April 2, 1412 – Spanish explorer and author Ruy González de Clavijo died.
April 2, 1513 – Said to be in search for the Fountain of Youth, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León first sighted land in what is now Florida.
April 2, 1565 – Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman was born in Gouda, Holland, Seventeen Provinces. He discovered a new sea route from Europe to Indonesia and managed to begin the Dutch spice trade. At the time, the Portuguese Empire held a monopoly on the spice trade, and the voyage was a symbolic victory for the Dutch.
April 2, 1725 – Italian explorer and author (and the world’s most famous womanizer) Giacomo Casanova was born in Venice, Republic of Venice. His autobiography, “Story of My Life,” is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century.
April 2, 1777 - The Continental Congress promoted Colonel Ebenezer Learned to the rank of brigadier general of the Continental Army.
April 2, 1780 - The British began a siege of Charleston, S.C. On May 12, the Patriots suffered their worst defeat of the revolution with the unconditional surrender of Major General Benjamin Lincoln.
April 2, 1805 – Danish author and poet Hans Christian Anderson was born in 1805 in the town of Odense.
April 2, 1814 – After the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, General Andrew Jackson arrived back at Fort Williams in Talladega County (in present-day Alabama) with his wounded, many of which died there and were buried near the fort.
April 2, 1834 - John Quincy Adams recorded in his diary on this day that Congressman James Blair "shot himself last evening at his lodgings ... after reading part of an affectionate letter from his wife, to Governor (John) Murphy, of (Monroe County) Alabama, who was alone in the chamber with him, and a fellow-lodger at the same house."
April 2, 1840 – Writer Emile Zola was born in Paris. His most famous books include “The Drunkard” (1877), “Nana” (1880) and “Germinal” (1885).
April 2, 1862 – During the Civil War, a three-day Federal operation began, encompassing Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Whitewater and Dallas, Mo. Skirmishes were also fought near Doniphan, at Putnam’s Ferry and another at Walkersville, Mo.; and near Edenburg, Va. at Stony Creek.
April 2, 1863 – In what is now known as the “Richmond Bread Riot,” food shortages incited hundreds of angry women to riot in Richmond, Virginia, and demand that the Confederate government release emergency supplies. For several hours, the mob moved through the city, breaking windows and looting stores, before Confederate President Jefferson Davis threw his pocket change at them from the top of a wagon. Davis ordered the crowd to disperse or he would order the militia to fire upon them. The riot ended peacefully, although 44 women and 29 men were arrested.
April 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on the Little Rock Road, Ark.; in Jackson County, Mo.; between Confederate artillery and Federal naval gunboats on the Pamlico River, at Hills’ Point, N.C.; and on the Carter Creek Pike in Tennessee. A 12-day Federal operation through the Mississippi Delta also began, with skirmishes at Greenville, Miss. and along Black Bayou and Deer Creek.
April 2, 1863 – During the Civil War, a five-day Federal operation to Beaver Creek Swamp, Tenn. began. Another five-day Federal operation that included Murfreesborough, Auburn, Liberty, Snow Hill, Cherry Valley, Statesville, Gainesville and Lebanon, Tenn. began. A third Federal operation that originated at Readyville and went to Woodbury, Tenn. began. A five-day Federal operation between Camp Douglas and Spanish Fork in the Utah Territory also began.
April 2, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Antoine (or Terre Noir Creek,) Wolf Creek and Okolona, Ark.; at Crump’s Hill (Piney Woods,) La., and another at Grossetete Bayou, La.; at Cape Lookout, N.C.; and at Cleveland, Tenn. A three-day Federal operation that included Powder Springs Gap, Rogersville and Bull’s Gap, Tenn. began.
April 2, 1865 – During the Civil War, the siege of Fort Blakeley, Ala. began. Skirmishes were also fought near Centerville, Summerfield, and Scottsville, Ala. The Battle of Selma, Ala. also took place.
April 2, 1865 – During the Civil War at the Third Battle of Petersburg, Va., the Siege of Petersburg was broken after a 10-month siege by Union Army troops capturing trenches and breaking Confederate States Army lines, forcing the Confederates under General Robert E. Lee to retreat in the Appomattox Campaign.
