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Today in History — April 26

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day.
/ Source: The Associated Press

BC-History-April 26,0562

Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, April 26, the 116th day of 2007. There are 249 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

Four hundred years ago, on April 26, 1607, English colonists went ashore at present-day Cape Henry, Va., on an expedition to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere. (They later settled at Jamestown.)

On this date:

In 1785, American naturalist and artist John James Audubon was born in Haiti.

In 1865, John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was surrounded by federal troops near Bowling Green, Va., and killed.

In 1937, planes from Nazi Germany raided the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

In 1945, Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France’s Vichy government during World War II, was arrested.

In 1961, Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hit the first of a record 61 home runs in a single season.

In 1964, the African nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.

In 1968, the United States exploded beneath the Nevada desert a 1.3 megaton nuclear device called “Boxcar.”

In 1970, the Stephen Sondheim musical “Company” opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York.

In 1986, the world’s worst nuclear accident happened at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire killed at least 31 people and sent radioactivity into the atmosphere.

In 2000, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean signed the nation’s first bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions.

Ten years ago: In his Saturday radio address, President Clinton prepared for the opening of a community service summit by asking Congress to pay for a drive to ensure that every third-grader can read.

Five years ago: Robert Steinhaeuser, an expelled student, went on a shooting rampage at a school in Erfurt, Germany, killing 17 people, including himself. David Gunn, who had run transit systems in New York City and Washington, was named president of Amtrak, the troubled national rail passenger service.

One year ago: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld paid a surprise visit to Iraq, where they embraced the country’s fledgling leaders as independent and focused on the future.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress-comedian Carol Burnett is 74. Rhythm-and-blues singer Maurice Williams is 69. Songwriter-musician Duane Eddy is 69. Singer Bobby Rydell is 65. Rock musician Gary Wright is 64. Actor Giancarlo Esposito is 49. Rock musician Roger Taylor (Duran Duran) is 47. Actress Joan Chen is 46. Rock musician Chris Mars is 46. Actor-singer Michael Damian is 45. Actor Jet Li (lee) is 44. Rock musician Jimmy Stafford (Train) is 43. Actor-comedian Kevin James is 42. Actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste is

40. Country musician Joe Caverlee (Yankee Grey) is 39. Rapper T-Boz (TLC) is 37. Country musician Jay DeMarcus (Rascal Flats) is 36. Country musician Michael Jeffers (Pinmonkey) is 35. Rock musician Jose Pasillas (Incubus) is 31. Actor Tom Welling is 30. Actress Jordana Brewster is 27. Actress Marnette Patterson is 27. Actor Aaron Weeks is 21.

Thought for Today: “Perfect order is the forerunner of perfect horror.” — Carlos Fuentes, Mexican author.