Friday, May 16, 2008

1770 - 14-year old Marie Antoinette marries 15-year-old Louis-Auguste

Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna von Habsburg-Lothringen (November 2, 1755 – October 16, 1793), known to history as Marie Antoinette , was born an Archduchess of Austria and later became Queen of France and Navarre. At fourteen, she was married to Louis-Auguste, Dauphin of France, the future Louis XVI. She was the mother of Louis XVII, who died in the Temple Tower at the age of ten during the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette is perhaps best remembered for her legendary (and, some modern historians say, exaggerated) excesses and for her death: she was executed by guillotine at the height of the French Revolution in 1793 for the crime of treason.

1771 The Battle of Alamance

The Battle of Alamance ended the so-called War of the Regulation, a rebellion in colonial North Carolina over issues of taxation and local control. Some historians consider it the opening salvo of the American Revolution, although the rebellion was against local government, and not against the king or crown. Named for nearby Great Alamance Creek, the battle took place in the central Piedmont about eight miles south of present-day Burlington.

1777 Lachlan McIntosh and Button Gwinnett shoot each other during a duel near Savannah, Georgia.

Button Gwinnett (baptized: April 10, 1735 – May 19, 1777), was second of the signatories (first signature on the left) on the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Georgia. He was also briefly the provisional president of Georgia in 1777, and Gwinnett County (now a major suburb of metro Atlanta) was named after him.

A fairly obscure historical figure, Gwinnett nonetheless does hold one claim to fame: his autograph is among the most valuable in the world, a fact used to good effect by science fiction author Isaac Asimov in his short story "Button, Button." Valuations usually suggest an example of an original Gwinnett signature would be valued only behind the likes of Julius Caesar and William Shakespeare, making Gwinnett’s by far the most valuable American autograph. Single examples of Gwinnett’s autograph have been sold for as much as $150,000. Its extraordinarily high value is a result of a combination of the desire by many top collectors to acquire a complete set of autographs by all 56 signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and the extreme rarity of the Gwinnett signature (there are less than 30 known extant examples, since Gwinnett was fairly obscure prior to signing the Declaration and died shortly afterwards). In the 1920s, five copies of his signature were owned by renowned rare bookseller A.S.W. Rosenbach.

1811 The Battle of Albuera

The Battle of Albuera (16 May 1811) was an indecisive battle during the Peninsular War. A mixed British, Spanish, and Portuguese corps engaged elements of the French Armée du Midi (Army of the South) at the small Spanish village of Albuera, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of the frontier fortress-town of Badajoz, Spain.

From October 1810 Marshal Masséna's Army of Portugal had been tied down in an increasingly hopeless stand-off against Wellington's Allied forces, safely entrenched in and behind the Lines of Torres Vedras. Acting on Napoleon's orders, in early 1811 Marshal Soult led a French expedition from Andalusia into Extremadura in a bid to draw Allied forces away from the Lines and ease Masséna's plight. Napoleon's information was outdated and Soult's intervention came too late; starving and understrength, Masséna's army was already withdrawing to Spain. Soult was able to capture the fortress at Badajoz from the Spanish, but was forced to return to Andalusia following Marshal Victor's defeat in March at the Battle of Barrosa. However, Soult left Badajoz strongly garrisoned. In April, following news of Masséna's complete withdrawal from Portugal, Wellington sent a powerful Anglo-Portuguese corps commanded by Sir William Beresford to retake the border town. The Allies drove most of the French from the surrounding area, and laid siege to the remainder in Badajoz.

1836 Edgar Allan Poe marries his 13-year-old cousin Virginia.

Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe (born Virginia Eliza Clemm) (August 22, 1822 – January 30, 1847), was the wife of Edgar Allan Poe. The couple were first cousins and married when Virginia was only 13 and Poe was 27. Some biographers have suggested that the couple's relationship was more like that between brother and sister, and that they never consummated their marriage. Virginia struggled with tuberculosis from January 1842, and died of it in January 1847 at age 24.

Along with other family members, Poe and Virginia lived together off and on for several years before their marriage. The couple often moved to accommodate Poe's employment, living intermittently in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. A few years after their wedding, Poe was involved in a substantial scandal involving Frances Sargent Osgood and Elizabeth F. Ellet. These rumors about alleged amorous improprieties on her husband's part affected Virginia so much that on her deathbed she claimed that Ellet had murdered her.

1866 - Charles Elmer Hires invents root beer.

Charles Elmer Hires (August 19, 1851–July 31, 1937) was an early promoter of commercially prepared root beer. He was a pharmacist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who formulated the eponymous Hires Root Beer beverage on May 16, 1866.

At the age of 12 he worked as a drugstore boy. When he was 16 he moved to Philadelphia and worked in a pharmacy, saving his money until he had nearly $400. Using this money he started his own drugstore.

Some say Hires discovered root beer on his honeymoon in New Jersey where the woman who ran his honeymoon hotel served root tea. Hires was originally going to call his drink "root tea" also but thought that "root beer" would be more appealing to the working class. Originally, Hires packaged the mixture in boxes and sold it to housewives and soda fountains. They needed to mix in water, sugar, and yeast.

The drink was slow to catch on, but the Reverend Dr. Russell Conwell persuaded Hires to present his product at the 1876 U.S. Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. To make it stand out, he called his drink "The Temperance Drink" and "the greatest health giving beverage in the world". Hires was active in the temperance movement, and it is believed that he wanted root beer to be an alternative to alcohol.

1929 - In Hollywood, California, the first Academy Awards

The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held on Thursday, May 16, 1929, at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood to honor outstanding film achievements of 1927 and 1928. It was hosted by actor Douglas Fairbanks and director William C. DeMille. The 80th Academy Awards ceremonies, hosted by Comedy Central's The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, were held on Sunday, February 24, 2008, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

1960 - Theodore Maiman operates the first optical laser, at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California.

Theodore Harold "Ted" Maiman (July 11, 1927 - May 5, 2007) was an American physicist who made the first working laser. Maiman received the Japan Prize in 1987. He was the author of a book titled The Laser Odyssey. Due to his work on the laser, he was twice nominated for a Nobel Prize and was given membership in both the National Academies of Science and Engineering. He received the Oliver E. Buckley Prize in 1966. He was the recipient of the 1983/84 Wolf Prize in Physics, and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame that same year.

Maiman died from systemic mastocytosis on May 5, 2007 in Vancouver, Canada, where he lived with his wife.

1965 - The Campbell Soup Company introduces SpaghettiOs under its Franco-American brand.

SpaghettiOs are a brand of canned spaghetti that consists of small, circular pasta shapes, suspended in cheese and tomato sauce. Besides the "plain" (pasta and sauce only) version, other varieties of SpaghettiOs include miniature meatballs or "franks" (processed meat that resemble slices of hot dogs). They also offer "themed" pasta shapes, often of cartoon characters, and Raviolios, which are round ravioli filled with beef. SpaghettiOs with meatballs are probably the most well-known variety of the brand, the one most often featured in advertisements. SpaghettiOs are marketed primarily to children and feature the "Uh-oh! SpaghettiOs!" jingle.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

1972 Arthur Bremer shot George Wallace

Arthur Herman Bremer (born August 21, 1950), the son of a Milwaukee truck driver, shot U.S. Democratic presidential candidate George Corley Wallace on May 15, 1972 in Laurel, Maryland, leaving him paralyzed for life. He was sentenced to 63 years (53 years after an appeal) in a Maryland prison for the shooting of Wallace and three bystanders.

After 35 years of incarceration, Bremer was released from prison on parole on November 9, 2007.

1941 Joe Dimaggio begins 56 game hitting streak

Joseph Paul DiMaggio, born Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio, Jr. (November 25, 1914 – March 8, 1999), nicknamed Joltin' Joe and The Yankee Clipper, was a baseball player who played his entire Major League career (1936–1951) for the New York Yankees. He was the brother of Vince DiMaggio and Dom DiMaggio. He was born in Martinez, California, and moved to San Francisco at one year old. He was married to Marilyn Monroe, who posed nude in Playboy.

