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This Day in History - May 15

May 15

756 – Abd-al-Rahman is proclaimed emir of Cordoba, Spain

1213 – King John submits to the Pope, offering to make England and Ireland papal fiefs

1252 – Pope Innocent IV issues the papal bull ad exstirpanda, which both authorizes and limits the torture of heretics in the Medieval Inquisition

1602 – English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold discovers Cape Cod

1614 – An aristocratic uprising in France ends with the Treaty of St. Menehould

1618 – Johannes Kepler discovers his harmonics law

1702 – The War of Spanish Succession begins

1718 – The world’s first machine gun is patented by a British lawyer, James Puckle

1730 – Following the resignation of Lord Townshend, Robert Walpole becomes the sole minister in the English cabinet

1756 – The Seven Years War aka the French and Indian War, begins officially, when England declares war on France

1768 – By the Treaty of Versailles, France purchases Corsica from Genoa

1773 – Prince Klemens Von Metternich, Chancellor of Austria, is born

1781 – A large Loyalist force surrenders a fortified frame building, named Fort Granby, to a smaller Patriot force in South Carolina

1795 – Napoleon enters the Lombardian capital of Milan in triumph

1800 – President John Adams orders the federal government to leave Philadelphia and set up shop in the nation’s new capital in Washington, DC

1820 – The US Congress designates the slave trade a form of piracy

1849 – Neapolitan troops enter Palermo, Sicily

1856 – Author Lyman Frank Baum is born

1856 – Angered by the shooting of a prominent journalist, San Franciscans form their second vigilance committee to combat the lawlessness brought in by the sudden influx of people from the gold rush. The vigilantes surrounded the county jail, removed the guilty party, a politician named James P. Casey, and held a short trial before hanging him

1858 – Shakespeare scholar Emily Folger is born

1859 – Physicist Pierre Curie is born

1860 – First wife of President Woodrow Wilson, Ellen Louise Axson Wilson, is born

1862 – The Union ironclad Monitor and the gunboat Galena fire on Confederate troops at the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff, Virginia

1864 – At the Battle of New Market, Virginia Military Institute cadets repel a Union attack

1869 – The National Woman Suffrage Association forms in New York, founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

1886 – Poet Emily Dickinson dies in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she had lived in seclusion for the previous 24 years

1890 – Novelist Katherine Anne Porter is born

1891 – Russian novelist Mikhail Bulgakov is born

1896 – An F5 tornado hits Sherman, Texas, killing 73 people

1902 – Mayor of Chicago Richard Daley is born

1916 – US Marines land in Santo Domingo to quell civic disorder

1916 – The Austrian army launches a major offensive operation against Italy on the Trentino front, in northern Italy

1918 – Pfc. Henry Johnson and Pfc. Needham Roberts receive the Croix de Guerre for their WWI services and are the first Americans to win France’s highest military medal

1923 – Photographer Richard Avedon is born

1926 – English playwright and twin brother of Peter, Anthony Shaffer is born

1926 – English playwright and twin brother of Anthony, Peter Shaffer is born

1928 – The first Mickey Mouse film is screened, “Plane Crazy”

1930 – Painter and leader of Pop Art movement, Jasper Johns, Jr. is born

1930 – Ellen Church becomes the first airline stewardess

1937 – American’s first female secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, is born

1940 – The first McDonald’s fast food restaurant opens in San Bernadino

1941 – The first Allied jet, the Gloster-Whittle E28/39, flies successfully over Cranwell, England-the first test of an Allied aircraft using jet propulsion

1942 – The US begins rationing gasoline

1942 – A bill establishing a women’s corps in the US Army becomes law, thus creating the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps aka WAACs and granting women official military status

1942 – Lieutenant Ronald Reagan, a cavalry officer, applies for a reassignment to the Army Air Force, where he would eventually put his thespian background to use on WWII propaganda films

1948 – Egypt, Syria, Transjordan and Iraq invade Israel

1948 – English singer, songwriter, keyboard player and producer, Brian Eno, is born

1951 – AT&T becomes the first US corporation to have a million stockholders

1956 – English magician and painter Austin Osman Spare dies

1958 – Sputnik III is launched from the Soviet Union

1963 – The last Project Mercury space flight-Faith 7, carrying Gordon Cooper, is launched

1967 – US forces south of the DMZ come under heavy fire

1967 – American painter Edward Hopper dies

1968 – US Marines relieve army troops in Nhi Ha, South Vietnam after battle

1970 – President Richard Nixon presents Sgt. John L. Levitow with the Medal of Honor for heroic action in Vietnam. Levitow was one of only two enlisted airmen to win the prestigious medal, and was one of only five enlisted airmen ever to win and the first since WWII. Levitow’s aircraft had been supporting several Army units that were engaged in battle with North Vietnamese troops when an enemy mortar hit the aircraft’s right wing, exploding the wing frame. Thousands of pieces of shrapnel ripped through, wounding four of the crew. Levitow was struck forty times in his right side and despite profuse bleeding, threw himself on an activated, smoking magnesium flare, dragged himself and the flare to the open cargo door, and tossed the flare out of the aircraft just before it ignited, thus saving his fellow crew members and the gunship

1972 – Governor George Wallace of Alabama is shot by Arthur Bremer, in Maryland. Wallace is permanently paralyzed from the waist down and three others were wounded

1973 – California Angel Nolan Ryan strikes out 12 Kansas City Royals and walks three to pitch the first no-hitter of his career

1975 – The merchant ship Mayaguez is recaptured from Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge

1976 – Patricia Columbo and Frank DeLuca are arrested for the murder of Columbo’s parents and brother in Elk Grove, Illinois. A twenty-year-old Columbo moved in with DeLuca, a married man, and the two lovers shot Colubmo’s parents, then bludgeoned her brother Mike with a bowling trophy and stabbed him nearly 100 times-all of the murders were a retaliation for Columbo’s father Frank having beat up Frank once he found out he was living with his daughter. Both received 200-300 years in prison for their crime. In 1979, Columbo hit the spotlight again when it came to light she was organizing sex orgies involving guards and wardens in her prison in Dwight, Illinois, and high-ranking officials, including the warden, were forced to resign in the wake of the scandal

1978 – 12th Prime Minister of Australia, Robert Menzies, dies

1981 – French soccer player Patrice Evra is born

1987 – Scottish tennis player Andy Murray is born

1988 – Soviets forces begin withdrawal from Afghanistan

2008 – Celebrity private detective Anthony Pellicano is found guilty of conspiring to wiretap the phones of the ex-wife of the billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian during a child-support dispute

2012 – Mexican author Carlos Fuentes dies


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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