Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted present-day Florida.
The first telephone line between Boston and New York was inaugurated.
First lady Helen Herron Taft and the wife of Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Viscountess Chinda, planted in Washington the first two of 3,000 cherry trees given as a gift by the mayor of Tokyo.
Japan officially withdrew from the League of Nations.
Alfred Hitchcock’s first American movie, “Rebecca” starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, premiered in Los Angeles.
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower told reporters in Paris that Germany’s main defensive line on the Western Front had been broken.
Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier in addition to First Secretary of the Communist Party.
Alaska was hit by a magnitude 9.2 earthquake (the strongest on record in North America) and tsunamis that together claimed about 130 lives.
Construction began on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which was completed two years later.
“Forrest Gump” won six Academy Awards, including best picture and a second consecutive best actor Oscar for Tom Hanks; Jessica Lange won best actress for “Blue Sky.”
Ten years ago: Pope John Paul II delivered an Easter Sunday blessing to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, but the ailing pontiff was unable to speak and managed only to greet the saddened crowd with a sign of the cross. In a live Internet interview with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Michael Jackson declared himself “completely innocent” of child molestation charges, and said he was the victim of a conspiracy.
Five years ago: Lights were switched off across the world from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time to mark Earth Hour, an event organized by the World Wildlife Fund to highlight concerns about global warming. President Barack Obama announced he would bypass a vacationing Senate and name 15 people to key administration jobs using recess appointments. Mao Asada of Japan beat Olympic champion Yuna Kim of South Korea to win her second title at the World Figure Skating Championships, held in Turin, Italy.
One year ago: Face to face at the Vatican for the first time, President Barack Obama and Pope Francis focused on their mutual respect and shared concern for the poor. The U.S. Air Force took the extraordinary step of firing nine midlevel nuclear commanders and announcing it would discipline dozens of junior officers at a nuclear missile base, responding firmly to an exam-cheating scandal. A judge in Missoula, Montana, sentenced Jordan Graham to more than 30 years in prison for killing Cody Johnson, her husband of eight days, by pushing him from a cliff in Glacier National Park. James Schlesinger, 85, who’d held a long string of Cabinet and other high-level positions in three U.S. administrations, died in Baltimore.