Today in History
Today is Monday, May 7, the 127th day of 2018. There are 238 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 7, 1915, a German U-boat torpedoed and sank the British liner RMS Lusitania off the southern coast of Ireland, killing 1,198 people, including 128 Americans, out of the nearly 2,000 on board.
On this date:
In A.D. 558, the original main dome of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople completely collapsed during an earthquake; Emperor Justinian I ordered that the structure be rebuilt.
In 1763, Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa Indians, attempted to lead a sneak attack on British-held Fort Detroit, but was foiled because the British had been tipped off in advance.
In 1789, America’s first inaugural ball was held in New York in honor of President George Washington, who had taken the oath of office a week earlier.
In 1824, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, had its premiere in Vienna.
In 1939, Germany and Italy announced a military and political alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.
In 1942, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright went on a Manila radio station to announce the Allies’ surrender of the Philippines to Japanese forces during World War II.
In 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Rheims (rams), France, ending its role in World War II.
In 1954, the 55-day Battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam ended with Vietnamese insurgents overrunning French forces.
In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford formally declared an end to the “Vietnam era.” In Ho Chi Minh City — formerly Saigon — the Viet Cong celebrated its takeover.
In 1984, a $180 million out-of-court settlement was announced in the Agent Orange class-action suit brought by Vietnam veterans who said they’d been injured by exposure to the defoliant.
In 1998, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz agreed to buy Chrysler Corp. for more than $37 billion. Londoners voted overwhelmingly to elect their own mayor for the first time in history. (In May 2000, Ken Livingstone was elected.)
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, addressing the Council of the Americas, said Cuba’s post-Fidel Castro leadership had made only “empty gestures at reform” as he rejected calls for easing U.S. restrictions on the communist island. Dmitry Medvedev (dih-MEE’-tree med-VYEH’-dyev) was sworn in as Russia’s president, succeeding Vladimir Putin (POO’-tihn).
Five years ago: President Barack Obama and South Korea’s new leader, Park Geun-hye (goon-hay), met at the White House, where they projected a united front as they warned North Korea against further nuclear provocations. Twenty-four people were killed by a gas tanker-truck explosion on the outskirts of Mexico City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 15,000 for the first time, ending the day at 15,056.20, up 87.31 points. Movie special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen, 92, died in London.
One year ago: French voters elected independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, 39, as the country’s youngest president, delivering a resounding victory to the pro-European former investment banker and dashing the populist dream of far-right rival Marine Le Pen. Former President Barack Obama briefly returned to the spotlight as he accepted the annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award at the JFK presidential library in Boston.
Today’s Birthdays: Rhythm-and-blues singer Thelma Houston is 75. Actress Robin Strasser is 73. Singer-songwriter Bill Danoff is 72. Rock musician Bill Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead) is 72. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is 71. Rock musician Prairie Prince is 68. Movie writer-director Amy Heckerling is 66. Actor Michael E. Knight is 59. Rock musician Phil Campbell (Motorhead) is 57. Country musician Rick Schell is 55. Rock singer-musician Chris O’Connor (Primitive Radio Gods) is 53. Actress Traci Lords is 50. Actor Morocco Omari is 48. Singer Eagle-Eye Cherry is 47. Actor Breckin Meyer is 44. Rock musician Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) is 32. Actress-comedian Aidy Bryant is 31. Actor Taylor Abrahamse is 27. Actor Alexander Ludwig is 26. Actress Dylan Gelula is 24.
Thought for Today: “When an old man dies, a library burns down.” — African proverb.