (Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna) por la liberación del industrial Emiliano Revilla.
1986  Se confirma la gravedad del accidente en la central nuclear de Chernobil, al norte de Ucrania (URSS), que produjo incalculables daños sobre la población expuesta a la radiación.
1985  Los dirigentes de los países del Pacto de Varsovia acuerdan en la capital polaca renovar su acuerdo militar por 20 años. (Fue disuelto seis años después, el 01 julio de 1991).
1984 US President Reagan visits China
1983 Dow Jones Industrial Average goes above 1200 for first time.
1983 Publication of “An Open Letter to the American People” A Nation At Risk: The Imperative For Educational Reform / A Report to the Nation and the Secretary of Education United States Department of Education by The National Commission on Excellence in Education. (which was created on 26 August 1981). The 36-page report is junk written in Cold War rhetoric: “our nation is at risk . . . [from] a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people. . . . If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.” The “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001”, signed on 08 January 2002 by US usurper-President “Dubya” Bush, would be similarly politically motivated and similarly lacking a basis in sound research. “You don't fatten your sheep faster by weighing them more often.”
1982 Argentina surrenders to Britain on S. Georgia Island frigid dependency of Falkland Islands
1980 Following an unsuccessful attempt by the United States to rescue the US Embassy hostages in Iran, the Tehran government announced the captives were being scattered to thwart any future rescue effort.
1978  La oposición liberal al régimen somocista funda el Movimiento Democrático Nicaragüense.
1972 US President Nixon, despite the ongoing Communist offensive, announces that another 20'000 US soldiers will be withdrawn from Vietnam in May and June, reducing authorized troop strength to 49'000. Nixon emphasized that sea and air support for the South Vietnamese would continue. In fact, the US Navy doubled the number of its ships off Vietnam.
^ 1971 US troop strength in South Vietnam at five-year low.
      The US command in Saigon announces that the US force level in Vietnam is 281,400 men, the lowest since July 1966. These figures were a direct result of President Richard Nixon's new "Vietnamization" strategy, which he had announced at the Midway Conference in June 1969. This strategy was a three-pronged program to disengage the United States from the war in Vietnam. The program required that efforts be increased to improve the combat capability of the South Vietnamese armed forces so that they could assume responsibility for the war against the North Vietnamese. Then, as the South Vietnamese became more capable, US forces would be withdrawn from South Vietnam. At the same time, US negotiators would continue to try to reach a negotiated settlement to the war with the communists at the Paris peace talks. The announcement represented a significant change in the nature of the US commitment to the war. The first US soldiers were withdrawn in the fall of 1969 and the withdrawals continued periodically through 1972. Simultaneously, the US increased the advisory effort and provided massive amounts of new equipment and weapons to the South Vietnamese. When the North Vietnamese launched the massive "Easter Offensive" invasion in spring 1972, the South Vietnamese wavered, but eventually rallied with US support and prevailed over the North Vietnamese. Nixon proclaimed that the South Vietnamese victory validated his strategy.
^ 1967 Stalin's daughter holds press conference in New York.
      Svetlana Alliluyeva, the late Joseph Stalin's only daughter, holds a press conference at New York City's Plaza Hotel to publicize her forthcoming book, Twenty Letters To a Friend. Svetlana explains that she had come to the US "to seek the self-expression that has been denied me for so long in Russia." Svetlana had walked out of the Soviet Embassy Hostel in New Delhi, India on March 6, and was granted asylum by the American Embassy, which later arranged for her transportation to Switzerland (via Rome) where she stayed a month before coming to the United States.
      At the press conference, she explains that in the last 15 years everyone had begun to think more critically (of the Stalin regime) because there was more freedom than there was under her father. She then went on to note the paradox that it was after Stalin's death that "everyone could feel the lack of freedom." Svetlana elaborated by saying that she felt she had led a useless life for 40 years and now she would be doing something worthwhile.
      Speaking of her son who remained in the Soviet Union (and who later renounced his mother), Svetlana said that he would be 22 in May, and that he was married and a medical student. She expressed confidence that he would be able to care for himself and his 17-year-old sister without being persecuted by the Soviets.
      Answering questions put to her by the press through an interpreter, she referred to the possibility of her becoming a US citizen in this fashion: "I think that before marriage there should be love. So if I will love this country and this country will love me, then the marriage will be settled, but I cannot say now." Svetlana did subsequently become an American citizen and lost her Russian citizenship.
      On 06 March 1967, the stocky blue-eyed woman, with short, curly, auburn hair, had walked into the American Embassy in New Delhi and had asked for sanctuary. All she had with her was a small suitcase and a copy of her manuscript. Within 24 hours, the press of the world trumpeted the fact that Joseph Stalin's only daughter had defected to the United States.
      The youngest of Joseph Stalin's three children was born Svetlana Josifovna Stalina in Moscow in 1925. For most of her adult life, Swetlana preferred to use the maiden name of her mother, Nadezhda Alliluyeva, whom Stalin married in 1919. Svetlana's childhood was much like that of any other child high up in the Communist hierarchy in postrevolutionary Moscow. Left in the charge of a nurse by her mother, who busied herself with politics, Svetlana became closely attached to her mother substitute.
      She was privately tutored and also sent to the school in Moscow that was in fashion for the power elite. The Stalins wintered in the Kremlin and summered in the country, usually at Zubalovo, a dacha outside Moscow. Both Stalin's family, the Djugashvilis (the dictator assumed the "Man of Steel" pseudonym a few years before the revolution) and the Alliluyevas were Georgians and the family often vacationed in Sochi, the Georgian resort on the Black Sea.
      Svetlana remembered her father as gruffly affectionate and sometimes doting. Although Mrs. Alliluyeva remembered her early childhood as being almost idyllic, the dark and bloody power struggle among the Soviet leaders had an impact on the Stalins' domestic life. Nadya, horror-struck by the purges, betrayals, and corruption, quarrelled frequently with her husband, who treated his wife brutally. On 09 November 1932, following one of these periodic quarrels, Nadya either shot herself or was shot by her husband. The official version of her death was given out as peritonitis and Svetlana only learned the truth some 10 years later when she read of the shooting in an American magazine.
      Mrs. Alliluyeva wrote, "Our carefree life, so full of gaiety and games and useful pastimes, fell apart the moment my mother died." She was no doubt referring to the change in her father. He moved his family to different quarters in the Kremlin, and refused to visit his wife's family at Zubalovo, and eventually several family members fell victim to his purges. Svetlana, however, remained close to her father until the winter of 1942-43, when she met and fell in love with a Jewish filmmaker named Alexei Kapler. Violently anti-Semitic, according to Mrs. Alliluyeva, Stalin sent Kapler to a Siberian prison camp for 10 years.
      Relations then became strained between father and daughter, although he still exercised a rigid control over her life. Either stubborn, or slow to learn, Svetlana met and fell in love with Grigory Morozov, fellow student at the University of Moscow. He, too, was Jewish. Stalin grudgingly gave his consent to a marriage, although he refused to meet his son-in-law or allow him into his home. Two years later, in May, 1945, Svetlana gave birth to a son and in 1947, she divorced Morozov. She graduated from the University in the spring of 1949 and she married -- this time with her father's hearty approval -- Yary Zhdanov, the son of Andre Zhdanov, Stalin's second-in-command. Their daughter, Ekaterina Zhdanov, was born in 1950. This marriage also ended in divorce and Svetlana, with her father' permission, took an apartment in Moscow outside the Kremlin where she remained with her two children until she left Russia in 1966.
      After her father's death, she lived quietly and obscurely, occasionally teaching English or Soviet lieterature at Moscow University. It was during the summer of 1963 that she wrote her memoirs "for the drawer" as the Russians say, because she realized they could not be published in the Soviet Union.
      It was during this time that she met Brijesh Singh, an Indian communist living in Moscow. The Soviet government refused to legalize their marriage because he was a foreigner, and similarly refused to grant Svetlana permission to accompany Singh to India when he became seriously ill in 1966. Singh died on 31 October 1966 and only then was she granted permission to bring her husband's ashes to his native village of Kalakankar in Northern India. She remained in the village for over two months, embraced Hindu culture and became a vegetarian.
      After her arrival in the United States, Henry Raymont of The New York Times announced that she was to be paid over $2.5 million for serial rights to her memoirs -- Twenty Letters. The Kremlin proved that it still exercised some control over her destiny when, by threatening publications of an unauthorized version, it forced her memoirs to be published on 02 October 1967, a few weeks before the announced publication date, and a full month before the November celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution.
      Svetlana became a United States citizen and planned another book of memoirs about her life after her father's death. Joseph, her son, a married medical student, publicly denounced her defection. Premier Aleksei Kosygin called her morally sick, unstable, and with a history of nervous breakdowns and hysteria.
      On 07 April 1970, Svetlana married a fourth time. Her husband was 58-year-old architect William Wesley Peters, vice president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The ceremony was performed at Taliesen West, headquarters of the Foundation located 13 km east of Phoenix, Arizona. A daughter born to the couple the following year was named Olga.
      To the astonishment of some -- but by no means all -- of her Western acquaintances, Svetlana returned to the Soviet Union in October 1984 with her 13-year-old child. The American-born granddaughter of Joseph Stalin was granted Soviet citizenship and Svetlana's own citizenship was restored. In explaining her return, Svetlana said she had been tormented both by guilt over her defection to the West, and by a longing for her children in Russia. As Lana Peters, Svetlana had spent her final two years outside the Soviet Union living in Cambridge, England.  
