Today in History

Published 10:53 am Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Today is Tuesday, May 1, the 121st day of 2018. There are 244 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey gave the command, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley,” as an American naval force destroyed a Spanish squadron in Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

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On this date:

In 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was created as a treaty merging England and Scotland took effect.

In 1786, Mozart’s opera “The Marriage of Figaro” premiered in Vienna.

In 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Western Hemisphere, opened to the public in Chicago, beginning a six-month run.

In 1918, TV personality Jack Paar, the second host of NBC’s “Tonight Show,” was born in Canton, Ohio.

In 1931, New York’s 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated. Singer Kate Smith made her debut on CBS Radio on her 24th birthday.

In 1941, the Orson Welles motion picture “Citizen Kane” premiered in New York.

In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane over Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

In 1967, Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. (They divorced in 1973.) Anastasio Somoza Debayle became president of Nicaragua.

In 1978, Ernest Morial was inaugurated as the first black mayor of New Orleans.

In 1982, the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, was opened by President Ronald Reagan.

In 1998, Eldridge Cleaver, the fiery Black Panther leader who later renounced his past and became a Republican, died in Pomona, California, at age 62. Former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the 1994 genocide of more than half a million Tutsis. (Kambanda was later sentenced to life in prison.)

In 2011, President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden during a U.S. commando operation (because of the time difference, it was early May 2 in Pakistan, where the al-Qaida leader met his end).

Ten years ago: Three dozen people were killed in a double suicide bombing during a wedding procession in Balad Ruz, Iraq. A military jury at Fort Hood, Texas, acquitted Army Sgt. Leonard Trevino of premeditated murder in the death of an unarmed Iraqi insurgent. Deborah Jeane Palfrey, 52, the so-called “D.C. Madam” convicted of running a prostitution ring, hanged herself in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, a member of the inner circle of plotters who attempted to kill Adolf Hitler, died in Altenahr, Germany, at age 90.

Five years ago: Workers around the world united in anger during May Day rallies — from fury in Europe over austerity measures that cut wages, reduced benefits and eliminated many jobs altogether, to rage in Asia over relentlessly low pay, the rising cost of living and hideous working conditions. Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard was a unanimous choice as the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. Chris Kelly, 34, half of the 1990s kid rap duo Kris Kross, died in Atlanta.

One year ago: Erasing the threat of a disruptive government shutdown, the White House and top lawmakers endorsed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to carry the nation through September 2017. An attacker with a machete-like knife fatally stabbed one person and wounded at least three others on the University of Texas campus; a suspect was taken into custody. Ryan Seacrest made his debut as the new co-host of the morning chat show “Live” with Kelly Ripa.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Judy Collins is 79. Actor Stephen Macht is 76. Singer Rita Coolidge is 73. Pop singer Nick Fortuna (The Buckinghams) is 72. Actor-director Douglas Barr is 69. Actor Dann Florek is 67. Singer-songwriter Ray Parker Jr. is 64. Actor Byron Stewart is 62. Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen is 58. Actress Maia Morgenstern is 56. Actor Scott Coffey is 54. Country singer Wayne Hancock is 53. Actor Charlie Schlatter is 52. Country singer Tim McGraw is 51. Rock musician Johnny Colt is 50. Rock musician D’Arcy is 50. Movie director Wes Anderson is 49. Actress Julie Benz is 46. Actor Bailey Chase is 46. Country singer Cory Morrow is 46. Gospel/rhythm-and-blues singer Tina Campbell (Mary Mary) is 44. Actor Darius McCrary is 42. Actor Jamie Dornan is 36. Actress Kerry Bishe is 34.