• On April 23, 1014, Brian Boru, the high king of Ireland, is assassinated by retreating Norsemen shortly after his Irish forces defeated them. A small group of fleeing Norsemen stumbled on Brian’s tent, overcame his bodyguards and murdered the elderly king.
• On April 25, 1719, Daniel Defoe’s “The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe,” a fictional work about a shipwrecked sailor who spends 28 years on a deserted island, is published. It’s based on the experiences of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor who spent four years on a small island off South America.
• On April 26, 1865, John Wilkes Booth is killed when Union soldiers track him to a Virginia farm 12 days after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Killing Lincoln was part of a conspiracy to simultaneously kill the vice president and secretary of state, neither of which happened.
• On April 22, 1915, German forces shock Allied soldiers along the Western Front by firing more than 150 tons of lethal chlorine. The Germans were perhaps as shocked as the Allies by the devastating effects of the poison gas.
• On April 27, 1956, world heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano retires from boxing at age 31. He ended his career as the only heavyweight champ with a perfect record, 49-0. Marciano had started boxing in the Army to get out of kitchen duty.
• On April 28, 1969, following the defeat of his proposals for constitutional reform, Charles de Gaulle resigns as president of France. He had first resigned in 1946, but was called back in 1958 when the Algerian War sent nearly a million Algerians into France.
• On April 24, 1996, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Washington Capitals, 3-2, in 139 minutes of game play, making it the fifthlongest match in NHL history. Playoff games aren’t allowed to end in a tie.
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