By The Associated Press
Today in History
Today is Thursday, April 2, the 93rd day of 2020. There are 273 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 2, 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and most of his Cabinet fled the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, because of advancing Union forces.
On this date:
In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon and his expedition landed in present-day Florida. (Some historians say the landing actually occurred the next day, on April 3.)
In 1792, Congress passed the Coinage Act, which authorized establishment of the U.S. Mint.
In 1912, the just-completed RMS Titanic left Belfast to begin its sea trials eight days before the start of its ill-fated maiden voyage.
In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany, saying, “The world must be made safe for democracy.” (Congress declared war four days later.)
In 1956, the soap operas “As the World Turns” and “The Edge of Night” premiered on CBS-TV.
In 1958, the term “beatnik” was coined by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen (cayn) to refer to members of the pre-hippie counterculture; the term was inspired by the “Beat Generation” and by the Soviet launch of its second Sputnik spacecraft.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed into law a windfall profits tax on the oil industry. (The tax was repealed in 1988.)
In 1982, several thousand troops from Argentina seized the disputed Falkland Islands, located in the south Atlantic, from Britain. (Britain seized the islands back the following June.)
In 1986, four American passengers, including an 8-month-old girl, her mother and grandmother, were killed when a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a TWA jetliner en route from Rome to Athens, Greece.
In 2002, Israel seized control of Bethlehem; Palestinian gunmen forced their way into the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, where they began a 39-day standoff.
In 2003, during the Iraq War, American forces fought their way to within sight of the Baghdad skyline.
In 2005, Pope John Paul II died in his Vatican apartment at age 84.
Ten years ago: President Barack Obama, visiting a factory in Charlotte, North Carolina, hailed a new government report showing the most jobs created in nearly three years, saying, “We are beginning to turn the corner.” Gunmen seeking to pass themselves off as U.S. and Iraqi soldiers raided a Sunni village outside Baghdad, killing at least 24 people in an execution-style attack. Ohio State junior swingman Evan Turner was the runaway choice as The Associated Press’ college basketball player of the year; Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (BAY’-hym) was the AP’s college basketball coach of the year.
Five years ago: Capping a week of difficult negotiations, the United States, Iran and five other world powers said they had agreed on an outline of limits on Iran’s nuclear program that would prevent it from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief. Al-Shabab gunmen rampaged through a college in northeastern Kenya, killing at least 148 people. — — —