On April 14, 1912, the British liner RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 11:40 p.m. ship’s time and began sinking. (The ship went under two hours and 40 minutes later with the loss of 1,514 lives.)
Also on this date:
In 1759, German-born English composer George Frideric Handel died in London at age 74.
In 1828, the first edition of Noah Webster’s “American Dictionary of the English Language” was published.
In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth during a performance of “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater in Washington.
In 1910, President William Howard Taft became the first U.S. chief executive to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game as the Washington Senators beat the Philadelphia Athletics 3-0.
In 1935, the “Black Sunday” dust storm descended upon the central Plains, turning a sunny afternoon into total darkness.
In 1960, Tamla Records and Motown Records, founded by Berry Gordy Jr., were incorporated as Motown Record Corp. The Montreal Canadiens won their fifth consecutive Stanley Cup, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0 in Game 4 of the Finals.
In 1965, the state of Kansas hanged Richard Hickock and Perry Smith for the 1959 “In Cold Blood” murders of Herbert Clutter, his wife, Bonnie, and two of their children, Nancy and Kenyon.
In 1970, President Richard Nixon nominated Harry Blackmun to the U.S. Supreme Court. (The choice of Blackmun, who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate a month later, followed the failed nominations of Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell.)
In 1981, the first test flight of America’s first operational space shuttle, the Columbia, ended successfully with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
In 1994, two U.S. Air Force F-15 warplanes mistakenly shot down two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters over northern Iraq, killing 26 people, including 15 Americans.
In 1999, NATO mistakenly bombed a convoy of ethnic Albanian refugees; Yugoslav officials said 75 people were killed.
In 2004, in a historic policy shift, President George W. Bush endorsed Israel’s plan to hold on to part of the West Bank in any final peace settlement with the Palestinians; he also ruled out Palestinian refugees returning to Israel, bringing strong criticism from the Palestinians.