896 Apr 4, Pope Formosus died. His body was exhumed by his successor in the Cadaver Synod. He was then put on trial for perjury, found guilty and dumped in the Tiber River.
1581 Apr 4, Frances Drake completed the circumnavigation of the world and was made a knight.
1664 Apr 4, Adam Willaerts, Dutch seascape painter, died.
1844 Apr 4, Charles Bulfinch (80), 1st US professional architect (Mass State House), died.
1900 Apr 4, There was an assassination attempt on Prince of Wales, King Edward VII.
1968 Apr 4, Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, 39, was assassinated while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. James Earl Ray (d.1998) confessed and pleaded guilty in Mar, 1969, but later tried to recant and said he was a fall guy. In 1993 Lloyd Jowers (d.2000), a Memphis businessman, said on ABC-TV that he had hired King’s killer as a favor to an underworld figure who was a friend. Jowers said he received $100,000 from Memphis produce merchant Frank Liberto to arrange King’s murder. In 1997 Ray identified an arms smuggler named “Raoul” as the real killer. In 1998 a former FBI agent produced documents from Ray’s car with the name Raul. In 1999 a civil trial jury in Memphis ruled that the 1968 killing of Rev. Martin Luther King was a conspiracy. The jury concluded that Lloyd Jowers, a former café owner, had conspired with elements of the Memphis Police Dept., the federal government and organized crime to kill King. In 2000 a Justice Dept. report rejected allegations of conspiracy. In 2002 Rev. Ronald Denton Wilson (61) said that his father, Henry Clay Wilson (d.1990), had shot King. In 2003 Stewart Burns authored “To the Mountaintop: Martin Luther King’s Sacred Mission to Save America.”
1968 Apr 4, Bobby Kennedy spoke at a black ghetto in Indianapolis just after hearing of the assassination of Martin Luther King. His speech registered the enormity of the event and began the work of healing. Riots over the next few days hit 76 American cities, but Indianapolis remained quiet.
1977 Apr 4, Egyptian Pres Anwar Sadat held his 1st meeting with President Jimmy Carter.
1981 Apr 4, Henry Cisneros became the first Mexican-American elected mayor of a major U.S. city — San Antonio, Texas.
1991 Apr 4, In Benin Nicephore Soglo (1991-1996) took office as president. He had defeated Mathieu Kerekou in the country’s first free presidential elections. For the first time in mainland Africa a leader let himself be ousted peacefully.
1996 Apr 4, President Clinton signed legislation severing the link between crop prices and government subsidies.
2001 Apr 4, Chinese President Jiang Zemin demanded the United States apologize for the collision between a U.S. Navy spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet; the Bush administration offered a chorus of regrets, but no apology.
2003 Apr 4, Pres. Bush issued an executive order giving federal health officials power to quarantine anyone suspected of being infected with SARS. The disease had spread to 17 countries killing at least 90 people and infected some 2,300.
2007 Apr 4, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad freed the 15 detained British sailors and marines as an Easter holiday “gift” to the British people. Syria said it played a key role in resolving the standoff over the 15 British sailors and marines held by Iran. Turkey brokered the release of the British sailors.
2008 Apr 4, US President George W. Bush arrived in Croatia after a NATO summit at which leaders invited the former Yugoslav republic to join the 26-nation western alliance
2008 Apr 4, President Gloria Arroyo announced major investments to overhaul the Philippine agriculture sector, as the country grapples with soaring rice prices that have raised fears of social unrest.
2008 Apr 4, In Zimbabwe the ruling ZANU-PF party decided President Robert Mugabe should contest a runoff vote against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai if neither wins a majority in a presidential election. Hundreds of guerrilla war veterans who support President Robert Mugabe marched through the capital, raising fears he might turn to violence to prolong his rule. Authorities introduced a new 50 million bank note, state media reported. The new Zimbabwe dollar note is worth $1 in black market trading and can buy just three loaves of bread.
2011 Apr 4, In Vietnam Cu Huy Ha Vu (53), the dissident son of a Vietnamese revolutionary leader, was convicted of anti-state propaganda activities, including advocating an end to one-party communist rule. His lawyers the next day challenged his seven-year jail sentence, saying the judges violated the law during his short trial.
2012 Apr 4, Iraq’s fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, accused of running a death squad, left the Gulf state of Qatar for Saudi Arabia.
2014 Apr 4, US Attorney General Eric Holder promised Congress a thorough investigation into whether high-frequency trading violates laws against insider trading. The practice drew extensive coverage with the recent publication of “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis.