• On April 11, 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France, abdicates the throne and is banished to the Mediterranean island of Elba. Napoleon is credited with reforms that had a lasting impact on European society, including rights for all men and the end of feudalism.
• On April 7, 1891, American showman Phineas T. Barnum dies in Bridgeport, Connecticut, at age 81. Barnum had requested that a New York paper run his obituary before he died so he could enjoy reading it, and the paper obliged.
• On April 12, 1908, a fire at the Boston Blacking Company in Chelsea, Massachusetts, leaves 12 dead, 85 missing and presumed dead and more than 17,000 homeless. Due to high winds, a good portion of the city burned.
• On April 6, 1917, the U.S House of Representatives endorses a Senate declaration of war against Germany, and America formally enters World War I. Some 50,000 American soldiers would lose their lives before the war ended on Nov. 11, 1918.
• On April 10, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt establishes the Civilian Conservation Corps to put thousands of Americans to work during the Great Depression. The CCC was open to unemployed, unmarried U.S. male citizens between the ages of 18 and 26.
• On April 9, 1959, NASA introduces America’s first astronauts to the press: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper Jr., John Glenn Jr., Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Walter Schirra Jr., Alan Shepard Jr. and Donald Slayton. The seven men, all military test pilots, were selected from a group of 32 candidates.
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