The First Foot Guards

We are a Revolutionary War reenactment group based in Boston MA,
accurately portraying the royal household regiment that is now known as
The Grenadier Guards



This Date in History: April

Graeme Marsden's collection 
of significant dates in American and European history,
organized by Month and by Day.

Most references are from the 18th century, and there is a preference for military occurrences, especially those of The First Foot guards.

Check out 'What happened on this day?'




1 April 1789
The US House of Representatives held its first full meeting, in New York City. Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected the first House Speaker

1 April 1780 - 12 May 1780
The Second Battle of Charleston SC
The loss of Charleston was a devastating blow for the Americans. Because of a lack of action on the part of the American General Lincoln, Charleston fell into British hands, along with 5,500 American prisoners and countless stores of munitions and supplies.


2 April 1792
Congress approved the Coinage Act, authorizing the first US Mint. Constructed in Philadelphia, the Mint's original coins were made of gold, silver, and copper.

2 April 1801
The British and Danish fleets met in the Battle of Copenhagen, during which Nelson put his telescope to his blind eye and ignored Admiral Parker's signal to stop fighting; the British fleet won a decisive battle.

"I have only one eye: I have a right to be blind sometimes: I really do not see the signal." Nelson

2 April 1849
Britain annexed the Punjab in India. (It is now part of Pakistan).


3 April 1721 
Robert Walpole became the first Prime Minister of Britain. Walpole, Massachusetts is named for him.

3 April 1756
In the second year of the French & Indian War, the French government sent an inspired and worthy soldier to Quebec as supreme military commander.
Louis-Joseph Gozon de Saint Veran, Marquis de Montcalm left Brest on 3 April 1756 aboard the frigate Licorne with a naval contingent carrying just two battalions (twelve hundred soldiers from the La Sarre and Royal Roussillon regiments) and a few thousand tons of supplies. Other members of the expedition included a military adjutant named Bougainville, Field Marshal Lévis, Brigadier-General Bourlamaque and Colonel Desaudrouins of the Engineers Corps.

3 April 1776
George Washington received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Harvard College.

3 April 1783
Militia and loyalists battled at Tuckertown NJ.


4 April 1581
When the English navigator and explorer Francis Drake arrived home to England on 26th September 1580, it was as a returning hero. He had set sail from Plymouth almost three years earlier with five ships and 164 men, commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I to raid the Spanish colonies on the Pacific coast of the Americas. Although he returned with only one ship and 59 men, that ship was laden with a rich cargo of spices and captured Spanish treasure. Moreover,
Drake was hailed as the first Englishman to sail around the world.

But Drake wasn't a hero to everyone. The Spanish, now at peace with England, were furious about his attacks on their ships and colonial settlements, and pressed various claims of criminal behavior based on his treatment of Spanish civilians along the coasts of Chile and Peru. King Philip of Spain demanded that Queen Elizabeth have Drake put to death for his crimes.

But Queen Elizabeth had other ideas. When she visited Drake aboard his ship, the Golden Hind at Deptford on April 4 1581, she did indeed have a sword in her hand. But instead of beheading Drake, she used it to touch him on the shoulder as she pronounced him "Sir Francis Drake." This incensed the Spanish even further.

The newly elevated Sir Francis Drake continued to torment the Spanish. In 1585 he commanded a large fleet that raided more Spanish settlements in the West Indies. In 1588, when Spain attempted to invade England, Drake was Vice Admiral of the English fleet that defeated the Spanish Armada.

4 April 1788
The publication of the Federalist Papers, one of the greatest works on US political theory, was completed. Written
mostly by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, the essays defended federalism as a means of creating a strong state while protecting the individual against governmental tyranny.

4 April 1818
Congress adopted a new flag for the United States, with thirteen stripes and twenty stars. It was also decided that
another star would be added to the flag for every new state admitted to the union, but that the number and pattern of stripes would remain the same (the same as in the original East India Company flag from which it may have been derived).

