What Happened on April 27?

  • Over 10,000 people marched on Washington demanding Nixon's impeachment. (1974) Incensed by Nixon's actions in the Watergate Scandal, protesters from across the nation demanded his impeachment. When it became clear that Congress was likely to impeach him, Nixon resigned in early August.

  • The Tea Act was passed. (1773) Designed to create a monopoly on tea and thus save the East India Trading Company, the Tea Act was extremely unpopular with colonials, and led to numerous protests, including the Boston Tea Party.

  • South Africa held its first multi-racial elections. (1994) Exactly 50 years after the apartheid was formally introduced, South Africa held its first free elections. Long-term anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela was elected by a landslide.

  • John Milton sold the copyright to Paradise Lost. (1667) Now one of the most famous works of classical literature, Milton's Paradise Lost sold for about $15 US Dollars (USD), not a terribly low sum at the time, but still considered a fraction of the true value of the work.

  • Beethoven composed Fur Elise. (1810) Not discovered or published until after Beethoven's death, Fur Elise remains one of his most popular and well-known works. Scholars are unsure as to who "Elise" is, but there are several contenders, including Austrian musician Therese Malfatti, a long-time friend of the composer.

  • One of the first computer mice came onto the market. (1981) The Xerox PARC company introduced an early version of the computer mouse, which was about the size of two decks of cards stacked on top of each other, and featured three bright buttons on the top. The mouse really didn't catch on though until 1984, when Apple released their version with the Macintosh®.

  • The cornerstone of the Palace of Westminster was laid. (1840) The old palace burned in a fire that also destroyed most of the British Parliament buildings and the rest of the palace complex. The new palace was designed by a former stationer, Charles Barry, and his wife laid the cornerstone on this day.

  • The Sultana disaster occurred. (1865) The SS Sultana was a paddle boat steamer on the Mississippi that was being used to transport former prisoners of war back to the North. The ship was filled beyond capacity, exacerbating a problem with the boiler, which exploded, leading the ship to sink. Over two-thirds of the passengers were killed, and several hundred died later of their injuries.

  • Benito Mussolini was arrested (1945) The former Italian dictator was trying to escape across the border dressed as a German soldier along with his mistress and her brother when he was recognized and arrested. Mussolini, the mistress, and the brother were executed several days later.

  • Mary Wollstonecraft was born. (1759) Considered one of the first feminists, Mary Wollstonecraft was a huge proponent of women's rights and wrote many treatises on the subject. She was also known for her outre affairs, including one with William Godwin, the father of anarchism, which produced her daughter, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein.

Discussion Comments


In relation to bullet point number six, I find it interesting that back then, computers were used for much more legit purposes, and not for the likes of Skype, social networking, and Facebook. It was all about business, and getting done what you needed to get done.

Before reading some of these interesting bullet points, I had never heard of the the Sultana disaster, but it's pretty unfortunate that happened. As sad as it is, I think the main problem is that so many (tragic) events have occurred in history, that the ones that seem more "minor" practically go unnoticed by the general public, especially when compared to the likes of last year's Boston Bombings, and (though it was many years ago) Hurricane Katrina.
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