On This Day

Birthdays in History on April 8

  • 563 Gautama Buddha's birthday, the founder of Buddhism, is commonly celebrated on this day (or May)
  • 1320 Pedro I, King of Portugal (also called "the Just" or "the Cruel"), King of Portugal and of the Algarves (1357-67), born in Coimbra, Portugal (d. 1367)

Person of interestJuan Ponce de León

1460 Juan Ponce de León, Spanish explorer and conquistador who searched for the fountain of youth and the first European to discover Florida, born in Santervás de Campos, Castile, Spain (d. 1521)

Explorer and Conquistador Juan Ponce de León
Explorer and Conquistador
Juan Ponce de León
  • 1541 Michele Mercati, Italian physician and gardener, born in Rome, Italy (d. 1593)
  • 1582 Phineas Fletcher, English poet, born in Cranbrook (d. 1650)
  • 1605 Louis de Vadder, Flemish painter, born in Brussels (d. 1655)
  • 1605 Philip IV, King of Spain & Portugal (1621-65), born in Royal Palace of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain (d. 1665)
  • 1631 Cornelis de Heem, Dutch painter, born in Leiden, Netherlands (d. 1695)
  • 1641 Henry Sydney, 1st Earl of Romney, English statesman, born in Paris (d. 1704)
  • 1655 Louis Willem I, Margrave of Baden-Baden, born in Paris (d. 1707)
  • 1695 Johann Christian Gunther, German poet, born in Striegau, Silesia (d. 1723)
  • 1726 Lewis Morris, American landowner and farmer (signed US Declaration of Independence), born in Morrisania, New York (d. 1798)
  • 1732 David Rittenhouse, American astronomer, inventor, and mathematician, born in Paper Mill Run, Pennsylvania (d. 1796)
  • 1775 Adam Albert von Neipperg, Austrian general and Napoleon's wife Marie's lover and later husband, born in Vienna (d. 1829)
  • 1783 John Claudius Loudon, Scottish horticulturist, born in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, Scotland (d. 1843)
  • 1816 Frederic William Burton, Irish painter, born in Wicklow, Ireland (d. 1900)
  • 1818 Christian IX, King of Denmark (1863-1906), born in Gottorf Castle, Schleswig, Duchy of Schleswig (d. 1906)
  • 1826 Pancha Carrasco, Costa Rican war heroine (Costa Rica's first woman in the military), born in Cartago, Costa Rica (d. 1890)
  • 1827 Ramón Emeterio Betances, Puerto Rican politician, medical doctor and diplomat, born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico (d. 1898)
  • 1828 George Baird Hodge, American Brigadier General (Confederate Army), born in Fleming County, Kentucky (d. 1892)
  • 1831 Allard Pierson, Dutch theologist, philosopher and art historian, born in Amsterdam (d. 1896)
  • 1832 Alfred von Waldersee, Prussian field marshal and Chief of the German General Staff, born in Potsdam, Province of Brandenburg, Kingdom of Prussia (d. 1904)
  • 1842 Elizabeth Bacon Custer, American author, public speaker and wife of George Armstrong Custer, born in Monroe, Michigan (d. 1933)
  • 1850 William H. Welch, American pathologist who founded Johns Hopkins Hospital, born in Norfolk, Connecticut (d. 1934)
  • 1859 Edmund Husserl, German philosopher (founded School of Phenomenology), born in Proßnitz, Margraviate of Moravia, Austrian Empire (d. 1938)
  • 1869 Harvey Cushing, American neurosurgeon (blood pressure studies), born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 1939)
  • 1871 Clarence Hudson White, American photographer, born in Newark, Ohio (d. 1925)
  • 1874 Stanisław Taczak, Polish general, commander-in-chief of the Greater Poland Uprising, born in Mieszków, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland (d. 1960)
  • 1875 Albert I, King of Belgium (1909-34), born in Brussels, Belgium (d. 1934)
  • 1883 R. P. Keigwin, English academic, born in Lexden, Essex (d. 1972)
  • 1886 Margaret Ayer Barnes, American playwright and writer (Years of Grace), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1967)
  • 1888 Dennis Chavez, American politician, 1st US Hispanic Senator elected to serve full term, born in Los Chavez, New Mexico Territory (d. 1964)
  • 1892 Richard Neutra, Austrian American modernist architect (Kaufmann Desert House), born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (d. 1970)
  • 1893 Henri Puvrez, Belgian sculptor (Sereniteit)
  • 1898 Achiel H. Acker, Belgian premier (1945-46, 1954-58), born in Bruges, Belgium (d. 1975)
  • 1898 Cecil [Maurice] Bowra, British classics expert (Greek experience)
  • 1904 John R. Hicks, British economist ( Value and Capital), (Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science 1972), born in Warwick, England (d. 1989)
  • 1905 Hans Scherfig, Danish marxist/writer (Idealister, Frydenholm)
  • 1905 Helen Joseph, South African anti-apartheid activist and writer (Side by Side), born in Easebourne, England (d. 1992)
  • 1905 Pierre Wigny, Belgian minister of Foreign affairs (1958-61) [or 4/18]
  • 1906 Charles J. B. Jonckheere, Flemish poet and writer (Mirror of the Sea)
  • 1907 Maurice Stacey, British chemist who worked to synthesize vitamin C, born in Moreton, England (d. 1994)
  • 1908 Neil Lawson, British high court judge
  • 1909 William James Millar Mackenzie, Scottish political scientist, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1996)
  • 1911 Douglas Hyde, England political journalist, born in Worthing, England (d. 1996)
  • 1911 Emil Mihai Cioran, Romanian born writer and aphorist, born in Resinár, Kingdom of Hungary (d. 1995)
  • 1911 Melvin Calvin, US chemist (photosynthesis, Nobel 1961)
  • 1913 Hubertus Ernst, Dutch Roman Catholic bishop of Breda, born in Breda, Netherlands (d. 2017)

