By The Associated Press
2013-04-20 08:26 AM
Highlights in history on this date:
1509 - Pope Julius II excommunicates the Italian state of Venice.
1521 - Ferdinand Magellan, Portuguese navigator, is killed in the Philippines. His ships complete the first trip around the world.
1565 - The first Spanish settlement and Catholic mission in the Philippine archipelago is founded on Cebu.
1650 - Scots under Montrose are defeated by British at Carbisdale.
1830 - Simon Bolivar abdicates as president of Colombia.
1865 - The overloaded steamer Sultana explodes on the Mississippi River, killing as many as 1,800 people, most of them Union prisoners of war released by the newly defeated Confederacy.
1909 - Young Turks depose Sultan Abdul Hamid, who is succeeded by Mohammed V.
1910 - Louis Botha and James Hertzog found South African Party.
1937 - The U.S. Social Security system makes its first benefits payment.
1938 - Greece and Turkey sign treaty of friendship.
1941 - Athens falls to German invaders after 180 days of Greek resistance in World War II.
1945 - Austrian statehood is proclaimed under Allied occupation.
1950 - Communist Party is outlawed in Australia; Britain recognizes Israel.
1960 - Rhee Syngman resigns as president of South Korea; Togo becomes independent republic.
1961 - Sierra Leone becomes independent from Britain.
1978 - Mohammed Daoud is thrown out in a bloody coup and replaced by Afghanistan's first communist ruler, Nur Mohammed Taraki. Daoud and 30 family members, including women and children, are executed.
1987 - The U.S. Justice Department bars Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States, saying he aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War II.
1989 - Bangladesh officials say at least 500 people die during rash of tornadoes and heavy rains.
1992 - Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics win entry into the International Monetary Fund and World Bank; the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is proclaimed in Belgrade by the Republic of Serbia and its lone ally, Montenegro.
1993 - Eritreans overwhelmingly choose independence from Ethiopia in a referendum that ratifies a rebel victory in Africa's longest secessionist struggle; semiofficial representatives of Taiwan and China meet in Singapore for the first time since 1949.
1996 - Rwandan soldiers kill 38 people in retaliation for the slaying of one of their own in a northwestern Rwanda village two weeks earlier.
1997 - A Brazilian judge sentences a former police officer convicted of killing 21 residents of a Rio de Janeiro slum to nearly 450 years in prison, saying his actions "demeaned all values of human existence."
1999 - A laser-guided bomb goes astray during a NATO bombing mission over Yugoslavia and strikes the village of Surdulica. Yugoslav authorities say at least 20 civilians are killed.
2000 - Paleontologists unveil the most complete ape-man skull ever excavated, a 1.5-million to 2-million-year-old skull of a female Paranthropus robustus, a cousin of early man. The fossil was found in South Africa.
2001 - Six Red Cross workers are shot and hacked to death in Congo.
2002 - Soldiers loyal to Afghan warlord Padsha Khan Zadra launch more than 200 rockets at Gardez, the capital of Paktia province. At least 25 people are killed in fighting between his soldiers and fighters loyal to the leaders installed by the government of Hamid Karzai.
2003 - Nicanor Duarte Frutos is elected president of Paraguay, extending the Colorado Party's uninterrupted 55 years of rule.
2005 - Angry young Togolese lob stones and Molotov cocktails after the son of their late dictator is declared the winner of presidential elections, and prospect for calm recedes even further after the top opposition leader scoffs at a proposal to share power with the president-elect.
2007 - Saudi Arabia announces the arrests of 172 Islamic militants, some of whom had trained abroad as pilots so they could fly aircraft in attacks on Saudi oil fields.
2008 - Police in Vienna find a woman missing since 1984, who tells authorities that her father had kept her in a cellar for almost 24 years and that she had given birth to at least six children after being repeatedly raped by him. The father, Josef Fritzl, 73, is taken into custody.
2009 _ New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he is furious the federal government flew a presidential Boeing 747 and a fighter jet near the site of the World Trade Center. Incident causes brief panic among lower Manhattan office workers fearing a nightmarish repeat of the 2001 terror attacks.
2010 - Ratings agency Standard & Poor's pushes Greece to the brink of a financial abyss and downgrades Portugal's debt, too, fueling fears of a continent-wide debt meltdown in Europe.
2011 - Rival Palestinian groups say they reached an agreement on reuniting their governments in the West Bank and Gaza after years of bitter infighting that weakened them politically and caused the deaths of hundreds in violent clashes and crackdowns since.
2012 - New Yorkers and tourists alike watch with joy and excitement as space shuttle Enterprise sailed over the skyline on top of a modified jumbo jet on its final flight before it becomes a museum piece.
Edward Gibbon, English historian (1737-1794); Samuel F.B. Morse, U.S. inventor of first practical telegraph (1791-1872); Ulysses S. Grant, U.S. president and general (1822-1885); Jack Klugman, U.S. actor (1922--2012); Sheena Easton, Scottish singer/actress (1959--).
Thought For Today:
The reign of Antoninus is marked by the rare advantage of furnishing very few materials for history, which is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind _ Edward Gibbon, English historian (1737-1794)