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 What Happened Today... May 1st

1707 - Scotland and England were joined together under the name of Great Britain. 

1884 - The first skyscraper in America was under construction. It was a 10-story building located on the corner of LaSalle and Adams in Chicago, Illinois.

1925 - Cyprus officially became a British colony. It had been leased to Britain by Turkey in 1878 and was annexed to the British Empire in 1914.

1931 - The Empire State Building officially opened in New York City.

1961 - Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared the country a socialist nation and abolished elections.

1963 - Sir Winston Churchill announced his retirement from the House of Commons.

1967 - Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu.

1997 - Tony Blair's Labour Party won a landslide victory in Britain's general election.

What Happened Today... May 2nd

1519 - Leonardo da Vinci died near Amboise, France.

1933 - Adolf Hitler continued his crackdown in Germany, banning trade unions.

1952 - The first scheduled jet airliner passenger service began with a BOAC Comet, which flew from London to Johannesburg carrying 36 passengers.

1965 - The first communications satellite for relaying television pictures went into operation; the "Early Bird" transmitted to 24 countries.

1969 - The British passenger liner Queen Elizabeth 2 left on her maiden voyage to New York.

1982 - In the Falklands War, a British submarine sank the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano with the loss of more than 350 lives.

 What Happened Today... May 3rd

1494 - Christopher Columbus first sighted the island later to be named Jamaica.

1747 - In the War of Austrian Succession, the British roundly defeated the French at the first Battle of Cape Finisterre.

1765 - The first US medical college opened in Philadelphia.

1841 - New Zealand was formally proclaimed a British colony.

1952 - The first airplane landed at the geographic location of the North Pole.

1965 - Cambodia broke off diplomatic relations with the United States after a weekly magazine carried an article felt to be derogatory to the royal family.

1996 - Delegates from 55 countries agreed at a U.N. conference in Geneva on new rules for landmine use, but rejected an all-out ban.

1998 - It was reported that on this date, Titanic's box office take had climbed to $565,736,531.

 What Happened Today... May 4th

1780 - The first Derby horse race was run at Epsom in England over a distance of one and a half miles.

1926 - The first General Strike in British history began.

1932 - Public Enemy Number One, Al Capone, was jailed - in the Atlanta Penitentiary - for tax evasion.

1979 - Margaret Thatcher became Britain's first woman prime minister with a majority of 43 seats in the House of Commons.

1989 - The space shuttle Atlantis was launched.

1996 - A 13-year era of Socialist rule ended in Spain when conservative leader Jose Maria Aznar was appointed prime minister.

What Happened Today... May 5th

1760 - Earl Ferrers, the last British peer to be executed, was hanged in London for murdering his steward.

1891 - Carnegie Hall opened to the public in New York City, beginning a five-day music festival in the city.

1930 - Mahatma Gandhi was arrested by the British in India after his campaign of disobedience.

1930 - Amy Johnson began the first solo flight by a woman between England and Australia.

1945 - The Netherlands was liberated from Nazi Germany.

1967 - The first all-British satellite Ariel III was launched in California.

1980 - In London, troops of the SAS stormed the Iranian Embassy, killing four of the five gunmen who took over the building and seized hostages.

1983 - The West German magazine Stern began publishing the "Hitler Diaries," later proved to be a hoax.

1996 - King Juan Carlos swore in conservative leader Jose Maria Aznar as Spanish prime minister, opening a new era in Spanish politics after 13 years of Socialist rule.

 What Happened Today... May 6th

1882 - British statesman Lord Cavendish was murdered by Irish nationalists soon after arriving in Dublin as chief secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

1941 - Joseph Stalin became the premier of Russia.

1959 - The Pablo Picasso painting of a Dutch girl was sold for $154,000 in London. It was the highest price paid to that time for a painting by a living artist.

1976 - An earthquake struck the town of Udine in northern Italy, killing 973 people and leaving over 100,000 homeless.