1963  Argentina expulsa al embajador de Checoslovaquia, después de la captura de cuatro espías de este país por la policía bonaerense.
1963  Se declara a Stanley Moss legítimo propietario del San Jerónimo de Francisco de Goya y Lucientes y nadie puede reclamar su intervención o depósito, ni impedir la venta.
1961  El primer ministro de Katanga, Moshé Tshombe, es detenido por soldados del gobierno central, mientras celebraba una conferencia.
1960  Syngman Rhee dimite de su cargo como presidente de Corea del Sur.
1959  Desembarco de expedicionarios cubanos castristas en Panamá.
1957  Egipto prohíbe el paso por el canal de Suez a los buques israelíes.
1954 Test of Salk anti-polio vaccine begins across the US.
^ 1954 Vietnam problem faces Geneva Conference as it begins.
      In an effort to resolve several problems in Asia, including the war between the French and Vietnamese nationalists in Indochina, representatives from the world's powers meet in Geneva. The conference marked a turning point in the United States' involvement in Vietnam. Representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, France, and Great Britain come together in April 1954 to try to resolve several problems related to Asia.
      One of the most troubling concerns was the long and bloody battle between Vietnamese nationalist forces, under the leadership of the communist Ho Chi Minh, and the French, who were intent on continuing colonial control over Vietnam. Since 1946 the two sides had been hammering away at each other. By 1954, however, the French were tiring of the long and inclusive war that was draining both the national treasury and public patience.
      The United States had been supporting the French out of concern that a victory for Ho's forces would be the first step in communist expansion throughout Southeast Asia. When America refused France's requests for more direct intervention in the war, the French announced that they were including the Vietnam question in the agenda for the Geneva Conference.
      Discussions on the Vietnam issue started at the conference just as France suffered its worst military defeat of the war, when Vietnamese forces captured the French base at Dien Bien Phu. In July 1954, the Geneva Agreements were signed. As part of the agreement, the French agreed to withdraw their troops from northern Vietnam. Vietnam would be temporarily divided at the 17th parallel, pending elections within two years to choose a president and reunite the country. During that two-year period, no foreign troops could enter Vietnam. Ho reluctantly signed off on the agreement though he believed that it cheated him out of the spoils of his victory. The non-communist puppet government set up by the French in southern Vietnam refused to sign, but without French support this was of little concern at the time. The United States also refused to sign, but did commit itself to abide by the agreement.
      Privately, US officials felt that the Geneva Agreements, if allowed to be put into action, were a disaster. They were convinced that national elections in Vietnam would result in an overwhelming victory for Ho, the man who had defeated the French colonialists. The US government scrambled to develop a policy that would, at the least, save southern Vietnam from the communists. Within a year, the United States had helped establish a new anti-communist government in South Vietnam and began giving it financial and military assistance, the first fateful steps toward even greater US involvement in Vietnam.
1948 The XP-86 prototype for the Sabre Jet first "officially" breaks the sound barrier. The first operational F-86A Sabres entered service in May of the same year.
Pétain the Nazi puppet1945 Leader of Vichy France is arrested.       ^top^
      Henri Philippe Pétain, 89, the puppet French figurehead of Nazi-occupied France, was arrested by Free French authorities after voluntary returning to the country to stand trial on treason charges.
      Born on 24 April 1856, general Pétain became a military hero during World War I and was promoted to maréchal, He was appointed vice premier of France on 18 May 1940 to boost morale in a country crumbling under the force of the Nazi invasion. Instead, Pétain, realizing that defeat was inevitable, decided to sign an armistice with the Nazis. The armistice went into effect on 25 June, and more than half of France was occupied by the Germans. On 10 July, Pétain was given “full powers” as “chief of state” in Vichy, a city in unoccupied France. The Vichy government under Pétain collaborated with the Nazis, and French citizens suffered on both sides of the divided nation.
      On 18 April 1942, Pierre Laval, an opportunistic French Fascist and dutiful Nazi collaborator, who won the trust of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler forms a new Vichy government and the elderly Pétain becomes merely a figurehead in the regime.
      On 06 June 1944, the Allies successfully landed in Normandy and in late August, Pétain and Laval were forced to flee to German protection to the east.
      On 26 April 1945, with Germany days away from surrender, Pétain crossed into France from Switzerland and turned himself in. He was subsequently found guilty of treason by the High Court of Justice and sentenced to death, but French President Charles de Gaulle commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. Pétain died in the Île d'Yeu prison on 23 July 1951.
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1944  Juan Puig, antiguo miembro de la Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI), es detenido en Barcelona.
1939  Se vota una ley sobre la conscripción en el Reino Unido.
Guernica by Picasso^ 1937 Nazis test Luftwaffe on Basque town of Guernica.
     During the Spanish Civil War, the German military tested its powerful new air force--the Luftwaffe — on the Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain.
      Although the independence-minded Basque region opposed General Francisco Franco's Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War, Guernica itself was a rural small city of only 5000 inhabitants that declared non-belligerence in the conflict.
      With Franco's approval, his Nazi allies began their unprovoked attack at 16:30, the busiest hour of the market day in Guernica. For three hours, the German planes poured down a continuous and unopposed rain of bombs and gunfire on the town and surrounding countryside. One-third of Guernica's 5000 inhabitants were killed or wounded and fires engulfed the city and burned for three days.
      The indiscriminate killing of Guernica’s women and children by the Luftwaffe aroused world opinion, and became a symbol of fascist brutality. Pablo Picasso reacted by creating a famous painting.
      Unfortunately, by 1942, all major participants in World War II had adopted the frightful bombing innovations developed by the Nazis at Guernica, and by the war's end in 1945, millions of innocent civilians had died during Allied and Axis air attacks on enemy cities and towns.
—  La Legión Cóndor alemana bombardea Guernica (Vizcaya).
Hitler était venu au secours de Franco dans la guerre d’Espagne. Ses avions bombardent ce 26 Apr 1937 la ville basque de Guernica, véritable carrefour de communication, qui abritait des usines d’armement, des casernes et des hôpitaux militaires. Cible idéale. « Je voulais essayer ma jeune Lutwaffe (aviation allemande) » avait simplement dit Hitler. La ville reste, jusqu’à aujourd’hui, le symbole de la République torturée. Immortalisée par les poètes et, surtout, par Picasso ( ci-contre). Grandes figures du siècle Picasso « C’est vous qui avez fait cela ? », lui demanda un jour un dignitaire de Franco devant sa toile Guernica. « Non, c’est vous », répliqua Picasso. Tout le génie du peintre était là. Une peinture provocante, sensible, riche et éternelle. Pablo Picasso est considéré, unanimement, comme le plus grand artiste du siècle. Peintre, sculpteur, graveur, céramiste, dessinateur. Il savait tout faire à la perfection. Sa richesse imaginative a fait de lui le créateur des grands courants picturaux du siècle, le cubisme, l’abstraction et, pour une partie, le surréalisme. Il a peint Guernica comme personne ne l’aurait fait : une grande toile en noir et blanc. La tragédie n’a pas besoin de couleurs. Mais on doit des centaines d’autres œuvres à ce chasseur de beauté, séducteur et charmeur. Qui aurait, en effet, pu aussi bien décrire Les Femmes d’Alger, d’après Delacroix ? Picasso mourra en 1973.
1936  El Frente Popular triunfa en las elecciones en Francia.
1926 Karachai Autonomous Region established in RSFSR (until 1943)
1925  Los alemanes eligen presidente de la República al mariscal Paul von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg.
1918  Alemania y el Gobierno soviético establecen relaciones diplomáticas.
1915  Los aliados e Italia firman en Londres un acuerdo secreto, en el que los primeros ofrecen al país compensaciones territoriales si declara la guerra a Austria.
^ 1906 Land bought for luxury car plant.
     The George N. Pierce Company purchases a 6.5-hectare plot of land that had been the site of the 1901 Pan American Exposition, with the intention of making the site its new production facility. In 1872, George Pierce of Heintz, Pierce, and Munschauer, a housewares manufacturing firm whose products included birdcages, bought out his two partners and reorganized the company as the George N. Pierce Company. By the mid-1890s, the company had begun manufacturing bicycles. When car production began in the late 1890s, company executive Charles Clifton began investigating the possibility of entering the industry. The summer of 1900 saw the company's first car produced, a steamer that turned out to be a dismal failure. Clifton traveled to Europe and returned insisting that Pierce purchase DeDion gasoline engines for car production. Pierce's first production car was the Motorette. The car enjoyed great success in reliability trials and it established Pierce as a dependable brand in the early car market.
      In 1904, Pierce took a giant leap forward when the firm produced its first Great Arrow. The four-cylinder Great Arrow sold for $4000, making it a luxury car. Pierce rode the success of the Great Arrow for the rest of the decade, and in 1909 the company changed its name to Pierce-Arrow. Pierce-Arrow established itself as the only car company to exclusively produce luxury automobiles, and for the next few decades it would battle Packard in that marketplace.
      The company is credited with being the first car manufacturer to bring aesthetics to the forefront of the marketing race. Pierce-Arrow employed major working artists, including N.C. Wyeth and J.C. Leyendecker, to render their cars on advertisements that were literally works of art.
