This week in history


Cat Madish, Editor in Chief

  • Only 23 years after the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War, on April 13, 1360, a hail storm devastated English troops when it killed 1,000 soldiers and 6,000 horses in France. The storm hit overnight, while soldiers were camped outside of Chartres, France. Lightning struck first, killing multiple people. Then, the hail struck and killed horses and men alike due to lack of shelter. The hail even killed two English commanders. It was so horrendous, it became known as Black Monday. Many people, including King Edward III, saw this as a sign from God. As a result, Edward rushed to negotiate with France. Less than a month later, the treaty of Bretigny was signed, in which Edward renounced the throne and released king John II in return for sovereignty over Aquitaine and Calais as well as money. This marked the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years’ War.
  • The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Major Robert Anderson of the Union refused to surrender Fort Sumter to Commander P.G.T. Beauregard, leading Beauregard to open fire on Fort Sumter. Captain Abner Doubleday of the Union ordered shots in defense — thus, the first shots of the American Civil War. While no Union troops were killed in this bombardment, nearly 4,000 rounds had been shot by Confederate soldiers at a poorly supplied Fort Sumter. The next day, the garrison surrendered with the only casually being a confederate horse. This led to Abraham Lincoln issuing a proclamation on the 15th, calling for state militias to help supply 75,000 troops to help quell the Southern rebellion.
  • Jackie Robinson became the first African American Major League Baseball player when, on April 15, 1947, he debuted at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn only five days after signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. After the game resulted in a victory against Boston Braves, more than 50,000 people came to see Robinson play at the Polo Grounds days later. However, Robinson faced a lot of harassment from fans as well as the opposition. Additionally, Jim Crow laws often prevented him from using the same hotels and restaurants as the rest of the team. Nonetheless, Robinson had a groundbreaking career and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. Robinson’s career wasn’t just groundbreaking because he was a phenomenal athlete, but because he broke through more than 50 years of segregation within sports. In 1997, on the 50th anniversary of his debut, Major League Baseball retired his number, 42, leading Robinson to become the only player to have his number retired across all teams. T