4 April 1829
The Catholic Emancipation Act restored civil liberties to Roman Catholics in Britain.



5 April 1614
American Indian princess Pocahontas married English colonist John Rolfe in Virginia.

5 April 1621
The "Mayflower" sailed from Plymouth, Massachusetts, on a return trip to England.

5 April 1649
Elihu Yale, the Welsh philanthropist for whom Yale University is named, was born.



6 April 1580
An earth tremor damaged several London churches, including the old gothic St Paul's Cathedral.



7 April 1652
'Zulu' fans take note.
The Dutchman Jan Van Riebeeck established a settlement in Cape Town, South Africa. The Portuguese had already arrived at the beginning of the 16th century, but it was Van Riebeeck who selected an area for a fort and vegetable gardens. Cape Town is today the legislative capital of the country.

7 April 1712
One of the first major revolts of African slaves in the American British Colonies took place when about 20 slaves, armed with guns, set fire to houses in New York City. Nine whites were killed before the militia arrived to suppress the uprising. The city responded by executing 21 slaves, and six others committed suicide. New York and Long Island had at the time the largest number of slaves in the North.

7 April 1739
Dick Turpin was hanged at York. Despite his trade as a highwayman, Turpin was a popular folk-hero.

7 April 1779
On this date the mistress of Lord Sandwich, Martha Reay, was shot in the head outside the Royal Opera House by a deranged suitor, Rev James Hackman. Hackman was previously a Lieutenant in a county regiment (the 68th). Hackman was tried, and hanged at Tyburn. See more on this in the First Foot Guards 'Gallery' under 'Sandwich'

7 April 1827
The first matches were sold in Stockton, England, by their inventor, chemist John Walker.

7 April 1853
Chloroform was used as an anaesthetic on Queen Victoria, during the birth of her eighth child, Prince Leopold.



8 April 1513
Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León arrived in Florida and claimed it for Spain.

8 April 1838
Isambard Brunel's steamship Great Western set off on its first voyage, from Bristol to New York; the journey took 15 days.



9 April 1682
French explorer Robert La Salle reached the Mississippi River.

9 April 1747
The Scottish Jacobite Lord Lovat was beheaded on Tower Hill, London, for high treason. He was the last man to be executed in this way in Britain.

9 April 1770
English navigator James Cook arrived in Botany Bay, Australia, the first European to do so.

9 April 1865
The American Civil War came to an end when Confederate General Robert E Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S Grant, at Appomattox, Virginia.

8 April 1898
Lord Kitchener defeated Sudanese leader the Mahdi, at the Battle of Atbara.

8 April 1904
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Europe's most important military alliance treaty was The Triple Alliance of 1882, concluded by Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. It gave Germany backing in its generally hostile relations with France, and it provided Austria-Hungary with allies in resisting Russia's increasing expansionism.

France and Britain were relatively isolated. France's only formal alliance was with Russia, whose inferior military capabilities were revealed during the Russo-Japanese War. Britain had no official allies except the Japanese, who were in no position to offer significant military support in a European conflict. As German military power increased, both Britain and especially France felt threatened by the Triple Alliance. But France and Britain were separated by a history of colonial rivalries, with many outstanding territorial disputes and potential conflicts remaining.

By signing the Entente Cordiale (friendly understanding) on April 8, 1904, Britain and France took an important step towards the formation of an alliance. Although it was in no sense a formal treaty of military alliance, the agreement settled the major territorial issues that separated the two nations, giving Britain a free hand in Egyptian affairs and France in Morocco.

The Entente Cordiale was upsetting to the Germans, who had long relied on Franco-British antagonism. When Germany tested the Entente's strength by provoking a crisis in Morocco in 1905, the French and British tightened the alliance with discussions of military cooperation, consolidated at the Algeciras Conference in 1906. In 1907 the entente was extended to include Russia, and the Triple Entente was established as a rival pact to the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. The resulting division of Europe into two armed camps led eventually to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.


10 April 1790
The first circumnavigation of the globe by a US vessel was completed. Captain Robert Gray had departed Boston three years earlier aboard the "Columbia," and sailed to the Pacific Northwest. From there he sailed to China with a cargo of sea otter skins. He continued around Asia and Africa, then returned to Boston.

10 April 1633
Bananas, never seen before in England, went on sale in a London shop.

10 April 1820
The first British settlers landed at Algoa Bay, South Africa.

10 April 1841
The US newspaper New York Tribune was first published.

10 April 1849
The safety pin was patented in the USA; unaware of this, a British inventor patented his own safety pin later the same year.

