TODAY IN HISTORY
April 17, 1961
Some 1,500CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in an attempt to topple Fidel Castro, whose forces crushed the incursion by the third day.
ALSO ON THIS DATE
A contract was signed by Christopher Columbus and a representative of Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, giving Columbus a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia.
Martin Luther went before the Diet of Worms to face charges stemming from his religious writings.
The Virginia State Convention voted to secede from the Union.
The Treaty of Shimonoseki ended the first Sino-Japanese War.
Cartoon character Daffy Duck made his debut in the Warner Bros. animated short “Porky’s Duck Hunt,” directed by Tex Avery.
Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany during World War II.
Apollo 13astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft while en route to the moon.
A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted two former police officers of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King; two other officers were acquitted.
Pope Benedict XVI, during his visit to Washington, talked and prayed privately with survivors of the clergy sex abuse scandal in what’s believed to be a first-ever meeting between a pontiff and abuse victims.