1468 – Died Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu, a nobleman and Albanian military leader. Skanderbeg always signed himself as Lord of Arbëria, and did not claim titles other than himself in official documents. Skanderbeg’s military skills posed a major obstacle to Ottoman expansion, and he was considered by many in Western Europe as a model of Christian resistance to Muslims. Today, among Albanians, Skanderbeg is known as their national hero, whose legacy is visible throughout the Albanian territories. After five fierce battles in 1465 between the Albanian army and the Ottoman armies led by Ballaban Pasha, where the Albanians emerged victorious, Sultan Mehmed II thought it was time for a decisive blow to all the military forces of the Ottoman Empire. In the spring of 1466 the sultan set out at the head of the entire Ottoman army to besiege Kruja. After two months of fierce fighting he was convinced that Kruja was not occupied by force of arms so he decided to keep it under a constant siege until the defenders of Kruja surrendered from starvation. He entrusted this task to Ballaban Pasha, leaving him to lead the Ottoman army in Albania. In addition to the siege, his forces would exert constant pressure on the Albanian free territories. In April 1467, Skanderbeg returned to his homeland where, with the support of the people, he reorganized a powerful army and on April 19 completely defeated the Ottoman army commanded by Ballaban’s brother, Jonima, whom he captured. On April 23, the Albanian army together with the defenders of Kruja attacked and defeated the army of Ballaban, leaving the latter dead. Skanderbeg also testified to religious tolerance. Skanderbeg proved his skills as a statesman in relations with other countries. Aware that unification was required to resist the Ottoman power, Skanderbeg constantly demanded the participation of European countries in the war against the common enemy. Skanderbeg was a talented military leader. He relied on a lightly armed army, with great mobility and high striking ability. He differed greatly from the princes and kings of the time, whose military activity was based on heavily armed mercenaries. Skanderbeg became a symbol of the struggle for freedom and independence. He remained a beloved figure for Albanians even after his death. His memory always remained alive in the songs, folklore and numerous folk tales that gave him the features of a legendary figure.
1920 – Prohibition of alcohol begins in the United States as the Volstead Act comes into force. Prohibition in the United States of America was a nationwide constitutional ban on the manufacture, import, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933. During this period, organized crime flourished in the US at the same time.
1942 – Born in Louisville, Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay). Ali, was a professional American boxer, activist and philanthropist. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest boxers of all time.
1945 – Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg is arrested by the Soviets while in Hungary. Wallenberg is remembered for rescuing tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust from German Nazis and Hungarian fascists during the later stages of World War II. He was never seen publicly again.
1961 – Died at age 35, in Elisabetgville, Patrice Lumumba, was a politician and leader of independence in the Congo, who served as the first Prime Minister of the independent Democratic Republic of Congo (then the Republic of Congo) from June to September 1960 He played an important role in transforming Congo from a colony of Belgium into an independent republic.
1966 – During the Palomares incident, a B-52 bomber collides with a KC-135 tanker over Spain, killing seven pilots, and throwing three 70-kiloton nuclear bombs near the city of Palomares and another at sea. Also three other pilots of the B-52 bomber were killed. This will be one of the worst military air incidents in Spain.
1977 – Capital punishment in the United States resumes after a ten-year hiatus after convicted murderer Gary Gilmore has been executed by the Utah shooting squad. Capital punishment is a legal punishment in the United States, currently used by 30 states, the federal government, and the military. The United States is the only developed western nation to enforce the death penalty regularly
1995 – A massive 7 magnitude earthquake shakes the Hanshin region of Japan. The earthquake left more than 6,500 people dead and 300,000 injured. As a result of seismic shakes, the city of Kobe was partially destroyed. It is considered one of the most powerful earthquakes of all time to hit this country.
1996 – The Czech Republic applies for membership in the European Union. Prague officially joined the European Union on 1 May 2004, along with a number of Central and Eastern European states. Today, the Czech Republic is one of the countries with the most stable economy, and with the most progressive government system, relative to the rest of Central and Eastern Europe.