      By 1915, Pierce-Arrow had established itself at the highest echelon of the luxury car market. Along with their fine aesthetics, the cars sported a 6-cylinder, 824.8 cubic-inch engine, America's biggest production engine ever. Pierce-Arrow remained a profitable name through the 1920s, although sales fell steadily due to the company's unwillingness to modernize its 6-cylinder engine. The Depression buried Pierce-Arrow, and thus Time magazine titled its piece on the company, "From Birdcages to Bankruptcy." Still, Pierce-Arrow enjoys a prominent place in car history as America's first great luxury name.
1877 The residents of Minnesota observed a statewide day of prayer, asking for deliverance from a plague of grasshoppers that had been ravishing their farm crops this year. (The plague ended soon after, in the summer.)
1865 Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrenders forces under his command to General William T. Sherman at Durham Station, North Carolina
1864 Union fleet trapped by low water on the Red River near Alexandria, Louisiana
1863 Siege of Suffolk, Virginia by Confederates continues
1862 Siege of Yorktown, Virginia continues.
1860  Se firma el tratado de Tetuán, acuerdo de paz que pone fin a la guerra entre españoles y marroquíes en África.
1828  Rusia declara la guerra a Turquía por una supuesta violación del tratado de Ackermann.
1654 Jews are expelled from Brazil
1607 An expedition of English colonists, including Capt. John Smith, went ashore at Cape Henry, Va., to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere.
1514 Copernicus makes his first observations of Saturn.
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< 25 Apr 27 Apr >
^  Deaths which occurred on a 26 April: 

2006 Hashim Ibrahim Awad [1952–], Iraqi man dragged from his home in Hamdania (or Hamdaniyah; incorrect: Hamandiyah or Hamadiya _ a small village west of Baghdad, near Abu Ghraib prison), Iraq, and shot at 02:45 (22:45 UT on 25 Apr), by seven Marines and a Navy corpsman of the 2nd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, commanded by a staff sergeant, who were frustrated by finding empty the house next door, in which they had been searching for an insurgent. The killers then place an AK-47 rifle and a shovel near the body to make it appear that the man was an insurgent burying a roadside bomb. The killers are Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III, Cpl. Trent D. Thomas, Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr., Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda, Lance Robert B. Pennington, Pfc. John J. Jodka, Lance Cpl. Tyler A. Jackson, and Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos. Hutchins, Thomas, and Shumate had already assaulted (3, 1, and 1) innocent Iraqi civilians in Hamdania on 10 April 2006. — (060804)
2005 Augusto Roa Bastos, born on 13 June 1917, Paraguayan novelist, whose fiction often examined Paraguay's social and political struggles. Former journalist, poet, and short-story writer Roa Bastos won the Cervantes Prize for Literature in Spanish in 1989. He is best known for his I the Supreme, a novelized version of the career of José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia [06 Jan 1766 – 20 Sep 1840], dictator of Paraguay from 1814. Roa Bastos lived in exile for 42 years, voluntarily at first. He returned briefly in 1982, only to be expelled as a “subversive” writer by the government of dictator (1954-1989) Alfredo Stroessner [03 Nov 1912~]. Roa Bastos returned permanently in the mid-1990's. He published more than 20 works of fiction, poems, plays and screenplays, many of them translated into dozens of languages. Among them were Hijo de Hombre (1960), a collection of stories; El Baldío (1966), a narrative of the social and political problems of Paraguay; Vigilia del Almirante (1992), a novel about Columbus, typical of his style of adding fictional elements to historical accounts.
David Brame Sr.2003 David Brame, 44 [photo >], 151 minutes after, at 15:12, he shoots himself with his Glock .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun immediately after shooting in the head his wife, Crystal Judson Brame, 35 (who survives in critical condition and dies on 03 May 2003), in a strip-mall parking lot in Gig Harbor, Wahington state. This is next to Tacoma, where he was Chief of Police since 14 January 2002, appointed by City Manager Ray E. Corpuz, Jr. The Brames had arrived at the parking lot in separate cars, she with their boy, David Brame Jr., 5, and girl, Haley Brame, 8. Mr. and Mrs. Brame were living separately, in Gig Harbor, as Mrs. Brame was seeking a divorce. In 24 February 2003 divorce filings, she said that her husband had choked her, threatened her with a gun, and tried obsessively to control her (She said that he husband required her to weigh herself daily in front of him, insisted on being present when she used the toilet and at her gynecological exams, forced her to ask permission before she made any purchases, made her explain every visit outside the house, and monitored the mileage on her car. He restricted her use of the telephone and gave her an allowance of $100 every two weeks for gas and family expenses; if she spent more, she had to show him receipts to be reimbursed. He would send her flowers with a card from “an anonymous admirer”. He then would berate her about who the flowers were from. He didn't allow her to have friends.). This had been reported in John Hathaway's The New Takhoman newsletter and thence in the Tacoma Tribune on 25 April. On 28 April Hathaway, 57, got an e-mail from police union president Patrick Frantz that said, in part: "If you want to throw stones, you had better live in a bulletproof glass house." On 30 April, Frantz would be placed on paid administrative leave, by acting Police Chief Woodard, pending an investigation into the e-mail.
      Brame was hired by the police department in 1981 even though he failed a psychology test and a police psychologist deemed him unfit for the job. In 1989 he was accused of raping a woman on a first date when he was a patrol officer in 1988; no charges were filed, but his fellow officers at the time believed the accuser. Even after his suicide, Catherine Woodard, who was briefly appointed acting police chief, said that she knew of Crystal Brame's abuse allegations, but said: “Allegations made during contentious divorce proceedings frequently are found to be false.” On 01 May 2003, Woodard was placed on paid administrative leave. According to 911 tapes released that day, Crystal Brame had reported on 11 April that Woodard had been intimidating and threatening her.
2003 Emma Rosenfeld, 34, stabbed by her husband, Gregory Rosenfeld, 40, who then jumps from the window of their 4th-story apartment in Tel Aviv, Israel, and soon afterwards dies of the injuries. They were immigrants to Israel, she from Russia, he from the Ukraine. He had been fired from his job as a security guard about 6 monts earlier. They frequently argued about money and were in the process of getting a divorce.
2003 An Iraqi civilian, 50, his four teenage children, and his daughter-in-law, 23, and (according to Iraqis but not the US) more than 30 other civilians, by explosions starting at 07:50at an Iraqi ammunition dump captured and held by US forces, in the Zafaraniyah residential area on the SW outskirts of Baghdad. At least 20 persons are injured. The explosions were set off by a flare fired into the dump, according to the US. Iraqis shoot at the US rescuers. Iraqis say that the US had not complied with their request to move the dump from the area, and that the US had been detonating the captured ordnance, so that they believe that the disaster is due to one such intentional explosion going out of control.
2002 Alton Coleman, 46, executed by lethal injection in Ohio, for beating to death on 13 July 1984 Marlene Walters, 44, in her home in the Cincinnati suburb of Norwood (Her husband Harry Walters was beaten so severely that a sliver of bone was driven into his brain, leaving him permanently disabled.). He was responsible for eight deaths, plus numerous robberies, rapes and kidnappings during a 54-day five-state spree with his girlfriend, Debra Denise Brown. Coleman's lawyers say he was abused as a child and his brain was affected by his mother use of drugs and alcohol while pregnant. Coleman fought his execution through state and federal appeals courts and the US Supreme Court, arguing that he had ineffective counsel in the Walters' trial and that the state should not be allowed to telecast the execution. Gov. Bob Taft denied clemency, as he did in Ohio's three previous executions.
      Coleman and Brown also were sentenced to die for the torture and murder of Tonnie Storey, 15, of Cincinnati, on 11 July 1984.
      Coleman was also under an Illinois death sentence for abducting from Kenosha, Wisconsin, on 29 May 1984 then strangling Vernita Wheat, 9, whose body was found on 19 June 1984 in his hometown of Waukegan, Illinois.
     Coleman was also under an Indiana death sentence for abducting on 18 June 1984, in Gary, Indiana, and then stomping and strangling Tamika Turks, 7. Coleman had at the same time abducted Tamika's 9-year-old aunt, who survived, despite having been beaten and raped.
 Steinhäuzer     (On 27 December 1973 Coleman and a conferate had kidnapped a 54-year-old woman from a Waukegan shopping center, then robbed and raped Her. Convicted on a reduced charge of robbery, Coleman then spent two years in prison at Joliet. In 1976 and 1980, he was acquitted of two other rapes).
2002 Eighteen persons shot by a masked “Amoklaufer” in the Johann Gutenberg Gymnasium (secondary school) in Erfurt, Germany. The dead include a boy, a girl, assistant principal Rosa Marie Haina, 12 teachers, the school secretary, a police officer who was among the first to arrive in response to a 11:05 call, and the gunman, Robert Steinhäuser, 19 [photo >], a student expelled from the school several weeks earlier for forging a doctor's excuse from finals exams, who ends it all by killing himself.
2001 Atef Wahdan, Palestinian farmer, shot by Israeli soldiers near the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza strip.
2001 Ibrahim Abu Awaila, 20, Palestinian, of wounds suffered in an Israeli raid against the Khan Younis refugee camp earlier in April, in a Cairo hospital.
^ 2001 Six Red Cross workers, murdered in Uganda-occupied part of Congo ex-Zaire.