10 April 1864
Austrian Archduke Maximilian was made emperor of Mexico.



11 April 1564
The Peace of Troyes ended the war between England and France

11 April 1689
Following 'The Glorious Revolution' of 1688, William III and Mary II were crowned as joint sovereigns of Britain.
Williamsburg and Maryland were named for them, as was the College of William and Mary. Interestingly enough they both died of causes that nowadays would be unlikely to cause death. Mary died of smallpox, William died as a result of pneumonia contracted when he broke his clavicle after falling from a horse.

11 April 1713
The War of the Spanish Succession was ended by the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht. France ceded Newfoundland and Gibraltar to Britain.

11 April 1814
Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated as emperor of France and was banished to the island of Elba. Britain sighed a gasp of relief… but he was to escape and cause more trouble.

11 April 1855
Britain's first pillar-boxes (receptacles for mail) were installed on the streets of London; there were just six of them, and they were painted green.



12 April 1606
James I of England introduced the Union Flag (commonly known as the "Union Jack"), which became the national flag of the United Kingdom. The red cross of St. George and the white cross of St. Andrew originally composed the Union Jack, and was meant to symbolize the union of England and Scotland. In 1801 the flag incorporated Ireland's red cross of St. Patrick, becoming the flag of the UK that is flown today. The earlier configuration is the flag that the Guards proudly carry, and can be seen on many bumper stickers.

12 April 1861
The American Civil War began when Confederate troops fired on the Federal garrison at Fort Sumter.


13 April 1598
Edict of Nantes
Between 1562 and 1598 France was ravaged by a series of wars between Roman Catholics and Huguenot Protestants. The settlement that ended those religious wars was promulgated by King Henry IV in the town of Nantes, in Brittany, on April 13, 1598. It was a compromise settlement that granted limited toleration to the Huguenots. It permitted Protestants to hold public worship in many parts of the kingdom, but not in Paris. It granted them full civil rights, but at the same time the Edict restored Catholicism in all areas where Catholic practice had been interrupted, and it made any extension of Protestant worship in France legally impossible.

Even such limited toleration of the Protestants was resented by Pope Clement VIII, by the Roman Catholic clergy in France, and by the parliaments, and the Edict's provisions were never fully carried out.

A Catholic extremist assassinated Henry IV in 1610, and King Louis XIII's chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu, abrogated most of the Edict's political clauses in 1629.
Finally, King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685, depriving the French Protestants of both religious and civil liberties. Within a few years, more than 400,000 Huguenots fled to Protestant countries, primarily England, Prussia, and America.

Boston Huguenots that made their mark were Paul Revere (Rivoire) and James Bowdoin (Beaudouin: founder of Bowdoin College; a T stop is named for him) and Peter Faneuil (of Faneuil Hall fame). All three are buried in the Granary Burying Ground on Tremont Street in Boston.

13 April 1668
English poet John Dryden became the first Poet Laureate.

13 April 1742
The first public performance of George Frederick Handel's "Messiah" took place in Dublin, Ireland. Handel's most
highly esteemed work, his oratorio was hailed as a musical triumph. Today it remains a very popular work. Handel was born Georg Frideric Handel.

13 April 1812
"Marmion," a very successful dramatization of the poem by Sir Walter Scott, opened in New York City. This was during the War of 1812 and the anti-English sentiments expressed in the play held great appeal for New York audiences.

13 April 1829
The British Parliament passed the Catholic Emancipation Act, lifting restrictions imposed on Catholics at the time of Henry VIII.

13 April 1919
The Amritsar Massacre took place in the Punjab, India; British troops fired into a crowd of 10,000 that had gathered to protest at the arrest of two Indian Congress Party leaders, 379 people were killed and 1,200 wounded. A shameful incident in Britain's history, it was featured in the movie 'Gandhi'.


14 April 1471
The Battle of Barnet took place in the Wars of the Roses, in which Yorkist forces defeated the Lancastrians, leading to the restoration of Edward IV.

14 April 1759
Composer George Frideric Handel died in London.

14 April 1775
The first public protest against slavery in America was a resolution signed in 1688 by four German Quakers in Germantown, near Philadelphia. It wasn't until nearly a century later that the first anti-slavery organization was formed. Again the place was Philadelphia, and the organizers were Quakers.