1940 McDonalds Opens its first restaurant

The business began in 1940, with a restaurant opened by siblings Dick and Mac McDonald in San Bernardino, California. Their introduction of the "Speedee Service System" in 1948 established the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant. The present corporation dates its founding to the opening of a franchised restaurant by Ray Kroc, in Des Plaines, Illinois on April 15, 1955, the ninth McDonald's restaurant overall. Kroc later purchased the McDonald brothers' equity in the company and led its worldwide expansion.

With the successful expansion of McDonald's into many international markets, the company has become a symbol of globalization and the spread of the American way of life. Its prominence has also made it a frequent topic of public debates about obesity, corporate ethics and consumer responsibility.

1919 The Winnipeg General Strike Ends

The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 was one of the most influential strikes in Canadian history. J. S. Woodsworth, a strike leader who was briefly imprisoned, went on to found the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, which was the forerunner of the New Democratic Party.

After World War I many Canadian soldiers returned home to find few opportunities, though many companies had enjoyed enormous profits on war contracts. Wages and working conditions were dismal and labour regulations were mostly non-existent. The Bolshevik revolution had just occurred in Russia, and some workers saw this as an example of a successful socialist revolution.

1905 Las Vegas Established

Las Vegas is the most populous city in the state of Nevada, the seat of Clark County, and an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and entertainment. Las Vegas, billed as The Entertainment Capital of the World, is famous for massive and lavish casino resorts, the unrestricted availability of alcoholic beverages (as is true throughout Nevada), and adult entertainment. Once officially referred to as Sin City, this image has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films and television programs.

Although established in 1905, Las Vegas officially became a city in 1911. With the growth that followed, at the close of the century Las Vegas became the most populous American city founded in the 20th century (a distinction held by Chicago in the 19th century). As the 28th most populous city in the United States, Las Vegas is one of the most populous cities in the American West.

The name Las Vegas is often applied to the unincorporated areas of Clark County that surround the city, especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip. This 4.5-mile (7.2-km) stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard is mostly outside the city limits, in the unincorporated towns of Paradise and Winchester.

1869 The National Woman Suffrage Association founded

The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was formed on May 15, 1869 in New York in response to a split in the American Equal Rights Association over the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Its founders, who opposed the Fifteenth Amendment unless it included the vote for women, were Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Membership was open to women only. NWSA worked to secure women's enfranchisement through a federal constitutional amendment. Its rival from the split, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), believed success could be more easily achieved through state-by-state campaigns. In 1890 NWSA and AWSA merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).

1864 The Battle of New Market

The Battle of New Market was a battle fought on May 15, 1864, in Virginia during Valley Campaigns of 1864 in the American Civil War. Cadets from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) fought alongside the Confederate Army and forced Union General Franz Sigel and his army out of the Shenandoah Valley.

1864 Battle of Resaca

The Battle of Resaca was part of the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War. The battle was waged in Gordon and Whitfield counties Georgia from May 13 to May 15, 1864. It ended inconclusively.

The battle was fought between the Military Division of the Mississippi (led by William T. Sherman) on the side of the Union and the Army of Tennessee (Joseph E. Johnston) for the Confederates. There were 5,547 casualties: 2,747 for the Union and 2,800 for the Confederacy.

Johnston had withdrawn from Rocky Face Ridge to the hills around Resaca. Sherman's men crossed the Etowah River using newly delivered Cumberland pontoon bridges and advanced toward Johnston's position.

1756 The Seven Years' War Begins

The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) involved all of the major European powers of the period, causing 900,000 to 1,400,000 deaths. It enveloped both European and colonial theatres from 1756 to 1763, incorporating the Pomeranian War and the French and Indian War which was fought from 1754 to 1763. Prussia, Electorate Brunswick-Lüneburg, and United Kingdom of Great Britain (including British colonies in North America, the British East India Company, and Ireland) were pitted against Austria, France (including the North American colony of New France and the French East India Company), the Russian Empire, Sweden, and Saxony. Portugal (on the side of Great Britain) and Spain (on the side of France) were later drawn into the conflict, and a force from the neutral Netherlands was attacked in India.

1701 The War of the Spanish Succession Begins

The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), which included Queen Anne's War in North America, was a major European conflict about the succession to the Spanish throne and the resulting shift in the European balance of power. The war was marked by the military leadership of notable generals like the duc de Villars, the Duke of Berwick, the Duke of Marlborough, and Prince Eugene of Savoy.

1525 Battle of Frankenhausen

The battle of Frankenhausen was fought on 15 May 1525, and was the final act of the Peasants' War: joint troops of George, Duke of Saxony, Landgraf Philipp I of Hesse, and Frederick III, Elector of Saxony, defeated near Frankenhausen, Thuringia, the peasants led by the Anabaptist leader Thomas Müntzer. The Imperial troops were mostly Landsknechte mercenaries. As such they were well equipped, well trained and had good morale. The Peasants on the other hand were badly equipped, had no training whatsoever, and fled as soon as the Imperial troops attacked. Casualty figures are unreliable but Peasant losses have been estimated at 3-10,000 and the Imperial casualites estimated as low as 6 (2 of whom were only wounded).

1252 Pope Innocent IV issues Ad extirpanda

Ad extirpanda is the incipit designating a papal bull issued on May 15, 1252, by Pope Innocent IV, which was confirmed by Pope Alexander IV on November 30, 1259, and by Pope Clement IV on November 3, 1265. It explicitly authorized the use of torture for eliciting confessions from heretics during the Inquisition, although it also limited its uses. Innocent IV reasoned in his bull that as heretics are "murderers of souls as well as robbers of God’s sacraments and of the Christian faith...", they are "to be coerced—as are thieves and bandits—into confessing their errors and accusing others, although one must stop short of danger to life or limb." The bull conceded to the State a portion of the property to be confiscated from convicted heretics. The State in return assumed the burden of carrying out the penalty.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

1928 Ernesto "Che" Guevara Born

Ernesto "Che" Guevara (May 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara, El Che, or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, politician, author, military theorist, physician, and guerrilla leader. His stylized image also later became a countercultural symbol worldwide.

As a young medical student, Guevara travelled through Latin America and was transformed by the endemic poverty he witnessed. His experiences and observations during these trips led him to conclude that the region's inequalities were a result of capitalism, neo-colonialism, and imperialism, with the only remedy being world revolution. This belief prompted his involvement in Guatemala's social revolution under President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow solidified Guevara’s radical ideology.

1955 Warsaw Pact Signed

Officially named the Warsaw Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (Russian: Договор о дружбе, сотрудничестве и взаимной помощи Translit.: Dogovor o druzhbe, sotrudnichestve i vzaimnoy pomoshchi), the Warsaw Pact was an organization of communist states in Central and Eastern Europe. It was established on 14 May 1955 in Warsaw, Poland. The treaty was signed in Warsaw on May 14, 1955 and official copies were made in Russian, Polish, Czech and German. This treaty was in response to the NATO treaty, in that there was a political Consultative Committee, followed by a civilian secretary general, while down the chain of command there was a military commander in chief and a combined staff, although the similarities between the two international organizations ended there.

Founding members:

* Albania (left in 1961)
* Bulgaria
* Czechoslovakia
* Hungary
* Poland
* Romania
* Soviet Union

Joined later:

* East Germany (in 1956)

1948 Israel Declared a State

1948 - Israel is declared to be an independent state and a provisional government is established. Immediately after the declaration, Israel is attacked by the neighboring Arab states, triggering the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

1868 The Battle of Utsunomiya Castle

The Battle of Utsunomiya Castle (宇都宮城の戦い, Utsunomiyajō no tatakai) was a battle between pro-Imperial and Tokugawa shogunate forces during the Boshin War in Japan in May 1868. It occurred as the troops of the Tokugawa shogunate were retreating north towards Nikkō and Aizu.

1863 The Battle of Jackson

The Battle of Jackson, fought on May 14, 1863, in Jackson, Mississippi, was part of the Vicksburg Campaign in the American Civil War. Union commander Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee defeated Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston, seizing the city, cutting supply lines, and opening the path to the west and the Siege of Vicksburg.

1804 Lewis and Clark Expedition gets underway

The Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806), headed by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, was the first American overland expedition to the Pacific coast and back.

