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Interesting historical events that occurred on May 20…

May 19, 2012

Sunday, May 20.  2012.  Here we go!

1497 – John Cabot sets sail from Bristol, England, on his ship  Matthew looking for a route to the west (other documents give a May 2 date).

the gun wire

Abraham Lincoln

1570 – Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues the first modern atlas.

1775 – Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence signed in CharlotteNorth Carolina

1861 – American Civil War: The state of Kentucky proclaims its neutrality, which will last until September 3 when Confederate forces enter the state. Meanwhile, the State of North Carolina secedes from the Union.

1862 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Ware Bottom Church – in the Virginia Bermuda Hundred Campaign, 10,000 troops fight in this Confederate victory.

1873 – Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.

1891 – History of cinema: The first public display of Thomas Edison‘s prototype kinetoscope.

1902 – Cuba gains independence from the United States. Tomás Estrada Palma becomes the country’s first President.

1916 – The Saturday Evening Post publishes its first cover with a Norman Rockwell painting (Boy with Baby Carriage).

1927 – At 07:52 Charles Lindbergh takes off from Roosevelt Field in Long IslandNew York, on the world’s first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. He touched down at Le Bourget Field in Paris at 22:22 the next day.

1932 – Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland to begin the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot, landing in Ireland the next day.

1940 – Holocaust: The first prisoners arrive at a new concentration camp at Auschwitz.

1949 – In the United States, the Armed Forces Security Agency, the predecessor to the National Security Agency, is established.

1969 – The Battle of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam ends.

1983 – First publications of the discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by Luc Montagnier.

1989 – The Chinese authorities declare martial law in the face of pro-democracy demonstrations, setting the scene for the Tiananmen Square massacre.


1818 – William Fargo, American pioneer expressman, co-founder of Wells, Fargo & Co. (d. 1881)

1944 – Joe Cocker, British singer

1946 – Cher, American singer & actress

1958 – Ron Reagan, American talk show host

1972 – Busta Rhymes, American rapper and actor


1506 – Christopher Columbus, Italian explorer (b. 1451)

1989 – Gilda Radner, American comedian and actress (b. 1946)

2005 – William Seawell, U.S. Army Brigadier General (b. 1918)

2011 – Randy Savage, American Pro-Wrestler (b. 1952)



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