On This Day in History: April 2

Today in history, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and the Islanders waited for a British response. Here is a look at April 2 in history.

1513: The Discovery of Florida

Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon discovered Florida and claimed it as Spanish territory. Ponce de Leon is Ponce de Leoncredited with the first sighting of the land, but it is possible that other European navigators saw it first. The Spanish explorer was looking for the “Fountain of Youth” at the time. He thought the land was an island at first, and returned in 521 to colonize it. He was then met by hostile Native Americans and he and his men had to retreat to Cuba.

1559: Elizabeth I of England Signs French Treaty

After marrying King Philip II of Spain, Mary I of England found herself an enemy of France. After her death, her successor Elizabeth I decided to make some changes. One of those was to enter a treaty with the French, her mother’s favorite country, and with the Spanish. Elizabeth I of England, Phillip II of Spain, and Henri II of France agreed to end the 60-year conflict. While Elizabeth was part of it, most of the benefits went to France and Spain, including a third marriage for Philip to Henri’s daughter Elizabeth of Valois.

1979: Russian Anthrax Poisoning Case Kills 62

The world saw the first anthrax epidemic on this day in history. It took six weeks for it to start in Ekaterinburg (now Sverdlosk) tospread acrossthe country. A total of 62 people died and another 32 were infected but survived. Animals were also killed. It took 13 years to find out that a weapons plant in the town had not replaced a filter, meaning anthrax spores were released. The wind carried those spores, infecting people and animals.

1982: Argentina Invades the Falklands Islands

This day is the official start of the Falklands Islands War between Argentina and Britain. The Islands had been in British possession since 1833 and a colony since 1892, but the Argentines have regularly debated this fact. Moving in through the town of Stanley, the Argentines seized territories in South Georgia. The Islanders had to wait for the British to respond, which they did with war. Both British and Argentine forces suffered heavy casualties during the war, and it is still a sore point between the two nations. When given a referendum vote, the Islanders voted almost unanimously to remain British.

2005: Death of Pope John Paul II

Today in history the world mourned the loss of the most well-traveled pope of all time, Pope John Paul II. He had John Paul IIdied in his Vatican home and six million people would go to the Vatican City for the funeral to pay their respects. John Paul II was the first non-Italian cardinal to be voted into the position since the 1500s, being of Polish birth. It took seven rounds of balloting to choose him after his predecessor John Paul I died after just 34 days in the position. Nobody expected him to become pope and he was the youngest chosen in 132. With age on his side, as he spent 27 years in the position. His stances on contraception, homosexuality, stem cell research, and abortion were all widely known (he was against them), and he never wavered in his opinions and beliefs. However, he was able to build bridges between faiths and help bring an end to communism.

Famous Birthdays on April 2

First Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne—742

Fairy tales author Hans Christian Andersen—1805

Activist and novelist Emile Zola—1840

Surrealism founder Max Ernst—1891

Dancer Serge Lifar—1905

I Heard It Through the Grape Vine singer Marvin Gaye—1939

Law & Order: SVU actor Christopher Meloni—1961

Tennis player David Ferrer—1982

Pretty Little Liars actor Drew van Acker—1986


Birthdays from HistoryNet.com and FamousBirthdays.com

Featured image from Deposit Photos

 Image of Ponce de Leon in the public domain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Ponce_de_Le%C3%B3n#/media/File:Juan_Ponce_de_Le%C3%B3n.jpg

John Paul II: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:JohannesPaul2-portrait.jpg

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