1994 - Nelson Mandela and his ANC named their team for a post-apartheid government of national unity.

1994 - Britain and France were joined for the first time since the Ice Age by an undersea tunnel hailed as one of the great engineering feats of the 20th century.

1996 - The body of former CIA Director William Colby was found at a river's edge nine days after he apparently drowned while canoeing in southern Maryland.

 What Happened Today... May 7th

1429 - Joan of Arc led French forces in lifting of siege of Orleans.

1912 - The first airplane equipped with a machine gun flew over College Park, Maryland.

1928 - The age at which women could vote in Britain was lowered from 30 to 21.

1994 - The stolen masterpiece "The Scream" by Edvard Munch was found undamaged in a hotel in south Norway.

1995 - Jacques Chirac won the French presidential election.

 What Happened Today... May 8th

1811 - The British under the Duke of Wellington defeated the French in Portugal.

1847 - Robert W. Thomson of England patented the rubber tire.

1921 - Sweden abolished capital punishment.

1945 - German forces surrendered to Soviets.

1975 -U.S. President Gerald Ford reaffirmed American military support of South Korea after the fall of South Vietnam to Communists.

1984 - The Thames Barrier in London, constructed to stem the flow of the tidal river and prevent flooding, was officially opened.

1984 - The Soviet Union announced it would boycott the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

1995 - Germans and leaders of the main wartime Allies who defeated them 50 years ago gathered side by side in Berlin to honour the dead of World War II.

 What Happened Today... May 9th

1502 - Christopher Columbus set out from Cadiz, Spain, on his fourth and last voyage.

1671 - Thomas Blood, Irish adventurer better known as Captain Blood, stole the crown jewels from the Tower of London.

1785 - British inventor Joseph Bramah patented the beer-pump handle.

1901 - Australia opened its first parliament in Melbourne.

1927 - The new city of Canberra replaced Melbourne as Australia's capital.

1945 - The ban on horse racing and the nationwide midnight curfew in the United States during World War II were immediately lifted, as the Germans had surrendered the previous day.

1960 - The United States became the first country to legalize the birth control pill.

 What Happened Today... May 10th

1655 - Jamaica was taken by the British after being in Spanish hands for 161 years.

1796 - Napoleon Bonaparte's Army of Italy defeated the Austrians under Baron Beaulieu in the Battle of Lodi, southeast of Milan. More than 2,000 Austrians were killed or wounded.

1881 - King Carol I, Romania's first king, was crowned.

1940 - Winston Churchill took over as British prime minister following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain.

1940 - Germany invaded Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium.

1967 - Rolling Stones members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were arrested for drugs in Chichester, England, and sent to jail at West Sussex Quarter Session.

1972 - The Irish Republic voted in a referendum by 83 percent to join the European Economic Community.

1994 - Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa's first black president.

1995 - Britain lifted a 23-year ban on ministerial talks with Sinn Fein, political wing of the Irish Republican Army.

 What Happened Today... May 11th

330 - Constantinople was dedicated as the new capital of the Roman Empire.

868 - The first dated printed book was produced in China.

1944 - Allied forces launched a major offensive in central Italy. 

1960 - The world's longest ocean liner (to date), the S.S. France, was launched.

1967 - Britain, Denmark and Ireland formally applied to join the European Economic Community.

1981 - Reggae star Bob Marley died at age 36 in Miami, Florida. 

1985 - 56 people died and more than 200 were injured when fire engulfed the main stand at Bradford City's football ground in northern England.

 What Happened Today... May 12th

1949 - The Russian blockade of Berlin officially ended after 11 months with a food convoy driving into the city.

1971 - The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger married Bianca Perez Morena de Macias.

1991 - The moderate Nepali Congress won Nepal's first multiparty elections in 32 years.

1997 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov signed a peace accord promising to end 400 years of intermittent conflict.