April 2, 1865 - General U.S. Grant's forces began a general advance all along the Petersburg, Va. line, and Confederate General Ambrose P. Hill was killed. Confederate General Lee evacuated Petersburg after writing to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, "I think it absolutely necessary that we should abandon our position tonight..."
April 2, 1865 – During the Civil War, after a 10-month siege, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and most of his Cabinet fled the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.
April 2, 1865 – Pinckney D. Bowles of Conecuh County, Ala. was promoted to brigadier general for “gallant and meritorious conduct in the field.”
April 2, 1869 – National Baseball Hall of Fame infielder and manager Hughie Jennings was born in Pittston, Pa. He went on to play for the Louisville Colonels, the Baltimore Orioles, the Brooklyn Superbas, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Detroit Tigers. He also managed the Tigers and the New York Giants. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945.
April 2, 1902 – The "Electric Theatre," the first full-time movie theater in the United States, opened in Los Angeles.
April 2, 1905 – Col. Bertrand L. Hibbard, a prominent Monroeville, Ala. attorney, passed away at his home around 10 a.m. He was 63 years old.
April 2, 1905 – The five-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Evan Manning went missing for several hours in the vicinity of Tekoa in Monroe County, Ala. He’d been in the woods with several older boys who left him behind when they began chasing a rabbit. Search parties eventually found him “several miles from home.”
April 2, 1906 - The spring term of the Monroe County (Ala.) Circuit Court was scheduled to convene on this Monday with Judge Lackland presiding.
April 2, 1907 – National Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Luke Appling was born in High Point, N.C. He went on to play for the Chicago White Sox and manage the Kansas City Athletics. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.
April 2, 1912 – The ill-fated RMS Titanic began sea trials.
April 2, 1915 – The first episode of “Zudora” was shown at the Arcade Theater in Evergreen, Ala. on this Friday night.
April 2, 1915 – On this Friday, an Easter egg hunt was held at 4 p.m. at Evergreen (Ala.) Baptist Church. Admission was 10 cents.
April 2, 1917 – In the lead-up to World War I, United States President Woodrow Wilson called Congress into special session at 8:35 p.m. and asked them to declare war on Germany. Appearing before a joint session of the Senate and House, he said, "The world must be made safe for democracy." When the war ended, a year and a half later (November 11, 1918), 9½ million soldiers had died, in addition to 13 million civilians, who perished from massacres, starvation, and disease.
April 2, 1920, Author Hilary H. Milton was born in Jasper, Ala.
April 2, 1922 - Hermann Rorschach, the Swiss psychiatrist who created the ink blot test, passed away at the age of 37 in Herisau, Switzerland.
April 2, 1924 – Major League Baseball second baseman Bobby Avila was born in Veracruz, Mexico. He would go on to play for the Cleveland Indians, the Baltimore Orioles, the Boston Red Sox and the Milwaukee Braves.
April 2, 1925 – In Lovecraftian fiction, the island of R’lyeh sank once more, and Cthulhu and his star spawn were again imprisoned beneath the waves. Many consider this event the beginning of a modern era of increasing Mythos activity.
April 2, 1925 – The Saenger Theatre at 118 South Palafox St. in Pensacola, Fla. officially opened for business.
April 2, 1932 – Col. Thomas Chalmers McCorvey, a native of Monroe County, Ala. passed away in Tuscaloosa at the age of 80. A teacher, poet and historian, he was an active officer and professor at the University of Alabama for 50 years. He is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
April 2, 1945 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton was born in Clio, Ala. He would go on to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Houston Astros, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Oakland Athletics and the California Angels. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.
April 2, 1945 – Major League Baseball right fielder and centerfielder Reggie Smith was born in Shreveport, La. He would go on to play the Boston Red Sox, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants and the Yomiuri Giants.
April 2, 1953 - The Repton PTA was scheduled to sponsor a barbecue on this Thursday night on the high school football field. The T.R. Miller High School Band was scheduled to play and parade on the field. T.R. Miller had one of the better bands in the State of Alabama at that time. Bewley’s Chuck Wagon Gang, a string band from Texas, was scheduled to play when the high school band was not playing. The Orange Bowl football game was to be shown in the high school auditorium.
