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Today in History

Posted 12:01 a.m. Friday

Today in History

Today is Friday, April 21, the 111th day of 2017. There are 254 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 21, 1967, army officers in Greece staged a coup, seizing power and creating a military dictatorship that ruled the country for the next seven years.

On this date:

In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, providing for freedom of worship for all Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly.

In 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States.

In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence.

In 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Connecticut, at age 74.

In 1930, fire broke out inside the overcrowded Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, killing 332 inmates.

In 1942, the first edition of "The Stranger" (L'Etranger), Albert Camus' (al-BEHR' kah-MOOZ') highly influential absurdist novel, was published in Nazi-occupied Paris by Gallimard.

In 1955, the Jerome Lawrence-Robert Lee play "Inherit the Wind," inspired by the Scopes trial of 1925, opened at the National Theatre in New York.

In 1960, Brazil inaugurated its new capital, Brasilia, transferring the seat of national government from Rio de Janeiro.

In 1962, the Century 21 Exposition, also known as the Seattle World's Fair, began a six-month run.

In 1977, the musical play "Annie," based on the "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip, opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 2,377 performances.

In 1986, a rediscovered vault in Chicago's Lexington Hotel that was linked to Al Capone was opened during a widely watched live TV special hosted by Geraldo Rivera; aside from a few bottles and a sign, the vault turned out to be empty.

In 1992, Robert Alton Harris became the first person executed by the state of California in 25 years as he was put to death in the gas chamber for the 1978 murder of two teen-age boys, John Mayeski and Michael Baker.

Ten years ago: The Fallujah, Iraq, city council chairman (Sami Abdul-Amir al-Jumaili), a critic of al-Qaida who had taken the job after his three predecessors were assassinated, was killed by attackers in a passing car. American billionaire Charles Simonyi (sih-MOHN'-ee) returned to Earth from a dream voyage to the international space station, riding a Russian capsule to a soft landing in Kazakhstan. Professional sailor Reid Stowe and his girlfriend, Soanya Ahmad, set off from North Hoboken, New Jersey, on a 1,000-day, nonstop globe-girdling cruise. (Ahmad abandoned the cruise in Australia in Feb. 2008, saying she was plagued by seasickness and suspecting she was pregnant; Stowe completed the journey as he arrived in New York on June 17, 2010 and met his toddler son, Darshen, for the first time.)

Five years ago: Charles W. "Chuck" Colson, 80, described as the "evil genius" of the Nixon administration who served seven months in prison for a Watergate-related conviction, then spent the next 35 years ministering to prison inmates, died in northern Virginia. Phil Humber threw the first perfect game in the majors in almost two years, leading the Chicago White Sox to a 4-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

One year ago: Prince, one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times, was found dead at his home in suburban Minneapolis; he was 57. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's oldest and longest-reigning monarch, drew crowds of well-wishers and floods of tributes on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs pitched his second no-hitter in a span of 11 regular-season starts, shutting down the Cincinnati Reds in a 16-0 rout. (Arrieta also no-hit the Dodgers 2-0 on Aug. 30, 2015).

Today's Birthdays: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is 91. Actress-comedian-writer Elaine May is 85. Actor Charles Grodin is 82. Actor Reni Santoni (REH'-nee san-TOH'-nee) is 79. Anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean is 78. Singer-musician Iggy Pop is 70. Actress Patti LuPone is 68. Actor Tony Danza is 66. Actor James Morrison is 63. Actress Andie MacDowell is 59. Rock singer Robert Smith (The Cure) is 58. Rock musician Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 58. Actor John Cameron Mitchell is 54. Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) is 51. Actor Toby Stephens is 48. Rock singer-musician Glen Hansard (The Frames) is 47. Actor Rob Riggle is 47. Comedian Nicole Sullivan is 47. Football player-turned-actor Brian White is 44. Olympic gold medal pairs figure skater Jamie Sale (sah-LAY') is 40. Rock musician David Brenner (Theory of a Deadman) is 39. Actor James McAvoy is 38. Former NFL quarterback Tony Romo is 37. Actor Terrence J is 35. Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw is 34. Actor Christoph (cq) Sanders is 29. Actor Frank Dillane is 26. Rock singer Sydney Sierota (Echosmith) is 20.

Thought for Today: "To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness." — Erich Fromm, German-American psychoanalyst and author (1900-1980).

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