For most of us, April is the month of Easter, spring, flowers and rainy days, but there are plenty of other things that most people do not know about April. It is actually a very interesting month that has a long and amazing history. So, in honor of the fourth month of the year, here are some cool facts about this neat month.
1. Bumped To Fourth
Back in the days of the Roman Empire, April was actually the second month of the year. It was not until the ancient Romans decided to move the beginning of the year to January that April was bumped down to being the fourth month of the year. As for the name, that comes from the Romans as well. They called April, ‘Aprilis’. There is speculation as to whether it was called this because of the Latin meaning, which is “To Open”, or if it is in honor of the Greek goddess of love; Aphrodite.
2. The Birthstone of the Month
The birthstone of April is none other than the diamond. The hardest substance on the planet, diamonds are billions of years old and the word comes from the Green word of ‘adamas’, which means invincible. Throughout human history, going back thousands of years, many cultures have prized diamonds and they are even mentioned as far back as 400 BC in Sanskrit texts.
Diamond cutting has a very long history as well, going back to the days of Venice in the 1330s and by the 15th century diamonds were being traded throughout Europe and the Far East, including India.
It was believed by Hindus that diamonds were created by lightning bolts, while the Greeks believed that diamonds were the tears of the gods, crystallized lightning and splinters of stars.
3. Important Events
Not surprisingly, April has had plenty of important events within human history. Some of the most important events that have occurred within this month include:
• The first weather satellite was launching by the United States on April 1, 1960.
• The first Pony Express route began on April 3, 1860, running between Missouri and California.
• Martin Luther King Jr. as assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.
• The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.
• The Revolutionary War was officially ended on April 11, 1783 after Congress proclaimed an end to the war.
• On April 12, 1606, England officially adopted the Union Jack.
• Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865.
• The Titanic sunk after striking an iceberg on April 15, 1912.
• Not only did the American Revolutionary War end in April, it also began in April with the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.
• William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 and he died on the same day, in 1616.
• Chernobyl, the worst nuclear accident in history, occurred on April 26, 1986.
• George Washington took office on April 30, 1789, and the Louisiana Territory was purchased on this same day, in 1803.
4. The Days of April
These days, April is known as a month with 30 days, but that was not always the case. In the past, around about the fifth and fourth century BC, April was only given 29 days. This was before the calendar was changed by the Romans to make it more in line with the year to prevent days from being off as a result of the inaccuracies with the rotation of the Earth around the sun.
One really interesting fact about the days of April is that April always starts on the same day of the week as July does, however during leap years; it starts on the same day of the year as January.
5. Famous Births
April has been a big month for births throughout history and there are plenty of famous people who call April their birth month. Some of the most famous to be born during the fourth month of the year include:
• Casanova, a legendary lover, was born on April 2, 1725.
• Sir Alec Guiness, the Oscar winning actor who portrayed Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars was born on April 2, 1914.
• Eddie Murphy, the famous actor and comic, was born on April 3, 1961.
• Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State of the United States, was born on April 5, 1937.
• Frances Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather movies and Apocalypse Now, was born on April 7, 1939.
• Author Tom Clancy and talk show host David Lettermen were born on April 12, 1947.
• Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the smartest men in history, was born on April 15, 1452.
• Sir Charlie Chaplin, the famous silent movie star, was born on April 16, 1889.
• Former Soviet Chancellor Nikita Khrushchev was born on April 17, 1894.
• Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926, as was Iggy Pop in 1947.
• The father of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, was born on April 22, 1870, as was Jack Nicholson in 1937.
• Singer Barbra Streisand was born on April 24, 1942.
• Actor Al Pacino was born on April 25, 1940.
• King Edward IV was born on April 28, 1442, as was Jay Leno, roughly 500 years later in 1950.
• Jerry Seinfeld and Daniel Day Lewis were born on April 29, in 1954 and 1957 respectfully.
• Singer Willie Nelson was born on April 30, 1933.
6. April Events to Remember
April is a month with plenty of events in it, some of which are very important to many people. Some holidays and events that call April home are:
• April Fool’s Day, when everyone gets to be a joker for at least part of the day on April 1st.
• Depending on the year, Easter falls in April, which gives us our sugar and chocolate fix roughly half a year after we got one on Halloween.
• Buddha’s Birthday is a religious holiday celebrated in April.
• Tax Day, when we all have to line up and start paying our taxes, happens every April 15.
• For a lot of pot heads, April 20th is a big day and pretty much the national holiday for weed smokers.
• Earth Day, when we take a day to help the Earth and not feel guilty about the other 364 days we destroy the Earth, happens every April 22.
• Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day, so they can see where we spend most of our lives, happen every fourth Thursday in the United States during April.