Today in history, April 26: Chernobyl nuclear accident
1478: Guiliano de Medici is killed at the cathedral in Florence in an unsuccessful coup attempt by the Pazzi family.
1532: Suleiman I, Sultan of Turkey, invades Hungary and advances toward Vienna.
1607: Captain John Smith lands in Virginia with the first group of colonists to establish a permanent English settlement in America.
1798: France declares war on Austria.
1807: Russia and Prussia form alliance to drive France out of German states.
1865: John Wilkes Booth, assassin of US President Abraham Lincoln, is surrounded and killed by troops near Bowling Green, Virginia.
1872: Civil war breaks out in Spain.
1885: Britain occupies Port Hamilton, Korea.
1886: The earliest known dramatisation of Marcus Clarke’s For The Term Of His Natural Life is staged in Brisbane’s Theatre Royal.
1890: Banjo Paterson’s poem The Man from Snowy River is published in Sydney as a supplement to The Bulletin magazine.
1915: Italy secretly signs the Pact of London with Britain, France and Russia that would put them on the side of the allies in World War I.
1923: The Duke of York, the future King George VI, marries Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in Westminster Abbey.
1937: In the Spanish Civil War, German planes bomb the town of Guernica, killing between 1000 to 1650 people.
1942: At least 1540 die in the world’s worst mining disaster in Benxi, Japanese-occupied China.
1945: Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, leader of France’s Vichy collaborationist regime during World War II, is arrested on treason charges.
1954: Member countries of the United Nations meet in Geneva and insist on free elections in Korea.
1962: First international satellite is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida – a US-British venture.
1964: African nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge to form Tanzania.
1966: Mt Kelud in Java, Indonesia, erupts, killing 1000 people. A sidewinder missile, launched by a US jet plane, shoots down the first Communist MIG-21 in the Vietnam War.
1971: White House commission recommends that China be brought into United Nations, with Nationalist China (Taiwan retaining its membership.
1986: The world’s worst nuclear accident occurs at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union when a reactor meltdown in a power plant exposes hundreds of thousands of civilians to dangerous radioactive material. Thirty-two people die immediately.
1989: Chinese students march to central Beijing to protest against government statements condemning their campaign for democracy. US comedy actor Lucille Ball dies, aged 77.
1990: Leftist Colombian presidential candidate, Carlos Pizarro, is assassinated aboard a Colombian airliner. A drug cartel claims and later denies responsibility.
1992: Moscow residents celebrate the first Russian Orthodox Easter in 74 years.
1994: South Africa holds its first all-race elections for the National Assembly and provincial parliaments.
1995: Thieves break into a Sydney office of media magnate Kerry Packer and steal gold bullion. Australian caterer David Morris is abducted and killed by Islamic fundamentalists in Somalia. Retired British secret service man Peter Wright, whose book Spycatcher alleged Soviet infiltration of M15, dies in Tasmania.
1996: After 16 days, Israel and Hizbollah guerillas in Lebanon agree to a truce to end a blitz that has left more than 150 people dead and forced 500,000 people to flee.
1998: Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera, a leading human rights activist in Guatemala, is bludgeoned to death two days after a report he compiled on atrocities during Guatemala’s 36-year civil war was made public.
1999: The Chernobyl computer virus damages hundreds of thousands of computers around the world.
2003: Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf rejects demands from opposition leaders that he give up his role as chief of the military.
2005: Syria withdraws its last soldiers and intelligence agents from Lebanon, ending a 29-year military presence in its small neighbour.
2006: European Union politicians announce findings that the CIA has conducted more than 1000 clandestine flights in Europe since 2001 – some of them secretly taking terror suspects to countries where they can be tortured.
2007: Thousands of Buddhist monks demonstrate outside the Thailand parliament building to demand that the country’s new constitution enshrine Buddhism as the official national religion.
2012: Pakistani authorities deport Osama bin Laden’s three widows and his children to Saudi Arabia less than a week before the first anniversary of the unilateral American raid that killed the al-Qaeda leader in his hide-out in a military town.
2014: US Secretary of State John Kerry expresses concern to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about “provocative” Russian troop movements along Ukraine’s border.
2015: Survivors tell how a huge avalanche swept down on Everest Base Camp after Nepal’s devastating earthquake.
2016: A groundbreaking new drug, tipped to stop the spread of HIV within years, will be available to more than 2000 Queensland men under a $6 million trial program.
2017: Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme – best known for The Silence of the Lambs – dies, aged 73.
2018: Kensington Palace says the Duke of Cambridge is “honoured” to be asked to be his brother Prince Harry’s best man at his upcoming marriage to Meghan Markle.
2019: An Adelaide hospital runs out of flu vaccines as the number of cases surges across Australia.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Roman Emperor, (121-180; Eugene Delacroix, French painter (1798-1863; Alfred Krupp, German armaments manufacturer (1812-1887; Florence Austral, Australian opera singer (1884-1968; Ludwig Wittgenstein, Austrian philosopher (1889-1951; Rudolf Hess, Nazi leader and Hitler’s deputy (1894-1987; Morris West, Australian novelist (1916-1999; Carol Burnett, US actor (1933; Prue Acton, Australian fashion designer (1943; Dick Johnson, Australian motor car driver (1945; Joan Chen, Chinese actor-comedian (1961; Jet Li, Chinese martial artist/actor (1963; Kevin James, US actor (1965; Melania Trump, former model and wife of US President Donald Trump (1970; Channing Tatum, US actor (1980.
THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.” – Leonardo da Vinci, Italian painter, engineer, sculptor and architect (1452-1519.