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This Day in History - May 8

May 8

1450 – Jack Cade’s Rebellion-Kentishmen revolt against King Henry VI occurs

1541 – Hernando de Soto discovers the Mississippi River which he calls Rio de Espiritu Santo

1559 – An act of supremacy defines Queen Elizabeth I as the supreme governor of the church of England but is often backdated to 1558, the beginning of the session of Parliament in which it passed

1668 – French writer Alain Rene Lesage is born

1753 – Mexican nationalist Miguel Hidalgo is born

1792 – Congress passes the second portion of the Militia Act, requiring every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five to be enrolled in the militia

1794 – The US Post Office is established

1828 – Swiss philanthropist, founder of the Red Cross and YMCA, and first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Jean Henri Durant is born

1829 – Pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk is born

1835 – The first installment of Hans Christian Andersen’s “Fairy Tales,” is published by C.A. Reitzel in Copenhagen, Denmark

1846 – The first major battle of the Mexican War is fought at Palo Alto, Texas and General Zachary Taylor will defeat a superior Mexican force

1862 – General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson repulses the Federals at the Battle of McDowell in the Shenandoah Valley

1864 – Union troops arrive at Spotsylvania Court House to find Confederates waiting on them

1873 – Economist, civil servant and philosopher John Stuart Mill dies

1884 – 33rd President of the US, Harry Truman is born

1886 – Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton invents Coca-Cola

1891 – Russian scholar, and theosophist Helena Blavatsky dies

1895 – China cedes Taiwan to Japan under Treaty of Shimonoseki

1895 – Critic and essayist Edmund Wilson is born

1899 – The Countess Cathleen by William Butler Yeats opens in Dublin at the Irish Literary Theatre’s inaugural performance

1903 – French painter Paul Gauguin dies

1904 – US Marines land in Tangier, North Africa to protect the Belgian legation

1906 – Italian film director Roberto Rossellini is born

1910 – Jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams is born

1911 – Singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Robert Johnson is born

1919 – The first transatlantic flight by a navy seaplane takes off

1919 – Edward George Honey, a journalist from Melbourne, Australia, writes a letter to the London Evening News, proposing that the first anniversary of the armistice ending WWI, concluded on November 11, 1918, be commemorated by several moments of silence

1920 – Author Sloan Wilson is born

1926 – English television host David Attenborough is born

1927 – French aviators Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli’s PL.8 biplane, The White Bird, disappear on their attempted non-stop transatlantic flight after leaving Paris. Their disappearance remains a mystery to this day

1928 – Advisor to John F. Kennedy, Theodore Sorensen is born

1930 – Beat poet Gary Snyder is born

1933 – Mahatma Gandhi begins a hunger strike to protest British oppression in India

1937 – Novelist Thomas Pynchon is born

1940 – Novelist Peter Benchley is born

1940 – German commandos in Dutch uniforms cross the Dutch border to hold bridges for the advancing German army

1942 – The Battle of the Coral Sea between the Japanese Navy and the US Navy ends

1945 – The final surrender of German forces is celebrated as VE (Victory Europe) day

1945 – Pianist and composer Keith Jarret is born

1950 – A flash flood after 14 inches of rain, kills 23 people in Nebraska-most of them drowned after being trapped in their vehicles

1952 – Allied fighter-bombers stage the largest raid of the war on North Korea

1952 – Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley is born

1956 – Henry Ford II, grandson of legendary auto pioneer, resigns as chairman of his family’s charitable organization, the Ford Foundation

1958 – President Dwight Eisenhower orders the National Guard out of Little Rock as Ernest Green becomes the first black to graduate from an Arkansas public school

1963 – Relatively unknown Scottish actor Sean Connery stars in his first Bond movie, Dr. No

1967 – Boxer Muhammad Ali is indicted for refusing induction in US Army

1970 – The New York Knicks defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in the seventh game of the NBA Finals to win their first NBA championship

1970 – The Beatles release the album Let It Be

1970 – President Nixon defends the US troop movement into Cambodia at a news conference

1970 – Author and activist Naomi Klein is born

1972 – President Richard Nixon announces that he has ordered the mining of major North Vietnamese ports to prevent the flow of arms and material to the communist forces that had invaded South Vietnam in March and that foreign ships had three days to leave before the mines would be activated

1973 – Armed members of the American Indian Movement surrender to federal authorities, ending their 71-day siege of Wounded Knee, site of the infamous massacre of 300 Sioux by the US 7th Cavalry in 1890-Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

1976 – John Sebastian, a former member of the Lovin’ Spoonful band, who wrote “Welcome Back,” for a sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, today, becomes the #1 song in America

1978 – Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler climb Mount Everest without oxygen

1980 – The World Health Organization announces that smallpox has been eradicated

1984 – The Soviet Union announces it will not participate in Summer Olympics planned for Los Angeles

1988 – Stella Nickell is convicted on two counts of murder by a Seattle, Washington jury after she violated the Federal Anti-Tampering Act after putting cyanide in Excedrin capsules in an effort to kill her husband

1988 – Writer Robert A. Heinlein dies

1990 – Italian composer Luigi Nono dies

1995 – Jacques Chirac is elected president of France

2007 – A new Northern Ireland Executive is formed with Ian Paisley as First Minister and Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister

2010 – 88-year-old actress Betty White becomes the oldest Saturday Night Live host, in part, due to hundreds of thousands of her fans taking up a Facebook campaign rallying for it


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.


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