On This Day in History: April 4

April 4 saw the death of a strong activist and civil rights leader in America. Here is a look at the events from this day in history.

1581: The Knighting of Pirate Francis Drake

Sir Francis Drake is known as the man who completed the first trip around the world, but he was also known as a pirate and slave trader. However, that latter part is often overlooked now, as history is written by the victors. On this Francis Drakeday in history, his past sins were effectively forgiven, as he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I of England. Elizabeth I had given him a task in 1577 to travel around the world, which he completed under the initial pretense of a trading expedition to the Nile. He started with five ships but lost two by the time he reached the Pacific Ocean. Across the ocean, he lost two more–one sunk and the other turned back–leaving just Drake’s ship the Pelican (later the Golden Hind) to reach England again. While travelling across the Pacific Coast, he took down Spanish ships, captured merchant ships, and claimed “Nova Albion” for the British. He’d made it back to England in 1580 and was knighted for his efforts and achievements.

1841: The Death of a President

After just 31 days in office, President William Henry Harrison died in the White House of pneumonia. He was the ninth president after being elected into the House of Representatives in 1816 and then to the Senate in 1825. President Harrison had declined to wear a jacket at his inauguration on March 4, and developed pneumonia soon William Henry Harrisonafter that. His vice president, John Tyler, ascended into presidency, becoming the first person to become president through the death of another.

1968: The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

On this day in history, civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while at his hotel in Memphis. The shooter was named as James Earl Ray, and had killed King from 200ft away with a single shot. King had been hit in the neck but did not instantly die. He survived for an hour, being taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital for treatment. Ray was initially imprisoned but escaped and made it to Canada, the UK and then Portugal. The authorities eventually caught up with him at Heathrow Airport, London.

1991: Orkney Children Allowed to Return Home

Today in history, Judge David Kelbie threw out a case involving potential child abuse of children living on the Scottish Orkney Islands. They were told they could return to their families, with hundreds of people waiting at the airport to welcome them home. Judge Kelbie said the social workers had subjected the children to cross-examinations and made them admit to being abused. The parents had been accused of ritual sexual abuse. The Court of Appeal later said the case should never have been thrown out, but police failed to investigate it again.

Famous Birthdays on April 4

Roman emperor Caracalla–188

Astronomer Joseph-Nicolas Delisle–1688

Painter Pierre-Paul Prud’hon–1758

The Peaceable Kingdom painter Edward Hicks—1780

Explorer John Franklin–1786

U.S. Republican congressional leader Thaddeus Stevens—1792

Queen Maria II of Portugal–1819

Yale lock investor Linus Yale—1821

Ballroom dance instructor Arthur Murray—1896

The Lover author Marguerite Duras—1914

Psycho actor Anthony Perkins—1932

Scary Movie 2 actor David Cross—1964

Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr.—1965

Magician David Blaine—1973

Sources:

Famous birthdays from HistoryNet.com and FamousBirthdays.com

Featured image from Deposit Photos

Sir Francis Drake: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Drake#/media/File:1590_or_later_Marcus_Gheeraerts,_Sir_Francis_Drake_Buckland_Abbey,_Devon.jpg

Image of President William Henry Harrison: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Henry_Harrison#/media/File:William_Henry_Harrison_daguerreotype_edit.jpg


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