Take a look back at this month in history.

  • The very first gunshot of the American Revolutionary War sounded on 19 April 1775, precipitating the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts. Who actually fired the shot is unknown but his action is immortalized in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Concord Hymn written in 1837:

    By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
    Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
    Here once the embattled farmers stood,
    And fired the shot heard round the world.
  • Gibbs Hill Lighthouse first shone its light in 1846 but the idea of a lighthouse was first mooted in April 1830 when according to the Gazette, “It is requested a light by means of tar barrels be exhibited on Gibbs Hill on the 15th for the purpose of ascertaining whether a Light in that position can be clearly distinguished from the North Rock and the extreme ends of the reefs.” The barrels were duly lit and “the light appeared like a star of the first magnitude but reddish in colour – we were then about 2 miles south of North Rock.” Apparently the light was hardly visible as they steered northward but clearly visible when they steered 2 or 3 miles south of North Rock.
  • The Gazette noted on April 26, 1831 that “A large assemblage of beauty and fashion appeared at the Ball Room, Somerset Bridge, on the evening of Friday last. The devotees of Terpsichore appeared early at the alluring scene…. until the hour when ‘the bird of dawning singeth.’” The ballroom could have been held at Crossways, a house near the bridge which during the 1780s had hosted the Somerset Bridge Club.
  • On April 12, 1836, surgeon dentist Mr. Rees from St. Vincent advertised his services in the Gazette as follows: “Natural and Artificial Teeth, inserted upon Gold and Silver Plats, Pivots. Spring Clasps, &: Cleaning, Plugging, Separating and Extracting, in the neatest manner.”
  • Abraham Lincoln was shot by actor and Confederate supporter John Wilkes Booth on 14 April 1865 while Our American Cousin by English playwright Tom Taylor at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC. He died the following day. He was the first American president to be assassinated.
  • The Bermuda Agriculture Association was formed in 1888 with Mount Langton being the venue of an Agricultural Exhibition held in April 1889. After that, exhibitions were mostly held in the grounds at Rosebank. The first Agricultural Exhibition to be held in the Botanical Gardens was in April 1922 where it has been hosted ever since.
  • Christian minister, well known Civil Rights leader and Nobel Prize winner, Martin Luther King, was fatally shot on April 4, 1968, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee where he was staying. His assassin, escaped fugitive James Earl Ray, was arrested two months later at Heathrow Airport, London, UK.
  • Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became world famous on April 12, 1961 when aboard the Soviet spacecraft Vostok 1, he was the first human to orbit the earth. Travelling along the earth’s upper atmosphere at a maximum height of 187 miles, the flight took him just 1 hour and 29 minutes. He ejected before landing, parachuting down near the city of Engels in Russia.