Sometimes timing bites. In 1911 on this date Harriet Quimby became the first woman to get a pilot’s license. The next year she accomplished the first solo crossing of the English Channel. However, the accomplishment got very little news coverage because it came on April 16th, the day after the Titanic sank. Sadly she died a couple of months later when she and her passenger were thrown out of the aircraft she was piloting by a sudden freak downward dip of the plane, which glided to a muddy landing on the ground.

Slavery was abolished in the British Empire by the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, beating the US by over 30 years. In 1876 Colorado was admitted as the 38th US State. In 1936 the Berlin Olympic Games opened and in 1965 Frank Herbert’s novel Dune was published for the first time.

Two Roman Emperors were born on this date -Claudius in 10 BC and Pertinax in 126 AD. This was the birthdate of explorer William Clark (1770), national anthem author Francis Scott Key (1779), Moby Dick author Herman Melville (1819), and rocker Jerry Garcia(1942) of Grateful Dead fame.

Those who passed on include Roman general Mark Anthony (30 BC), American frontierswoman and scout Calamity Jane (1903), U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers (1977), and former Philippine President Corazon Aquino (2009).

This is International Beer Day and also Friendship Day – sometimes those go together.