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Today in History: April 18, San Francisco’s great earthquake sets off fires, thousands die

Today is Thursday, April 18, the 109th day of 2024. There are 257 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 18, 1906, a devastating earthquake struck San Francisco, followed by raging fires; estimates of the final death toll range between 3,000 and 6,000.

On this date:

In 1775, Paul Revere began his famous ride from Charlestown to Lexington, Mass., warning colonists that British Regular troops were approaching.

In 1865, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman near Durham Station in North Carolina, bringing further closure to the Civil War, which had formally ended.

In 1923, the first game was played at the original Yankee Stadium in New York; the Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 4-1.

In 1954, Gamal Abdel Nasser seized power as he became prime minister of Egypt.

In 1955, physicist Albert Einstein died in Princeton, New Jersey, at age 76.

In 1966, Bill Russell was named player-coach of the Boston Celtics, becoming the NBA’s first Black coach.

In 1978, the Senate approved the Panama Canal Treaty, providing for the complete turnover of control of the waterway to Panama on the last day of 1999.

In 1983, 63 people, including 17 Americans, were killed at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, by a suicide bomber.

In 2002, police arrested actor Robert Blake in the shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, nearly a year earlier. (Blake was acquitted at his criminal trial and found liable for her death in a civil trial.)

In 2012, Dick Clark, the ever-youthful television host and producer who helped bring rock ‘n’ roll into the mainstream on “American Bandstand” and rang in the New Year for the masses at Times Square, died at age 82.

In 2013, the FBI released surveillance camera images of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing and asked for the public’s help in identifying them.

In 2015, a ship believed to be carrying migrants from Africa sank in the Mediterranean off Libya; about 500 are believed to have died.

In 2016, “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop stage biography of America’s first treasury secretary, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

In 2018, Cuba’s government selected 57-year-old First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez as the sole candidate to succeed President Raul Castro, a move that installed someone from outside the Castro family in the country’s highest office for the first time in nearly six decades; the 86-year-old Castro would remained head of the Communist Party.

In 2019, the final report from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation was made public; it outlined Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election but did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.

In 2022, Russia launched a long-feared, full-scale offensive to take control of Ukraine’s east, the country’s mostly Russian-speaking industrial heartland, where Moscow-backed separatists had been fighting Ukrainian forces for eight years.

In 2023, Fox and Dominion Voting Systems reached a $787 million settlement in the voting machine company’s defamation lawsuit, averting a trial in a case that exposed how the top-rated network chased viewers by promoting lies about the 2020 presidential election.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Clive Revill is 94. Actor Robert Hooks is 87. Actor Hayley Mills is 78. Actor James Woods is 77. Actor-director Dorothy Lyman is 77. Actor Cindy Pickett is 77. Actor Rick Moranis is 71. Actor Melody Thomas Scott is 68. Actor Eric Roberts is 68. Actor John James is 68. Rock musician Les Pattinson (Echo and the Bunnymen) is 66. Author-journalist Susan Faludi is 65. Actor Jane Leeves is 63. Ventriloquist-comedian Jeff Dunham is 62. Talk show host Conan O’Brien is 61. Actor Eric McCormack is 61. Actor Maria Bello is 57. Actor Mary Birdsong is 56. Actor David Hewlett is 56. Rock musician Greg Eklund (The Oolahs) is 54. Actor Lisa Locicero is 54. Actor Tamara Braun is 53. TV chef Ludovic Lefebvre is 53. Actor Fredro Starr is 53. Actor David Tennant is 53. Rock musician Mark Tremonti is 50. R&B singer Trina (Trina and Tamara) is 50. Actor Melissa Joan Hart is 48. Actor Sean Maguire is 48. Actor Kevin Rankin is 48. Actor Bryce Johnson is 47. Reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian (kar-DASH’-ee-uhn) is 45. Detroit Tigers first baseman and DH Miguel Cabrera is 41. Actor America Ferrera is 40. Actor Tom Hughes is 39. Actor Ellen Woglom (TV: “Marvel’s Inhumans”) is 37. Actor Vanessa Kirby is 36. Actor Alia Shawkat is 35. Actor Britt Robertson is 34. Actor Chloe Bennet is 32. Rock singer Nathan Sykes (The Wanted) is 31. Actor Moises Arias is 30.

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