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Today in History

Last Updated Apr 25, 2018 at 12:20 am EDT

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, April 25, the 115th day of 2018. There are 250 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 25, 1898, the United States Congress declared war on Spain; the 10-week conflict resulted in an American victory.

On this date:

In 404 B.C., the Peloponnesian War ended as Athens surrendered to Sparta.

In 1507, a world map produced by German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller contained the first recorded use of the term “America,” in honour of Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci (vehs-POO’-chee).

In 1792, French highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier became the first person to be executed by the guillotine.

In 1915, during World War I, Allied soldiers invaded the Gallipoli (guh-LIHP’-uh-lee) Peninsula in an unsuccessful attempt to take the Ottoman Empire out of the war.

In 1945, during World War II, U.S. and Soviet forces linked up on the Elbe (EL’-beh) River, a meeting that dramatized the collapse of Nazi Germany’s defences. Delegates from some 50 countries gathered in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.

In 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to shipping.

In 1964, vandals sawed off the head of the “Little Mermaid” statue in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In 1974, the “Carnation Revolution” took place in Portugal as a bloodless military coup toppled the Estado Novo regime.

In 1983, 10-year-old Samantha Smith of Manchester, Maine, received a reply from Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov to a letter she’d written expressing her concerns about nuclear war; Andropov gave assurances that the Soviet Union did not want war, and invited Samantha to visit his country, a trip she made in July.

In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed in orbit from the space shuttle Discovery. (It was later discovered that the telescope’s primary mirror was flawed, requiring the installation of corrective components to achieve optimal focus.)

In 1993, hundreds of thousands of gay rights activists and their supporters marched in Washington, D.C., demanding equal rights and freedom from discrimination.

In 2002, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of the Grammy-winning trio TLC died in an SUV crash in Honduras; she was 30.

Ten years ago: Three New York police detectives were acquitted in the 50-shot killing of Sean Bell, an unarmed black man, on his wedding day; as news of the verdict spread, many in a crowd outside the courthouse began weeping, while others were enraged, swearing and screaming “Murderers! Murderers!” or “KKK!”

Five years ago: President Barack Obama consoled a rural Texas community rocked by a deadly fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people, telling mourners during a memorial service at Baylor University they were not alone in their grief. President Barack Obama joined his four living predecessors to dedicate the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. Reggaeton star Don Omar was the top winner of the Billboard Latin Music Awards in Coral Gables, Florida, taking home 10 prizes.

One year ago: A federal judge blocked President Donald Trump’s attempt to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities” that did not co-operate with U.S. immigration officials, saying the president had no authority to attach new conditions to federal spending. Ivanka Trump drew groans and hisses from an audience in Berlin while defending her father’s attitude toward women, but brushed the negative reaction aside as “politics” during her first overseas trip as a White House adviser.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Al Pacino is 78. Ballroom dance judge Len Goodman (TV: “Dancing with the Stars”) is 74. Rock musician Stu Cook (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is 73. Singer Bjorn Ulvaeus (BYORN ul-VAY’-us) (ABBA) is 73. Actress Talia Shire is 73. Actor Jeffrey DeMunn is 71. Rock musician Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) is 68. Country singer-songwriter Rob Crosby is 64. Actor Hank Azaria is 54. Rock singer Andy Bell (Erasure) is 54. Rock musician Eric Avery is 53. Country musician Rory Feek (Joey + Rory) is 53. TV personality Jane Clayson is 51. Actress Renee Zellweger is 49. Actress Gina Torres is 49. Actor Jason Lee is 48. Actor Jason Wiles is 48. Actress Emily Bergl is 43. Actor Jonathan Angel is 41. Actress Marguerite Moreau is 41. Singer Jacob Underwood is 38. Actress Melonie Diaz is 34. Actress Sara Paxton is 30. Actress Allisyn Ashley Arm is 22.

Thought for Today: “There is nothing in the universe that I fear but that I shall not know all my duty, or shall fail to do it.” — Mary Lyon, American educator (1797-1849).