     Uganda Holds Man in Red Cross Deaths Updated: Sat, May 26 8:29 AM EDT By HENRY WASSWA, Associated Press Writer KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) - Ugandan soldiers have arrested a Lendu tribal warrior for the slaying of six Red Cross workers in Congo, a top general and newspapers reported Saturday. Maj. Gen. Jeje Odongo, head of the Ugandan army, confirmed a newspaper report that said the motive of the attack was robbery. Four Congolese, one Swiss and one Colombian worker from the International Committee of Red Cross were shot and hacked to death while delivering medicine to a health center on 26 April. The arrest followed an investigation into the slayings in northeastern Congo, a region controlled by the Ugandan army and allied rebels, Odongo said, adding that the probe was continuing. Bishop GerardiHe offered no additional details, except to confirm an account published in the government-owned New Vision newspaper Saturday. The paper said Dongo Chuga, a fighter from the Lendu tribe, was under arrest and had confessed to robbing and killing the six aid workers who were traveling in a clearly marked Red Cross vehicle near the border town of Bunia. Money, two mobile phones and clothing were stolen from the aid workers, the newspaper said, quoting a Ugandan Army spokesman, Maj. Phineas Katarima. The Red Cross has been providing aid to thousands of people affected by clashes between the Lendu and the Hema. Thousands have died in the last two years in fighting over control of land and other resources. Human rights groups have accused the Ugandan army of supporting the Hema in the clashes.
1999  Jill Dando, de 37 años, una de las presentadoras más famosas de la BBC, asesinada a la puerta de su casa en el Reino Unido.
1998 Juan José Gerardi Conedera, 75, bishop, [< photo] bludgeoned with a concrete block. Head of the Guatemala Catholic human rights office, he had, on 24 April, presented a report blaming the military for most of the 200'000 deaths in Guatemala's 1960-1996 civil war. El 08 junio de 2001 un tribunal guatemalteco dictó sentencia de 30 años por el delito de ejecución extrajudicial a los militares capitán Byron Miguel Lima Oliva, su padre coronel Byron Disrael Lima Estrada y ex-guardaespalda presidencial sargento José Obdulio Villanueva, así como de 20 años para el sacerdote Mario Orantes Nájera por complicidad. On 09 October 2002, the sentences of Lima Estrada, Lima Oliva, Villanueva, and Orantes were annulled and the case ordered retried because of “irregularities”. In March 2005 an appeals court lowered the Limas' sentences to 20 years; Orantes' sentence was left unchanged, and Villanueva had been killed in prison before the appeal verdict was reached. These revised prison terms were upheld by the Constitutional Court in April 2007. The court stated that it was necessary to continue the investigation up the chain of command in order to get at the full truth.
      Juan Gerardi was born on 27 December 1922 in Guatemala City. He was ordained a priest on 21 December 1946. He was appointed on 05 May 1967 and ordained on 30 July 1967, and installed on 11 August 1967 a bishop for the diocese of Cobán, Verapaz. He was appointed on 22 August 1974 bishop of Santa Cruz del Quiché, from which he resigned and was appointed auxiliary bishop of Guatemala on 14 August 1984. —(070426)
1992::  53 muertos por terremoto en el norte de California.
1989 Lucille Ball, 78, comedienne/actress, of a massive heart attack.
^ 1986 the first 32 victims of the Chernobyl reactor meltdown.
     At the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the Soviet Union, the worst accident in the history of nuclear power generation claims its first victims.
      The Chernobyl station is situated at the settlement of Pryp'yat, 16 km northwest of the city of Chernobyl (Ukrainian: Chornobyl) and 104 km north of Kiev, in Ukraine. The station consisted of four reactors, each capable of producing 1000 megawatts of electric power; the station came on-line in 1977-83.
      The accident occurred in the night of 25 to 26 April 1986, when technicians at reactor Unit 4 attempted a poorly designed experiment. Workers shut down the reactor's power-regulating system and its emergency safety systems, and they withdrew most of the control rods from its core, while allowing the reactor to continue running at 7% power. These mistakes were compounded by others, and at 01:23 on April 26 the chain reaction in the core went out of control. Several explosions triggered a large fireball and blew off the heavy steel and concrete lid of the reactor.
      This and the ensuing fire in the graphite reactor core released large amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere, where it was carried great distances by air currents. A partial meltdown of the core also occurred. On 27 April the 30'000 inhabitants of Pryp'yat began to be evacuated. A cover-up was attempted, but on 28 April Swedish monitoring stations reported abnormally high levels of wind-transported radioactivity and pressed for an explanation. The Soviet government admitted there had been an accident at Chernobyl, thus setting off an international outcry over the dangers posed by the radioactive emissions.
      By May 4 both the heat and the radioactivity leaking from the reactor core were being contained, albeit at great risk to workers. Radioactive debris was buried at some 800 temporary sites; and later in the year the highly radioactive reactor core was enclosed in a concrete-and-steel sarcophagus (which was later deemed structurally unsound).
      Initially, the Chernobyl accident caused the deaths of 32 people. Dozens more contracted serious radiation sickness; some of these people later died. Between 50 and 185 million curies of radionuclides escaped into the atmosphere--several times more radioactivity than that created by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This radioactivity was spread by the wind over Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine and soon reached as far west as France and Italy. Millions of acres of forest and farmland were contaminated; and although many thousands of people were evacuated, hundreds of thousands more remained in contaminated areas. In addition, in subsequent years many livestock were born deformed, and among humans several thousand radiation-induced illnesses and cancer deaths were expected in the long term.
      The Chernobyl accident sparked criticism of unsafe procedures and design flaws in Soviet reactors, and it heightened resistance to the building of more such plants. Chernobyl Unit 2 was shut down after a 1991 fire; Units 1 and 3 remained on-line but were scheduled to close by 2000.
     The world's worst nuclear power plant accident occurs at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the Soviet Union. Thirty-two people died and dozens more suffered radiation burns in the opening days of the crisis, but only after Swedish authorities reported the fallout did Soviet authorities reluctantly admit that an accident had occurred. The Chernobyl station was situated at the settlement of Pripyat, about 105 km north of Kiev in the Ukraine. Built in the late 1970s on the banks of the Pripyat River, Chernobyl had four reactors, each capable of producing 1000 megawatts of electric power.
      On the evening of 25 April 1986, a group of engineers began an electrical-engineering experiment on the Number 4 reactor. The engineers, who had little knowledge of reactor physics, wanted to see if the reactor's turbine could run emergency water pumps on inertial power. As part of their poorly designed experiment, the engineers disconnected the reactor's emergency safety systems and its power-regulating system. Next, they compounded this recklessness with a series of mistakes: They ran the reactor at a power level so low that the reaction became unstable, and then removed too many of the reactor's control rods in an attempt to power it up again. The reactor's output rose to more than 200 megawatts but was proving increasingly difficult to control. Nevertheless, at 01:23 on 26 April, the engineers continue with their experiment and shut down the turbine engine to see if its inertial spinning would power the reactor's water pumps. In fact, it does not adequately power the water pumps, and without cooling water the power level in the reactor surges.
      To prevent meltdown, the operators reinserted all the 200-some control rods into the reactor at once. The control rods were meant to reduce the reaction but had a design flaw: graphite tips. So, before the control rod's five meters of absorbent material can penetrate the core, 200 graphite tips simultaneously enter, thus facilitating the reaction and causing an explosion that blows off the heavy steel and concrete lid of the reactor. It is not a nuclear explosion, as nuclear power plants are incapable of producing such a reaction, but is chemical, driven by the ignition of gases and steam generated by the runaway reaction. In the explosion and ensuing fire, more than 50 tons of radioactive material are released into the atmosphere, asd carried by air currents.
      On 27 April, Soviet authorities began an evacuation of the 30'000 inhabitants of Pripyat. A cover-up was attempted, but on 28 April Swedish radiation monitoring stations, more than 1300 km to the northwest of Chernobyl, reported radiation levels 40% higher than normal. Later that day, the Soviet news agency acknowledged that a major nuclear accident had occurred at Chernobyl. In the opening days of the crisis, 32 persons died at Chernobyl and dozens more suffered radiation burns. The radiation that escaped into the atmosphere, which was several times that produced by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was spread by the wind over Northern and Eastern Europe, contaminating millions of acres of forest and farmland. An estimated 5000 Soviet citizens eventually died from cancer and other radiation-induced illnesses caused by their exposure to the Chernobyl radiation, and millions more had their health adversely affected. In 2000, the last working reactors at Chernobyl were shut down and the plant was officially closed.
1970 Gypsy Rose Lee, 56, stripper/actress (Pruitts of S Hampton)
^ 1961 Raj Rajeshwar Maharajdhiraj Maharaja Shri Sir Hari Singh Bahadur Indar Mahindar Sipar-i-Saltanat-i-Inglishia, born on 30 September 1895, last maharaja of the kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir.
      His great-grandfather, Gulab Singh [18 Oct 1792 – 07 Aug 1857], was a Hindu general in the army of the Sikh Raja Ranjit Singh [13 Nov 1780 – 27 June 1839]. Pleased with Gulab Singh's services, Ranjit Singh made him the governor of Jammu, and later made him king of the territory. When Ranjit Singh's successors lost the Second Anglo-Sikh War to the British, the British sold Kashmir to Gulab Singh for 75 lakh rupees (1 lakh = 100'000) to pay their war debts. Ladakh and Gilgit were added to the kingdom by conquest. In 1947, Hari Singh chose to accede his kingdom to India, although a majority of the kingdom's population was Muslim. Pakistan and India fought several wars over possession of the state.
