The Jewish philosopher Maimonides was born in Cordoba in present-day Spain.
Florida became a United States territory.
U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward reached agreement with Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for $7.2 million.
The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited denying citizens the right to vote and hold office on the basis of race, was declared in effect by Secretary of State Hamilton Fish. Texas was readmitted to the Union.
The Queensboro Bridge, linking the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Queens, opened.
The Cunard liner RMS Laconia became the first passenger ship to circle the globe as it arrived in New York.
“On the Waterfront” won the Academy Award for best picture of 1954, while its star, Marlon Brando won best actor; in what was regarded as an upset, Grace Kelly won best actress for “The Country Girl,” beating out Judy Garland for “A Star Is Born.”
A narrowly divided U.S. Supreme Court, in Bartkus v. Illinois, ruled that a conviction in state court following an acquittal in federal court for the same crime did not constitute double jeopardy.
John Glenn withdrew from the Ohio race for the U.S. Senate because of injuries suffered in a fall. The original version of the TV game show “Jeopardy!,” hosted by Art Fleming, premiered on NBC.
As the Vietnam War neared its end, Communist forces occupied the city of Da Nang. James Ruppert, 41, killed 11 members of his family at his mother’s home in Hamilton, Ohio, on Easter Sunday.
President Ronald Reagan was shot and seriously wounded outside a Washington D.C. hotel by assailant John W. Hinckley Jr.
Britain’s Queen Mother Elizabeth died at Royal Lodge, Windsor, outside London; she was 101 years old.