 What Happened Today... May 13th

68 - Ascension Day -- which commemorates Christ's ascension into heaven -- was first observed.

1787 - The first fleet of ships carrying convicts to the new penal colony of Australia left England. They arrived the following January.

1888 - Brazil's parliament agreed to abolish slavery.

1917 - Three peasant children near Fatima, Portugal, reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary.

1927 - "Black Friday" occurred in Germany, signalling the collapse of its economic structure.

1949 - The first British-produced jet bomber, the Canberra, made its maiden test flight.

1981 - Pope John Paul II was shot and wounded as he drove through a crowd of 20,000 in St Peter's Square in Rome.

1985 - Tony Perez became the oldest major-league baseball player to hit a grand slam home run. Perez hit the grand slam for the Cincinnati Reds - helping the 1994 - Palestinian police took over control of Jericho from Israeli soldiers.

1996 - More than 600 people were killed by a tornado in the northern Bangladesh district of Tangail.

 What Happened Today... May 14th

649 - Theodore I ended his reign as Catholic Pope.

1607 - The first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States got started at Jamestown, Virginia.

1878 - The trademarked name Vaseline (for a brand of petroleum jelly) was registered by Robert A. Chesebrough.

1940 - The Netherlands surrendered to Germany.

1955 - The Warsaw Pact was formed.

1973 - The first Space Station, Skylab, was launched.

1985 - The first McDonald’s restaurant - in Des Plaines, Illinois - became the first museum of the fast-food business.

 What Happened Today... May 15th

1602 - English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold discovered Cape Cod.

1718 - James Puckle, a London lawyer, patented the world's first machine gun.

1930 - Ellen Church became the first stewardess for an airline.

1940 - The Dutch army surrendered to Nazi Germany.

1941 - Britain's first jet-propelled aircraft, the Gloster-Whittle E.28/39, flew for the first time.

1957 - Britain dropped its first hydrogen bomb on Christmas Island in the Pacific.

1978 - Bianca Jagger filed divorce papers against her husband Mick Jagger, singer of the Rolling Stones.

1989 - Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev arrived in Beijing for the first Sino-Soviet summit in 30 years.

 What Happened Today... May 16th

1568 - Mary, Queen of Scots, fled to England after her defeat at Langsides, Glasgow.

1881 - The first electric tram went into public service in Germany, near Berlin.

1920 - Joan of Arc, the French national heroine, was canonized by Pope Benedict XV.

1929 - The first Oscar awards by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were presented in Los Angeles.

1963 - U.S. astronaut Gordon Cooper in his Mercury-Atlas craft splashed down near Midway in the Pacific after orbiting the Earth 22 times in a mission lasting just over 34 hours -- the longest American space mission so far.

1969 - The Russian spacecraft Venus 5 landed on the planet Venus.

1989 - The Vatican released a report condemning pornography and violence in films, specifically mentioning Kung Fu movies.

1995 - Japanese police arrested doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahar in connection with the nerve-gas attack that killed 12 on Tokyo's subways two months earlier.

 What Happened Today... May 17th

1940 - In World War II, the German army entered Brussels.

1974 - 32 people were killed and hundreds injured when three car bombs exploded in the centre of Dublin.

1988 - Pepsi-Cola aired six spots on Soviet television, the first airtime ever sold to an American company for Soviet television.

 What Happened Today... May 18th

1803 - Britain declared war on France after Napoleon Bonaparte continued his interference in Italy and Switzerland.

1804 - Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Emperor of France. He was crowned on December 2, 1804.

1899 - The First Hague Peace Conference opened in the Netherlands.

1944 - Allied troops, led by the Polish army, finally won the battle to evict German troops from Monte Cassino, Italy.

1953 - The first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound, Jacqueline Cochran, piloted an F-86 Sabre jet over California at an average speed of 652.337 miles-per-hour.

1969 - The U.S spacecraft Apollo 10 was launched on a mission to rehearse for a moon landing.