     Hari Singh, assumed power at the death of his father, Pratap Singh [1850 – 25 Sep 1925]. Hari Singh introduced many reforms, which included throwing open all public schools, colleges, and wells to the untouchables in 1931. The next year, all state temples were also thrown open to them. In 1940, he proclaimed untouchability a cognizable offense. He was also responsible for two more important social reforms. One was the prevention of juvenile smoking and the other was the removal of legal disabilities on the marriage of Hindu widows.
      Equally important was the change, which occurred in India’s political atmosphere. On the national scene, two distinct political groups dominated - the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League. In the state, anti-monarchy forces were gaining ground under Sheikh Abdullah who arose as a charismatic leader of the Kashmiri Muslims and led a strong anti-Dogra agitation, the "Quit Kashmir" movement in 1931.
      Hari Singh was unable to adjust to the fact that monarchy was on the decline and could not grasp the importance of evolving with the changing political scenario.
      Following the partition of the sub-continent with the independence of India and Pakistan on 15 August 1947, there arose the question of the settling the position of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state had the choice of either going with India or with Pakistan. Hari Singh proved indecisive at this crucial juncture. He offered a standstill agreement with India and Pakistan. Pakistan signed it but India did not. Violating the agreement, Pakistan inflicted an economic blockade followed soon by a tribal invasion of the state on 22 October 1947.
      Hari Singh requested India to send in troops but Mountbatten, India’s British governor-general, put a condition for the help: Accession first and troops later. On 26 October 1947, Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession brought to him by VP Menon, the Centre’s emissary. Indian troops landed in Srinagar on 27 October 1947, to fight the invasion. But the tide was clearly against Hari Singh. He had the forces aligned against him in India and the state. He nursed an animosity towards Nehru because Nehru supported his archrival Sheikh Abdullah. His attempts to bring about changes in the state and efforts to retain power did not yield results. Clearly, Sheikh Abdullah was the chosen leader of the Kashmiri Muslims.
      In 1934, Hari Singh had sanctioned the creation of a Legislative Assembly called the Jammu & Kashmir Praja Sabha. In the first elections to the Praja Sabha, the Muslim Conference bagged 14 seats out of 21 reserved for the Muslims. In the next election in 1936, it was able to raise its strength to 19. This established the claim of the Conference to be called the major political party in the state. In June 1939, however, Sheikh Abdullah broke away from the Muslim Conference and established a new party, the National Conference, which soon secured a large following.
      Hari Singh acceded to the popular demand for more power to be given to the Praja Sabha. He called upon the Praja Sabha to nominate a panel of six members (three Muslims). From this panel he nominated two members as his Ministers, one of whom was a Muslim. This step was welcomed by all sections of the Assembly and led to the appointment of Mirza Afzal Beg and Ganga Ram as the Ministers. The former belonged to the National Conference while the latter was a Dogra politician.
      With increasing feeling among the Kashmiris in the state that they should be granted more rights and Sheikh Abdullah gaining in authority, Hari Singh retired to Bombay. Apparently, it was felt that it would help if he were away from the state for some time. His son, Karan Singh [09 March 1931~], took over as Regent of the state on 20 June 1949. Under him, elections to the State Constituent Assembly were held. National Conference won all the 75 seats. In its very first session of October 1951, the assembly abolished the Monarchy and with this Dogra rule in this state came to an end.
1951 Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld, Prussian mathematician born on 05 December 1868.
1946  Hermann A. Keyserling, filósofo alemán.
1942:: 1549 by colliery explosion in Honkeiko, Manchuria, the deadliest mine disaster in history.
1927 Eduard Zetsche, Austrian artist born on 22 December 1844.
1922  Más de 60 personas en Málaga por el incendio que destruye el edificio de la aduana.
1920 Srinivasa Aiyangar Ramanujan, mathematician from India, born on 22 December 1887. He made contributions to the analytical theory of numbers and worked on elliptic functions, continued fractions, and infinite series. He said: “An equation means nothing to me unless it expresses a thought of God.”
^ 1913 Mary Phagan, 12, murdered.
     Mary Phagan was born on 01 June 1900 to John and Frances Phagan in Marietta, Ga. Her father died when she was young; her mother eventually re-married to J.W. Coleman. They resided briefly in Alabama before moving back to Marietta. Mary Phagan was employed by the National Pencil Factory to operate a machine which placed metal tips on pencils. Mary had been temporarily laid off in April of 1913, because a shipment of metal to make the tips was late in arriving. She was due $1.20 in wages, which she went to collect on Confederate Memorial Day, Saturday 26 April 1913.
     Newt Lee, the night watchman at the National Pencil factory, discovers in the basement of the factory her body soaked with blood, with two scrawled notes lying nearby. Lee is arrested the next day on suspicion of murder (he is a Negro). In the course of the investigation several others are arrested and then released, including Jim Conley, who was a prime suspect and admitted some involvement, under Frank's orders he claimed..
     On 23 May, in ten minutes and without considering any other suspect, the manager of the factory, Leo Max Frank, 29, a Jew and a Northerner, is indicted by a grand jury. Frank had been accused of the murder by Jim Conley, among others.
     Leo Frank's trial began on 28 July 1913. On 25 August the jury rendered the verdict of guilty and the next day the judge sentenced Frank to death. Frank's attorney's exhausted every avenue of appeal, up to the US Supreme Court, but were unsuccessful. However on 20 June 1915, his last day in office, Georgia governor John Slaton, convinced of Frank's innocence, commuted the sentence of Leo Frank, from death to life in prison.
     Frank was taken to the Georgia State Prison Farm in Milledgeville, where, on 18 July 1915, prisoner J. William Creen slashed Leo Frank's throat. Only the quick actions of two other prisoners, both doctors, who stopped the flow of blood and stitched the wound, saved Frank's life.
     On 16 August 1915, 25 armed men from the Atlanta area arrived at the Prison at Milledgeville around 10 p.m. They cut the telephone lines, surprised the guards, seized Frank, and departed into the night. Seven of the cars then took back roads headed for Marietta, while one car acted as a decoy in case of pursuit. Sometime early on the morning of the 17th, they reached the outskirts of Marietta. Here, at Frey's grove near Mary Phagan's girlhood home, the men hanged Frank, who asserted his innocence to the very end.
     On 04 March 1982, Alonzo Mann, in failing health, signed an affidavit asserting Leo Frank's innocence and Jim Conley's guilt. He was one of the office boys who worked for Leo Frank. He admitted he had seen Conley carrying the limp body of Mary Phagan on his shoulder near the trapdoor leading to the basement on 29 April 1913. Conley had threatened to kill him if he ever told anyone what he had seen. He did go home and tell his mother, who advised him to keep quiet. After Frank's conviction, his parents still kept him quiet, saying it would do no good to come forth after the verdict. He was telling the story now to unburden his soul. He had actually tried to tell the story several times before, but no one had paid any attention. He had even gotten into a fight with a fellow soldier in World War I when he tried to asset Frank's innocence.He took several lie detector tests while telling his story to a group of reporters for The Tennessean, a newspaper in Nashville, TN. The tests indicated Mann was telling the truth.
     On 11 March 1986, after three years of delays and having previously denied the request, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles finally issued a posthumous pardon to Leo Frank, based on the state's failure to protect him while in custody; but it did not officially absolve him of the crime.
     Thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan is found sexually molested and murdered in the basement of the Atlanta, Georgia, pencil factory where she worked. Her murder later led to one of the most disgraceful episodes of bigotry, injustice, and mob violence in US history. Next to Phagan's body were two small notes that purported to pin the crime on Newt Lee, the night watchman at the factory. Lee was arrested, but it quickly became evident that the notes were a crude attempt by the barely literate Jim Conley to cover up his own involvement. Conley was the factory's janitor, a black man, and a well-known drunk. Conley then decided to shift the blame toward Leo Frank, the Jewish owner of the factory. Despite the absurdity of Conley's claims, they nevertheless took hold. The case's prosecutor was Huge Dorsey, a notorious bigot and friend of Georgia's populist leader, Tom Watson. Reportedly, Watson told Dorsey, "Hell, we can lynch a nigger anytime in Georgia, but when do we get the chance to hang a Yankee Jew?" Frank was tried by Judge Leonard Roan, who allowed the blatantly unfair trial to go forward even after he was privately informed by Conley's attorney that Conley had admitted to Frank's innocence on more than one occasion. The trial was packed with Watson's followers and readers of his racist newspaper, Jeffersonian. The jury was terrorized into a conviction despite the complete lack of evidence against Frank. Georgia governor John Slaton initiated his own investigation and quickly concluded that Frank was completely innocent. Three weeks before his term ended, Slaton commuted Frank's death sentence in the hope that he would eventually be freed when the publicity died down. However, Watson had other plans: He mobilized his supporters to form the Knights of Mary Phagan. Thousands of Jewish residents in Atlanta were forced to flee the city because police refused to stop the lynch mob. The Knights of Mary Phagan then made their way to the prison farm where Frank was incarcerated. They handcuffed the warden and the guards and abducted Frank, bringing him to Marietta, Phagan's hometown. There he was hanged to death from a giant oak tree. Thousands of spectators came to watch and have their picture taken in front of his lifeless body. The police did nothing to stop the spectacle. Although most of the country was outraged and horrified by the lynching, Watson remained very popular in Georgia. In fact, he was elected to the US Senate in 1920. Frank did not receive a posthumous pardon until 1986.
