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On May 20th...

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1277 Pope John XXI died.

1293 An earthquake killed about 30,000 people in Kamakura, Japan.

1303 The Treaty of Paris restored Gascony to the English and arranged for the marriage of English Prince Edward to French Princess Isabella.

1310 The first shoes for both right and left feet were made.

Vasco da Gama1498 Vasco da Gama became the first European to reach India by sailing around the southern tip of Africa.

1501 Joao da Nova Castell discovered the Ascension Islands.

1631 Magdeburg, Germany, was seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire.

1639 Dorchester, Massachusetts, formed the first school funded by local taxes.

1690 England passed the Act of Grace, forgiving followers of James II.

1734 The first Jockey Club was formed in South Carolina.

William Thornton1759 William Thornton, designer of the U. S. Capitol, was born.

Dolley Madison1768 Dolley (Payne) Madison, wife of U. S. President James Madison, was born.

William Congreve1772 Inventor William Congreve was born.

1775 Citizens of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, declared independence from Britain.

Land Ordinance of 17851785 The Continental Congress passed the Land Ordinance, providing for the division of all territory north and west of the Ohio River.

1799 Novelist Honoré de Balzac was born.

1806 Philosopher John Stuart Mill was born.

1818 Businessman William Fargo was born.

1830 The first ever railroad timetable was published in the Baltimore American.
1830 D. Hyde patented the fountain pen.

Marquis de Lafayette1834 French statesman Marquis de Lafayette died.

1835 Otto was named the first modern King of Greece.

1851 Inventor Émile Berliner was born.

1861 Kentucky proclaimed its neutrality in the conflict between North and South.
1861 North Carolina became the 11th, and last, state to secede from the Union.

1862 U. S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law.

1864 The last battle of the Spotsylvania Campaign was fought.

1873 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patened blue jeans with copper rivets.

Mary Todd Lincoln1875 Mary Todd Lincoln was declared insane.
1875
The International Bureau of Weights and Measures was formed by treaty.

1879 Charlie Shauer rode Lord Murphy to victory in the Kentucky Derby.

1882 Germany, Austria-Hungary, and France signed a Triple Alliance.
1882
The Gotthard rail tunnel between Switzerland and Italy opened.
1882
Novelist Sigrid Undset was born.

1883 King Faisal I of Iraq was born.

Kinetoscope1891 The Kinetoscope was demonstrated to the public for the first time.

1892 Germany, Italy, and Austria formed a Triple Alliance.
1892
George Sampson patented a clothes dryer.

1897 Harold Hilton won the British Golf Open.

Cuba1902 Cuba became an independent republic.

1908 Actor Jimmy Stewart was born.

1913 James Butwell rode Buskin to victory in the Preakness.
Henry Flagler1913 Henry M. Flagler, developer of Florida's east coast, died.

1915 Israeli military leader Moshe Dayan was born.

1919 Volcano Keluit on Java erupted, killing 550 people.
1919 Comedian George Gobel was born.

1926 The U. S. Congress passed the Air Commerce Act, establishing a licensing procedure for pilots and airplanes.

Charles Lindbergh1927 Charles Lindbergh set out to become the first person to fly nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean.
1927 Saudi Arabia became independent of Great Britain.

Amelia Earhart1932 Amelia Earhart set out to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Bipin Chandra  Pal1932 Bipin Chandra Pal, early leader of the Indian independence movement, died.

1942 The U. S. Navy first permitted black recruits to serve.

1944 The U. S. Communist Party was dissolved.
1944
Singer Joe Cocker was born.

1946 Singer Cher was born.

1950 Eddie Arcaro rode Hill Prince to victory in the Preakness.

1951 Major James Jabara became the world's first jet ace.

1954 Chiang Kai-Shek became President of Nationalist China.

Brunswick, Maryland, plane crash1958 A mid-air collision between a Capital Airlines passenger plane and a Maryland Air National Guard jet trainer over Brunswick, Maryland, killed 12 persons.

1959 Japanese-Americans regained their U. S. citizenship.
1959 Actor Bronson Pinchot was born.

1961 Johnny Sellers rode Carry Back to victory in the Preakness.

1963 Sukarno accepted the presidency and premiership of Indonesia for the rest of his life.
1963 A military revolt against the government of Turkey was suppressed.

1965 A Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 720-B crashed near the Cairo (United Arab Republic) Airport, killing 121 of the 127 persons aboard.

1966 Actress Mindy Cohn was born.

1967 A male heir to the Greek throne was born to King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie.
1967 Bill Shoemaker rode Damascus to victory in the Preakness.

1968 The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that school districts cannot offer "freedom of choice" plans as a way to desegregate their schools.

1969 U. S. troops captured Hill 937 (aka Hamburger Hill) in Vietnam.

1971 Race car driver Tony Stewart was born.

Cameroon1972 The Republic of Cameroon was declared.
1972 Eldon Nelson rode Bee Bee Bee to victory in the Preakness.
1972 Columnist Walter Winchell died.

1976 Floods caused by Typhoon Olga killed 215 persons in the northern Philippines.

1978 Pioneer Venus 1 was launched by the United States.
1978 Two Soviet citizens, both employees of the United Nations, were arrested by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and charged with espionage.
Taiwan in 19781978 Chiang Ching-kuo was sworn in as President of Nationalist China, succeeding the retiring Yen Chia-kan.
Steve Cauthen1978 Steve Cauthen rode Affirmed to victory in the Preakness.

1980 710 families in the Love Canal area of Niagara Falls, New York, were evacuated.
1980 Fire in a Kingston, Jamaica, nursing home killed 157 persons.
1980 In a referendum, 59.5% of voters in Quebec, Canada, reject separatism.

1983 Larry Holmes defeated Tim Witherspoon in 12 rounds for the heaavyweight boxing title.

1985 The United States began broadcasting to Cuba on Radio Marti.

1986 Christy Fichtner (Miss Texas) was crowned Miss USA.

1989 Pat Valenzuela rode Sunday Silence to victory in the Preakness.
1989
Walter McConnel became the oldest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest (age 57).
1989
Comedian Gilda Radner died.

1990 The Hubble Space Telescope transmitted its first pictures to Earth.

1991 The Soviet Parliament approved a law allowing citizens to travel abroad.

1992 India launched its first satellite.

1993 NBC-TV aired the finale of "Cheers."

1994 Sushmita Sen (Miss India) was crowned Miss Universe.

1995 Pat Day rode Timber Country to victory in the Preakness.
1995 CBS News fired co-anchor Connie Chung.

1996 Actor Jon Pertwee died.

1997 Virgilio Boat, former President of Colombia, died.

2000 Jerry Bailey rode Red Bullet to victory in the Preakness.

Stephen Jay Gould2002 Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould died.

2006 Javier Castellano rode Bernardini to victory in the Preakness.

2008 Hamilton Jordan, White House Chief of Staff under U. S. President Jimmy Carter, died.

2011 Wrestler Randy Savage died.

2012 Singer Robin Gibb died.

2013 A hot air balloon crash in Cappadocia, Turkey, killed 2 persons and injured 20 others.
2013 Musician Ray Manzarek died.

2015 David Letterman hosted his "Late Show" for the last time.

2017 Javier Castellano rode Cloud Computing to victory in the Preakness.

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The Robinson Library >> On This Day

This page was last updated on May 26, 2018.