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On This Day In History - April 3

By CM Chaney · April 3, 2024

On This Day In History - April 3

"On This Day in History" is a captivating journey through time, revisiting the most significant events that have occurred on this very date throughout the years.

From monumental political decisions and groundbreaking scientific discoveries to unforgettable moments in sports and cultural milestones, each article in this series will transport you back to a specific day, offering a glimpse into the past and revealing how these events have shaped our world.

Join us as we uncover the fascinating stories that have left an indelible mark on history.  Wikimedia

1860: Pony Express Launches Coast-to-Coast Mail Delivery

On April 3, 1860, the Pony Express mail delivery system began operations, using horse-and-rider relays to cover 1,800 miles between Missouri and California.  Wikimedia/William Henry Jackson

1879: Sofia Named Capital of Bulgaria After Liberation

On April 3, 1879, Sofia, freed from Ottoman rule by Russian forces, was designated as the capital city of Bulgaria.  Wikimedia/Boby Dimitrov

1882: Jesse James Murdered by Robert Ford

On April 3, 1882, notorious American outlaw Jesse James was shot and killed by Robert Ford while hanging a picture in his St. Joseph, Missouri home.  Wikimedia

1922: Stalin Becomes Soviet Communist Party Leader

On April 3, 1922, Joseph Stalin assumed the role of secretary-general of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, establishing the foundation for his dictatorship.  Wikimedia/U.S. Signal Corps

1922: Doris Day, Iconic Actress and Singer, Born

Doris Day, an American actress and singer who became a Hollywood star through her roles in 1950s musicals and early 1960s sex comedies, was born.  Wikimedia

1924: Marlon Brando, Legendary American Actor, Born

Marlon Brando, an influential American actor known for his iconic roles on stage and in films, was born on April 3, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska.  Wikimedia/Edward Cronenweth

1930: Helmut Kohl, Chancellor of West and Reunified Germany, Born

Helmut Kohl, who served as chancellor of West Germany (1982–90) and reunified Germany (1990–98), was born on April 3, 1930, in Ludwigshafen am Rhein.  Wikimedia/Engelbert Reineke

1946: General Homma Executed for Bataan Death March Atrocities

On April 3, 1946, Japanese army general Homma Masaharu was executed for his role in orchestrating the infamous Bataan Death March during World War II.  Wikimedia/

1948: Truman Signs Marshall Plan to Revive Europe

On April 3, 1948, U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the Marshall Plan into law, aiming to revitalize European economies and foster democracy after World War II.  Wikimedia

1961: Eddie Murphy, Iconic Comedian and Actor, Born

Eddie Murphy, an American comedian and actor known for his memorable roles and stand-up comedy, was born on April 3, 1961, in Brooklyn, New York.  Wikimedia/

1973: King Delivers "Mountaintop Speech" Before Assassination

On April 3, 1968, during the Memphis sanitation workers strike, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his powerful "Mountaintop Speech," one day before his assassination.  Wikimedia/David Erickson

1973: First Handheld Mobile Phone Call Made

On April 3, 1973, a Motorola employee made history by placing the first-ever call from a handheld mobile telephone to AT&T's Bell Laboratories.  Wikimedia/Rico Shen

1996: Unabomber Ted Kaczynski Captured by Federal Agents

On April 3, 1996, federal agents in Montana arrested Ted Kaczynski, the "Unabomber," who had killed 3 and injured over 20 with mailed explosives.  Wikimedia/Federal Bureau of Investigation

2016: Panama Papers Expose Global Tax Evasion Schemes

On April 3, 2016, the leaked "Panama Papers" from a Panamanian law firm revealed how wealthy clients concealed assets and avoided taxes, in a massive data breach.  Wikimedia/JayCoop