May 9th in History

This day in historyMay 9 is the 129th day of the year (130th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 236 days remaining until the end of the year.




In 1092,  Lincoln Cathedral is consecrated.

In 1386,  England and Portugal formally ratify their alliance with the signing of the Treaty of Windsor, making it the oldest diplomatic alliance in the world which is still in force.

In 1450,  ‘Abd al-Latif (Timurid monarch) is assassinated.

Brooklyn Museum - Embarkation of the Pilgrims - Robert Walter Weir - overall.jpgIn 1657,  William Bradford, English-American politician, 2nd Governor of Plymouth Colony (b. 1590) dies. He was an English Separatist leader in Leiden, Holland, and in Plymouth Colony. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact while aboard the Mayflower in 1620. He served as Plymouth Colony Governor five times covering about thirty years between 1621 and 1657. His journal, Of Plymouth Plantation, covered the period from 1620 to 1657 in Plymouth Colony.

In 1662,  The figure who later became Mr. Punch made his first recorded appearance in England.

In 1671,  Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman, attempts to steal England’s Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.

In 1726,  Five men arrested during a raid on Mother Clap‘s molly house in London are executed at Tyburn.

In 1763,  The Siege of Fort Detroit begins during Pontiac’s War against British forces.

In 1864,  Second War of Schleswig: The Danish navy defeats the Austrian and Prussian fleets in the Battle of Heligoland.

John Sedgwick.pngIn 1864,  John Sedgwick, American general (b. 1813) was killed by a sharpshooter at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. He was a teacher, a career military officer, and a Union Army general in the American Civil War. He was the highest ranking Union casualty in the Civil War.

Sedgwick was born in the Litchfield Hills town of Cornwall, Connecticut. He was named after his grandfather, John Sedgwick (brother of Theodore Sedgwick), an American Revolutionary War general who served with George Washington. He attended Sharon Academy for 2 years and Cheshire Academy in 1830-31, After teaching for two years, he attended the United States Military Academy, graduated in 1837 ranked 24th of 50, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s artillery branch. He fought in the Seminole Wars and received two brevet promotions in the Mexican-American War, to captain for Contreras and Churubusco, and to major for Chapultepec. After returning from Mexico he transferred to the cavalry and served in Kansas, in the Utah War, and in the Indian Wars, participating in 1857 in a punitive expedition against the Cheyenne.

In the summer and fall of 1860, Sedgwick commanded an expedition to establish a new fort on the Platte River in what is now Colorado. This was a remote location with no railroads, and all supplies having to be carried long distances by riverboat, wagon train or horseback. Even though many of these supplies failed to arrive, Sedgwick still managed to erect comfortable stone buildings for his men before the cold weather set in.

Sedgwick fell at the beginning of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, on May 9, 1864. His corps was probing skirmish lines ahead of the left flank of Confederate defenses and he was directing artillery placements. Confederate sharpshooters were about 1,000 yards (900 m) away and their shots caused members of his staff and artillerymen to duck for cover. Sedgwick strode around in the open and was quoted as saying, “What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line?” Although ashamed, his men continued to flinch and he said, “Why are you dodging like this? They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” Reports that he never finished the sentence are apocryphal, although the line was among his last words. He was shot moments later under the left eye and fell down dead.

In 1873,  Der Krach: Vienna stock market crash heralds the Long Depression.

In 1874,  The first horse-drawn bus makes its début in the city of Mumbai, traveling two routes.

In 1877,  Mihail Kogălniceanu reads, in the Chamber of Deputies, the Declaration of Independence of Romania. This day became the Independence Day of Romania.

In 1877,  A magnitude 8.8 earthquake off the coast of Peru kills 2,541, including some as far away as Hawaii and Japan.

In 1887,  Buffalo Bill Cody‘s Wild West Show opens in London.

In 1901,  Australia opens its first parliament in Melbourne.

In 1904,  The steam locomotive City of Truro becomes the first steam engine in Europe to exceed 100 mph (160 km/h).

In 1911,  The works of Gabriele D’Annunzio are placed in the Index of Forbidden Books by the Vatican.

