For many people living in the United States, April 15 is dreaded Tax Day, the day when we have to settle up with Uncle Sam for the income taxes we owe. In an effort to distract you from the tedium of filing your income taxes, let’s look at some of the historic events that occurred on April 15.

In this list of 9 events that all occurred on April 15, you will see a mix of history … from sports firsts to devastating disasters to a couple of witches celebrating their birthdays.

The Boston Marathon Bombing – 2013

On Patriot’s Day, April 15, 2013, the city of Boston, Massachusetts, hosted the 117th Annual Boston Marathon which takes runners through the streets of the city. On this day, however, two brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated two homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the finish line.

Source: David L. Ryan

In what the FBI called a case of domestic terrorism, the brothers’ bombs killed three people and wounded hundreds. Seventeen people – many of whom were runners in the marathon – lost limbs in the bombing. Tamerlan was shot and killed by police, but Dzhokhar escaped. After a four-day manhunt, he was found and arrested.

Jackie Robinson Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier – 1947

Baseball great Jackie Robinson, who wore a number 42 jersey, broke baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947, when he played his first game as a major league player. As a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson stepped onto Ebbers Field to find the bleachers filled with a mixed crowd of spectators.

Source: Facebook/U.S. Consulate General Karachi

In the game, Robinson was walked and went on to score a run, helping the Dodgers to a 5-3 victory. He had to endure racial slurs from the fans and in the locker room, but Robinson focused on his performance on the field as he paved the way for other African American athletes.

The Unsinkable Titanic Sank – 1912

The luxury passenger liner, the Titanic, was given the ironic nickname of “Unsinkable” when it left England on its maiden voyage to New York. Late on the night of April 14, 1912, the ship struck an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland. The collision caused the unsinkable ship to take on water at a rapid rate.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the predawn hours of April 15, 1912, just two hours and 40 minutes after it struck the iceberg, the Titanic sank below the waves of the icy North Atlantic. Although lifeboats were launched, nearly 1,500 people perished when the Titanic sank.

Ray Kroc Opens His First McDonald’s – 1955

Ray Kroc started in the restaurant industry as a distributor for milkshake machines. Among his customers were the McDonald brothers who had a unique approach to churning out burgers in a fast and efficient way. Kroc became a franchise owner and opened his first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, on April 15, 1955.

Source: Adobe Stock

Kroc made improvements on the McDonald brothers’ concept and added more restaurants. In 1961, he bought out the McDonald brothers to become the owner and CEO of McDonald’s Corp., the innovator and leader in the fast-food industry.

Fire Destroyed Paris’s Iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral – 2019

On April 15, 2019, fire broke out in the roof area of the iconic medieval cathedral in Paris known as Notre-Dame de Paris. The fire quickly spread along the roof of the building and engulfed its trademark spire as the stunned world was glued to the news coverage.

Source: Pierre Suu

Through the heroic efforts of firefighters, most of the building was saved, including the cathedral’s three irreplaceable 13th-century rose windows, its two pipe organs, and the main altar. Three firefighters were injured battling the blaze, but no workers or civilians were hurt. Rebuilding efforts will take several years.

Patty Hearst Participated in a Bank Heist – 1974

Kidnapping victim and newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, who had been missing for more than two months, was among a group of people who robbed the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco at gunpoint on April 15, 1974.

Source: AP Photo

Hearst, who was just 19 years old, had been abducted by a radical group called the Symbionese Liberation Army and had spent weeks being tormented, abused, and brainwashed by the group. By the time she participated in the bank robbery, she was using a new name and had adopted the group’s radical views. It sparked debates about the brainwashing defense.

Two “Witches” Were Born – 1933 and 1990

Both Elizabeth Montgomery and Emma Watson, two actresses best remembered for portraying witches, were born on April 15. Elizabeth Montgomery was born in 1933. In 1964, she was cast to play the role of Samantha Stevens in the television sitcom, Bewitched. For eight seasons, she played a lovable witch trying to pass for an ordinary housewife.


Emma Watson was nine years old when she was cast to play a witch, Hermione Granger, in the Harry Potter movie franchise. Her role in this film series, based on the beloved books by J.K. Rowling, cemented her career as a spellbinding actress.

Two Men Were Murdered and Sacco and Vanzetti Were Blamed – 1920

On April 15, 1920, Alessandro Berardelli and Frederick Parmenter, a guard and a paymaster, were killed during an armed robbery of a shoe store in Massachusetts. The police linked the murders to two Italian immigrants who were known anarchists, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.

Source: Wikipedia

Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested and put on trial, but they hardly got a fair trial. The evidence against them was circumstantial and the jury was ready to convict them simply because they were immigrants with anarchist views. The pair were found guilty and executed in the electric chair, but many people still believe that they were wrongly accused.

The Deadliest Event in British Sports History – 1989

The British love their soccer and many were excited about the FA Cup semi-final match-up between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, which was slated for April 15, 1989. As people packed into the stadium, a police commander ordered that an exit gate be opened. He was hoping to ease the crowding, but this act just exacerbated the situation.

Source: David Cannon

People pushed to get into the standing-room-only pens. The more they pushed, the worse the situation became. It caused 97 people to be crushed to death and resulted in another 766 injuries. The Hillsborough Stadium crowd crush is the deadliest event in the history of British sports.