April 2, 1955 - George Denny, who served as president of the University of Alabama for 25 years, died. When Denny took office in 1919, the university had only nine major buildings, 400 students, and no paved streets or sidewalks on campus. By the time of his retirement in 1936, there were 23 major buildings, nearly 5,000 students, and a greatly expanded football program.
April 2, 1963 – The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King began the first non-violent campaign in Birmingham, Ala.
April 2, 1966 – NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski was born in Rockville, Conn. He would go on to play for Boston College, the San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders.
April 2, 1967 - The Beatles finished recording the album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
April 2, 1972 - Soldiers of Hanoi’s 304th Division, supported by Soviet-made tanks and heavy artillery, took the northern half of the Quang Tri province. This left only Quang Tri City (the combat base on the outskirts of the city) and Dong Ha in South Vietnamese hands. South Vietnam’s 3rd Division commander Brigadier General Vu Van Giai moved his staff out of the Quang Tri combat base to the citadel at Quang Tri City, the apparent North Vietnamese objective.
April 2, 1975 - As North Vietnamese tanks and infantry continued to push the remnants of South Vietnam’s 22nd Division and waves of civilian refugees from the Quang Ngai Province, the South Vietnamese Navy began to evacuate soldiers and civilians by sea from Qui Nhon. Shortly thereafter, the South Vietnamese abandoned Tuy Hoa and Nha Trang, leaving the North Vietnamese in control of more than half of South Vietnam’s territory. During the first week in April, communist forces attacking from the south pushed into Long An Province, just south of Saigon, threatening to cut Highway 4, Saigon’s main link with the Mekong Delta, which would have precluded reinforcements from being moved north to assist in the coming battle for Saigon.
April 2, 1976 – After winning three World Series titles, two home run crowns and an AL MVP Award, Reggie Jackson joined the Baltimore Orioles. He fit in nicely with manager Earl Weaver’s winning formula of “pitching, defense and the three-run homer.” Jackson belted 27 big flys and drove in 91 runs, helping Baltimore to a second-place finish in the AL East Division. It was Jackson’s sole season with the team.
April 2, 1980 - A couple in Tokyo set the record for the longest underwater kiss - two minuntes and 18 seconds.
April 2, 1981 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Evergreen, Ala. native Clint Jackson, an internationally ranked welterweight boxer who was living in Nashville, Tenn., had contracted for his 11th fight, which was scheduled to take place on April 2 in Tampa against Bruce Johnson, the top-ranked welterweight in Florida. Jackson was ranked No. 8 in the world and was 10-0 with eight wins by knock out.
April 2, 1984 - President Ronald Reagan threw out the first ball in the season opener between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox in Baltimore.
April 2, 1986 – Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace announced at a press conference in Montgomery that he would not run for a fifth term as Governor of Alabama, and would retire from public life after leaving the governor's mansion in January 1987. Wallace achieved four gubernatorial terms across three decades, totaling 16 years in office.
April 2, 1994 – Max McAliley, a professional photographer in Monroe County, Ala. for many years and an assistant editor for The Monroe Journal, passed away.
April 2, 1995 - The costliest strike in professional sports history ended when Major League Baseball owners agreed to let players play without a contract.
April 2, 1996 – New York Yankee Derek Jeter hit his first Major League home run by going deep on opening day in Cleveland. Batting ninth in the order – a position that would be upgraded as the season wore on – Jeter lined a leadoff home run to left in the fifth inning. He would go on to win the 1996 AL Rookie of the Year Award.
April 2, 2003 - Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers became the youngest player to hit 300 homeruns, beating Jimmie Foxx's record by 79 days.
April 2, 2004 - The first Eugene Walter Writers Festival opened in Mobile, Ala.
April 2, 2004 – The “Hellboy” movie was first released in theaters.
April 2, 2008 – Ed Stafford began his expedition to walk the entire length of the Amazon River with Luke Collyer on the southern coast of Peru. Collyer left after three months, and Stafford completed the journey with Gadiel “Cho” Sánchez Rivera.
April 2, 2012 – Australian explorer, author and engineer Warren Bonython passed away at the age of 95. He is best known for his role, spanning many years, of working towards the promotion, planning and eventual creation of the Heysen Trail.