Today In The Past




1026 – Koenraad II crowns himself king of Italy

1066 – 18th recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet

1153 – Treaty of Konstanz between Frederik I “Barbarossa” & Pope Eugene III

1174 – Jocelin, abbot of Melrose, is elected bishop of Glasgow.

1490 – 1st dated edition of Maimonides “Mishneh Torah” published

1568 – Treaty of Longjumeau: French huguenots go on strike

1630 – French troops occupy Pinerolo Piedmont

1657 – France & England form alliance against Spain; England gets Dunkirk




1775 – Patrick Henry proclaimsGive me liberty or give me death






1794 – Josiah Pierson patents a “cold-header” (rivet) machine

1794 – Lt-general Tadeusz Kosciuszko returns to Poland

1821 – Battle and fall of city of Kalamata, Greek War of Independence.

1839 – 1st recorded use of “OK” [oll korrect] (Boston’s Morning Post)

1840 – Draper takes 1st successful photo of the Moon (daguerrotype)

1849 – Battle of Novara (King Charles Albert vs Italian republic)

1857 – Elisha Otis’ 1st elevator installed (488 Broadway, NYC)

1862 – Battle of Kernstown VA-Jackson begins his Valley Campaign

1864 – Encounter at Camden AR

1865 – General Sherman/Cox’ troops reach Goldsboro NC

1868 – University of California founded (Oakland California)

1881 – Boers & Britain sign peace accord; end 1st Boer war

1881 – Gas lamp sets fire to Nice France opera house; 70 die

1889 – The free Woolwich Ferry officially opens in east London.

1903 – Wright brothers obtain airplane patent

1910 – 1st race at Los Angeles Motordrome (1st US auto speedway)

1912 – Dixie Cup invented

1917 – Tornadoes kills 211 over 4 days in Midwest US

1918 – Alick Wickham dives 200′ into Australia’s Yarra River

1918 – Crépy-en-Laonnoise: German artillery shells Paris, 256 killed

1918 – Lithuania proclaims independence

1918 – Paris bombs “Thick Bertha’s Dike” (nickname for the widow Krupp)

1919 – Benito Mussolini forms Fascist movement in Milan Italy

1929 – 1st telephone installed in White House

1931 – Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev embrace the gallows during the Indian struggle for independence. Their request to be shot by a firing squad is refused.

1934 – US Congress accepts Philippines independence in 1945

1938 – Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis frees 74 St L Cardinals minor leaguers

1940 – 1st radio broadcast of “Truth or Consequences” on CBS

1942 – 2,500 Jews of Lublin massacred or deported

1944 – Nicholas Alkemade falls 5,500 m without a parachute & lives

1945 – British 7th Black Watch crosses the Rhine




1945 – Largest operation in Pacific war, 1,500 US Navy ships bombard Okinawa






1945 – Premier Churchill visits Montgomery’s headquarter in Straelen

1960 – Explorer (8) fails to reach Earth orbit

1962 – JFK visits SF

1965 – Gemini 3 launched, 1st US 2-man space flight (Grissom & Young)

1965 – Moroccan army shoots on demonstrators, about 100 killed

1972 – Evel Knievel breaks 93 bones after successfully clearing 35 cars

1973 – Yoko Ono is granted permanent residence in US

1979 – Larry Holmes TKOs Osvaldo Ocasio in 7 for heavyweight boxing title

1981 – Supreme Court upholds law making statutory rape a crime only for men

1981 – Supreme Court rules states could require, with some exceptions, parental notification when teen-age girls sought abortions

1983 – US president Ronald Reagan introduces “Star Wars”-plan (SDI)

1984 – Ice Dance Championship at Ottawa won by J Torvill & Chris Dean (GRB)

1984 – Ladies Fig Skating Championship in Ottawa won by Katarina Witt (GDR)

1984 – Men’s Fig Skating Championship in Ottawa won by Scott Hamilton (USA)

1986 – Heavyweight Trevor Berbick KOs Pinklon Thomas

1987 – Soap “Bold & Beautiful” premieres

1987 – US offers military protection to Kuwaiti ships in the Persian Gulf

1989 – 2 Utah scientists claim they have produced fusion at room temperature

1989 – Joel Steinberg sentenced to 25 yrs for killing his adopted daughter

1990 – Former Exxon Valdez Captain Joseph Hazelwood ordered to help clean up Prince William Sound & pay $50,000 in restitution for 1989 oil spill

1991 – Sergei Bubka pole vaults world record indoor (6.12m)

1994 – Howard Stern formally announces his Libertarian run for NY governor

1994 – Joey Buttafuoco, released from jail after 4 months & 9 days

1995 – Dollar equals 88.41 yen (record)

1996 – Taiwan holds its first direct elections and chooses Lee Teng-hui as President.

2001 – The Russian Mir space station is disposed of, breaking up in the atmosphere before falling into the southern Pacific Ocean near Fiji.

2003 – In Nasiriyah, Iraq, 11 soldiers of the 507th Maintenance Company as well as 18 U.S. Marines are killed during the first major conflict of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

2005 – The United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, refuses to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube.