1910  Björnstjerne Martinus Björnson, escritor noruego.
1902 Lazarus Immanuel Fuchs, German mathematician born on 05 May 1833.
1876 Osip Ivanovich Somov, Russian mathematician born on 01 June 1815.
^ 1865 John Wilkes Booth.
     Near Bowling Green, Virginia, the actor and Confederate sympathizer who assassinated US President Abraham Lincoln [12 Feb 1809 – 15 Apr 1865], dies of a gunshot after Union soldiers burn down the tobacco barn in which he is hiding.
      Born on 10 May 1838, Booth became an actor. He was jealous of the greater success of his brother, the actor Edwin Booth [13 Nov 1833 – 07 Jun 1793]. John Wilkes Booth was a volunteer in the Richmond militia that hanged the abolitionist John Brown [09 May 1800 – 02 Dec 1859]. He remained in the North during the war despite his pro-slavery and Confederate partisanship. In 1864 he instigated a plot to capture President Lincoln and take him to Richmond, the Confederate capital. However, on 20 March 1865, the day of the planned kidnapping, the president failed to appear at the spot where Booth and his six fellow conspirators lay in wait. Two weeks later, Richmond fell to Union forces.
      In April, with Confederate armies near collapse across the South, Booth hatched a desperate plan to save the Confederacy. Learning that Lincoln was to attend Laura Keene's acclaimed performance in .Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater on 14 April, Booth plotted the simultaneous assassination of Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William H. Seward. By murdering the president and two of his possible successors, Booth and his conspirators hoped to throw the US government into a paralyzing disarray.
      On the evening of 14 April, conspirator Lewis T. Powell burst into Secretary of State Seward's home, seriously wounding him and three others, while George A. Atzerodt, assigned to Vice President Johnson, lost his nerve and fled. Meanwhile, just after ten o'clock p.m., Booth entered Lincoln's private box unnoticed, and shot the president with a single bullet in the back of his head. Slashing an army officer who rushed at him, Booth jumped to the stage and shouted "Sic semper tyrannis! The South is avenged!" Although Booth had broken his left leg jumping from Lincoln's box, he succeeded in escaping Washington.
      The president, mortally wounded, was carried to a cheap lodging house opposite Ford's Theater. About 07:22 the next morning, Abraham Lincoln died, becoming the first US president to be assassinated.
      Booth, pursued by the army and secret service forces, was finally cornered near Bowling Green, Virginia, early in the morning on 26 April. Learning that Booth was hiding in a tobacco barn along with fellow conspirator David Herold, soldiers from the 27th New York set the barn aflame. Herold surrendered but Booth remained in the barn, daring the Union soldiers to come in after him. Minutes later, a a single shot punctured his spinal cord at the neck. It is not known whether it was fired by Booth himself or by Sergeant Boston Corbett, who claimed it was him and who was placed under technical arrest, but the charges against him were later dropped by the Secretary of War. Corbett, whose reward money totaled $1653, justified his alleged action by saying, “God Almighty directed me.”
      Nine persons would eventually be charged with conspiring with Booth to assassinate Lincoln, four were hanged and four were jailed.
—(060813)
1808 Jean-Baptiste Pillement, French painter born on 24 May 1728. — MORE ON PILLEMENT AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
^ 1794 (7 floréal an II) Condamnés à mort par la Révolution:
Par le tribunal révolutionnaire de Paris:
MANGIN François Albert, âgé de 34 ans, né à Genicourt (Meuse), cocher public et particulier, domicilié à Paris, comme contre révolutionnaire, ayant dit qu'il avait tous les Jacobin dans le cul, qu'ils étaient tous des scélérats et des coquins, et montrant un gros bâton qu'il tenait à la main, voilà un juge de paix qui me servira à leur casser à tous la barre du col.
TRINGUELAGUE Gabriel, capitaine au 30ème régiment d'infanterie, âgé de 34 ans, né et domicilié à Uzès, département du Gard, comme convaincu d'avoir, à l'époque de la prise de Longwy par les ennemis extérieurs, proposé au 34ème régiment d'infanterie de passer à eux, et de s'y réunir pour combattre les défenseurs de la patrie.
    ... domiciliés dans le département du Mont-Blanc, comme convaicus d'avoir entretenu des correspondances, manœuvres, intelligences, avec l'armée du tyran Sarde (ou roi de Sardaigne):
BOSONET (ou BOJONRET) Jean Baptiste, âgé de 43 ans, né à Taningue (ou Taminge, ou Tuningue), canton de Cluze, y demeurant, cultivateur et marchand de chevaux.
CURTON Joseph Philibert, cultivateur, âgé de 45 ans, natif de Samoen, maire de Taningue.
DUC Jean Joseph, âgé de 32 ans, notaire public, né et domicilié à Samoen.
A Arras:
CARRE (ou QUARRE) Nicolas, âgé de 76 ans, né à Divion, cultivateur, guillotiné.
MAËS François Joseph, âgé de 59 ans, cultivateur, né à Beaune, demeurant à Viellefort, guillotiné.
PAVY Marie Séraphine, âgée de 69 ans, née à Lille, célibataire.
Ailleurs:
MÉTAIRIE René, conducteur de routes, domicilié à Laval (Mayenne), comme brigand de la Vendée, par la commission révolutionnaire de Laval.
AILLAND Joseph, boucher, domicilié à Solliez, canton d'Hiéres (Var), comme contre-révolutionnaire, par le tribunal criminel du département du Var.
EVEILLARD Mathurin, tonnelier, domicilié à Breteuil (Ille-et-Vilaine), comme séditieux, par le tribunal criminel dudit département.
PESTEL Jean François, prêtre, domicilié à Reslière (Manche), par la commission militaire de Grandville, comme fanatique.
1793 Condamnés à mort par la Révolution:       ^top^
Comme brigands de la Vendée, domiciliés dans le département de la Vendée, par la commission militaire séante aux Sables:
BAUDRY Gabriel René, ex-noble, domicilié à Longeville, canton des Sables.
BAUDRY Henri Aimé, Dusson, ex-noble, domicilié à Olonne, canton des Sables, comme chef des brigand de la Vendée.
GENEVIER Pierre, préposé aux douanes, domicilié à Saint-Hilaire-de-Rié.
GUYON Pierre, marin de la Vendée.
1731  Daniel Defoe, escritor británico.
1690 Hendrik Verschring, Dutch artist born in 1627.
1684 Jan Davidszoon de Heem, Dutch painter specialized in Still Life, born in 1606. — MORE ON DE HEEM AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
0757 Stephen II, Pope.
 
< 25 Apr 27 Apr >
^  Births which occurred on a 26 April:

1964 Tanzania
is formed by the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. (Tanzanian Union Day)
1933  Arno Allan Penzias, científico estadounidense de origen alemán, Premio Nobel de Física 1978.
1931  Las olas, novela de Virginia Woolf, se publica.
1927  Enrique Domínguez Millán, poeta y escritor español.
1924  El proceso, la primera de las grandes novelas de Franz Kafka, se publica.
1922  Jeanne Sauve, periodista y política canadiense.
1916 Morris L. West, Australian novelist (Shoes of the Fisherman)
1914 Bernard Malamud US, novelist (Fixer, The Natural)
1906  José María de Llanos, sacerdote jesuita español, comprometido con la causa de los pobres.
1900 Charles Richter Ohio, Earthquakes seismologist (Richter scale)
1898 Vincente Aleixandre y Merlo, Spanish writer (Nobel 1977)
^ 1894 Walter Rudolf Hess, in Alexandria, Egypt.
      He would become Nazi party secretary and deputy to Adolf Hitler who caused an international sensation when he parachuted into Scotland in an attempt to negotiate a truce between Britain and Germany.
      Hess joined the Nazi Party as early as 1920 and became a friend and confidant to Hitler, editing much of Mein Kampf as it was dictated to him in Landsberg Prison, where both landed after the famous, and failed, November 1923 Munich beer hall putsch.
      On 10 May 1941, the day Hitler planned to invade Russia, Hess parachuted into Scotland, hoping to negotiate peace with Britain, in the person of the Duke of Hamilton, whom Hess claimed to have met at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Such a peace would have prevented Germany from fighting on two fronts and greatly increased Hess's own prestige within the Nazi regime, many of whose members saw Hess as little more than a yes-man and sycophant (his nickname was "the Brown Mouse").
      Hess did, in fact, find peace — in the Tower of London, where the British imprisoned him, the last man ever to be held there under lock and key. After the war, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Spandau prison by the Nuremberg tribunal. He died, in prison, in 1987.
^ 1893 Anita Loos, novelist and screenwriter.
