06 April 2007

This day in history: 6 Apr

1320: The Scots signed the Declaration of Arbroath, reaffirming their independence. "For so long as a hundred of us are left alive, we will yield in no least way to English dominion. We fight not for glory nor for wealth nor honours; but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life."

1652: Jan van Riebeeck established a resupply camp at the Cape of Good Hope, which eventually became Cape Town.

1814: Napoleon abdicated in favour of his son; under the Treaty of Fontainebleau he was exiled to the island of Elba.

1832: The Black Hawk War began when the Sauk chief Black Hawk and his followers returned to Illinois.

1862: The Battle of Shiloh began when forces under Union General Ulysses S Grant met Confederate troops led by General Albert Sidney Johnston.

1865: Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia fought its last major battle - the Battle of Sayler's (or Sailor's) Creek - whilst retreating from Richmond, Virginia.

1896: The first modern Olympic Games opened in Athens.

1909: Robert Peary and five others may or may not have reached the North Pole.

1917: The United States declared war on Germany.

1941: Germany invaded Yugoslavia and Greece.

1965: Intelsat 1 (Early Bird), the first communications satellite to be placed in synchronous orbit, was launched.

1973: Pioneer 11 was launched.

1994: The aircraft carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down by Rwandan extremists.

In addition to Habyarimana (1937-1994) and Ntaryamira (1956-1994), King Richard I "Cœur de Leon" (1157–1199), King Matthias Corvinus (1440–1490), Raphael (1483–1520), Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), Sir Francis Walsingham (c. 1530—1590), Albert Sidney Johnston (1803–1862), Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (1882–1971), Dr Isaac Asimov (1920–1992), Greer Garson CBE (1904-1996), Tammy Wynette (1942–1998) and HSH Prince Rainier III (1923–2005) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Raphael (1483–1520), John William Waterhouse (1849–1917), Anton Fokker (1890–1939), Harold Edgerton (1903–1990), Virginia Hall MBE (1906-1982), André Previn KBE (1929-TBD), Ivan Dixon (1931-TBD), Merle Haggard (1937-TBD) and Candace Cameron (1976-TBD).

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