Person of interestBetty Ford

1918 Betty [Bloomer] Ford, US 1st lady (1974-77) and founder of the Betty Ford Center clinic, born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2011)

US First Lady Betty Ford
US First Lady
Betty Ford
  • 1918 Glendon Swarthout, American author (d. 1992)
  • 1919 [Douglas] Ian Smith, premier of Rhodesia (1964-79), born in Selukwe, Rhodesia (d. 2007)
  • 1923 George Fisher, American cartoonist (d. 2003)
  • 1924 Anthony Farrar-Hockley, English army officer (NATO Commander) and historian, born in Coventry, England (d. 2006)
  • 1926 Henry N. Cobb, American architect (Pei Cobb Freed & Partners), born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 2020)
  • 1926 Jürgen Moltmann, German Reformed theologian, born in Hamburg, Germany
  • 1928 Mary Zeldenrust-Noordanus, Dutch CEO (NVSH - Dutch Association for Sexual Reform), born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 1984)
  • 1928 Leah Rabin (nee Schloßberg), wife of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, born in Königsberg, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia) (d. 2000)
  • 1929 Renzo de Felice, Italian historian of Fascism, born in Rieti, Italy (d. 1996)
  • 1930 Julien Van Remoortere [Piet Mortelman], Flemish writer (Fist), born in Beveren, Belgium (d. 2018)
  • 1930 Mary Moore, English principal (St Hilda's College, Oxford) (d. 2017)
  • 1930 Carlos Hugo of Bourbon-Parma, Duke of Parma
  • 1934 Kisho Kurokawa, Japanese architect (d. 2007)
  • 1935 Albert G. Bustamante, American politician (Rep-D-TX, 1985-93), born in Asherton, Texas
  • 1935 Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, epidemiologist (Living legacy award-1984)
  • 1937 Tony Clegg, English property trader (Montleigh), born in Littleborough, England (d. 1995)
  • 1937 Seymour Hersh, award-winning investigative reporter (NY Times)

Person of interestKofi Annan

1938 Kofi Annan, Ghanaian diplomat and 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006), born in Comassie, Gold Coast (d. 2018)

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan
  • 1941 Vivienne Westwood [Dame], English fashion designer, born in Tintwistle, England
  • 1942 Douglas Trumbull, American film director (Silent Running, Brainstorm), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1942 Eduard Visser, Dutch writer (Fyffes are now called Chiquita)
  • 1943 Michael Bennett, American theater director and choreographer (Chorus Line), born in Buffalo, New York (d. 1987)
  • 1943 Tony Banks, English politician (Labour), born in Belfast (d. 2006)
  • 1943 William Garth Morrison, British Chief scout of UK and Overseas territories (d. 2013)
  • 1943 James Herbert, English horror writer (The Rats), born in London, England (d. 2013)
  • 1944 Christoph Hein, German writer and translator, born in Heinzendorf, Germany
  • 1944 Odd Nerdrum, Norwegian painter
  • 1945 Derrick Walker, Scottish auto racing team owner (President of operations and competition of IndyCar), born in Leven, Scotland
  • 1947 Hsiao-hsien Hou, Taiwanese director (Cheerful Wind, City of Sadness, The Puppetmaster), born in Mei County, China
  • 1947 Tom DeLay, American politician (Rep-R-Texas, 1985-2006), born in Laredo, Texas
  • 1947 Robert Kiyosaki, American investor (Rich Dad Company), born in Hilo, Hawaii

Person of interestRobert Allen Litchfield

1948 Robert A. Litchfield, American bank robber who was on the FBI most wanted list in the 1980s

  • 1948 Michael Leshner, Canadian lawyer and gay rights advocate
  • 1954 G.V. Loganathan, American professor (d. 2007)
  • 1955 Barbara Kingsolver, American novelist (The Poisonwood Bible), born in Annapolis, Maryland
  • 1955 David Wu, Taiwanese-born American politician (Rep-D-Ore 1999-2011), born in Hsinchu, Taiwan
  • 1963 Erica Terwillegar, American lugist, born in Nelsonville, New Jersey
  • 1963 Seth Tobias, American financial commentator (d. 2007)
  • 1974 Holger Hott Johansen, Norwegian orienteerist
  • 1974 Nnedi Okorafor, Nigerian American writer (Binti books), born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 1974 Chris Kyle, American Navy SEAL sniper (160 kills), born in Odessa, Texas (d. 2013)
  • 1977 Mehran Ghassemi, Iranian journalist (d. 2008)
  • 1977 Mark Spencer, American computer programmer (Pidgin, Asterisk), born in Alabama
  • 1979 David Petruschin, American drag queen (Raven) and make-up artist, born in Victorville, California