By the 1770s, abolitionism was a full-scale movement in Pennsylvania, led by such Quaker activists as Anthony Benezet and John Wooman. On April 14, 1775 Benezet called the first meeting of the "Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully held in Bondage" at the Rising Sun Tavern in Philadelphia. Of the ten white Philadelphians who attended, seven were Quakers. Thomas Paine, newly arrived in America, was also in the group. Although

it was informally known as the Abolition Society, the group did not officially campaign for the abolition of slavery. Its energy was focused on providing legal help to blacks and Indians who claimed to have been illegally enslaved under the existing laws.

In 1784, the group was reorganized as the "Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage." Commonly referred to as the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (PAS), the reorganized group made the complete abolition of slavery its avowed goal. Within two years, the group had grown to 82 members and inspired the establishment of anti-slavery organizations in other cities. In 1787 PAS broadened its membership to include such prominent figures as Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush, who helped write the Society's new constitution. Among the Society's important activities was a crusade to ban the international slave trade, a petition campaign to persuade the Constitutional Convention to institute a ban, and a successful lobbying campaign to strengthen the gradual abolition act that had been passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in 1780. In 1789, after Benjamin Franklin became president of PAS, the organization initiated programs to help free blacks to improve their situation, including employment programs and the establishment of black schools.

14 April 1782
Admiral De Grasse, after from his triumph at Yorktown, headed with his fleet to the West Indies, where they took several islands from the British. In a decisive battle off Martinique, on 14th April near the Ile-des-saintes, Admiral Rodney destroyed the French fleet. De Grasse's flagship had to strike its colors, and De Grasse surrendered his sword to Rodney. Rodney triumphed by using unconventional tactics, cutting across the line of battle. Such tactics were forbidden, and if they were unsuccessful were likely to bring about a court-martial (everyone remembered the firing squad execution of Admiral Byng!). Nelson later copied Rodney's tactics to great effect. Since Rodney and Nelson were victorious, they were not court-martialed.

De Grasse was received with great courtesy by Rodney, and sent to England, where King George III returned the sword to him in person. On his return to France, De Grasse was almost court-martialed along with other naval officers, but he did not receive this disgrace. He never again gained the favor of the French government or the French population.

This "Battle of the Saints" was the ending of French influence in the West Indies, and had huge importance in the building of the British Empire.

14 April 1814
War against France, 1803-1814, Sortie from Bayonne
In memoriam. First Foot Guards Officer who died in battle:
Captain Walter Vane, First Foot Guards

14 April 1828
The second and most renowned American English dictionary was published. Improving on an earlier version, Noah Webster published "An American Dictionary of the English Language."

The new dictionary included, for the first time, Americanisms such as skunk, hickory, and chowder. It also contained his orthography (eg humor instead of humour). Webster's spelling system was not thoroughgoing, resulting in many anomalies in present-day American. However, British English still perpetuates an even greater number of difficult spellings. It may be that any spelling system based on pronunciation can never be wholly successful, since pronunciations vary geographically, and change from era to era. A person in the north of England might today take a 'bath', while a friend in the South of England would take a 'barth', and a Cockney would take a 'barf' or even 'barft'. Americans might also splash down in a 'bee-ath' or a 'bay-ath'.

14 April 1912
The 'unsinkable' Titanic sank on its maiden voyage, with the loss of 1,513 lives


15 April 1755
English lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson published his Dictionary; he had taken eight years to compile it.

15 April 1797
Sailors at Spithead, near Portsmouth, mutinied, demanding better conditions; the British government met their demands.

15 April 1793
£5 notes began to be issued by the Bank of England .


16 April 1746
Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie, grandson of James II) was defeated at the Battle of Culloden in Scotland. The rebels had started by taking Edinburgh and by September of 1745 had defeated the King's army at Prestonpans. They marched south to England. The support they expected did not materialize, and they stopped at Derby, well north of London. The Battle of Culloden, near Inverness, followed on 16 April 1746, where the Scots suffered a disastrous defeat at the hands of William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland: 'Bloody Cumberland'. This bloody annihilation of the Scots lasted only about an hour, put an end to Jacobite hopes, and Bonnie Prince Charlie was forced to flee ('Speed bonny boat, like a bird on the wing, over the seas to Skye…')

Culloden had a profound effect upon the Highlanders, for repressive laws made life difficult (wearing of the kilt, for example, was prohibited), and encouraged sheep farming on the land that was formerly used for farming. Many Highlanders moved to the new emerging cities, and the clan system was changed forever. Many emigrated. Flora Macdonald who had harbored Bonnie Prince Charlie in his flight, settled with her husband in North Carolina, where the husband later served in the Revolution, but on the British side.


