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Independence Maintained, Gained

Despite being outnumbered 16 to one, forces of the Old Swiss Confederacy proved victorious over the Archduchy of Austria in the Battle of Näfels, April 9, 1388. On this date in 1991, Georgia declared its independence from the Soviet Union.

17th Amendment

On April 8, 1913, the 17th amendment to the Constitution, providing for the popular election of U.S. senators, was ratified.

Prohibition Begins to End

On April 7, 1933, Prohibition in the United States was repealed for beer of no more than 3.2 percent alcohol by weight, eight months before the ratification of the XXI amendment.

Salt Rebel

On April 6, 1930, Mohandas K. Gandhi raised a lump of mud and salt, declaring, “With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire.” Thus began the Salt Satyagraha.

Tippecanoe (and, sadly, MLK, too)

On April 4, 1841, William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia, becoming the first President of the United States to die in office and the one with the shortest term served (he died on his 32nd day as president). A renowned Indian killer (having risen to fame for his part in

Mountaintop

On April 3, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.

Déchéance

With the Acte de déchéance de l’Empereur (“Emperor’s Demise Act”) of April 2, 1814, France’s Sénat conservateur officially recognized the downfall of Napoléon I of France. The original resolution to remove the Emperor was moved on the legislative body’s floor, by Thomas Jefferson’s friend Destutt de Tracy (according to Tracy

April Fool’s Day

On April Fools’ Day, 1957, the BBC offered for viewers of the current affairs program “Panorama” the infamous spaghetti harvest report hoax. By sheer coincidence, one definition of “noodle” is “fool.”

Bangorian Controversy

On March 31, 1717, a sermon on “The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ,” by Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, provoked the Bangorian Controversy. The sermon’s text was John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world,” and from that Hoadly deduced — supposedly at the request of King

Economic vs. Political Means

On March 30, 1864, German sociologist and economist Franz Oppenheimer was born. This sociologist is most famous for his 1908 book The State, in which he elaborated some consequences of two means for acquiring wealth, the “economic means,” by which he meant private production or by trade, and the “political

Hyphen War

On March 29, 1990, the Czechoslovak parliament proved unable to reach an agreement on what to call the country after the “Velvet Revolution” — in which the Communist Party was booted from sole power. This sparked the “Hyphen War,” a tongue-in-cheek moniker for the dispute between Czechs and Slovaks about

Mario Vargas Llosa

Vargas and Vaughn

On March 28, 1936, Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa was born. This recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature ran, in 1990, for the presidency of Peru, but lost to Alberto Fujimori. His novels include La casa verde (The Green House), La guerra del fin del mundo (The War

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