On This Day in History: April 18

“The British are coming!” was the line heard on April 18. What happened today in history, and who was born?

1521: Martin Luther Refuses to Recant Writings

Protestant catalyst Martin Luther attended the Diet of Worms on this day in history. Standing against Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, Luther refused to recant his writings, while answering charges of heresy. This was after his Paul Revereexcommunication by the pope, and he would be known as a heretic and outlaw for the rest of his life. Fortunately, Germany was on his side, protecting him until his death in 1546. His views would spread across Europe, leading to many countries turning to Protestant beliefs, including England, Scotland, and Sweden.

1775: Warning of a British Attack

Today in history, tensions between the British government and American colonies had reached a high. They were at breaking point, and the Americans had started to fight. The British started a mission to confiscate the arsenal and capture the Patriot leaders, but William Dawes and Paul Revere set off to warn their men. They road through Massachusetts calling out that “the British are coming.” Two lanterns were hung in Charlestown, indicating that they were crossing the Charles River. The British attacked the next day and the American War of Independence officially began.

1906: San Francisco Rocked By Earthquake

San Francisco was hit by its deadliest earthquake on this day in history. Measuring close to magnitude 8, numerous buildings collapsed and hundreds died. Los Angeles and Oregon felt shockwaves from the quake. Many of the Victorian structures were destroyed, and fires broke out as the water mains were damaged. It San Francisco Earthquake 1906would take days for all the fires to be extinguished and survivors freed from the city. A total of 3,000 people were believed to have died in the quake.

1988: “Ivan the Terrible” Found Guilty of War Crimes

John Demjanjuk was found guilty of Nazi war crimes today in history. He was the guard known as “Ivan the Terrible” at Poland’s Treblinka death camp. Three Israeli judges convicted him of the crimes, and he was only the second to face trial in Israel after Adolf Eichmann in 1961. The court had previously ruled Demjanjuk had lied about his wartime past, meaning he lost his US citizenship in 1981. The conviction was later quashed, as the Israel Supreme Court found evidence another Ukrainian was known as Ivan the Terrible. While he got his citizenship back, he would later lose it as the US decided there was enough evidence to state he was a Nazi death camp guard.

1989: The Beginnings of Student Unrest in China

Today in history, Chinese student started their protests against the Chinese government. They called for one thing: more democracy within the People’s Republic of China. As the students grew in numbers, the Chinese focused on ways to suppress them and would spend the next two months becoming more and more ruthless. It all came to a head in June, when the Tiananmen Square Massacre would take place.

Famous Birthdays on April 18

Pope Alexander VI’s daughter and murderess, Lucretia Borgia—1480

Game of Chess playwright, Thomas Middleton–1580

Blue Mosque constructor Ahmed I, 14th Sultan of the Ottoman Emperor–1590

Ballet dancer, Gaetano B Vestris–1729

President Louis-Adolphe Thiers of France–1797

Lawyer Clarence S. Darrow—1857

Journalist Richard Hardin Davis—1864

Labor leader Ed Garvey—1940

Doctor Who actor David Tennent—1971

Kourtney Kardashian—1979

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D actress Chloe Bennet—1992

WeeklyChris YouTube star Christian Collins—1996

Sources:

Birthdays from HistoryNet.com, OnThisDay.com and FamousBirthdays.com

Featured image from Deposit Photos

Image of Paul Revere: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Revere#/media/File:J_S_Copley_-_Paul_Revere.jpg

Image of the San Francisco earthquake destruction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_San_Francisco_earthquake#/media/File:Post-and-Grant-Avenue.-Look.jpg


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