1796 Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox vaccination

Edward Jenner, FRS, (May 17, 1749 – January 26, 1823) was an English scientist who studied his natural surroundings in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England. He is famous as the first doctor to introduce and study the smallpox vaccine, although Benjamin Jesty, a farmer, earlier reputedly had vaccinated with cowpox to induce immunity to smallpox. It is believed that Jenner discovered this form of vaccination independently.

1747 The First Battle of Cape Finisterre

The First Battle of Cape Finisterre (14 May 1747) saw 14 British ships of the line under Admiral George Anson attack a French 30-ship convoy commanded by Admiral de la Jonquière during the War of the Austrian Succession. The British captured 4 ships of the line, 2 frigates and 7 merchantmen, in a five-hour battle in the Bay of Biscay off Cape Finisterre in northwest Spain. The other supply ships escaped.

Anson on the Prince George and Rear-Admiral Sir Peter Warren on the Devonshire had sailed from Plymouth on the 9th of April to intercept French shipping. When a large convoy was sighted Admiral Anson had made the signal to form line of battle, when Rear-Admiral Warren, suspecting the enemy to be merely manoeuvring to favour the escape of the convoy, bore down and communicated his opinion to the admiral, who thereon threw out a signal for a general chase. The Centurion , under a press of sail, was the first to come up with the rearmost French ship, which she attacked heavily and two other ships dropped astern to her support. Three more English ships coming up including the Devonshire, the action became general. The French, though much inferior in numbers, fought till seven in the evening, when all their ships were taken, as well as nine sail of East India merhantmen. The enemy lost 700 men, killed and wounded, and the British 520. Upwards of £300,000 were found on board the ships of war, which were turned into British ships.

Following his victory, Anson was promoted to Vice Admiral and raised to the peerage.

1610 Assassination of Henri IV

Henry IV (French: Henri IV) (13 December 1553 – 14 May 1610), ruled as King of France from 1589 to 1610 and, as Henry III, King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty in France. His parents were Jeanne III of Navarre and her husband, Antoine de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme.

As a Huguenot, Henry was involved in the Wars of Religion before ascending to the throne in 1589. In 1598 he enacted the Edict of Nantes which guaranteed religious liberties to the Protestants and thereby effectively ended the civil war. Once crowned, he changed his faith from Calvinism to Catholicism to better serve the country. One of the most popular French kings, both during and after his reign, Henry showed great care for the welfare of his subjects and displayed an unusual religious tolerance for the time. He was murdered by a fanatical Catholic, François Ravaillac.

Henry was nicknamed Henry the Great (Henri le Grand), and in France is sometimes called le bon roi Henri ("good king Henry") or le Vert galant ("the green gallant", a reference to his constant womanizing). He also gave his name to the Henry IV style of architecture, which he patronised.

1509 The Battle of Agnadello

The Battle of Agnadello, also known as Vailà, was the one of the more significant battles of the War of the League of Cambrai, and one of the major battles of the Italian Wars.

On April 15, 1509, a French army under the command of Louis XII left Milan and invaded Venetian territory. To oppose its advance, Venice had massed a mercenary army near Bergamo, jointly commanded by the Orsini cousins, Bartolomeo d'Alviano and Niccolò di Pitigliano. The Orsini had orders to avoid a direct confrontation with the advancing French, and spent the next several weeks engaging in light skirmishing.

1483 Coronation of King Charles VIII

Charles VIII, called the Affable (French: l'Affable; 30 June 1470 – 7 April 1498), was King of France from 1483 to his death. Charles was a member of the House of Valois. His invasion of Italy initiated the long series of Franco-Italian wars which characterized the first half of the 16th century.

1264 The Battle of Lewes

The Battle of Lewes was one of two main battles of the conflict known as the Second Barons' War. It took place at Lewes in Sussex, on May 14, 1264. It marked the high point of the career of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and made him the "uncrowned King of England".

The battle occurred because of the vacillation of King Henry III, who was refusing to honour the terms of the Provisions of Oxford, an agreement he had signed with his Barons, led by Montfort, in 1258. The King was encamped at St. Pancras Priory with a force of infantry, but his son, Prince Edward (later King Edward I) commanded the cavalry, at Lewes Castle a mile to the north. A night march enabled Montfort's forces to surprise Prince Edward and take the high ground of the Sussex Downs, overlooking the town of Lewes, in preparation for battle. They wore white crosses as their distinguishing emblem.

The royalist army, perhaps as much as twice the size of Montfort's, was led by Edward on the right and the King's brother Richard of Cornwall on the left, while the King himself commanded the central battalion. Having led his men out from the castle to meet the enemy, Edward gained early success, but unwisely pursued a retreating force to the north, thus sacrificing the chance of overall victory. Meanwhile, Montfort defeated the remainder of the Royal army led by the King and Cornwall. All three Royals were eventually captured, and by imprisoning the King, Montfort became the de facto ruler of England.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

1981 attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II

An attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II occurred on May 13, 1981. Mehmet Ali Ağca shot and seriously wounded the Pope in the Vatican City's St. Peter's Square. Ağca was convicted for this crime in July 1981, and was deported to Turkey in 2001, after serving 20 years imprisonment.

1969 The May 13 Incident

The May 13 Incident is a term for the Sino-Malay race riots in Kuala Lumpur (then part of the state of Selangor), Malaysia, which began on May 13, 1969. These riots continued for a substantial period of time, leading the government to declare a state of national emergency and suspend Parliament until 1971.

Officially, 196 people were killed between May 13 and July 31 as a result of the riots, although journalists and other observers have stated much higher figures. The government cited the riots as the main cause of its more aggressive affirmative action policies, such as the New Economic Policy (NEP), after 1969.

1948 Kfar Etzion massacre

The Kfar Etzion massacre was an act committed by Arab armed forces on May 13, 1948, the day before the Declaration of Independence of the state of Israel.

Kfar Etzion was a religious kibbutz founded in 1943, about 2 km east of the road between Jerusalem and Hebron. By the end of 1947, there were 163 adults and 50 children living there. Together with three nearby kibbutzim established 1945-1947, it formed Gush Etzion (the Etzion Bloc).

1940 Chruchill's Blood, toil, tears, and sweat Speech

a speech given by Sir Winston Churchill to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 13 May 1940. Churchill, a keen soldier, was likely to have read works by Theodore Roosevelt, who was a widely published military historian as it is possible he read Roosevelt's Blood, toil, tears, and sweat speech after being appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, a similar position to which Roosevelt held when the speech was delivered. It was Churchill's first speech to the House after taking over as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the first year of World War II, having replaced Neville Chamberlain on 10 May.

We are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history. That we are in action at many points — in Norway and in Holland —, that we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean. That the air battle is continuous, and that many preparations have to be made here at home.

I would say to the House as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs — Victory in spite of all terror — Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.

WDRC-FM The first commercial FM station broadcasts

WDRC-FM, known as DRC-FM, is a radio station based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, which primarily serves the Hartford market. DRC-FM broadcasts an oldies format, and can be found on the dial at 102.9 MHz. It is owned by Buckley Radio. The station offers a late 1960s/early 1970s based oldies format mixing in moderate amounts of late 70's music, a handful of 1980s songs, and a handful of pre 1964 oldies. The station has offered oldies for over 20 years but did lean classic hits during much of 2006.

The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) Founded

The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the over-land air arm of the British military during most of the First World War. During the early part of the war, the RFC's responsibilities were centred totally on support of the British Army, via artillery cooperation and photographic reconnaissance. This work gradually led RFC pilots into aerial battles with German pilots and later in the war included the strafing of enemy infantry and emplacements, the bombing of German airfields and later the strategic bombing of German industrial and transportation facilities. On 1 April 1918, the RFC was amalgamated with the Royal Naval Air Service to form the Royal Air Force.

1865 The Battle of Palmito Ranch

The Battle of Palmito Ranch, also known as the Battle of Palmito Hill and the Battle of Palmeto Ranch, was fought on May 12 – May 13, 1865, during the American Civil War. In the kaleidoscope of events following the surrender of Robert E. Lee's army on April 9, Palmito Ranch was nearly ignored. It was the last major clash of arms in the war.

