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April 25, 2013

Today in History

Today is Thursday, April 25, the 115th day of 2013. There are 250 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 25, 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 concern about possible nuclear war; Andropov reassured Samantha that the Soviet Union did not want war, and he invited her to visit his country, a trip Samantha made the following July.

On this date:

  • In 1507, a world map produced by German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller contained the first recorded use of the term "America," in honor of Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci (vehs-POO'-chee).
  • In 1792, highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier became the first person under French law to be executed by the guillotine.
  • In 1859, ground was broken for the Suez Canal.
  • In 1862, during the Civil War, a Union fleet commanded by Flag Officer David G. Farragut captured the city of New Orleans.
  • In 1898, the United States formally declared war on Spain.
  • In 1901, New York Gov. Benjamin Barker Odell Jr. signed an automobile registration bill which imposed a 15 mph speed limit on highways.
  • 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 1944, the United Negro College Fund was founded.
  • 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 defenses. Delegates from some 50 countries met in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.
  • In 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to shipping.
  • In 1972, Polaroid Corp. introduced its SX-70 folding camera, which ejected self-developing photographs. Actor George Sanders was found dead in his hotel room near Barcelona, Spain; he was 65.
  • In 1993, hundreds of thousands of gay rights activists and their supporters marched in Washington, D.C., demanding equal rights and freedom from discrimination.

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