Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology

Recalling events that happened on this day in history.
Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.

Compiled by Ulli Diemer

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April 26, 1848  
The surviving members of Sir John Franklin’s expedition in search of the Northwest Passage leave their icebound ships and set out overland from King William Island. All will perish.
Related Topics: ArcticNorthwest Passage
April 26, 1937
Bombing of Guernica: Planes of the Nazi German Luftwaffe and the Italian Fascist Aviazione Legionaria, supporting Franco’s fascists in the Spanish Civil War, bomb the Basque town of Guernica. The attack marks one of the first times that a defenceless town is subjected to massive aerial bombardment. About 1600 people die, many of them children.

In Guernica the dead children
were laid out in order upon the sidewalk,
in their white starched dresses,
in their pitiful white dresses.

On their foreheads and breasts are the little holes
where death came in as thunder,
while they were playing their important summer games.

Do not weep for them, madre.
They are gone forever, the little ones, straight to heaven to the saints,
and God will fill the bullet-holes with candy.

– Norman Rosten: In Guernica
Related Topics: BombingMassacresSpanish Civil War
April 26, 1942
An explosion in the Benxihu Colliery in Benxi, Liaoning, China, results in the death of 1549 coal miners, the worst mining disaster in history. The pit is under the control of the Japanese occupation forces in China, who refuse to allow rescue efforts to proceed and instead shut the ventilation shafts. It is believed that many of the dead miners died not from the explosion itself, but from carbon monoxide poisoning and suffocation after air was shut off.
April 26, 1968
Students at hundreds of colleges and high schools across the United States go on a one-day strike to protest the U.S. war against Vietnam.
Related Topics: Anti-War MovementProtestVietnam War
April 26, 1986
A catastrophic accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, in the Soviet Union, causes a massive release of radioactive particles into the atmosphere.
Related Topics: Nuclear Disasters
April 26, 1998
Two days after releasing a report blaming the U.S.-backed military government for atrocities, Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera is murdered by army officers led by a Colonel trained in the School of the Americas.

January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
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For more information about people and events in Seeds of Fire, explore these pages: