What Happened on April 19?

  • The American Revolution began. (1775) "The shot heard round the world" took place early in the morning in Lexington, Massachusetts, when 700 British troops came up against 77 American troops. It was the beginning of seven years of conflict between the two countries that eventually led to American independence.

  • The Oklahoma City bombing occurred. (1995) The bombing was one of the most famous terrorist attacks in the US in the 20th century. Domestic terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were arrested, and McVeigh was executed by lethal injection in 2001.

  • Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI married by proxy. (1770) The marriage was the result of months of diplomatic back and forth, during which Antoinette even had to undergo oral surgery to be deemed pretty enough for Louis. Her brother stood in as the groom for the wedding; Antoinette didn't actually meet Louis until May of the same year.

  • Pope Benedict XVI was elected. (2005) Benedict was the longest-serving Cardinal in the church since the 1700s, and is also the oldest Pope to be elected; he was 78 when he took the papal throne.

  • The Branch Davidian compound in Waco burned. (1993) The Davidians, an armed religious cult, had been in a standoff for 50 days with federal agents. The leader, David Koresh, died in the fire, along with some 80 other people.

  • Mae West was sentenced to jail for obscenity. (1927) West was a famous vaudeville comedienne known for her risqué double entendres. She was arrested after writing and starring in a play called Sex and sentenced to ten days in jail for "corrupting the morals of youth."

  • The Simpsons premiered. (1987) The popular TV show started off as a cartoon short on The Tracey Ullman Show, an 80s variety show. It ran as shorts for three years before being adapted into the 30 minute format and has since won dozens of awards, including being named TIME magazine's best TV show of the 20th century.

  • The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began. (1943) The ghetto had been a haven of Jewish resistance, and matters came to a head when over 2,000 SS soldiers began attacking resistance members. The fighting went on for almost a month before German forces set the entire ghetto on fire.

  • Douglas MacArthur retired. (1951) Having been recently relieved from his command by President Truman, MacArthur made one of his most famous speeches to Congress, stating, "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away."

  • The first American embassy opened. (1782) Though Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the US, the first embassy was in the Netherlands, where John Adams served as the first ambassador.

Discussion Comments


I didn't realize that Marie Antoinette had to undergo mouth surgery to be considered "pretty enough". That's really terrible. I can't imagine how bad she must have felt to be told that she had to do that in order to marry a man she had never even met and who had never even met her before.

I know she was famous for being relatively callous, but it sounds like she lived in an overly superficial world and she was a victim of that as much as anyone else. I wonder if she thought of April 19th with fondness or if she wished her marriage had never happened.


@Ana1234 - The Simpsons is still pretty funny. It's definitely better than it was when it premiered if you watch the oldest episodes. And it's still funnier than a lot of other shows on TV.

It might just be that you've grown out of it, or maybe that you've not watched it in a long time so you don't know what it's like now.


I can't believe how long the Simpsons have been going now. I used to show that show religiously and I can still quote some of the earlier episodes verbatim.

But I didn't even realize that it was still going. I actually think it's kind of sad that it is, to be honest, since it's gone from being so popular and relevant to being a show that I'll bet the majority of people watch out of habit. If it was my show, I'd rather go out with a bang than hang around until I was canceled.

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