2005 – A major explosion at the Texas City Refinery kills 15 workers.

2007 – Burnley Tunnel catastrophe occurs in Melbourne, Australia.

2007 – Iranian Navy seize Royal Navy personnel in Iraqi waters.





1429 – Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI of England (d. 1482)

1599 – Thomas Selle, composer

1638 – Frederik Ruysch, Dutch anatomist




1645 – William Kidd, Pirate Legend From Scotland (d. 1701)







1699 – John Bartram, naturalist/explorer, father of American botany

1723 – Agha Mohammad Khan Ghajar, King of Iran (d. 1771)

1749 – Pierre-Simon Laplace, mathematician/astronomer/physicist

1754 – Baron Jurij Vega, Slovenian mathematician, physicist, and artillery officer (d. 1802)

1761 – John W de Winter, Dutch vice-admiral (Battle at Kamperduin)

1769 – William Smith, geologist (Strata Identified by Organized Fossils)

1769 – Augustin Daniel Belliard, French general (d. 1832)

1808 – Jeronimo de Bosch Kemper, sociologist/historian (Statistic yearbook)




1818 – Don Carlos Buell, Major General (Union volunteers), died in 1898






1825 – Edward Lloyd Thomas, Brigadier General (Confederate Army) died in 1898

1857 – Fannie Farmer, actress (namesake of a candy company)

1858 – Ludwig Quidde, German historian/politician (Nobel prize 1927)

1868 – Dietrich Eckart, early supporter of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party and member of Thule Society (d. 1923)

1876 – Muirhead Bone, Glasgow Scotland, etcher/engraver of architecture

1881 – Hermann Staudinger, Germany, chemist/plastics researcher (Nobel ’53)

1882 – Emmy Noether, German mathematician (d. 1935)

1883 – Faisal I ibn Hussein ibn Ali, 1st king of Iraq/Syria

1900 – Erich Fromm, Frankfurt Germany, psychologist (Sane Society)

1901 – Jan H de Groot, Dutch resistance fighter/co-founder (Free Netherlands)

1905 – Joan Crawford, [Lucille Le Sueur], Texas, actress (Mildred Pierce), (d. 1977)

1907 – Daniel Bovet, Switzerland, pharmacologist (Nobel 1957)

1908 – Dominique de Menil, arts patron/human rights advocate

1910 – Akira Kurosawa, Tokyo Japan, director (7 Samurai, Living)

1911 – Charles Joseph A Russhon, USAF lt col/liaison (James Bond films)

1912 – Alfred Schwarzmann, Germany, gymnast (Olympic-2 golds-1936)




1912 – Werner von Braun, Wirsitz Germany, rocket expert (I Aim at the Stars)






1915 – Vasily Zaitsev, Soviet World War II hero (d. 1991)

1917 – Johnny Guarnieri, NYC, jazz pianist (Morey Amsterdam Show)

1919 – Michael Lyne, British air Vice-marshal

1921 – Donald Malcome Campbell, Surrey UK, boat racer (1955 speed records)

1922 – Marty Allen, Pitts, comedian (Allen & Rossi), “Hello Dere”

1922 – Ugo Tognazzi, Cremona Italy, actor/director (La Cage Aux Folles)

1929 – Michael Manser, architect

1929 – Roger Bannister, England, 1st to run a 4 minute mile (May 6, 1954)

1933 – Monique van Vooren, Belgium, actress (Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein)

1937 – Craig Breedlove, LA, auto-racing champion (613 MPH-Spirit of America)

1937 – Heinz Martin Lonquich, composer

1937 – Robert Gallo, American physician

1938 – Maynard Jackson, first black mayor of Atlanta (d. 2003)

1943 – Gail Goodrich, NBA star (Lakers, Suns)

1949 – Ric Ocasek, Balt, rock vocalist (Cars-Double Life, Bye Bye Love)

1949 – Roland Lee, American Watercolor Artist

1950 – Corrine Clery, Paris France, actress (Moonraker, Yor)

1952 – Patricia Richardson, Bethesda MD, actress (Jill-Home Improvement)

1952 – Kim Stanley Robinson, American author

1953 – Chaka Khan, [Stevens], Great Lakes Il, rocker (Rufus-I am Every Woman)

1953 – Louie Anderson, Minn, comedian (Ratboy, Wrong Guys)

1954 – Moses Malone, NBA center (Atlanta Hawks, Milw Bucks, Phila ’76ers)

1957 – Amanda Plummer, NYC, actress (Hotel New Hampshire, Dollmaker)

1957 – Sheila Rena Ingram, Wash DC, 4X400m relayer (Olympic-silver-1976)

1957 – Teresa Ganzel, Toledo Ohio, actress (Teachers Only, Duck Factory)

1958 – Etienne De Wilde, Belgian cyclist

1958 – El Duce, American singer and drummer (The Mentors) (d. 1997)

1959 – Catherine Keener, American actress

1960 – Terry Sweeney, St Albans NY, writer/comedian (SNL)