1864 The Battle of Resaca

The Battle of Resaca was part of the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War. The battle was waged in Gordon and Whitfield counties Georgia from May 13 to May 15, 1864. It ended inconclusively.

The battle was fought between the Military Division of the Mississippi (led by William T. Sherman) on the side of the Union and the Army of Tennessee (Joseph E. Johnston) for the Confederates. There were 5,547 casualties: 2,747 for the Union and 2,800 for the Confederacy.

Johnston had withdrawn from Rocky Face Ridge to the hills around Resaca. Sherman's men crossed the Etowah River using newly delivered Cumberland pontoon bridges and advanced toward Johnston's position.

On May 13, the Union troops tested the Rebel lines to pinpoint their whereabouts. The next day full scale fighting occurred, and the Union troops were generally repulsed except on the Rebel right flank where Sherman did not fully exploit his advantage. On May 15, the battle continued with no advantage to either side until Sherman sent a force across the Oostanaula River, at Lay’s Ferry, towards Johnston’s railroad supply line. Unable to halt this Union movement, Johnston was forced to retire.

1848 Finland's National Anthem 1st perfomed

Our Land, Maamme (Finnish), or Vårt land (Swedish), is the title of Finland's national anthem. However, Finnish law doesn't state anything about national anthem so the song has an unofficial status.

The music was composed by the German immigrant Fredrik Pacius, with (original Swedish) words by the Swedish-speaking Finn Johan Ludvig Runeberg, and was performed for the first time on 13 May 1848. The original poem, written in 1846 but not printed until 1848, had 11 stanzas and formed the prologue to the great verse cycle The Tales of Ensign Stål ("Fänrik Ståhls Sägner"), a masterpiece of Romantic nationalism. The current Finnish text is usually attributed to the 1889 translation of Ensign Stål by Paavo Cajander, but in fact originates from the 1867 translation by Julius Krohn

1846 US Declares War on Mexico

The Mexican-American War was an armed military conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas. Mexico did not recognize the secession and subsequent military victory by Texas in 1836; it considered Texas a rebel province.

In the United States, the war was a partisan issue, with most Whigs opposing it and most southern Democrats, animated by a popular belief in the Manifest Destiny (and the opportunity to gain territory for the expansion of slavery), supporting it. In Mexico, the war was considered a matter of national pride.

The most important consequence of the war for the United States was the Mexican Cession, in which the Mexican territories of Alta California and Santa Fé de Nuevo México were ceded to the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In Mexico, the enormous loss of territory following the war encouraged its government to enact policies to colonize its northern territories as a hedge against further losses.

1787 The First Fleet Sails for Australia

The First Fleet is the name given to the 11 ships which sailed from Great Britain on 13 May 1787 to establish the first European colony in New South Wales. It was a convict settlement, marking the beginnings of transportation to Australia. The fleet was led by Captain (later Admiral) Arthur Phillip.

Naval escorts:

* HMS Sirius - the Flagship of the fleet
* HMS Supply

Convict transports:

* Alexander
* Borrowdale
* Charlotte
* Fishburn
* Friendship
* Golden Grove
* Lady Penrhyn
* Prince Of Wales
* Scarborough

Notable First Fleet members

Some of the notable First Fleet members were:


* Augustus Alt, surveyor
* Richard Johnson, chaplain

Crew members who remained in the colony

* Arthur Phillip, governor
* Philip Gidley King, 2nd lieutenant, later lieutenant governor of Norfolk Island, and 3rd governor of the colony
* John Hunter, captain of Sirius, later 2nd governor of the colony
* John Palmer purser of the Sirius, later Commissary of the colony
* Henry Lidgbird Ball, captain of Supply
* John White, principal surgeon
* George Bouchier Worgan, surgeon
* Thomas Arndell, assistant surgeon, later settler
* William Balmain, assistant surgeon, later principal surgeon
* Arthur Bowes Smyth, assistant surgeon, author of journal
* Dennis Considen, assistant surgeon
* Thomas Jamison, surgeon's mate, later settler and Surgeon-General of New South Wales
* Henry Brewer, clerk to Phillip, provost marshal, administrator
* Henry Hacking, quartermaster, later settler, explorer
* George Raper, midshipman, notable illustrator
* John Barton Cooney,navigator, map drawer


* Major Robert Ross, commander, later lieutenant governor of Norfolk Island
* 2nd Lieutenant Ralph Clark, author of journal
* Captain David Collins, judge advocate, later commandant of first settlement at Hobart
* Lieutenant William Dawes, engineer, surveyor, humanitarian
* Lieutenant George Johnston, later commander of NSW Corps
* Captain Watkin Tench, author of journal
* Lieutenant William Bradley, author of journal, water colourist
* Private William Tunks, farmer, landowner and member of the NSW Corp
* Master's Mate John Shortland

Convicts (see also Convicts on the First Fleet)

* Esther Abrahams, partner and wife of George Johnston
* John Baughan, carpenter, mill owner, attacked by NSW Corps
* Jacob Bellett, landowner at Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land
* James Bloodworth, brickmaker & builder and Sarah Bellamy, pioneer family
* Mary Bryant (see Mary Braund) and William Bryant, escapees from colony
* John Caesar, Madagascan, absconder
* Margaret Dawson, de facto relationship with William Balmain
* Matthew James Everingham, landowner
* Edward Garth and Susannah Gough/Garth, pioneer family
* Ann Inett, de facto relationship with Philip Gidley King
* Nathaniel Lucas and Olive Gascoigne, pioneer family
* Henry Kable/Cabell, constable, landowner (subject of Peter Bellamy's The Transports), and Susannah Holmes
* Joshua Peck, landowner
* Charles Peat and Ann Mullins, pioneer family
* James Ruse, farmer and landowner
* Robert Sidaway, theatre owner, landholder
* James Squire, brewer and grandfather of Premier James Farnell
* Elizabeth Thackery, last-known female survivor of the First Fleet; said to have been the first ashore at Botany Bay
* Ellen Wainwright, alias Esther Eccles. 6th maternal Great Grandmother of Hon Shane L. Stone AC QC. Former Chief Minister of Australia's Northern Territory and Federal President of the Country Liberal Party of Australia.

Many other convicts made significant contributions to the early years of the colony, but few are remembered today, except by their descendants.

1619 Johan van Oldenbarnevelt executed

Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (September 14, 1547, Amersfoort – May 13, 1619, The Hague) was a Dutch statesman, who played an important role in the Dutch struggle for independence from Spain.

Van Oldenbarnevelt studied law at Leuven, Bourges, Heidelberg and Padua, and traveled in France and Italy before settling in The Hague. He was a moderate Calvinist, so he supported William the Silent in his revolt against Spain, and fought in William's army.

1607 The Jamestown Settlement Founded

The Jamestown Settlement was the first permanent English settlement in North America near the Chesapeke bay. Named for King James I of England, Jamestown was founded in the Virginia Colony on May 14, 1607. In modern times, "Jamestown Settlement" is also a promotional name used by the Commonwealth of Virginia's portion of the historical attractions at Jamestown. It is adjacent and complementary to the Historic Jamestown attraction at Jamestown Island.

The Battle of Langside

The Battle of Langside, fought on May 13, 1568, was one of the more unusual contests in Scottish history, bearing a superficial resemblance to a grand family quarrel, in which a mother fought her brother who was defending the rights of her infant son. In 1567 Mary Queen of Scots's short period of personal rule ended in recrimination, intrigue and disaster when she was forced to abdicate in favour of James VI, her infant son. Mary was sent into captivity in Loch Leven Castle, while her Protestant half-brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray was appointed Regent on behalf of his nephew. In early May 1568 Mary escaped, heading west to the country of the Hamiltons, high among her remaining supporters, with the determination to restore her rights as queen.

Friday, May 9, 2008

1980 Sunshine Skyway Bridge Incident

Summit Venture was involved in a fatal collision with a bridge in Tampa Bay, Florida on May 9, 1980. While negotiating a required turn in the narrow channel during a storm, the radar failed, and the freighter struck one of the piers on the southbound span of the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge. 1,400 feet of the steel cantilever highway bridge collapsed, causing a Greyhound Lines bus, among other vehicles, to plunge 150 feet into the bay. A total of 35 people died.