      Anita Loos is born in Mt. Shasta, California. Loos began writing as a child and by age 13 was already contributing stories and sketches to magazines. Her family moved to San Diego when she was a teenager, and she briefly acted in a theater company managed by her father. She combined her writing and acting experience by writing a short movie sketch and sending it to American Biograph Company in New York in 1912. The company, owned by legendary director D.W. Griffith, bought her idea for $25. Loos went to work as a screenwriter while still in her teens, writing more than 200 movies that showcased such early stars as Douglas Fairbanks. But her real fame as a writer came in 1925, when she wrote a humorous novel called Gentleman Prefer Blondes, which she started while on a long train ride. She claimed she wrote the book, about scatterbrained blond gold-digger Lorelei Lee, as a spoof to entertain her friend the writer and intellectual H.L. Mencken, who supposedly had a taste for brainless blonds. The book became an international bestseller, was printed in 14 languages, and ran through 85 editions. The book was made into a hit Broadway play in 1949 and a movie musical in 1953 starring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, who crooned the famous tune "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." Loos, who stood less than 5 feet tall and weighed only about 94 pounds, wrote several other plays and a memoir of her days in early Hollywood.
1889 Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein Austrian British philosopher, mathematician, who died on 29 April 1951. He worked on the foundations of mathematics and on mathematical logic. He is the author of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1918).
1886 Maria Melania Mutermilch Klingsland “Mela Muter”, Polish French artist who died in 1967.
1884  Marcelino Domingo San Juan, escritor y político español, varias veces ministro en la II República.
1882 Édouard-Léon Cortès, French painter who died in 1969. .— MORE ON CORTÈS AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
1879 Sir Owen Williams Richardson England, physicist (Nobel 1928)
1875 Syngman Rhee South Korea, statesman (1957 Freedom Award)
1874 Edward Vermilye Huntington, US mathematician who died on 25 November 1952.
1862 Edmund Charles Tarbell, US Impressionist painter who died in 1938. .— MORE ON TARBELL AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
1831 Timoléon-Marie Lobrichon, French artist who died in January 1914.
1812 Alfred Krupp, German arms merchant. —  empresario alemán y miembro de la dinastía siderúrgica del mismo nombre.
1798 Eugène-Ferdinand-Victor Delacroix, French painter who died on 13 August 1863. — MORE ON DELACROIX AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
La MarseillaiseLa Marseillaise is composed by captain Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle. It would become the French national anthem.
^ 1792 Chant de Guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin.
      La Marseillaise est un chant dont les paroles et la musique furent écrites dans la nuit du 25 au 26 avril 1792 à Strasbourg par le capitaine du génie Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle (1760-1836) qui l'intitula d'abord Chant de guerre pour l'armée du Rhin. Il nomma ensuite cet hymne La Marseillaise après que le bataillon des fédérés marseillais, qui avait pris part à la bataille des Tuileries, l'eut interprété lors de son entrée à Paris le 10 Aug 1792.
      Proclamée chant national le 14 Jul 1795 par la Convention, La Marseillaise le restera jusqu'à la proclamation du Premier Empire; tombée en disgrace ce n'est qu'en 1830 qu'elle réapparait et que le musicien Berlioz en a fait un remarquable arrangement pour solistes et double coeur et il faudra attendre la Troisième République pour qu'elle soit officiellement reconnue comme hymne national français le 14 Feb 1879.
[La Marseillaise ou Départ des volontaires de 1792, haut-relief de 11,6 x 6 m, de F. Rude (1832-1835), le plus célèbre des 4 trophées en pierre des pieds droits de l'Arc de triomphe de la place de l'Etoile à Paris. >]
Télécharger La Marseillaise en fichier Wave.
1785 John James Audubon, in Santo Domingo (now Haiti), bird watcher/artist. He died on 27 January 1851. .— MORE ON AUDUBON AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
1756 Johann Friedrick Dryander, German artist who died on 29 March 1812.
1711 (Julian date: go to 07 May Gregorian) David Hume
^ 1564 William Shakespeare, baptized.
      Shakespeare would become an English poet, dramatist, and actor. He is often called the English national poet and considered by many to be the greatest dramatist of all time. According to tradition, Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon on 23 April 1564. It is impossible to be certain of the exact day on which he was born, but church records show that he is baptized on 26 April, and three days was a customary amount of time to wait before baptizing a newborn.      Shakespeare's date of death is conclusively known, however: it was 23 April 1616. He was 52 years old and had retired to Stratford three years before. Although few plays have been performed or analyzed as extensively as the 38 plays ascribed to William Shakespeare, there are few surviving details about the playwright's life. This dearth of biographical information is due primarily to his station in life; he was not a noble, but the son of John Shakespeare, a leather trader who became an alderman and the town bailiff. The events of William Shakespeare's early life can only be gleaned from official records, such as baptism and marriage records.
      He probably attended the grammar school in Stratford, where he would have studied Latin and read classical literature. He did not go to university but at age 18, on 28 November 1582, married Anne Hathaway, 26, eight years his senior and pregnant at the time of the marriage. Their first daughter, Susanna, was born six months later, and in 1585 William and Anne had twins, Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet, Shakespeare's only son, died 11 years later, and Anne Shakespeare outlived her husband, dying in 1623. Nothing is known of the period between the birth of the twins and Shakespeare's emergence as a playwright in London in the early 1590s, but unfounded stories have him stealing deer, joining a group of traveling players, becoming a schoolteacher, or serving as a soldier in the Low Countries.
      The first reference to Shakespeare as a London playwright came in 1592, when a fellow dramatist, Robert Greene, wrote derogatorily of him on his deathbed. It is believed that Shakespeare had written the three parts of Henry VI by then. In 1593, Venus and Adonis was Shakespeare's first published poem, and he dedicated it to the young Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd earl of Southampton. In 1594, having probably composed, among other plays, Richard III, The Comedy of Errors, and The Taming of the Shrew, he became an actor and playwright for the Lord Chamberlain's Men, which became the King's Men after James I's ascension in 1603. The company grew into England's finest, in no small part because of Shakespeare, who was its principal dramatist. It also had the finest actor of the day, Richard Burbage, and the best theater, the Globe, located on the Thames' south bank, which it built in 1599. Shakespeare stayed with the King's Men until his retirement and often acted in small parts.
      By 1596, the company had performed the classic Shakespeare plays Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. That year, John Shakespeare was granted a coat of arms, a testament to his son's growing wealth and fame. In 1597, William Shakespeare bought a large house in Stratford. In 1599, after producing his great historical series, the first and second part of Henry IV and Henry V, he became a partner in the ownership of the Globe Theatre.
      The beginning of the 17th century saw the performance of the first of his great tragedies, Hamlet. The next play, The Merry Wives of Windsor, was written at the request of Queen Elizabeth I, who wanted to see another play that included the popular character Falstaff. During the next decade, Shakespeare produced such masterpieces as Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. He retired to Stratford in 1610, where he wrote his last plays, including The Tempest (1611) and The Winter's Tale (1610-11)
      In 1609, his sonnets, probably written during the 1590s, were published. The 154 sonnets are marked by the recurring themes of the mutability of beauty and the transcendent power of love and art.
      Shakespeare died in Stratford-on-Avon on 23 April 1616. Shakespeare's plays were not published during his lifetime. After his death, two members of his troupe collected copies of his plays and printed what is now called the First Folio (1623). Over the next centuries, his plays would be performed and read more often and in more nations than any other's. In a million words written over 20 years, he captured the full range of human emotions and conflicts with a precision that remains timeless. As his great contemporary the poet and dramatist Ben Jonson said, "He was not of an age, but for all time."
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    Funeral Elegy by W.S.

    ^ 0121 Marcus Annius Verus, who would become Roman emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus in 161 and die on 17 March 180. He is best known for his Meditations on Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius has symbolized for many generations in the West the Golden Age of the Roman Empire.
         When Marcus was born, his paternal grandfather was consul for the second time and prefect of Rome, which was the crown of prestige in a senatorial career; his father's sister was married to the man who was destined to become the next emperor and whom he himself would in due time succeed; and his maternal grandmother was heiress to one of the most massive of Roman fortunes. Marcus thus was related to several of the most prominent families of the new Roman establishment, which had consolidated its social and political power under the Flavian emperors (69–96), and, indeed, the ethos of that establishment is relevant to his own actions and attitudes. The governing class of the first age of the Roman Empire, the Julio-Claudian, had been little different from that of the late Republic, it was urban Roman (despising outsiders), extravagant, cynical, and amoral; the new establishment, however, was largely of municipal and provincial origin, as were its emperors, cultivating sobriety and good works and turning more and more to piety and religiosity.
          The child Marcus was, thus, clearly destined for social distinction. How he came to the throne, however, remains a mystery. In 136 the emperor Hadrian inexplicably announced as his eventual successor a certain Lucius Ceionius Commodus (henceforth L. Aelius Caesar), and in that same year young Marcus was engaged to Ceionia Fabia, the daughter of Commodus. Early in 138, however, Commodus died and later, after the death of Hadrian, the engagement was annulled. Hadrian then adopted Titus Aurelius Antoninus (the husband of Marcus' aunt) to succeed him as the emperor Antoninus Pius [19 Sep 0086 – 07 March 0161], arranging that Antoninus should adopt as his sons two young men, one the son of Commodus and the other Marcus, whose name was then changed to Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus. Marcus thus was marked out as a future joint emperor at the age of just under 17, though as it turned out he was not to succeed until his 40th year. It is sometimes assumed that in Hadrian's mind both Commodus and Antoninus Pius were merely to be “place warmers” for one or both of these youths.
