Apr. 17- 1492: Christopher Columbus signs a contract with Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, promising him 10% of riches found on his upcoming westward voyage. (Cha-CHING!) 1790: Statesman, inventor, diplomat, and political philosopher Benjamin Franklin passes away at his home in Philadelphia at the age of 84. 1937: Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd debut as Warner Brothers Studio’s “Looney Tunes” characters. 1964: Ford Motor Company introduces the Mustang; base price: $2,368. Those were the days…

Apr. 18- 1775: According to poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Paul Revere’s Ride” took place “…Through every Middlesex village and farm,…” Historians have long-questioned the accuracy of Longfellow’s narrative. 1906: The San Francisco earthquake and resulting fire kills over 4,000 people and destroys 75% of the city. 1934: The first laundromat (initially dubbed as a “washateria”) opens in Ft. Worth, TX.

Apr. 19- 1775: The American Revolution begins with the “shot heard ‘round the world” in Lexington, MA.

1882: Distinguished naturalist and author Charles Darwin dies at his home near Orpington, Kent in England, at the age of 73, as a result of a heart attack suffered the previous day. 1995: A truck bomb explodes outside a federal office building in Oklahoma City, OK, killing 168 people, including 19 children, and injuring more than 500. Timothy McVeigh is convicted of building and detonating the bomb and is executed for his crimes on June 11, 2001.

Apr. 20- 1902: Pierre and Marie Curie isolate radium chloride, discovering the world’s first radioactive compound. 1980: The “Mariel Boatlift” begins from Cuba. When it ended six months later, 125,000 Cubans had left the island for the US. 1999: Two students kill 13 classmates and injure 24 before taking their own lives at Columbine High School in Columbine, CO. 2010: An oil-drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, Deepwater Horizon, explodes, killing 11 and resulting in a massive oil discharge.

Apr. 21- 753 BCE: Twin brothers Romulus and Remus found the city of Rome (traditional date). 1918: During World War I, the German pilot known as the “Red Baron” is shot down and killed over France by Canadian pilot Arthur Roy Brown. 1956: Elvis Presley’s recording of “Heartbreak Hotel” becomes his first #1 hit on Billboard Magazine’s chart. 1989: Tens of thousands of Chinese citizens crowd Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, cheering on 100,000 student protestors.

Apr. 22- 1876: Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky completes “Swan Lake.”

Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Photo credit: readersdigest.co.uk

1970: The first “Earth Day” is celebrated around the world. 1976: Journalist Barbara Walters makes her debut as the first female anchor of a national news broadcast. 1994: The 37th US president, Richard M. Nixon, died at the age of 81, four days after suffering a significant stroke. He remains the only president in US history to resign from office.

Apr. 23- 1597: William Shakespeare’s play “The Merry Wives of Windsor” debuts with Queen Elizabeth I in attendance. It was also the Bard’s 33rd birthday; in addition, he died on the same date in 1616 on his 52nd birthday. (Not generally thought to be a great way to celebrate one’s birthday.) 1861: Robert E. Lee is named commander of Confederate forces in Virginia by CSA President Jefferson Davis. 1981: The first artificial skin transplants take place at two hospitals in Boston, MA. The breakthrough procedure was intended to prevent infection while burn victims awaited skin grafts. 1998: James Earl Ray, convicted of assassinating Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, dies in prison in Nashville, TN from kidney disease and resulting liver failure.