17 April 1521
German religious reformer Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. The Church's action was based on Luther's attacks against the papacy and the sale of indulgences. (In a practice common at the time, a person's sins were pardoned through the purchase of an indulgence letter.)

17 April 1524
Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano was probably the first European to navigate the New York harbor waters and the Hudson River. He sailed his ship La Dauphine past New Jersey's Sandy Hook and into the mouth of the Hudson River.


18 April 1775

At the outbreak of the War of American Independence, US patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes rode from Boston to Lexington, warning people as they went that British troops were on their way.

18 April 1881
The Natural History Museum in South Kensington, London, was opened. It is now part of a complex of museums, along with the Science Museum, The Geological Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

18 April 1906
An earthquake and the fire that followed it destroyed most of the city of San Francisco, and killed over 450 people.


19 April 1775 - 17 March 1776
The Siege of Boston. For almost a year the siege of Boston remained a stalemate. When General Knox brought heavy cannon from Fort Ticonderoga the tide quickly turned in the Americans' favor and Boston was reclaimed in a bloodless surrender. The British forces and many Tories departed for Halifax NS.

19 April 1587
In the incident known as 'singeing the King of Spain's beard', English navigator Francis Drake sank the Spanish fleet in Cadiz harbor.

19 April 1775
By the spring of 1775, relations between the British Crown and the American Colonials had become extremely tense, but both sides had avoided armed conflict. The British Army was officially responsible for enforcing various government decrees that the Colonials found unacceptable; the Colonials, for their part, had formed militias and begun to stockpile weapons and ammunition.

Realizing that his troops would be unable to enforce British law if the militias were allowed to grow stronger, British Major General Thomas Gage sent 700 troops to the town of Concord. Their mission was to seize and destroy militia weapons and ammunition that were known to be stored there.

After marching all night, the British Army troops reached the town of Lexington at dawn of April 19, 1775. The local militia, known as the Minutemen, stood waiting for them on Lexington Green. Such standoffs had occurred before, always ending without violence. But this time the British advanced towards the Minutemen in a

threatening manner, the Minutemen withdrew behind the cover of a stone fence, and then someone fired a shot at the advancing British soldiers. Without orders from their commander, the British troops started to fire at the Minutemen, killing or wounding 18. The Minutemen dispersed and the British headed towards nearby Concord.

By the time the British reached Concord, news of the Lexington confrontation had spread, bringing more and more Minutemen from local villages and farms. After a brief firefight with a small group of militia at Concord North Bridge, the British commander decided to retreat back towards Lexington. Keeping to the road, the British troops were fired at by American farmers who were hiding behind walls and any available obstacle. The badly battered British met Lord Percy's relief column at Lexington, and the combined British units headed back to their garrison in Boston, with

Minutemen shooting at them the whole way. By the end of the day, the British had suffered 273 casualties, while Colonial casualties were only 94. The American Revolutionary War had started.

19 April 1824
English poet Lord Byron (born George Gordon Noel Byron) died of a fever in Missolonghi, Greece, while aiding Greek rebels fighting against the Turks. One of the great English romantic poets, he joined the Greek cause for independence after leading a life of love affairs, and wandering throughout Europe.


20 April 1534
French explorer Jacques Cartier arrived on the coast of Labrador, North America.

20 April 1657
English admiral Robert Blake defeated the Spanish fleet in Santa Cruz Bay, off the Canary Islands.

20 April 1689
James II, the deposed British Catholic king, began a siege of Derry, a Protestant stronghold in Northern Ireland. The
ill-supplied people of Londonderry repelled countless attacks from James's soldiers for over three months. Despite suffering great losses and famine, Derry successfully withstood the siege. The city adopted the name Londonderry because of the substantial assistance given by the citizens of London. Londonderry adopted the coat of arms of London, differenced with a skeleton, to commemorate their privations.

20 April 1770
English navigator James Cook reached New South Wales, Australia.


21 April 1509
King Henry VII (the first Tudor monarch) died, and was succeeded by his son King Henry VIII.

21 April 1759
Sir William Johnson convened an Indian council at Canajoharie NY, and rallied the Iroquois to attack the French at Fort Niagara. The Seneca, dependent on the British for ammunition and trade goods, agreed to an alliance with them.