1974 - India became a nuclear power when its first bomb was successfully exploded in the Rajasthan Desert.

1994 - Israel's three decades of occupation in Gaza ended.

 What Happened Today... May 19th

1536 - Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII of England, was beheaded for adultery.

1849 - Irishman William Hamilton was arrested after firing blank shots at Queen Victoria in London.

1911 - The first person to commit a crime and be convicted through the use of fingerprints turned out to be Caesar Cella. He had been ‘thumbed’ in New York City.

1992 - Two doctors who performed an autopsy on John F. Kennedy confirmed the U.S. president died from two bullets fired from above and behind.

 What Happened Today... May 20th

1498 - Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama arrived at Calicut, India, after sailing from Europe.

1867 - In London, Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of the Royal Albert Hall.

1941 - German troops invaded the Mediterranean island of Crete.

1956 - The first hydrogen bomb to be dropped from the air was exploded by the Americans over the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

1991 - The Soviet parliament approved in principle a law, which would allow citizens to travel abroad freely.

 What Happened Today... May 21st

1471 - King Henry VI of England was murdered in the Tower of London, in the latest twist in the Wars of the Roses. Edward IV resumed the throne.

1502 - The Portuguese discovered the island of St. Helena.

1819 - The first bicycles in the United States were called swift walkers and were seen for the first time on the streets of New York City.

1904 - Football's international body, FIFA, was established in Paris.

1932 - Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo, from Newfoundland to Ireland.

1982 - In the Falklands War, British troops established a bridgehead at Port San Carlos.

1998 - A gunman opened fire inside Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, killing two students.

 What Happened Today... May 22nd

1841 - Henry Kennedy of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania patented the first reclining chair.

1897 - the Prince and Princess of Wales opened The Blackwall Tunnel under the River Thames.

1908 - In the U.S. the Wright Brothers patented their flying machine.

1915 - The worst train disaster in Britain took place when a troop train collided with a passenger train at Gretna Green, Scotland, killing 227.

1939 - Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini signed a "Pact of Steel" committing Germany and Italy to a military alliance.

1969 - The Apollo 10 lunar module Snoopy came within 9.4 miles of the moon's surface.

1981 - In Britain, Peter Sutcliffe (the Yorkshire Ripper) was jailed for life after being convicted of 13 counts of murder.

1996 - Mission: Impossible, starring Tom Cruise and Jon Voight, opened in theatres nationwide, and broke the $100 million box office mark eleven days later.

 What Happened Today... May 23rd

1430 - Joan of Arc was captured at Compiegne and handed over to the British.

1498 - Girolamo Savonarola, Italian religious and political reformer, was hanged and burned at the stake.

1915 - Having been neutral, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary.

1998 - Official returns showed two convincing "yes" votes for the Northern Ireland peace accord.

 What Happened Today... May 24th

1862 - The new Westminster Bridge in London was completely opened.

1941 - The British cruiser HMS Hood was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck, killing over 1,300.

1976 - The British and French Concords made their first commercial flights from London and Paris respectively to Washington Dulles International Airport in just less than four hours.

1982 - In the Iran-Iraq war, Iranian troops recaptured Khorramshahr after it had been occupied by Iraq for 20 months.

1994 - About 270 Muslims performing the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia were killed in a stampede.

1994 - Four men convicted of bombing New York's World Trade Centre; each was sentenced to 240 years in prison.

 What Happened Today... May 25th

1810 - Argentina began its revolt against Spain.

1968 - The Gateway Arch, part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, was dedicated.

1983 - A fire on board three vessels on a trip on the Upper Nile in Egypt killed more than 300 people.

1986 - 30 million people worldwide joined in pop singer Bob Geldof's "Race Against Time" to raise money for the starving in Africa.

1995 - A major flare-up in the Bosnian war began when NATO launched air strikes against ammunition bunkers near Pale.

