The History Channel
* On April 20, 1841, Edgar Allan Poe’s story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” first appears in print. The tale, generally considered to be the first detective story, describes the methods used to solve a series of murders.
* On April 22, 1889, at precisely high noon, 50,000 to 60,000 would-be settlers make a mad dash into the newly opened Oklahoma Territory to claim cheap land. Towns like Norman and Oklahoma City sprang up almost overnight.
* On April 18, 1906, in San Francisco, an earthquake registering 8.0 kills 3,000 people as 30,000 buildings are destroyed. Two days later, 20,000 refugees trapped by a massive fire were evacuated from the foot of Van Ness Avenue onto the USS Chicago.
* On April 21, 1930, a fire at an Ohio prison kills 320 inmates, some of whom burn to death when they are not unlocked from their cells. The prison, built to hold 1,500 people, had 4,300 prisoners.
* On April 23, 1945, two weeks after taking over as U.S. president, Harry Truman gives a tongue-lashing to Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. Truman was determined to take a tougher postwar stance with the Soviets than his late predecessor, Franklin Roosevelt, had. Molotov, indignant, stormed out of the meeting with Truman.
* On April 24, 1953, Winston Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He would win the Nobel Prize in literature later that same year.
* On April 19, 1993, near Waco, Texas, after a 51-day siege, the FBI launches a tear-gas assault on the compound of Branch Davidian leader David Koresh and his disciples as part of an investigation into illegal possession of firearms and explosives. The compound at Mount Carmel was burned to the ground, and some 80 Branch Davidians, including 22 children, died in the inferno.
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