The pilot of the Summit Venture on that day was John E. Lerro. 22 years after the accident, Lerro died from complications of multiple sclerosis, which he started showing symptoms of shortly after the 1980 accident.

The M/V Summit Venture is a bulk carrier built in 1976, in Nagasaki, Japan. She is 579.8 feet long, beam of 85.5 feet, and displacement of 19,734 tons. She would cruise (loaded) at 13.5 mph at 100% power and 10.9 mph at 50% power.

1974 Congress opens impeachment hearings about Nixon

Watergate Scandal: The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opens formal and public impeachment hearings against President Richard M. Nixon.

Watergate is a general term for a series of political scandals during the presidency of Richard Nixon that began with five men being arrested after breaking and entering into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel complex in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972. The scandal reached to the top levels of American government, and the attempted cover-up of the break-in ultimately led to Nixon's dramatic resignation on August 9, 1974.

1955 Sam and Friends Debuts

Sam and Friends was an early live-action/puppet television show created by puppeteer Jim Henson and his eventual wife Jane. It was taped and aired locally in Washington, D.C. on WRC-TV in black and white between 1955 and 1961.

Sam was a bald human-looking puppet with wide eyes, large ears, and a big nose; his Friends included Yorick, Harry the Hipster, and a lizard-like creature called Kermit who later evolved into Kermit the Frog.

Early in its run the show mostly featured the puppets lip-synching to popular songs of the day (if the song was by a female performer, the puppet would wear a wig while singing). Later, formal sketches were drawn up, many spoofing well-known television shows at the time, including Sam and Friends' lead-in show in the Washington market, The Huntley-Brinkley Report.

1941 Unterseeboot 110 Captured

Unterseeboot 110 (U-110) was a Type IXB submarine of the Kriegsmarine, captured by the Royal Navy on 9 May 1941, at which point a number of secret cipher documents were recovered. U-110's capture was later given the code word Operation Primrose and was one of the biggest secrets of the war. It remained secret for seven months. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was only told by Winston Churchill in January 1942.

Bulldog's crew boarded U-110 and stripped it of everything portable on the spot, including her secret documents and Enigma cipher machine. U-110 was taken in tow back toward Britain, but sank en route to Scapa Flow.

The documents captured from U-110 helped Bletchley Park codebreakers solve Reservehandverfahren, a reserve German hand cipher.

The movie U-571 was partially inspired by the capture of U-110.

1915 The Second Battle of Artois Begins

The Second Battle of Artois, also known as the Battle of Aubers Ridge, was a battle on the Western Front of World War I, it was fought at the same time as the Second Battle of Ypres. Even though the French under General Philippe Pétain gained some initial victories, the battle ended in what was largely a stalemate. This was the final allied offensive of the spring of 1915, followed by a lull in the fighting until September 1915 which saw the Battle of Champagne and the Third Battle of Artois.

1887 Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show Opens in London

William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917) was an American soldier, bison hunter and showman. He was born in the Iowa Territory (now the American state of Iowa), near Le Claire. He was one of the most colorful figures of the Old West, and mostly famous for the shows he organized with cowboy themes. Buffalo Bill received the Medal of Honor.

1868 Reno, Nevada Founded

Reno is the county seat of Washoe County, Nevada, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 180,480, making it the second-largest city in Nevada. Current census estimates, however, show the city's population has grown to 210,255 as of 2006, but the city is now the fourth largest in the state, following Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas. Reno lies 26 miles (42 km) north of the Nevada state capital, Carson City, and 22 miles (35 km) northeast of Lake Tahoe in a Shrub-steppe. The area of western Nevada and the California Sierra Nevada anchored by Reno has a population of approximately 700,000 people. Reno anchors over 1,250,000 of both seasonal and permanent residents. Reno shares its eastern border with the city of Sparks. Reno, known as "The Biggest Little City in the World", is famous for its casinos, and is the birthplace of the gaming corporation Harrah's Entertainment. Reno residents are referred to as "Renoites."

1726 Execution of men from raid on Mother Clap

Margaret Clap (better known as Mother Clap, died circa 1726) was a woman who ran a brothel for homosexual men in London in the early part of the 18th century.

At the time homosexuality in England was illegal, punishable by execution. Despite this, particularly in larger cities, private homosexual activity did take place. To service these actions, mainly in the cities, there existed brothels where men (from all social classes) could find homosexual partners. These were called molly houses, and the most famous of these was Mother Clap's molly house in the Holborn area of London, specifically on Field Lane (heading north to Farringdon). It was later destroyed by the construction of Holborn Viaduct.

After a tip-off to the local constabulary, Mother Clap's molly house was raided in 1726 and she was sentenced to spend time in the stocks. Public feeling against acts of sodomy was quite strong at the time and Clap was physically assaulted by angry citizens throughout her sentence. It is speculated that soon after her release from the stocks she died from the injuries she sustained, though no historical records document this. Some of the men who were arrested with her were hanged at Tyburn on May 9 1726.

Some hold that the name "the clap" is an eponym of "Mother Clap" ("the clap" being a slang term for Gonorrhea) presumably because sexually transmitted diseases were rife among the underground homosexual community in the 18th century. However, the term "the clap" may date from 1587 (suggested etymology: from the Old French word "clapier", meaning "brothel"

1457 BC The Battle of Megiddo

The Battle of Megiddo (15th century BC) was fought between Egyptian forces under the command of pharaoh Thutmose III and a large Canaanite coalition under the King of Kadesh. It is the first battle to have been recorded in what is accepted as relatively reliable detail.

Various precise dates have been suggested for the battle. The date is April 16, 1457 BC (according to the accepted Middle Chronology), although other publications place the battle in 1482 BC or 1479 BC.

The Battle of Megiddo was an Egyptian victory and resulted in a rout of the Canaanite forces, which fled to safety in the city of Megiddo. Their action resulted in the subsequent lengthy Siege of Megiddo.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

1945 Victory in Europe Day

Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day or VE Day) was May 7 and May 8, 1945, the dates when the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. On April 30, Hitler committed suicide during the Battle for Berlin, and so the surrender of Germany was authorized by his replacement, President of Germany Karl Dönitz. The administration headed up by Dönitz was known as the Flensburg government. The act of military surrender was signed on May 7 in Reims, France, and May 8 in Berlin, Germany.

1877 1st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is a two-day benched conformation show that takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City every year. Dog owners from around the world come to show their dogs. Dogs are judged closely by eminent American Kennel Club (AKC) judges. It is considered by many to be America's most prestigious dog show. The 132nd WKC Dog Show was held February 11-12, 2008, with the 15" Beagle taking Best in Show. After the Crufts international show held annually in England, the Westminster Kennel Club show is considered one of the largest and most prestigious in the world.

1846 The Battle of Palo Alto

The Battle of Palo Alto was the first major battle of the Mexican-American War and was fought on May 8, 1846, on disputed ground five miles (8 km) from the modern-day city of Brownsville, Texas. A force of some 3,400 Mexican troops (a portion of the Army of The North) led by General Mariano Arista, with the Diaz de La Vega & Garcia Infantry Brigades (2d Light, 1st, 6th & 10th Line Infantry regiments, Tampico Garda Costa Battalion & Company)& the Torrejon Cavalry Brigade (7th & 8th Line Cavalry, Mexico Light Cavalry Regiments, Presidial Companies & Rancheros Irregular Cavalry) engaged a force of 2,400 United States troops — the so called US Army of Observation.(Right Wing :Col. Twiggs with 5th Infantry (Lt. Col. McIntosh), Ringgold's Light Artillery, 3d Infantry (Capt. Morris), Lt. Churchill's Artillery (2-18 pounders), 4th Infantry (Major Allen)& Captains Ker & May Dragoon Squadrons. Left Wing: Lt. Col. Belknap with Lt. Col. Child's Artillery Battalion (serving as Infantry), and 8th Infantry (Capt. Montgomery)

1794 Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier tried and executed

Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (August 26, 1743 – May 8, 1794), the father of modern chemistry, was a French nobleman prominent in the histories of chemistry, finance, biology, and economics. He stated the first version of the law of conservation of mass, recognized and named oxygen (1778) and hydrogen (1783), disproved the phlogiston theory, introduced the metric system, wrote the first extensive list of elements, and helped to reform chemical nomenclature. He was also an investor and administrator of the "Ferme Générale" a private tax collection company; chairman of the board of the Discount Bank (later the Banque de France); and a powerful member of a number of other aristocratic administrative councils. All of these political and economic activities enabled him to fund his scientific research. However, because of his prominence in the pre-revolutionary government in France, he was beheaded at the height of the French Revolution.