 What Happened Today... May 26th

1521 - The Edict of Worms outlawed Martin Luther and his followers, following his Papal excommunication in April.

1798 - During the Irish Rebellion, the British killed about 500 Irish insurgents at the Battle of Tara.

1805 - Napoleon was crowned king of Italy in Milan cathedral.

1868 - Irish nationalist Michael Barrett was hanged for a bomb attack at Clerkenwell, London -- the last public execution in England.

1923 - The first Le Mans 24-hour motor race was run.

1969 - The Apollo X astronauts returned to Earth after a successful eight-day dress rehearsal for the first manned moon landing.

1971 - The Soviet Union's answer to Concorde, the TU-144, made its first appearance in the West at the Paris Air Show.

1985 - Over 30 died when explosions destroyed two tankers off the coast of Gibraltar.

1991 - An Austrian Lauda-Air Boeing 767 crashed after a stopover in Bangkok, killing 223.

1994 - Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley were married. The marriage, however, did not last.

 What Happened Today... May 27th

1647 - The first recorded American execution of a "witch" took place in Massachusetts.

1955 - The census clock at the Department of Commerce Building in Washington, DC recorded a U.S. population of 165,000,000 at 8:51 a.m. Those clever people at the DOC figured out that this meant that a baby was being born every eight seconds in the USA.

1993 - A suspected Mafia car bomb killed five people and badly damaged an art collection in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

1996 - Russia signed a deal with the leader of the Chechen rebels to end fighting in the breakaway region from June 1.

 What Happened Today... May 28th

1929 - Warner Brothers debuted the first all-colour talking picture.

1937 - In Britain, Neville Chamberlain took over as prime minister at the head of a coalition government after Stanley Baldwin's retirement.

1953 - The first 3-D (three-dimensional) cartoon premiered at the Paramount Theatre in Hollywood, California.

1982 - Pope John Paul II arrived in Britain on the first papal visit there since 1531.

1982 - In the Falklands war, British troops recaptured Port Darwin and Goose Green from the Argentine army, taking at least 1,400 prisoners.

1991 - NATO defence ministers approved a radical shake-up of its forces in post-cold war Europe, including creation of a Rapid Reaction Force.

 What Happened Today... May 29th

1914 - The British liner Empress of Ireland carrying 1,477 passengers and crew collided with the Norwegian freighter Storstadt in the St Lawrence River in Canada. At least 1,012 people died.

1944 - A German submarine sank the Block Island, a U.S. aircraft carrier, near Madeira. She was the only U.S. carrier lost in the Atlantic in World War II.

1973 - Tom Bradley was elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles.

1974 - The British government brought Northern Ireland under direct rule from Westminster one day after the collapse of the Northern Ireland executive. A crippling general strike in the province ended.

1982 - Pope John Paul II, in the first papal visit to Britain since 1531, prayed alongside the archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, in Canterbury Cathedral.

 What Happened Today... May 30th

1431 - Joan of Arc, condemned as a heretic by an English-dominated church court, was burned at the stake at Rouen. Pope Benedict XV canonized her in 1920.

1498 - Christopher Columbus set sail with six ships from Sanlucar in Spain on his third voyage of exploration to the Americas.

1536 - In England, King Henry VIII married his third wife, Jane Seymour, 11 days after the execution of Anne Boleyn.

1942 - 1,047 R.A.F. bombers set off to bomb Cologne in the R.A.F.'s first 1,000-bomber raid of World War II.

1994 - Pope John Paul II declared the debate on the ordination of women over in a letter to Roman Catholic bishops.

 What Happened Today... May 31st

1859 - Big Ben, the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament in London, began telling the time.

1907 - Taxis arrived in New York City. The new Paris cabs were the first in the United States.

1911 - In Belfast, the White Star liner the Titanic was launched as one of the largest vessels afloat. It sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912.

1961 - South Africa proclaimed itself a republic and left the Commonwealth.