This Day in History: April 15

The Titanic sinks; Jackie Robinson makes his official debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers

On this day, April 15 …

1947: Jackie Robinson, baseball’s first Black Major League player, makes his official debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on opening day at Ebbets Field.

Also on this day:

  • 1452: Leonardo da Vinci is born in or near the Tuscan town of Vinci.
  • 1865: President Abraham Lincoln dies nine hours after being shot the night before by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington; Andrew Johnson becomes the nation’s 17th president.
The 'Titanic', a passenger ship of the White Star Line, that sank in the night of April 14-15, 1912. (Photo by Roger Viollet/Getty Images)

The 'Titanic', a passenger ship of the White Star Line, that sank in the night of April 14-15, 1912. (Photo by Roger Viollet/Getty Images)

  • 1912: The British luxury liner RMS Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland more than 2 1/2 hours after hitting an iceberg; 1,514 people die, while fewer than half as many survive.
  • 1943: The Ayn Rand novel "The Fountainhead" is first published by Bobbs-Merrill Co.
  • 1945: During World War II, British and Canadian troops liberate the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.
  • 1959: Cuban leader Fidel Castro arrives in Washington to begin a goodwill tour of the United States. 
  • 1974: Members of the Symbionese Liberation Army hold up a branch of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco; a member of the group is SLA kidnap victim Patricia Hearst.
  • 1985: South Africa says it would repeal laws prohibiting sex and marriage between whites and non-whites.
  • 1989: Students in Beijing launch a series of pro-democracy protests; the demonstrations would culminate in a government crackdown at Tiananmen Square.
  • 1998: Pol Pot, the notorious leader of the Khmer Rouge, dies at age 72, evading prosecution for the deaths of 2 million Cambodians.
  • 2009: Tens of thousands of protesters stage "tea parties" around the country to tap into the collective angst stirred up by a bad economy, government spending and bailouts.
In this Monday, April 15, 2013, file photo, medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

In this Monday, April 15, 2013, file photo, medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • 2013: Two bombs made from pressure cookers explode at the Boston Marathon finish line, killing two women and an 8-year-old boy and injuring more than 260.
  • 2014: Boko Haram terrorists kidnap some 276 girls from a school in northeastern Nigeria.
  • 2019: A massive fire engulfs Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral as it is undergoing renovations, severely damaging one of the greatest architectural treasures of the Western world.