27 April 2008

This day in history: 27 Apr

1521: Explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines.

1749: Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks was performed in Green Park, London, to celebrate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession.

1805: US Marines, commanded by Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon and led by former consul William Eaton, with Berber and Arab mercenaries, captured the town of Derna, Tripoli (now Libya).

1865: 1700 people - most of them Union survivors from Andersonville Prison - died when the steamboat Sultana, carrying 2400 passengers, exploded and sank in the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee.

1915: The French armoured cruiser Leon Gambetta was sunk by the Austrian submarine SM U 5, commanded by Linienschiffsleutnant Georg von Trapp.

1941: German troops entered Athens.

1967: The official opening ceremonies for Expo 67 were held in Montreal, Canada. (It opened to the public the next day.)

2002: The last successful telemetry was received from space probe Pioneer 10. The last signal from the probe, which had been launched from Cape Canaveral on 2 Mar 1972, was received on 23 Jan 2003.

In addition to Magellan (1480-1521), Jean Bart (1650-1702), Zebulon Pike (1779–1813), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), George Alec Effinger (1947-2002) and Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Edward Gibbon (1737*–1794), Samuel F B Morse (1791–1872), Ulysses S Grant (1822–1885), Edward Whymper (1840–1911), Walter Lantz (1899–1994), Jack Klugman (1922-TBD), Casey Kasem (1932-TBD), Judy Carne (1939-TBD), HRH the Prince of Orange (1967-TBD) and Emma Taylor-Isherwood (1987-TBD).

* 27 Apr 1737 Old Style; 8 May 1737 New Style.

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