This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
April 1 is the 91st day of the year (92nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 274 days remaining until the end of the year. April 1 is most notable in the Western world for being April Fools’ Day.
On this day in 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on each other.
Although the day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery. Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. These included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.
Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to ancient festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises. There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.
April Fools’ Day is celebrated all around the world on the April 1 of every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day where everyone plays all kind of joke and foolishness. The day is marked by the commission of good humoured or funny jokes, hoaxes, and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, teachers, neighbors, work associates, etc.
Traditionally, in some countries such as New Zealand, Ireland, the UK, Australia, and South Africa, the jokes only last until noon, and someone who plays a trick after noon is called an “April Fool”.
Elsewhere, such as in France, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Russia, The Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, Canada, and the U.S., the jokes last all day. The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392). Many writers suggest that the restoration of the January 1 as New Year’s Day in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, but this theory does not explain earlier references.
286 – Emperor Diocletian elevates his general Maximian to co-emperor with the rank of Augustus and gives him control over the Western regions of the Roman Empire.
325 – Crown Prince Jin Chengdi, age 4, succeeds his father Jin Mingdi as emperor of the Eastern Jin Dynasty.
527 – Byzantine Emperor Justin I names his nephew Justinian I as co-ruler and successor to the throne.
1572 – In the Eighty Years’ War, the Watergeuzen capture Brielle from the Spaniards, gaining the first foothold on land for what would become the Dutch Republic.
1789 – In New York City, the United States House of Representatives holds its first quorum and elects Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania as its first House Speaker.
1826 – Samuel Morey patents the internal combustion engine.
1833 – The Convention of 1833, a political gathering of settlers in Mexican Texas to help draft a series of petitions to the Mexican government, begins in San Felipe de Austin
1854 – Hard Times begins serialisation in Charles Dickens’ magazine, Household Words.
1865 – American Civil War: Battle of Five Forks – In Siege of Petersburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee begins his final offensive.
1867 – Singapore becomes a British crown colony.
1891 – The Wrigley Company is founded in Chicago, Illinois.
1918 – The Royal Air Force is created by the merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.
1924 – Adolf Hitler is sentenced to five years in jail for his participation in the “Beer Hall Putsch”. However, he spends only nine months in jail, during which he writes Mein Kampf.
1924 – The Royal Canadian Air Force is formed.
1933 – The recently elected Nazis under Julius Streicher organize a one-day boycott of all Jewish-owned businesses in Germany, ushering in a series of anti-Semitic acts.
1937 – Aden becomes a British crown colony.
1939 – Generalísimo Francisco Franco of the Spanish State announces the end of the Spanish Civil War, when the last of the Republican forces surrender.
1941 – The Blockade Runner Badge for the German navy is instituted.
1941 – A military coup in Iraq overthrows the regime of ‘Abd al-Ilah and installs Rashid Ali as Prime Minister.
1944 – Navigation errors lead to an accidental American bombing of the Swiss city of Schaffhausen.
1945 – World War II: Operation Iceberg – United States troops land on Okinawa in the last campaign of the war.
1946 – Aleutian Island earthquake: A 7.8 magnitude earthquake near the Aleutian Islands creates a tsunami that strikes the Hawaiian Islands killing 159, mostly in Hilo.
1946 – Formation of the Malayan Union.
1947 – Paul becomes king of Greece, on the death of his childless elder brother, George II.
1948 – Cold War: Berlin Airlift – Military forces, under direction of the Russian-controlled government in East Germany, set-up a land blockade of West Berlin.
1948 – Faroe Islands receive autonomy from Denmark.
1949 – Chinese Civil War: The Communist Party of China holds unsuccessful peace talks with the Kuomintang in Beijing, after three years of fighting.
1949 – The Canadian government repeals Japanese Canadian internment after seven years.
1949 – The 26 counties of the Irish Free State become the Republic of Ireland.
1954 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorizes the creation of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado.
1955 – The EOKA rebellion against The British Empire begins in Cyprus, with the goal of obtaining the desired unification (“enosis”) with Greece.
1967 – The United States Department of Transportation begins operation.
1969 – The Hawker Siddeley Harrier enters service with the Royal Air Force.
1970 – President Richard Nixon signs the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law, requiring the Surgeon General’s warnings on tobacco products and banning cigarette advertisements on television and radio in the United States, starting on January 1, 1971.
1973 – Project Tiger, a tiger conservation project, is launched in the Corbett National Park, India.
1976 – Apple Inc. is formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
1976 – Conrail takes over operations from six bankrupt railroads in the Northeastern U.S..
1976 – The Jovian-Plutonian gravitational effect hoax is first reported by British astronomer Patrick Moore.
1979 – Iran becomes an Islamic Republic by a 98% vote, officially overthrowing the Shah.
1989 – Margaret Thatcher’s new local government tax, the Community Charge (commonly known as the “poll tax”), is introduced in Scotland.
1992 – Start of the Bosnian war.
1996 – The Halifax Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia is created.
1997 – Comet Hale-Bopp is seen passing over perihelion.
1999 – Nunavut is established as a Canadian territory carved out of the eastern part of the Northwest Territories.
2001 – An EP-3E United States Navy surveillance aircraft collides with a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Shenyang J-8 fighter jet. The Navy crew makes an emergency landing in Hainan, People’s Republic of China and is detained.
2001 – Former President of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic surrenders to police special forces, to be tried on war crimes charges.
2001 – Same-sex marriage becomes legal in the Netherlands, the first country to allow it.
2006 – The Serious Organised Crime Agency, dubbed the “British FBI”, is created in the United Kingdom.
2009 – Croatia and Albania join NATO
* Christian Feast Day:
* Civil Service Day (Thailand)
* Earliest day on which Sizdah Be-dar can fall, while April 2 is the latest; celebrated on the 13th day after vernal equinox. (Iran)
* Kha b-Nisan, the Assyrian New Year (Assyrians)
* Islamic Republic Day (Iran)
* Odisha Day (Orissa, India)
* Uzupis Day, celebrate the independence of Uzupis.