1450 Jack Cade Rebellion

Jack Cade (possibly named John Mortimer) was the leader of a popular revolt in the 1450 Kent rebellion which took place in the time of King Henry VI in England.

Some sources suggest Cade was of Irish origin but raised in Sussex where he is alleged to have murdered a pregnant woman in 1449. He escaped to France but returned to live in Kent under an assumed name.

In the spring of 1450 Kentish peasants protested against what they saw as the weak leadership of King Henry, unfair taxes, corruption and the damaging effect of the loss of France. They issued The Complaint of the Poor Commons of Kent, a manifesto listing grievances against the government—grievances not only of the people but of several MPs, lords and magnates.

In early June about 5,000 rebels gathered at Blackheath, south-east of London. They were mostly peasants but their numbers were swelled by shopkeepers, craftsmen, a few landowners (the list of pardoned shows the presence of one knight, two MPs and eighteen squires) and a number of soldiers and sailors returning via Kent from the French wars. While the King sought refuge in Warwickshire the rebels advanced to Southwark, at the southern end of London Bridge. They set up headquarters in The White Hart inn before crossing the bridge on 3 July 1450.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

1954 The Battle of Dien Bien Phu ends

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu (French: Bataille de Diên Biên Phu; Vietnamese: Chiến dịch Điện Biên Phủ) was the climactic battle of the First Indochina War between French Union forces of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps, and Vietnamese Viet Minh communist revolutionary forces. The battle occurred between March and May 1954, and culminated in a massive French defeat that effectively ended the war. Martin Windrow claimed Dien Bien Phu was "the first time that a non-European colonial independence movement had evolved through all the stages from guerrilla bands to a conventionally organized and equipped army able to defeat a modern Western occupier in pitched battle."

As a result of blunders in the French decision making process, the French undertook to create an air-supplied base at Dien Bien Phu, deep in the hills of Vietnam. Its purpose was to cut off Viet Minh supply lines into the neighboring French protectorate of Laos, at the same time drawing the Viet Minh into a battle that would cripple them. Instead, the Viet Minh, under General Vo Nguyen Giap, surrounded and besieged the French, who were unaware of the Viet Minh's possession of heavy artillery (including anti-aircraft guns) and their ability to move such weapons to the mountain crests overlooking the French encampment. The Viet Minh occupied the highlands around Dien Bien Phu, and were able to fire down accurately onto French positions. Tenacious fighting on the ground ensued, reminiscent of the trench warfare of World War I.

1915 The Sinking of RMS Lusitania

1915 - World War I: German submarine U-20 sinks the RMS Lusitania, killing 1,198 people including 128 Americans. Public reaction to the sinking turns many formerly pro-Germans in the United States against the German Empire.

RMS Lusitania was a British luxury ocean liner owned by the Cunard Steamship Company and built by John Brown and Company of Clydebank, Scotland. Christened and launched on Thursday, June 7, 1906. Lusitania met a disastrous end as a casualty of the First World War when she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-20 on May 7, 1915. Carrying many American passengers, the great ship sank in just 18 minutes, eight miles (15 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, killing 1,198 of the people aboard. The sinking turned public opinion in many countries against Germany. It is often considered by historians to be the second most famous civilian passenger liner disaster after the sinking of the Titanic.

1840 - The Great Natchez Tornado strikes Natchez, Mississippi killing 317 people.

The Great Natchez Tornado was a tornado that hit Natchez, Mississippi on May 7, 1840. It is the second deadliest single tornado in United States history, killing 317 people (the only tornado in the United States to have killed more people was the Tri-State Tornado). It is also one of the few tornadoes to have killed more people than it injured: only 109 were injured.

The tornado formed southwest of Natchez and moved northeast along the Mississippi River. It then moved into the town of Natchez and destroyed many buildings. The final death toll was 48 on land and 269 on the river, mostly from the sinking of flatboats. The death toll is slightly disputed because of the land death toll of 48. It is believed that people died on plantations, and since this was pre-Civil War Mississippi, slave deaths weren't usually counted. The Fujita scale rating of this tornado is almost certainly an F5 but since there was no Fujita scale at the time, this tornado remains uncategorized.

1824 - World premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

1824 - World premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in Vienna, Austria. The performance is conducted by Michael Umlauf under the deaf composer's supervision.
The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" is the last complete symphony composed by Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1824, the Ninth Symphony is one of the best known works of the Western repertoire, considered both an icon and a forefather of Romantic music, and one of Beethoven's greatest masterpieces.

Symphony No. 9 incorporates part of the Ode an die Freude ("Ode to Joy"), a poem by Friedrich Schiller, with text sung by soloists and a chorus in the last movement. It is the first example of a major composer using the human voice on the same level with instruments in a symphony, creating a work of a grand scope that set the tone for the Romantic symphonic form.

1763 Pontiac's Rebellion begins

Pontiac's Rebellion was a war launched in 1763 by a group of native tribes of North America who were dissatisfied with British policies in the Great Lakes region after the British victory in the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War (1754–1763). Warriors from numerous tribes joined the uprising in an effort to drive British soldiers and settlers out of the region. The war is named after the Ottawa leader Pontiac, the most prominent of many native leaders in the conflict.

The war began in May 1763 when native Americans, alarmed by policies imposed by British General Jeffrey Amherst, attacked a number of British forts and settlements. Eight forts were destroyed, and hundreds of colonists were killed or captured, with many more fleeing the region. Hostilities came to an end after British Army expeditions in 1764 led to peace negotiations over the next two years. Tribal warriors were unable to drive away the British, but the uprising prompted the British government to modify the policies that had provoked the conflict.

1429 Joan of Arc ends Siege of Orleans in Hundred Years War

The Siege of Orléans (1428 – 1429) marked a turning point in the Hundred Years' War between France and England. This was Joan of Arc's first major military victory and the first major French success to follow the crushing defeat at Agincourt in 1415. The outset of this siege marked the pinnacle of English power during the latter stages of the war. The city held strategic and symbolic significance to both sides of the conflict. The consensus among contemporaries was that the English regent John Plantagenet would succeed in realizing Henry V's dream of uniting all of England and France under English rule if Orléans fell. For half a year the English appeared to be winning. The siege collapsed nine days after Joan of Arc's arrival.

558 Hagia Sophia collapses

Hagia Sophia (Greek: Ἁγία Σοφία; "Holy Wisdom", Turkish: Ayasofya, Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia) is a former patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, now a museum, in Istanbul, Turkey. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until the completion of the Medieval Seville Cathedral in 1520.

The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 AD on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and was in fact the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site (the previous two had both been destroyed by riots). It was designed by two architects, Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. The Church contained a large collection of holy relics and featured, among other things, a 50 foot (15 m) silver iconostasis. It was the patriarchal church of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the religious focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly 1000 years.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

1915 Orson Welles

George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an Academy Award-winning American director, writer, actor and producer for film, stage, radio and television. Welles first gained wide notoriety for his October 30, 1938 radio broadcast of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. Adapted to sound like a contemporary news broadcast, it caused a great number of listeners across North American continent to panic. In the mid-1930s, his New York theatre adaptations of an all-black voodoo Macbeth and a contemporary allegorical Julius Caesar became legendary. Welles was also an accomplished magician, starring in troop variety spectacles in the war years. During this period he became a serious political activist and commentator through journalism, radio and public appearances closely associated with Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1941, he co-wrote, directed, produced and starred in Citizen Kane, often chosen in polls of film critics as the greatest film ever made. The rest of his career was often obstructed by lack of funds, incompetent studio interference and other unfortunate occurrences, both during exile in Europe and brief returns to Hollywood. Despite these difficulties Othello won the 1952 Grand Prix du Festival International du Film at the Cannes Film Festival and Touch of Evil won the top prize at the Brussels World Fair, while Welles himself considered The Trial and Chimes at Midnight to be the best of his efforts.

