Today in History

  • Tue May 4th, 2010 10:19pm
  • Life

Today is Wednesday, May 5, the 125th day of 2010. There are 240 days left in the year.


On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan Shepard Jr. became America’s first space traveler as he made a 15-minute sub-orbital flight in a capsule.


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

In 1925, schoolteacher John Scopes was charged in Tennessee with violating a state law that prohibited teaching the theory of evolution. (Scopes was found guilty, but his conviction was later set aside.)

In 1960, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announced his country had shot down an American U-2 plane that the U.S. claimed was conducting weather studies over Turkey. (The U.S. cover story fell apart two days later when Khrushchev announced that the U-2 pilot, Francis Gary Powers, survived.)

In 2009, Texas health officials confirmed the first death of a U.S. resident with swine flu.

Associated Press

Today in History

Today is Monday, May 3, the 123rd day of 2010. There are 242 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On May 3, 1960, the Harvey Schmidt-Tom Jones musical “The Fantasticks” began a nearly 42-year run at New York’s Sullivan Street Playhouse, closing in Jan. 2002 after 17,162 performances.

On this date:

In 1802, Washington, D.C., was incorporated as a city.

In 1810, English poet Lord Byron, inspired by the Greek myth of Hero and Leander, swam across the Hellespont, a strait located in present-day Turkey.

In 1909, a wireless news dispatch was transmitted from The New York Times to the Chicago Tribune in the first such communication between the two cities.

In 1916, Irish nationalist Padraic Pearse and two others were executed by the British for their roles in the Easter Rising.

In 1945, during World War II, Allied forces captured Rangoon, Burma, from the Japanese.

In 1948, the Supreme Court, in Shelley vs. Kraemer, ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks or members of other racial groups were legally unenforceable.

In 1979, Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher was chosen to become Britain’s first female prime minister as the Tories ousted the incumbent Labour government in parliamentary elections.

In 1986, in NASA’s first post-Challenger launch, an unmanned Delta rocket lost power in its main engine shortly after liftoff, forcing safety officers to destroy it by remote control.

In 2000: The trial of two alleged Libyan intelligence agents accused of blowing Pan Am Flight 103 out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 opened in the Netherlands. (One of the defendants, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, was convicted of murder; he was freed from a Scottish prison in 2009 on compassionate grounds because of advanced prostate cancer and returned to Libya. The other defendant, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted.)

In 2005: The first democratically elected government in the history of Iraq was sworn in. Iran told a United Nations nonproliferation conference it would press on with its uranium-enrichment technology.

Associated Press