Today in History


Today in History

Today is Friday, May 5, the 125th day of 2017. There are 240 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 5, 1862, Mexican troops defeated French occupying forces in the Battle of Puebla.

On this date:

In 1494, during his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica.

In 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte, 51, died in exile on the island of St. Helena.

In 1892, Congress passed the Geary Act, which required Chinese in the United States to carry a certificate of residence at all times, or face deportation.

In 1927, “To the Lighthouse,” Virginia Woolf’s fifth novel, was published in London.

In 1942, wartime sugar rationing began in the United States.

In 1945, in the only fatal attack of its kind during World War II, a Japanese balloon bomb exploded on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon, killing the pregnant wife of a minister and five children. Denmark and the Netherlands were liberated as a German surrender went into effect.

In 1955, West Germany became a fully sovereign state. The baseball musical “Damn Yankees” opened on Broadway.

In 1961, astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. became America’s first space traveler as he made a 15-minute suborbital flight aboard Mercury capsule Freedom 7.

In 1973, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, the first of his Triple Crown victories.

In 1981, Irish Republican Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands died at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland in his 66th day without food.

In 1987, the congressional Iran-Contra hearings opened with former Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord (SEE’-kohrd) the lead-off witness.

In 1994, Singapore caned American teenager Michael Fay for vandalism, a day after the sentence was reduced from six lashes to four in response to an appeal by President Bill Clinton.

Ten years ago: A Kenya Airways jet crashed in southern Cameroon, killing all 114 people on board. Street Sense roared from next-to-last in a 20-horse field to win the Kentucky Derby. Floyd Mayweather Jr. beat Oscar De La Hoya to win the WBC 154-pound title at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.

Five years ago: Five Guantanamo Bay prisoners, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (HAH’-leed shayk moh-HAH’-mehd), the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, were arraigned in a proceeding that dragged on for 13 hours due to stalling tactics by the defendants. In what his aides described as his first full-fledged political rally of the election year, President Barack Obama, in Columbus, Ohio, tore into Mitt Romney as a willing and eager “rubber stamp” for failed policies. Thousands of Japanese marched to celebrate the switching off of the last of their nation’s 50 nuclear reactors. I’ll Have Another caught Bodemeister down the stretch and pulled away in the final furlong to win the Kentucky Derby.

One year ago: Former Los Angeles trash collector Lonnie Franklin Jr. was convicted of 10 counts of murder in the “Grim Sleeper” serial killings that targeted poor, young black women over two decades. President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 58 federal convicts, part of a broader push to ease punishments for nonviolent drug offenders. Londoners cast votes in an election that gave the city its first Muslim mayor, Labour lawmaker Sadiq Khan, who succeeded outgoing Conservative Boris Johnson.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Pat Carroll is 90. Former AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney is 83. Saxophonist Ace Cannon is 83. Country singer-musician Roni Stoneman is 79. Actor Michael Murphy is 79. Actor Lance Henriksen is 77. Comedian-actor Michael Palin is 74. Actor John Rhys-Davies is 73. Rock correspondent Kurt Loder is 72. Rock musician Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) is 69. Actress Melinda Culea is 62. Actress Lisa Eilbacher is 60. Actor Richard E. Grant is 60. Former broadcast journalist John Miller is 59. Rock singer Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen) is 58. NBC newsman Brian Williams is 58. Rock musician Shawn Drover (Megadeth) is 51. TV personality Kyan (KY’-ihn) Douglas is 47. Actress Tina Yothers is 44. Rhythm and blues singer Raheem DeVaughn is 42. Actor Santiago Cabrera is 39. Actor Vincent Kartheiser is 38. Singer Craig David is 36. Actress Danielle Fishel is 36. Actor Henry Cavill is 34. Actor Clark Duke is 32. Soul singer Adele is 29. Rock singer Skye Sweetnam is 29. Rhythm-and-blues singer Chris Brown is 28.

Thought for Today: “It is quite true what philosophers say: that Life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other assumption: that it must be lived forwards.” — Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher (born this date in 1813, died 1855).