1856 Sigmund Freud born

Sigmund Freud (born Sigismund Schlomo Freud (May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939), was a Czech Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. Freud is best known for his theories of the unconscious mind and the defense mechanism of repression. He is also renowned for his redefinition of sexual desire as the primary motivational energy of human life which is directed toward a wide variety of objects, as well as his therapeutic techniques, including his theory of transference in the therapeutic relationship and the presumed value of dreams as sources of insight into unconscious desires.

Freud is commonly referred to as "the father of psychoanalysis" and his work has been highly influential—popularizing such notions as the unconscious, the Oedipus complex, defense mechanisms, Freudian slips and dream symbolism—while also making a long-lasting impact on fields as diverse as literature, film, Marxist and feminist theories, and psychology. An enormously controversial figure during his lifetime, he remains the subject of vigorous and even bitter debate, with the value of his legacy frequently disputed.

1994 The Channel Tunnel Opens

The Channel Tunnel (French: Le tunnel sous la Manche), also known as Chunnel or Eurotunnel, is a 50.5-kilometre (31.4 mi) undersea rail tunnel linking the United Kingdom and France, running beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover, connecting Folkestone, Kent in England to Coquelles near Calais in northern France. It is the second longest undersea tunnel in the world (after Japan's Seikan Tunnel).

Ideas for a cross-Channel fixed link existed as early as 1802 but the eventual successful project, organised by Eurotunnel, began construction in 1988. By 1994 the tunnel commenced operating its through-rail passenger services linking London to Paris and Brussels, through-rail freight services and vehicle shuttle services. The project's cost overran by 80% and concessionaire Eurotunnel overestimated tunnel traffic and has met financial difficulty. In 1996 a fire disrupted operation of the tunnel. Illegal immigrants and asylum seekers had been known in the past to use the tunnel to enter Britain causing a minor diplomatic row over the siting of the Sangatte refugee camp which was eventually closed in 2002.

Eleven tunnel boring machines working from both the UK and France cut through chalk marl to construct two rail tunnels and a service tunnel. Rolling stock using the tunnel includes Eurostar passenger trains based on the French TGV and vehicle shuttle wagons that are the largest in the world; the tunnel has its own fleet of service vehicles. The vehicle shuttle terminals are located at Cheriton and Coquelles, and are connected to the British and French motorways. In 1996 the American Society of Civil Engineers identified the tunnel as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

1954 Roger Bannister runs first four minute mile

Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, CBE (born March 23, 1929) is an English former athlete best known as the first man to run the mile in less than 4 minutes. Bannister became a distinguished neurologist and Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, before retiring in 2001. He was born in Harrow, London.

1937 The Hindenburg Disaster

LZ 129 Hindenburg was a German zeppelin. Along with its sister-ship LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin II, it was the largest rigid aircraft ever built. During its second year of service, it went up in flames and was destroyed while landing at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey, U.S., on 6 May 1937. Thirty-six people died in the accident, which was widely reported by film, photography and radio media.

The Hindenburg was named after the late Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934), President of Germany (1925–1934).

Monday, May 5, 2008

1981 Bobby Sands dies

Robert Gerard Sands (Irish: Roibeard Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh), commonly known as Bobby Sands, (9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981), was a Provisional Irish Republican Army volunteer and member of the United Kingdom Parliament who died on hunger strike whilst in HM Prison Maze (also known as Long Kesh) for the possession of firearms.

He was the leader of the 1981 Hunger Strike, in which Irish Republican prisoners were seeking to regain status as political prisoners, and had been elected as a member of the United Kingdom Parliament as an Anti H-Block/Armagh Political Prisoner candidate during his fast. His death resulted in a new surge of IRA recruitment and activity. The international media coverage sparked a significant wave of support and sympathy around the world for Sands, the other hunger strikers, and the republican movement in general, although it also attracted some criticism

1961 Alan Shepard first American in space

1961 - The Mercury program: Mercury-Redstone 3 – Alan Shepard becomes the first American to travel into outer space, making a sub-orbital flight of 15 minutes.

1941 Haile Selassie returns to Ethiopia

Emperor Haile Selassie returns to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; this date has been since commemorated as Liberation Day.

1891 Carnegie Hall Opens with Tchaikovsky as conductor

1891 - The Music Hall in New York City (now known as Carnegie Hall) has its grand opening and first public performance, with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky as the guest conductor.

1904 Cy Young throws first perfect game

1904 - Pitching against the Philadelphia Athletics at the Huntington Avenue Grounds, Cy Young of the Boston Americans throws the first perfect game in the modern era of baseball.

1920 - Sacco and Vanzetti are arrested

1920 - Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are arrested, accused of robbery and murder.

1925 - John T. Scopes served

1925 - John T. Scopes is served an arrest warrant for teaching evolution in violation of the Butler Act.

The Estates-General of 1789

The Estates-General (or States-General) of 1789 (French: Les États-Généraux de 1789) was the first meeting since 1614 of the French Estates-General, a general assembly consisting of representatives from all but the poorest segment of the French citizenry. The independence from the Crown which it displayed paved the way for the French Revolution. When the Estates-General convened in Versailles on 5 May 1789 amidst general festivities, many in the Third Estate viewed the double representation as a revolution already peacefully accomplished. However, with the etiquette of 1614 strictly enforced, the clergy and nobility in their full regalia, and the physical locations of the deputies from the three estates dictated by the protocol of an earlier era, an immediate impression emerged that less had, in fact, been achieved.

When Louis XVI and Charles Louis François Paul de Barentin, the Keeper of the Seals, addressed the deputies on 6 May, the Third Estate discovered that royal decree granting double representation was something of a sham.

1864 The Battle of the Wilderness

The Battle of the Wilderness, fought from May 5 to May 6, 1864, was the first battle of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Virginia Overland Campaign against General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Both armies suffered heavy casualties, a harbinger of a bloody war of attrition by Grant against Lee's army and, eventually, the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia. The battle was tactically inconclusive, as Grant disengaged and continued his offensive.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "5th of May") is a regional holiday in Mexico, primarily celebrated in the state of Puebla. It is not an obligatory federal holiday. The holiday commemorates an initial victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The date is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

1494 Columbus lands in Jamaica

On Christopher Columbus' second voyage, he landed on Jamaica on this day and claimed it for Spain.

Friday, May 2, 2008

1972 J Edgar Hoover Dies

John Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895 – May 2, 1972), known popularly as J. Edgar Hoover, was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States. He founded the present form of the agency, and remained director for 48 years until his death. During his life, Hoover was highly regarded by much of the U.S. public.

1892 Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen aka The Red Baron born

Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (2 May 1892 – 21 April 1918) was a German fighter pilot known as "The Red Baron". He was the most successful flying ace of World War I, being officially credited with 80 confirmed air combat victories. Richthofen was a member of an aristocratic family with many famous relatives.

1729 Catherine the Great Born

Yekaterina (Catherine) II Alekseyevna of Russia, called the Great (Russian: Екатерина II Великая, Yekaterina II Velikaya; 2 May [O.S. 21 April] 1729 – 17 November [O.S. 6 November] 1796) reigned as Empress of Russia for 34 years, from 9 July [O.S. 28 June] 1762 until her death. She exemplifies the enlightened despot of her era.

1999 Mireya Moscoso becomes first female president of Panama

Panamanian election, 1999: Mireya Moscoso becomes the first woman to be elected President of Panama.

1998 The European Central Bank founded

The European Central Bank (ECB) is one of the world's most important central banks, responsible for monetary policy covering the 15 member countries of the Eurozone. It was established by the European Union (EU) in 1998 with its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.

