Today in History

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Associated Press

Posted on April 20, 2014 at 11:02 PM

Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 21, 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States.

On this date:

In 1509, England's King Henry VII died; he was succeeded by his 17-year-old son, Henry VIII.

In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, providing for freedom of worship for all Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly.

In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence.

In 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Conn., at age 74.

In 1914, U.S. military forces occupied the Mexican port of Veracruz at the order of President Woodrow Wilson; the occupation lasted until the following November.

In 1918, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the German ace known as the "Red Baron," was killed in action during World War I.

In 1930, a fire broke out inside the overcrowded Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, killing 332 inmates.

In 1955, the Jerome Lawrence-Robert Lee play "Inherit the Wind," inspired by the Scopes trial of 1925, opened at the National Theatre in New York.

In 1960, Brazil inaugurated its new capital, Brasilia, transferring the seat of national government from Rio de Janeiro.

In 1972, Apollo 16 astronauts John W. Young and Charles M. Duke Jr. explored the surface of the moon.

In 1980, Rosie Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon; however, she was later exposed as a fraud. (Canadian Jacqueline Gareau was named the actual winner of the women's race.)

In 1989, the baseball fantasy "Field of Dreams," starring Kevin Costner, was released by Universal Pictures.

Ten years ago: Five suicide attackers detonated car bombs against police buildings in Basra, Iraq, killing at least 74 people. Mordechai Vanunu walked out of prison, 18 years after exposing Israel's nuclear secrets. Karl Hass, a former Nazi officer convicted for the wartime massacre of 335 Italian civilians, died in a rest home near Rome, where he had been serving a life sentence under house arrest; he was 92. Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory died at age 85.

Five years ago: Calling on Americans to volunteer, President Barack Obama signed a $5.7 billion national service bill tripling the size of the AmeriCorps service program. The sole survivor of a pirate attack on an American cargo ship off the Somali coast was charged as an adult with piracy in federal court in New York. (A prosecutor said Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse (AHB'-dih-wah-lee AHB'-dih-kah-dir moo-SAY') had given wildly varying ages for himself before finally admitting he was 18. Muse later pleaded guilty to hijacking, kidnapping and hostage-taking and was sentenced to more than 33 years in prison.)

One year ago: On the first Sunday since the deadly Boston Marathon bombing, churches paused to mourn the dead and console the survivors while in West, Texas, residents prayed for comfort four days after a fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people. In Britain, the London Marathon sent out a powerful message of solidarity with Boston and its victims as runners crossed the line in front of Buckingham Palace with black ribbons on their chests (Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia won the men's race in 2:06:04). Joe Scarborough, a 50-year-old self-employed electrical contractor, rolled the first 900 series in Professional Bowlers Association history — three straight perfect games.

Today's Birthdays: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is 88. Actress-comedian-writer Elaine May is 82. Actor Charles Grodin is 79. Actor Reni Santoni (REH'-nee san-TOH'-nee) is 76. Singer-musician Iggy Pop is 67. Actress Patti LuPone is 65. Actor Tony Danza is 63. Actress Andie MacDowell is 56. Rock singer Robert Smith (The Cure) is 55. Rock musician Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 55. Actor John Cameron Mitchell is 51. Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) is 48. Actor Toby Stephens is 45. Rock singer-musician Glen Hansard (The Frames) is 44. Actor Rob Riggle is 44. Comedian Nicole Sullivan is 44. Football player-turned-actor Brian White is 41. Rock musician David Brenner (Theory of a Deadman) is 36. Actor James McAvoy is 35. NFL quarterback Tony Romo is 34. Actor Christoph (cq) Sanders is 26.

Thought for Today: "Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." — Mark Twain (1835-1910).

(Above Advance for Use Monday, April 21)

Copyright 2014, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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