21 April 1836
After Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, the population of the Mexican region known as Texas began to increase with an influx of Anglo-Americans from further east. Most of these immigrants were from the southern states, and brought black slaves with them. Since Mexicans were opposed to slavery, tensions occurred over the issue. In 1835 Mexican soldiers were sent to Texas to end unrest over laws prohibiting slavery, but the settlers defeated the Mexicans. In 1836, when the conflict escalated, the Anglo-American Texans declared themselves a republic, independent from Mexico, and made Sam Houston commander-in-chief of all Texan forces. The Mexican government sent a force under Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to put down the rebellion.

At first Santa Anna's army had the upper hand. They massacred the Texans who were defending the garrison of the Alamo, and chased Sam Houston's rag-tag, undisciplined force of Texas frontiersmen across Texas, almost to the Louisiana border. But at the mouth of the San Jacinto river, near the sight of the present day city that bears his name, Sam Houston ordered an end to the retreat. On 21 April 1836 his 800-man force made a surprise attack on Santa Anna's 1,500-man army. The result was a complete rout. In just 18 minutes of fighting, the Texans killed or captured nearly all of Santa Anna's soldiers, including the general himself. A helpless captive, Santa Anna signed a treaty ending the war and granting Texans their independence from Mexico.

Within a year the Republic of Texas, with Sam Houston as its first president, received official recognition from the United States. Eight years later, in December 1845, Texas was admitted to the US as the 28th state.


22 April 1500
Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvarez Cabral became the first European to arrive to contemporary Brazil when, sailing along Africa en route to India, his ship was carried by a storm to South America. Cabral perceived that the new territory was east of the line of demarcation made by Pope Alexander VI, and thus claimed the land as a Portuguese possession.

22 April 1662
King Charles II granted a charter to the Royal Society of London, which became an important center of scientific activity in England. At the Restoration of the monarchy, Charles executed many of the Parliamentary leaders (although he spared Monk who led what was to become The Coldstream Guards). Traditional amusements returned, such as the maypole, which had been banned. Theaters and playwrights flourished, philosophy and science burgeoned, thus beginning the Age of Reason.

22 April 1793
The monarchies of Europe watched events in revolutionary France with alarm. Various plots were formed to invade France in order to crush the revolution and restore King Louis XVI to power. When it became clear that King Louis and Queen Marie Antoinette were aiding those conspiracies, the French revolutionaries arrested the royal couple, tried them for treason, and sentenced them to death. The execution of the French monarch in January, 1793 was too much for the other monarchs of Europe to tolerate. By February, 1793 Britain, Spain, and Holland were at war against France.

The outbreak of war in Europe put the fledgling United States in a difficult situation. The Americans' success in the

Revolutionary War was largely due to the military assistance that France had given under the terms of the

Franco-American Alliance of 1778. That alliance bound the US and France as perpetual allies, obliging the US to help

France defend her colonies in the West Indies. In addition to the formal treaty obligation, many Americans felt the US owed it to France to support a fellow republic in its struggle against the monarchies. There was also a lingering hatred towards Britain. However, the militarily and economically weak US was in no position to become involved in a war with major European powers. After meeting with his cabinet, President George Washington decided that a policy of neutrality was in the country's best interests.

22 April 1793
Washington signed a Proclamation of Neutrality in Philadelphia. By proclaiming the United States to be "friendly and impartial" toward the belligerent powers, it cleverly and effectively dissolved the 1778 treaty with France that had made American independence possible. The Proclamation warned American citizens against any involvement in the European hostilities.

The Proclamation of Neutrality was very unpopular in the US and it soured the last years of Washington's presidency. Three and a half years later, in his Farewell Address to the Nation, Washington warned against America's entanglement in permanent alliances.

22 April 1834
The South Atlantic island of St Helena was declared a British crown colony.

22 April 1838
The British steamship "Sirius" became the first to cross the Atlantic from Great Britain to New York solely on steam power. The journey from Cork to New York took a record 18 days, 10 hours. Unlike the steamship "Great Western," which arrived the following day, Sirius did not carry any passengers.


23 April

It's Saint George's Day. Redcoats rejoice!

