Apr. 10- 1815: The largest volcanic eruption ever recorded occurs as Mt. Tambora in present-day Indonesia explodes, expelling an estimated 36 cubic miles of ash and rock into the atmosphere, beginning what became known worldwide as “the year without summer.” 1953: “House of Wax,” the first 3-D movie in color, premieres in New York City. 1970: Paul McCartney officially announces the split of the Beatles. 1996: The fastest wind speed ever recorded (253 MPH) is registered on Barrow Island, Australia during Tropical Cyclone Olivia.

Apr. 11- 1803: French foreign minister Talleyrand first offers to sell the Louisiana territory to the United States. 1814: French Emperor Napoleon abdicates the throne and is exiled to the island of Elba off the Italian coast. (Spoiler alert: he wouldn’t remain there for long…) 1979: Notorious Ugandan dictator Idi Amin is overthrown by the advancing Tanzanian army. 2015: US President Barack Obama meets his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro in Panama, the first meeting between the two heads of state since the Cuban revolution in 1959.

Apr. 12- 1633: Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei was put on trial for heresy because of his publication of a treatise questioning the long-held belief that the sun revolved around the Earth. Found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, Galileo spent the last nine years of his life under house arrest due to poor health.

Galileo was a champion of heliocentrism. Photo from freepik.com

1861: Confederate forces attack Fort Sumter off the coast of South Carolina, igniting the American Civil War. 1945: US President Franklin Roosevelt dies in Warm Springs, GA, months after being reelected for a record fourth term. 1961: Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man to orbit the Earth in space aboard the USSR’s Vostok 1.

Apr. 13- 1860: The first Pony Express delivery arrives in Sacramento, CA. 1902: J.C. Penney opens his first store in Kemmerer, WY. 1943: The Jefferson Memorial is officially dedicated in Washington, DC on the 200 year anniversary of the third US president’s birth. 1970: An oxygen tank explodes aboard the Apollo 13 mission to the moon, leading astronauts Jack Swigart and Jim Lovell to report, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” The 1995 movie dramatizing the mission (slightly) misquoted the actual words.

Apr. 14- 1841: Edgar Allen Poe’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue” is published in Graham’s Magazine. It is widely considered to be the first modern detective story in the US. 1865: President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC. He dies early the next morning. 1912: On its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, the luxury steamship Titanic strikes an iceberg and sinks, killing 2/3 of its more than 2,000 passengers 2003: After a 13-year effort, the Human Genome Project (HGP) is declared complete; the human genetic code is 99% sequenced and 99.99% accurate.

Apr. 15- 1452: Inventor, scientist, painter, and sculptor Leonardo da Vinci is born in Anchiano, Italy. 1861: President Abraham Lincoln mobilizes the federal army to defend the Union at the outset of the Civil War. 1947: Jackie Robinson makes his debut for the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African-American man to play Major League Baseball. 1955: Salesman Ray Kroc opens his first McDonalds restaurant in Des Plaines, IL. In the coming years, many billions will be served!

Apr. 16- 1705: Queen Anne of England knights scientist Isaac Newton. 1867: Aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright is born in Millville, IN. Younger brother Orville would follow four years later. 1900: The US Post Office begins selling books of stamps. A book of 12 first-class stamps costs 25¢. Those WERE the days! 1943: Swiss doctor Albert Hofmann discovers the psychedelic effects of LSD. No word on how long it might have taken him to publish his findings…