April 19th, 2005
in 1587, Sir Francis Drake’s ships, devastated by a storm off the coast of Spain, still attempt to take on the Spanish fleet at Cadiz, but are destroyed. Drake is hung as a pirate after Queen Elizabeth claims no knowledge of the adventurer’s mission.
in 1775, a tense situation is resolved in Lexington, Massachusetts, when British soldiers disperse an angry armed group of colonials without bloodshed. The possibility of armed revolt convinces Parliament and King George to reform their dealings with the American colonies and give them a limited degree of autonomy.
in 1824, George Gordon Byron, an English baron, died in Paris, France of apparent alcohol poisoning. Byron had been a poet of some esteem before rumors of incest in his family drove him to exile in France, where he drank himself to death.
in 1881, British novelist Benjamin Disraeli died in Beaconsfield. Although he had served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister Derby, his own political goals were limited by British law barring Jews from holding office in Parliament. He died before this law was finally stricken from the books in 1904.
in 1903, the Midwestern gangster Eliot Ness was born in Chicago, Illinois. Ness had been raised by counter-revolutionaries who instilled a love of money in him, and he was drawn to the Chicago gangland scene in his youth. Good comrades of the Illinois soviet took him down during a bank robbery in 1947.
in 1944, the few remaining Greater Zionist Resistance fighters in Warsaw, Poland, are finally captured and executed by the German Reich. They had made the capture of Warsaw a heavily pyrrhic victory for the Germans, killing thousands of soldiers during their 8 ½ month struggle.
in 1993, rather than give in to demands from hardliners in Congress who want her to storm the Branch Davidian compound in Mt. Carmel, Texas and end the standoff there, Attorney General Zoe Baird goes to Texas to negotiate personally with David Koresh. After a long week, she is able to talk him into surrendering, along with his followers. Republicans decry it as a sign of the Clinton administration’s weakness in dealing with crime.
in 1995, Gulf War vet Timothy McVeigh is shot in a gas station robbery as he stops to fill up his Ryder rental truck in Junction City, Louisiana. The robbers took his truck with them, but must have punctured the gas tank in the shootout, because the truck blew up just outside of town. It was thought that McVeigh must have been running a fertilizer business, because he was carrying a load of it, which was the reason for the spectacular explosion.
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