Of course if you happen to be Welsh, like Drummer Lane or Scots, like Sjt Brown, you can sit this one out. Unless the Colonel orders a celebration, of course.

By the way, the Welsh celebrate Saint David's Day on March 1. Historically they wear a leek in their hats (Henry VIII so ordered the Yeomen warders of the Tower of London), although now it's more common to see a daffodil (thanks to Prime Minister David Lloyd George).

The North Britons seem to celebrate everything, so Saint Andrew's Day is just one of many celebrations that are marked by partaking of a "wee dram" (= Scots Gaelic for getting legless).

23 April 1349
St George's Day:
English King Edward III founded the Order of the Garter.

23 April 1616
Death of William Shakespeare

23 April 1661
Charles II was crowned king of Great Britain and Ireland.

23 April 1662
Connecticut was declared a British colony.

23 April 1838
The first transatlantic steamship service began with the arrival in New York of the English steam ship Great Western.
The ship had departed 15 days earlier from Bristol, England transporting 660 tons of coal and seven passengers.


24 April 1558
Mary, Queen of Scots married the French Dauphin.

24 April 1704
The Boston News-Letter, the first continuously-printed newspaper in the British colonies, was first published. John
Campbell, its first editor, published the weekly newspaper on a single, double-sided page. During its first years, most of its news focused on European events.

24 April 1792
The national anthem of France, "La Marseillaise", was composed by Captain Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle. First heard in Paris sung by soldiers from Marseille, is became known as "La Marseillaise".

24 April 1800
President John Adams signed a law establishing the Library of Congress in Washington DC. Initially designed as a library for congressional research, it has since amassed one of the largest collections of manuscripts and printed material in the world with more than 100 million items.

24 April 1916
The Easter Rising - a Republican protest against British rule - took place in Dublin.


25 April 1707
War against France 1702-1713 
Battle of Almanza
In memory of the officers who died in battle:
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Austen, First Foot Guards
Captain William Peachy, First Foot Guards

25 April 1781
Nathanael Greene was pushed back in a British victory at Hobkirk's Hill.

25 April 1792
The guillotine was first used in Paris.

25 April 1859
Work began on the Suez Canal, supervised by the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps, who designed it.

25 April 1915
In World War I, Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Gallipoli in Turkey.
"Casualties? What do I care for casualties? "
Major-General A G Hunter-Weston, 'The Butcher of Hellas', who lost three divisions during one assault on the cliffs of Gallipoli.


26 April 1607
An expedition of English colonists, including Captain John Smith, went ashore at Cape Henry, Virginia, to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere

26 April 1926
The General Strike began in Britain, till May 12 (mineworkers for 6 months more).


27 April 1296
An English army, led by Edward I, defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar.

27 April 1509
Pope Julius the Second excommunicated the entire Italian state of Venice!

27 April 1521
Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines.

27 April 1749
The first official performance of Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks finished early due to the outbreak of fire!

27 April 1779
The mistress of Lord Sandwich, Martha Reay, was shot in the head outside the Royal Opera House by a deranged suitor, Rev James Hackman. Hackman was previously a Lieutenant in a county regiment (the 68th). Hackman was tried, and hanged at Tyburn on 27 April. See more on this in the First Foot Guards 'Gallery' under 'Sandwich'


28 April 1603
Queen Elizabeth I's funeral took place at Westminster Abbey. She was succeeded by a Scotsman, James I.

28 April 1770
English navigator Captain James Cook and his crew, including the botanist Joseph Banks, landed in Australia, at the place which was later named Botany Bay.
At daylight in the morning we discovered a bay, which appeared to be tolerably well sheltered from all winds, into which I resolved to go with the ship."

28 April 1789
A rebel crew took over the British exploration ship "HMS Bounty," leaving the ship's leader, Lieutenant William Bligh, and his supporters adrift in the South Pacific Ocean. Master's Mate Fletcher Christian led the mutiny. The "Mutiny on the Bounty" later became popularized through novels and movies. Bligh survived and became an important captain in the Navy.


29 April 1429
Joan of Arc entered the besieged city of Orleans to lead a victory over the English


30 April 1789
George Washington became the first president of the USA.

30 April 1803
The United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France.

30 April 1945
Adolf Hitler shot himself in his bunker in Berlin. Eva Braun took poison.


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