1964 – John Pinette, American comedian

1966 – Marti Pellow, rocker (Wet, Wet, Wet-Wishing I Was)




1971 – Yasmeen Ghauri, Montreal Canada, model (Valentino Perfume)






1972 – Judith Godrèche, French actress and author

1973 – Jason Kidd, NBA guard (Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks)

1973 – Wim Eyckmans, Belgian racing driver

1975 – Alydar, American racehorse (d. 1990)

1976 – Keri Russell, actress (Mickey Mouse Club, Lottery, Daddy Girls)

1976 – Jayson Blair, American journalist and author

1976 – Ricardo Zonta, Brazilian racing car driver

1978 – Nicholle Tom, Hinsdale IL, actress (Beethoven, Maggie-Nanny, BH 90210)

1978 – Perez Hilton, American television personality and blogger

1981 – Erin Crocker, American NASCAR driver





1103 – Eudes I, Duke of Burgundy (b. 1058)

1169 – Shirkuh, Kurd general/vizier of Cairo/Saladin’s uncle, dies

1237 – Jan of Brienne, King of Jerusalem/Emperor of Constantinople, dies

1361 – Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster (b. c.1310)

1369 – Pedro, the Cruel, King/tyrant of Castile & Leon, murdered

1548 – Itagaki Nobukata, retainer of Takeda Shingen

1559 – Emperor Gelawdewos of Ethiopia (killed in battle) (b. 1521/1522)

1618 – James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Abercorn, Scottish politician
1653 – Johan van Galen, Dutch admiral (Dunes Monte Christo), dies at about 48

1747 – Claude Alexandre de Bonneval, French soldier (b. 1675)

1786 – Patience Wright, 1st US woman pro artist, dies (birth date unknown)

1801 – Tsar Paul I of Russia (1796-1801) is struck with a sword, strangled, and trampled to death in his bedroom at St. Michael’s Castle aged 46

1842 – Stendhal, [Marie-Henri Beyle], French author (Lamiel), dies at 59

1914 – Rafqa Pietra Choboq Ar-Rayès (Saint Rebecca) Lebanese saint (b. 1832)

1931 – Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev Indian freedom fighters




1944 – O C Wingate, British major-general  (Burma), dies in air crash






1963 – Davey Moore, dies seconds after KOed in feather-weight championship

1964 – Peter Lorre, actor (Casino Royale), dies at 59

1980 – Arthur Melvin Okun, American economist (b. 1928)

1983 – Barney Clark, 1st artifical heart recipient, dies after 112 days at 62

1985 – Singing Nun, commits suicide in Belgium at 52

1987 – Dean Paul Martin, musician/tennis pro, killed in plane crash at 29

1991 – Parkash Singh, Indian soldier, recipient of the Victoria Cross (b. 1913)

1992 – Friedrich A von Hayek, British economist (Road to Serfdom), dies at 92

1994 – Luis Donaldo Colosio, Mexican pres candidate, assassinated at 44

1995 – Robert Turner, winner of 1st All-American Soap Box Derby, dies at 72

2001 – Rowland Evans, American journalist (b. 1921)




2006 – David B. Bleak, US Army  Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1932)







” Sgt. Bleak, a member of the medical company, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. As a medical aidman, he volunteered to accompany a reconnaissance patrol committed to engage the enemy and capture a prisoner for interrogation. Forging up the rugged slope of the key terrain, the group was subjected to intense automatic weapons and small arms fire and suffered several casualties. After administering to the wounded, he continued to advance with the patrol. Nearing the military crest of the hill, while attempting to cross the fire-swept area to attend the wounded, he came under hostile fire from a small group of the enemy concealed in a trench. Entering the trench he closed with the enemy, killed 2 with bare hands and a third with his trench knife. Moving from the emplacement, he saw a concussion grenade fall in front of a companion and, quickly shifting his position, shielded the man from the impact of the blast. Later, while ministering to the wounded, he was struck by a hostile bullet but, despite the wound, he undertook to evacuate a wounded comrade. As he moved down the hill with his heavy burden, he was attacked by 2 enemy soldiers with fixed bayonets. Closing with the aggressors, he grabbed them and smacked their heads together, then carried his helpless comrade down the hill to safety. Sgt. Bleak’s dauntless courage and intrepid actions reflect utmost credit upon himself and are in keeping with the honored traditions of the military service.”





2006 – Desmond Doss, American soldier and first conscientious objector Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1919)







” He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machinegun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them 1 by 1 to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands. On 2 May, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within 8 yards of enemy forces in a cave’s mouth, where he dressed his comrades’ wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety. On 5 May, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma. Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire. On 21 May, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers’ return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of 1 arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Pfc. Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.”





2007 – Paul J. Cohen, American mathematician, Fields Medal winner (b. 1934)

2007 – Eric Medlen, American NHRA drag racer (b. 1973)

2011 – Elizabeth Taylor, English-American actress (b. 1932)

2012 – Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, President of Somalia, dies from liver failure at 77