April 1 gets a bad rap. Virtually everything that happens on April Fools’ Day is greeted with skepticism. But despite the inherent distrust baked into April 1, some serious historical events have happened on this day in history.
Steve Newman walks around the world in four years
On April 1, 1983, Steve Newman walked out of his home in Bethel, Ohio. Four years later to the day, he returned, having literally circumnavigated the world by foot and endured muggings, arrests, the odd beating and attacks from a variety of wildlife – including wild boars, ants, snakes and a bison – along the way.
Apple is founded
Apple Inc., a company whose product you are statistically likely to be working with or have on your person at this time, was founded on April 1, 1976, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, in Cupertino, California.
The Beatles finish recording forever
The last Beatles recording session took place on April 1, 1970. Sadly, it consisted solely of Ringo, who showed up to add percussion to “The Long and Winding Road,” from Let It Be.
The Netherlands legalize same-sex marriage
The Netherlands became the first country to legalize gay marriage on April 1, 2001.
Dr. Martens releases its first boot
The first pair of Dr. Martens boots, the brand that would become the de rigueur footwear for virtually every counterculture movement of the latter half of the 20th century, from mod to punk to metal to grunge, was released on April 1, 1960. (It was the model 1460, in case you were wondering.)
The Hale-Bopp comet passes by Earth
Though it was discovered in 1995, Comet Hale-Bopp reached its perihelion (the point at which a comet is nearest to its point of orbit) on April 1, 1997. At that point, it was brighter than any other star in the sky except Sirius and was visible all night to the northern hemisphere. It was eventually dubbed “The Great Comet of 1997.”
Jessica Lynch is rescued
Private First Class Lynch’s convoy was ambushed on March 23, 2003 and captured. On April 1, 2003, she was rescued by U.S. Special Operations Forces, the first successful rescue of an American POW since Vietnam and the first-ever of a woman soldier.
Villanova Wins the Final Four
Villanova – who finished fourth in their own conference – upset Georgetown in the final game of the 1985 NCAA Basketball tournament. It’s the most famous upset in college basketball history: An eighth-seeded team has only reached the Finals once in the 30 years since.
Method Man was born
The M-E-T-H-O-D Man was born April 1, 1971, as Clifford Smith. You may know him from the Wu-Tang Clan, various guest appearances on other musicians’ tracks, The Wire or his masterpiece with Redman, How High.