Monday, May 10, 2010

POPnews - May 10th

[Extensively restored, Fort Ticonderoga today plays host to some 90,000 visitors a year in Upstate New York.]

1503 - Christopher Columbus visited the Cayman Islands during his fourth and final voyage to the New World, naming them Las Tortugas for the numerous sea turtles he found there.

1534 - Jacques Cartier arrived at Newfoundland during his first voyage, under the commission of the French King Fran├žois I.

1768 - British reformer John Wilkes was incarcerated at King's Bench Prison for writing an article in issue #45 of the radical newspaper The North Briton, which severely criticized England's King George III. Wilkes' arrest provoked rioting in London; as his unarmed supporters chanted 'No justice, no peace' troops opened fire on them, killing 7 and injuring 15.

1774 - Louis XVI became King of France following the death of his father Louis XV.

1775 - At the outset of the American Revolution the British garrison at Fort Ticonderoga was taken by a small force of Vermont's Green Mountain Boys, led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold; not a single shot was fired by either side during the raid.

1824 - London's National Gallery opened to the public at No. 100 Pall Mall; begun with just 36 paintings (purchased for the sum of £57,000) collected by John Julius Angerstein, the collection currently contains some 2,300 artworks.

1837 - Banks in New York City began to fail owing to a proliferation of paper money unsecured by gold and silver coinage, causing widespread unemployment and a five-year economic depression - an event which is now known as the Panic of 1837; although newly elected President Martin Van Buren took most of the blame for the disaster, he'd only been in office five weeks when the crisis hit, placing responsibility for the crisis firmly on the policies of his predecessor Andrew Jackson.

1865 - Confederate President Jefferson Davis was taken into custody by Union troops near Irwinville, Georgia, having evaded capture for 37 days; following his arrest he was held for two years in appalling conditions at Fort Monroe, Virginia, an incarceration which even many Northerners felt was intended to be fatal.

1869 - The First Transcontinental Railroad - linking the eastern and western United States - was ceremonially completed at Utah's Promontory Summit when Leland Stanford drove in the Golden Spike; since 1957 the area has been preserved as the Golden Spike National Historic Site.

1872 - Victoria Woodhull became the first woman nominated to run for President of the United States when she accepted the honour from the Equal Rights Party; former slave Frederick Douglass was nominated to serve as her running mate. Try and imagine a white woman and a black man on the same Presidential ticket... It almost boggles the mind, doesn't it?

1908 - Mother's Day was observed for the first time in the United States in Grafton, West Virginia.

1922 - The United States annexed the Kingman Reef - located midway between Hawai'i and American Samoa in the Pacific Ocean. Its purpose then was largely strategic; originally touted as a stopover point for Pan Am flying boats between the US and New Zealand, that honour eventually went to the more substantial Canton Island.

1924 - J. Edgar Hoover was appointed the Director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation by President Calvin Coolidge - a post Hoover held until his death in May 1972.

1933 - Students staged massive public book burnings in 34 German cities as part of what was called the 'Action Against the Un-German Spirit'; the event was coordinated by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.

1940 - Nazi Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg on the same day Winston Churchill accepted the leadership of a wartime coalition government in the United Kingdom.

1960 - The nuclear submarine USS Triton completed the first underwater circumnavigation of the planet.

1978 - Italian politician Aldo Moro was buried; kidnapped in Rome in broad daylight by the Red Brigades 55 days earlier Moro was found dead on May 9th riddled with bullets in the trunk of a red Renault 5 midway between the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Party (of which he was the leader) and the Communist Party.

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

2005 - A hand grenade allegedly thrown by Vladimir Arutinian landed about 65 feet (20 metres) from US President George W. Bush while he was giving a speech to a crowd in Tbilisi, Georgia. The device, like the man, was a dud; unlike the man, however, the grenade did no damage.

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