          The long years of Marcus' apprenticeship under Antoninus are illuminated by the correspondence between him and his teacher Fronto [100-166]. Though the main society literary figure of the age, Fronto was a dreary pedant whose blood ran rhetoric, but he must have been less lifeless than he now appears, for there is genuine feeling and real communication in the letters between him and both of the young men. It was to the credit of Marcus, who was intelligent as well as hardworking and serious-minded, that he grew impatient with the unending regime of advanced exercises in Greek and Latin declamation and eagerly embraced the Diatribai (“Discourses”) of a religious former slave, Epictetus [55-135], an important moral philosopher of the Stoic school. Henceforth, it was in philosophy that Marcus was to find his chief intellectual interest as well as his spiritual nourishment.
          Meanwhile, there was work enough to do at the side of the untiring Antoninus, with learning the business of government and assuming public roles. Marcus was consul in 140, 145, and 161. In 145 he married his cousin, the Emperor's daughter Annia Galeria Faustina [125-176], and in 147 the imperium and tribunicia potestas, the main formal powers of emperorship, were conferred upon him; henceforth, he was a kind of junior co-emperor, sharing the intimate counsels and crucial decisions of Antoninus. (His adoptive brother, nearly 10 years his junior, was brought into official prominence in due time.) On 07 March 161, at a time when the brothers were jointly consuls (for the third and the second time, respectively), their father died.
          The transition to emperor was smooth as far as Marcus was concerned; already possessing the essential constitutional powers, he stepped automatically into the role of full emperor (and his name henceforth was Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus). At his own insistence, however, his adoptive brother was made co-emperor with him (and bore henceforth the name Imperator Caesar Lucius Aurelius Verus Augustus). There is no evidence that Lucius Verus had much of a following, so that a ruthless rival could have easily disposed of him, though to leave him in being as anything less than emperor might have created a focus for disaffection. It is most probable, however, that Marcus' conscience impelled him to carry out loyally what he believed to have been the plan by which alone he himself had eventually reached the purple. For the first time in history the Roman Empire had two joint emperors of formally equal constitutional status and powers, but, although the achievement of Lucius Verus has suffered by comparison with the paragon Marcus, it seems probable that the serious work of government was done throughout by Marcus and was the more arduous in that it was done during most of his reign in the midst of fighting frontier wars and combating the effects of plague and demoralization.
          For constructive statesmanship or the initiation of original trends in civil policy, Marcus had little time or energy to spare. The field most congenial to him seems to have been the law. Numerous measures were promulgated and judicial decisions made, clearing away harshnesses and anomalies in the civil law, improving in detail the lot of the less-favored, slaves, widows, minors, and giving recognition to claims of blood relationship in the field of succession. Marcus' personal contribution, however, must not be overstated. The pattern of ameliorating legislation was inherited rather than novel, and the measures were refinements rather than radical changes in the structure of law or society; Marcus was not a great legislator, but he was a devoted practitioner of the role of ombudsman. Moreover, there was nothing specifically Stoic about this legal activity, and in one respect the age of Antoninus Pius and Marcus signalizes a retrogression in the relationship of law to society, for under them there either began, or was made more explicit, a distinction of classes in the criminal law, honestiores and humiliores, with two separate scales of punishments for crime, harsher and more degrading for the humiliores at every point.
          Marcus' claim to statesmanship has come under critical attack in numerous other ways; for example, in the matter of Christian persecution. Though Marcus disliked the Christians, there was no systematic persecution of them during his reign. Their legal status remained as it had been under Trajan and Hadrian: Christians were ipso facto punishable but not to be sought out. This incongruous position did little harm in times of general security and prosperity, but when either of these were threatened, the local population might denounce Christians, a governor might be forced to act, and the law, as the central authority saw it, must then run its course. The martyrdoms at Lyon in 177 were of this nature, and, though it appears that Christian blood flowed more profusely in the reign of Marcus the philosopher than it had before, he was not an initiator of persecution.
          In 161 Syria was invaded by the Parthians, a major power to the East. The war that followed (162–166) was nominally under the command of Verus, though its successful conclusion, with the overrunning of Armenia and Mesopotamia, was the work of subordinate generals, notably Gaius Avidius Cassius [–Jul 175]. The returning armies brought back with them a plague, which raged throughout the empire for many years and, together with the German invasion, fostered a weakening of morale in minds accustomed to the stability and apparent immutability of Rome and its empire.
         In 167 or 168 Marcus and Verus together set out on a punitive expedition across the Danube, and behind their backs a horde of German tribes invaded Italy in massive strength and besieged Aquileia, on the crossroads at the head of the Adriatic. The military precariousness of the empire and the inflexibility of its financial structure in the face of emergencies now stood revealed; desperate measures were adopted to fill the depleted legions, and imperial property was auctioned to provide funds. Marcus and Verus fought the Germans off with success, but in 169 Verus died suddenly, and doubtless naturally, of a stroke. Three years of fighting were still needed, with Marcus in the thick of it, to restore the Danubian frontier, and three more years of campaigning in Bohemia were enough to bring the tribes beyond the Danube to peace, at least for a time.
          A more intimate contact with the thoughts pursued by Marcus during the troubling involvements of his reign, though not what would have been historically most valuable, his day-to-day political thoughts, can be acquired by reading the Meditations. To what extent he intended them for eyes other than his own is uncertain; they are fragmentary notes, discursive and epigrammatic by turn, of his reflections in the midst of campaigning and administration. In a way, it seems, he wrote them to nerve himself for his daunting responsibilities. Strikingly, though they comprise the innermost thoughts of a Roman, the Meditations were written in Greek, to such an extent had the union of cultures become a reality. In many ages these thoughts have been admired; the modern age, however, is more likely to be struck by the pathology of them, their mixture of priggishness and hysteria. Marcus was forever proposing to himself unattainable goals of conduct, forever contemplating the triviality, brutishness, and transience of the physical world and of man in general and himself in particular; otherworldly, yet believing in no other world, he was therefore tied to duty and service with no hope, even of everlasting fame, to sustain him. Sickly all through his life and probably plagued with a chronic ulcer, he took daily doses of a drug; the suggestion has been made that the apocalyptic imagery of passages in the Meditations betrays the addict. More certain and more important is the point that Marcus' anxieties reflect, in an exaggerated manner, the ethos of his age.
          The Meditations, the thoughts of a philosopher-king, have been considered by many generations one of the great books of all times. Though they were Marcus' own thoughts, they were not original. They are basically the moral tenets of Stoicism, learned from Epictetus: the cosmos is a unity governed by an intelligence, and the human soul is a part of that divine intelligence and can therefore stand, if naked and alone, at least pure and undefiled, amidst chaos and futility. One or two of Marcus' ideas, perhaps more through lack of rigorous understanding than anything else, diverged from Stoic philosophy and approached that Platonism that was itself then turning into the Neoplatonism into which all pagan philosophies, except Epicureanism, were destined to merge. But he did not deviate so far as to accept the comfort of any kind of survival after death.
          At the same time that Marcus was securing his trans-Danubian frontiers, Egypt, Spain, and Britain were troubled by rebellions or invasions. By 175, the general Avidius Cassius, who earlier had served under Verus, had virtually become a prefect of all of the eastern provinces, including control of the important province of Egypt. In that year, Avidius Cassius took the occasion of a rumor of Marcus' death to proclaim himself emperor. Marcus made peace in the north with those tribes not already subjugated and prepared to march against Avidius, but the rebel general was assassinated by his own soldiers. Marcus used the opportunity to make a tour of pacification and inspection in the East, visiting Antioch, Alexandria, and Athens, where, like Hadrian, he was initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries (though that esoteric religious cult does not seem to have impinged at all upon his philosophical views). During the journey the empress Faustina, who had been with her husband in the Danubian wars as well, died. Great public honors were bestowed upon her in life and in death, and in his Meditations Marcus spoke of her with love and admiration. The ancient sources accuse her of infidelity and disloyalty (complicity, in fact, with Avidius Cassius), but the charges are implausible.
          In 177 Marcus proclaimed his 16-year-old son, Commodus [31 Aug 0161 – 31 Dec 0192], joint emperor. Together they resumed the Danubian wars. Marcus was determined to pass from defense to offense and to an expansionist redrawing of Rome's northern boundaries. His determination seemed to be winning success when, in 180, he died at his military headquarters, having just had time to commend Commodus to the chief advisers of the regime.
          Marcus' choice of his only surviving son as his successor has always been viewed as a tragic paradox. Commodus turned out badly, though two things must be borne in mind: emperors are good and bad in the ancient sources according as they did or did not satisfy the senatorial governing class, and Commodus' rapid calling off of the northern campaigns may well have been wiser than his father's obsessive and costly expansionism. But those who criticize Marcus for ensuring the accession of Commodus are usually under the misapprehension that Marcus was reverting to crude dynasticism after a long and successful period of “philosophic” succession by the best available man. This is historically untenable. Marcus had no choice in the matter: if he had not made Commodus his successor, he would have had to order him to be put to death.
          Marcus was a statesman, perhaps, but one of no great caliber; nor was he really a sage. In general, he is a historically overrated figure, presiding in a bewildered way over an empire beneath the gilt of which there already lay many a decaying patch. But his personal nobility and dedication survive the most remorseless scrutiny; he counted the cost obsessively, but he did not shrink from paying it.
     
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