This Day in History: April 25

On this day, April 25:

1988: In Israel, John "Ivan the Terrible" Demjanuk is sentenced to death as a Nazi war criminal.

Also on this day:

  • 1707: At the Battle of Almansa, Franco-Spanish forces defeat the Anglo-Portuguese.
  • 1792: The guillotine is first used to execute highwayman Nicolas J. Pelletier.
  • 1831: The New York and Harlem Railway is incorporated in New York City.
  • 1846: The Mexican-American War ignites as a result of disputes over claims to Texas boundaries.
  • 1859: Work begins on the Suez Canal in Egypt.
  • 1898: The U.S. declares war on Spain.
  • 1901: New York becomes the first state to require license plates for cars. (The fee is $1.)
  • 1928: A seeing-eye dog is used for the first time.
  • 1938: "Your Family and Mine," a radio serial, is first broadcast.
  • 1940: W2XBS (now WCBS-TV) in New York City presents the first circus on TV.
  • 1945: Delegates from about 50 countries meet in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.
  • 1953: Dr. James D. Watson and Dr. Francis H.C. Crick suggest the double helix structure of DNA.
  • 1954: The prototype manufacture of the first solar battery is announced by the Bell Laboratories in New York City.
  • 1957: Operations begin at the first experimental sodium nuclear reactor.
  • 1959: St. Lawrence Seaway is opened to shipping. The waterway connects the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 1967: Colorado Gov. John Love signs the first law legalizing abortion in the U.S. The law is limited to therapeutic abortions when agreed to, unanimously, by a panel of three physicians.
  • 1971: The country of Bangladesh is established.
  • 1974: Portuguese dictator Antonio Salazar is overthrown in a military coup.
  • 1985: "Big River (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)" opens at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on Broadway in New York City.
  • 1987: Peter O'Toole opens in "Pygmalion" on Broadway.
  • 1990: Sandinista rule ends in Nicaragua.
  • 1998: First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton is questioned by Whitewater prosecutors on videotape about her work as a private lawyer for the failed savings and loan at the center of the investigation.
  • 2003: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and ex-wife of former President Nelson Mandela, is sentenced to four years in prison for her conviction on fraud and theft charges.