History Schmistory: April 28. Roman Emperor born as Rome is about to die…

A.D. 359, the future Roman emperor Gratian was born. He, um, had a rough life. Gratian was the son of Emperor Valentinian I. When Valentinian died, Gratian ruled in the west and his uncle Valens ruled in the east. Gratian had been fighting the Alamanni while Valens was dealing with the Goths at Adrianople. Gratian was scheduled to come to Valens’ assistance, but arrived too late to prevent the disaster. The disaster at Adrianople is one of the major turning points in the fortunes of Imperial Rome and a possible date for Rome’s fall.

History Schmistory: April 27. First Man to Sail Around the World Dead, Dies.

1521: Ferdinand Magellan who got credit as the first man to circumnavigate the globe, even though he spent much of the voyage dead, was killed. After a journey beset by rebellion, treacherous weather and disease, the Concepción, the Victoria and the Trinidad finally reached the Philippines. There, where the crew recovered from their trials in a tropical paradise, Magellan became caught up in the fervor of conversion. He attempted to overcome a huge force of natives resistant to Christianity with a mere handful of men, and was killed in battle.

History Schmistory: April 26: Pazzi Conspiracy Fails

1478: In an attempt to overthrow the Medici family from power in Florence, Girolamo Riario, Archbishop Francesco Salviati, and several members of the Pazzi family planned an assassination in the Cathedral of Florence. Pope Sixtus IV, uncle to Riario, was aware of the plot but had no hand in the assassination attempt. Lorenzo de Medici survived with some minor injuries, but his younger brother Giuliano was stabbed 29 times. He was only twenty-three. Far from ridding Florence of “tyrants,” the assassination instigated an uprising in favor of the Medici, strengthening Lorenzo’s position. Makes me want to sing!

History Schmistory: April 24. Rough Anniversary for Mary Queen of Scots

1558: Mary Queen of Scots marries the future King Francis II of France.
1567: Mary Queen of Scots is captured by Lord Bothwell and taken to Dunbar.
1568: Mary Queen of Scots makes mental note to skip anniversary.

History Schmistory: April 23. Henry VIII becomes King.

1509. King Henry VIII accedes to the throne. His wife considers the whole thing a pain in the neck.

History Schmistory: April 22. Bastille Construction Begins

1370: Construction of the Bastille begins. Plans to build a big play toy in the back are never completed.

History Schistory, April 19: Drake sinks Armada

1587 – Sir Frances Drake sails into Cadiz Spain & sinks Spanish fleet, which shifts the balance of power in the world away from Spain and toward England and France. How did he ever manage to sink such a huge car? Oh, wait, the car is named after the fleet, not the other way around.  Got it!

History Schmistory: April 18. The Euro is born.

On April 18, 1999, The Euro became the official currency of 11 European countries. Terms like “Eurotrash” and “Euronerd” are now worth more money.

History Schmistory: April 17. Martin Luther Faces Diet of Worms.

1521. Martin Luther went before the Diet of Worms to face charges stemming from his religious writings. Didn’t go so great for Luther. If you faced a Diet of Worms, how well do you think it would go for you?

History Schmistory: April 16. First Woman to Fly Across English Channel.

1912. Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. British historians were quoted saying: “Finally, a bird flies south!”

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