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Today In History

Here is what happened
on Sunday - May 20th...

History,  n.  One darn thing after another.

      Famous People Born On This Day In History...

1750Stephen Girard, bailed out US bonds during the War of 1812.
      Today, this person is/would be 268 years old.
1799Honore de Balzac, novelist.
      Today, this person is/would be 219 years old.
1814William H. Steeves, one of the fathers of Canadian confederation, in Hillsborough, New Brunswick.
      Today, this person is/would be 204 years old.
1818William George Fargo, helped to found Wells, Fargo & Co.
      Today, this person is/would be 200 years old.
1908Jimmy Stewart, actor, It’s A Wonderful Life.
      Today, this person is/would be 110 years old.
1913William Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Co.
      Today, this person is/would be 105 years old.
1915Moshe Dayan, Israeli general & politician.
      Today, this person is/would be 103 years old.
1944Joe Cocker, singer(?) from 1960s.
      Today, this person is/would be 74 years old.
1946Cher, actress, singer, Sonny’s ex!
      Today, this person is/would be 72 years old.

      Events On This Day In History...

325The First Council of Nicaea – the first Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church – is held.
526An earthquake kills about 300,000 people in Syria and Antiochia.
685The Battle of Dunnichen or Nechtansmere is fought between a Pictish army under King Bridei III and the invading Northumbrians under King Ecgfrith, who are decisively defeated.
1217The Second Battle of Lincoln is fought near Lincoln, England, resulting in the defeat of Prince Louis of France by William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke.
1293King Sancho IV of Castile creates the Study of General Schools of Alcalá.
1497John Cabot sets sail from Bristol, England, on his ship Matthew looking for a route to the west, although some historians give a May 2nd date.
1498Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrives at Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), India.
1521Battle of Pampeluna: Ignatius Loyola seriously wounded in the battle.
1570Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues the first modern atlas.
1631The city of Magdeburg in Germany is seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire and most of its inhabitants massacred, in one of the bloodiest incidents of the Thirty Years’ War.
1690England passes the Act of Grace, forgiving followers of Roman Catholic James II.
1813Napoleon Bonaparte leads his French troops into the Battle of Bautzen in Saxony, Germany, against the combined armies of Russia and Prussia. The battle ends the next day with a French victory.
1835Otto is named made the first modern king of Greece.
1845First legislative assembly convenes in Hawaii.
1845HMS Erebus and HMS Terror with 134 men under John Franklin sail from the River Thames in England, beginning a disastrous expedition to find the Northwest Passage. All hands are lost. By the end of the 20th Century scientists discover the explorers had died of lead poisoning from their canned food.
1861American Civil War: The state of Kentucky proclaims its neutrality, which will last until September 3 when Confederate forces enter the state.
1862US President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law.
1873Sir George-Etienne Cartier, one of the fathers of Canadian confederation dies in London, England, at age 58.
1873Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive a US patent for blue jeans with copper rivets. They were priced at $13.50 a dozen (hey, now there’s a bargain).
1882The Triple Alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy is formed.
1883The eruption of Krakatoa begins, leading ultimately to the volcano’s destruction three months later.
1891History of cinema: First public display of Thomas Alva Edison’s prototype kinetoscope (shown at Edison’s Laboratory for a convention of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs).
1896The six ton chandelier of the Palais Garnier falls on the crowd resulting in the death of one and the injury of many others.
1902Cuba gains independence from the United States. Tomás Estrada Palma becomes the first President of Cuba.
1910Krazy Kat and Ignatz first appear in ’The Dingbat Family’ comic strip
1916The Saturday Evening Post publishes its first cover with a Norman Rockwell painting ("Boy with Baby Carriage").
1916The small town of Codell, Kansas is struck by a tornado. Incredibly, the same town was also hit in 1917 and 1918 on the exact same date
1920The Weimarer Nationalversammlung, the national assembly of Germany’s Weimar Republic, is permanently dissolved.
1920Montreal, Quebec, radio station XWA broadcasts the first regularly scheduled radio programming in North America.
1927By the Treaty of Jedda, the United Kingdom recognizes the sovereignty of King Ibn Saud in the Kingdoms of Hejaz and Nejd, which later merged to become the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
1927At 07:52 Charles Lindbergh takes off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York, on the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, touching down at Le Bourget Field in Paris at 22:22 the next day.
1932Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland to begin the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot, landing in Ireland the next day, but many days later disappears in the Pacific Ocean.
1940Holocaust: The first prisoners arrive at a new concentration camp at Auschwitz.
1941World War II: Battle of Crete – German paratroops invade Crete.
1949In the United States of America, the Armed Forces Security Agency (predecessor to the National Security Agency) is established.
1954Chiang Kai-shek is selected for another term as President of the Republic of China by the National Assembly
1969The Battle of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam ends.
1980The first Quebec referendum. Quebecers reject by a 60% vote a proposal from the secessionist provincial government to move towards independence from Canada.
1983First publications of the discovery of the virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by Luc Montagnier and Robert Gallo individually.
1985Radio Martí, part of the Voice of America service, begins broadcasting to Cuba.
1989The Chinese authorities declare martial law in the face of pro-democracy demonstrations, setting the scene for the Tiananmen Square massacre.
1990The first post-Communist presidential and parliamentary elections are held in Romania.
1995In a second Referendum in Quebec, the population rejects by a slight majority (less than one per cent) the proposal from its government to move towards independence from Canada.
2000Canada’s contaminated water crises begins. The residents of the sleepy little town of Walkerton, Ontario, are told to boil their drinking water. Over the next few weeks a half dozen die and thousands fall ill to a deadly E.coli bacteria. Over the next year more than 200 Canadian muncipalities issue boil water advisories due to bad water. While criminal charges were eventually laid against the town official responsible for supervising the safety of the drinking water, most blamed the budget-cutting right-wing provincial government for the scandal.

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