1969 RMS Queen Elizabeth 2

RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) is a Cunard Line ocean liner named after the earlier Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth, which in turn was named after Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen consort of George VI. She was the flagship of the line from 1969 until succeeded by RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004. Built in Clydebank, Scotland, she was considered the last of the great transatlantic ocean liners prior to the construction of the QM2. Before she was refitted with a diesel power plant in 1986, she was also the last oil-fired passenger steamship to cross the Atlantic in scheduled liner service. During almost 40 years of service, the QE2 has travelled the world and now operates predominantly as a cruise ship, sailing out of Southampton, England. She will be retired from active service in late 2008, to become a floating hotel at Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

1945 Berlin Surrenders to Soviets

The Battle of Berlin was one of the final battles of the European Theatre of World War II. In what was known to the Soviets as the "Berlin Offensive Operation", two massive Soviet army groups attacked Berlin from the east and south, while a third overran German forces positioned north of Berlin.

The battle of Berlin lasted from late April 1945 until early May and was one of the bloodiest battles in history. Before the battle was over, German dictator Adolf Hitler and many of his followers committed suicide. The city's defenders surrendered on May 2. However, fighting continued to the north-west, west and south-west of the city until the end of the war in Europe on May 8 (May 9 in the USSR) as German units fought westward so that they could surrender to the Western Allies rather than to the Soviets.

1885 The Congo Free State Founded

The Congo Free State was a corporate state privately controlled by Leopold II, King of the Belgians through a dummy non-governmental organization, the Association Internationale Africaine. Leopold was the sole shareholder and chairman. The state included the entire area of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo and existed from 1885 to 1908.

1885 The Battle of Cut Knife

The Battle of Cut Knife, fought on May 2, 1885, occurred when a small force of Cree and Assiniboine warriors were attacked by a flying column of mounted police, militia, and Canadian army regulars. The warriors defeated the Canadian forces, with losses on both sides.

1885 Goodhousekeeping Magazine Founded

Good Housekeeping is a women's magazine owned by the Hearst Corporation, featuring articles about women's interests, product testing by The Good Housekeeping Institute, recipes, diet, health as well as literary articles. It is well known for the "Good Housekeeping Seal," popularly known as the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval."

The magazine was founded May 2, 1885 by Clark W. Bryan in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The magazine achieved a circulation of 300,000 by 1911, at which time it was bought by the Hearst Corporation. In 1966 it reached 5,500,000 readers.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

1852 Birth of Calamity Jane

Martha Jane Cannary-Burke, better known as Calamity Jane (May 1, 1852 – August 1, 1903), was a frontierswoman and professional scout best known for her claim of being a close friend of Wild Bill Hickok, but also for having gained fame fighting Native Americans.

1738 Birth of Kamehameha I

Kamehameha I, also known as Kamehameha the Great, (born February, 1758 or November 1737 or May 1, 1738 – died May 8, 1819), conquered the Hawaiian Islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi in 1810. By developing alliances with the major Pacific colonial powers, Kamehameha preserved Hawaiʻi's independence under his rule. Kamehameha is remembered for the Mamalahoe Kanawai, Law of the Splintered Paddle, which protects human rights of non-combatants in times of battle. His full Hawaiian name is Kalani Paiea Wohi o Kaleikini Keali`ikui Kamehameha o `Iolani i Kaiwikapu kaui Ka Liholiho Kunuiakea.

1960 The U2 incident

The 1960 U–2 incident occurred during the Cold War on May 1, 1960 when an American U–2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. At first, the United States government denied the plane's purpose and mission, but was forced to admit its role as a covert surveillance aircraft when the Soviet government produced its remains (largely intact) and surviving pilot, Gary Powers. Coming just over two weeks before the scheduled opening of an East-West summit, the incident was a great embarrassment to the United States and prompted a marked deterioration in its relations with the Soviet Union.

1931- Dedication of The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a 102-story art deco skyscraper in New York City, New York at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. Its name is derived from the nickname for the state of New York. It stood as the world's tallest building for more than forty years, from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Center's North Tower was completed in 1972. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, the Empire State Building again became the tallest building in New York City.

The Empire State Building has been named by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The building and its street floor interior are designated landmarks of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and confirmed by the New York City Board of Estimate. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. In 2007, it was ranked number one on the List of America's Favorite Architecture according to the AIA. The building is owned and managed by W&H Properties.

1898 The Battle of Manila Bay

The Battle of Manila Bay took place on 1 May 1898, during the Spanish-American War. The American Asiatic Squadron under Commodore George Dewey engaged the Spanish Pacific Squadron under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón and destroyed the Spanish squadron. The engagement took place in Manila Bay, the Philippines, and was the first major engagement of the Spanish-American War.

1900 The Winter Quarters Mine disaster

The Winter Quarters Mine disaster was one of the worst mining accidents in American history and took place near the town of Scofield, Utah.

On May 1, 1900, at least 200 men died from the Winter Quarters Mine explosion that occurred in the Number 4 mine shaft. Some rescuers placed the death toll at 246. Coal dust had collected in the coal mine, and at 10:28 AM it exploded. The fumes, or afterdamp, from the explosion killed miners in both the Number 4 and Number 1 mine shafts, which were connected by a tunnel.

Many of the dead were laid to rest on May 5, 1900, during two large funerals. Some people speculate that every household in the town lost at least one family member. The disaster left 107 widows and 270 fatherless children. In order to bury all of the dead, 75 caskets had to be imported from Denver, Colorado, because only 125 caskets could be brought in from Salt Lake City.

1863 The Battle of Chancellorsville Begins

The Battle of Chancellorsville was a major battle of the American Civil War, fought near the village of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia, from April 30 to May 6, 1863. The battle pitted Union Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker's Army of the Potomac against an army half its size, Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. It is known as Lee's "perfect battle" because of his risky but successful division of his army in the presence of a much larger enemy force. Lee's audacity and Hooker's timid performance in combat combined to result in a significant Union defeat. The Confederate victory was tempered by the mortal wounding of Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson to friendly fire, a loss that Lee likened to "losing my right arm."

The Chancellorsville campaign began with the crossing of the Rappahannock River by the Union army on the morning of April 27, 1863. Crossing the Rapidan River via Germanna and Ely's Fords, the Federals concentrated near Chancellorsville on April 30 and May 1. Heavy fighting began on May 1 and did not end until the Union forces retreated across the river on the night of May 5 to May 6.

1851 The Great Exhibition in London Opens

The Great Exhibition, also known as Crystal Palace, was an international exhibition that was held in Hyde Park, London, England, from 1 May to 15 October 1851 and the first in a series of World's Fair exhibitions of culture and industry that were to be a popular 19th century feature.

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations was organized by Prince Albert, Henry Cole, Francis Fuller, Charles Dilke and other members of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce as a celebration of modern industrial technology and design. It can be argued that the Great Exhibition was mounted in response to the highly successful French Industrial Exposition of 1844. Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort, was an enthusiastic promoter of a self-financing exhibition; the government was persuaded to form the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 to establish the viability of hosting such an exhibition.

A special building, nicknamed The Crystal Palace, was designed by Joseph Paxton (with support from structural engineer Charles Fox) to house the show; an architecturally adventurous building based on Paxton's experience designing greenhouses for the sixth Duke of Devonshire, constructed from cast iron-frame components and glass made almost exclusively in Birmingham and Smethwick, which was an enormous success. The committee overseeing its construction included Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The massive glass house was 1848 feet (about 563 m) long by 454 feet (about 138 m) wide, and went from plans to grand opening in just nine months. The building was later moved and re-erected in an enlarged form at Sydenham in south London, an area that was renamed Crystal Palace; it was eventually destroyed by fire.

1848 Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity Founded

Phi Gamma Delta (also known as FIJI) is a collegiate social fraternity with 107 chapters and 9 colonies across the United States and Canada. It was founded at Jefferson College, Pennsylvania in 1848 and its headquarters are located in Lexington, Kentucky, USA. Phi Gamma Delta is a member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference and, along with the Fraternity of Phi Kappa Psi, forms the Jefferson Duo.

1776- The Battle of Crooked Billet

The Battle of Crooked Billet was a battle in the Philadelphia campaign of the American Revolutionary War fought on May 1, 1778 near Crooked Billet (present-day Hatboro), Pennsylvania. In the skirmish action, British forces under the command of Major John Graves Simcoe launched a surprise attack against Brigadier General John Lacey and three regiments of Pennsylvania militia, who were literally caught sleeping. The British inflicted significant damage, and Lacey and his forces were forced to retreat into neighboring Bucks County.