On this Day - April 26

26 April

1607: Captain John Smith landed at Cape Henry, Virginia, with the first group of colonists who would establish a permanent English settlement in America.

1665: The Great Plague of London began.

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1872: Civil war broke out in Spain.

1921: Motorcycle police patrols went on duty for the first time in Britain.

1923: The marriage of Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon to the Duke of York took place at Westminster Abbey, the first Royal wedding there since 1383.

1937: Guernica, in the Basque country, was largely destroyed by German bombers supporting the nationalists during the Spanish Civil War.

1939: Government Bill paved way for conscription of men aged 20-21 for Second World War.

1942: 1,572 miners were killed at Honkeiko Colliery, China.

1947: The FA Cup final, between Charlton Athletic and Burnley, was the first to be televised throughout the UK.

1954: United Nations powers met at Geneva on Korea and Indochina problems, during which they insisted on free elections in Korea.

1957: The BBC television series, The Sky At Night, presented by Patrick Moore, was first screened.

1962: First international satellite, Ariel I, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida – a United States-British venture.

1964: The republic of Tanzania was formed by the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, with Julius Nyerere as its first president.

1966: Sidewinder missile, launched by a US jet plane, shot down the first Communist MIG-21 of the Vietnam War.

1971: White House commission recommended that China be brought into the United Nations, with Nationalist China retaining its membership.

1986: The Chernobyl disaster occurred when a nuclear reactor near Kiev, in the USSR, caught fire. But it was four days later, when high radiation levels were discovered in Scandinavia, that the deadly seriousness of the leakage was realised.

1990: Leftist Colombian presidential candidate Carlos Pizarro was assassinated aboard a Colombian airliner. A drug cartel claimed (and later denied) responsibility.

1992: Fourteen years of Soviet-backed rule in Afghanistan ended when the communists formally relinquished power to the Mujahideen rebels.

1994: South Africans went to the polls in the country’s first all-race elections.

1999: TV presenter Jill Dando was shot dead on the doorstep of her home in London.

2002: Robert Steinhäuser infiltrated and killed 17 people at Gutenberg-Gymnasium in Erfurt, Germany, before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot.

2005: Under international pressure, Syria withdrew the last of its 14,000 troop military garrison in Lebanon, ending its 29-year military domination of that country.

2010: An armed gang stole thousands of pounds from a Sikh temple in Glasgow after posing as worshippers.