Post 5416186694 12003bd602 o.jpgIn 1914,  C. W. Post, American businessman, founded Post Foods (b. 1854) over a stomach illness took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot. He was an American breakfast cereal and foods manufacturer and a pioneer in the prepared-food industry. Post was a staunch opponent of the trade union movement and was remembered by the National Association of Manufacturers as one who “opposed bitterly boycotts, strikes, lockouts, picketing and other forms of coercion in the relations between employer and employee.” Post was also a leading public advocate of the open shop system.

In 1915,  World War I: Second Battle of Artois between German and French forces.

Anthony wilding, ca 1912.jpgIn 1915,  Tony Wilding, New Zealand tennis player (b. 1883) was killed in action during World War I. He was a champion tennis player from Christchurch, New Zealand and the son of wealthy English immigrants to New Zealand and enjoyed the use of private tennis courts at their home. He obtained a legal education at Trinity College, Cambridge and briefly joined his father’s law firm. Wilding was a first-class cricketer and a keen motorcycle enthusiast. His tennis career started with him winning the Canterbury Championships aged 17. He developed into a leading tennis player in the world during 1909–1914 and is considered to be a former World number 1. He won 11 Major titles including six in singles and five in doubles and was both World Hard Court and World Covered Court champion, then an ILTF Major. Wilding also won the Davis Cup four times playing for Australasia, and won a bronze medal at the indoor singles tennis event of the 1912 Olympics. In his ranking list of greatest tennis players compiled in 1950, Norman Brookes, winner of three Majors and president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia, put Wilding in fourth place. Shortly after the outbreak of World War I he enlisted and was killed on 9 May 1915 during the Battle of Aubers Ridge at Neuve-Chapelle, France. In 1978 Wilding was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

In 1918,  World War I: Germany repels Britain’s second attempt to blockade the port of Ostend, Belgium.

In 1920,  Polish-Soviet War: The Polish army under General Edward Rydz-Śmigły celebrates its capture of Kiev with a victory parade on Khreschatyk.

In 1926,  Admiral Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett claim to have flown over the North Pole (later discovery of Byrd’s diary appears to cast some doubt on the claim.)

In 1927,  The Australian Parliament first convenes in Canberra.

In 1936,  Italy formally annexes Ethiopia after taking the capital Addis Ababa on May 5.

In 1940,  World War II: The German submarine U-9 sinks the French coastal submarine Doris near Den Helder.

In 1941,  World War II: The German submarine U-110 is captured by the Royal Navy. On board is the latest Enigma cryptography machine which Allied cryptographers later use to break coded German messages.

In 1942,  Holocaust: The SS murders 588 Jewish residents of the Podolian town of Zinkiv (Khmelnytska oblast, Ukraine). The Zoludek Ghetto (in Belarus) is destroyed and all its inhabitants murdered or deported.

In 1945,  World War II: Ratification in Berlin-Karlshorst of the German unconditional surrender of May 8 in Rheims, France, with the signatures of Marshal Georgy Zhukov for the Soviet Union, and for the Western Headquarters Sir Arthur Tedder, British Air Marshal and Eisenhower’s deputy, and for the German side of Colonel-General Hans-Jürgen Stumpff as the representative of the Luftwaffe, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel as the Chief of Staff of OKW, and Admiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg as Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine.

In 1945,  World War II: The Channel Islands are liberated by the British after five years of German occupation.

In 1946,  King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy abdicates and is succeeded by Umberto II.

In 1948,  Czechoslovakia‘s Ninth-of-May Constitution comes into effect.

In 1949,  Rainier III of Monaco becomes Prince of Monaco.

In 1950,  Robert Schuman presents his proposal on the creation of an organized Europe, which according to him was indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations. This proposal, known as the “Schuman declaration“, is considered by some people to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the European Union.

In 1955,  Cold War: West Germany joins NATO.

In 1958,  Film: Vertigo has world premiere in San Francisco.

In 1960,  The Food and Drug Administration announces it will approve birth control as an additional indication for Searle‘s Enovid, making Enovid the world’s first approved oral contraceptive pill.

In 1961,  FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow gives his Wasteland Speech.

In 1964,  Ngo Dinh Can, de facto ruler of central Vietnam under his brother President Ngo Dinh Diem before the family’s toppling, is executed.

Harold Gray.gifIn 1968,  Harold Gray, American cartoonist, created Little Orphan Annie (b. 1894) dies of cancer at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla on May 9, 1968, at the age of 74. He was an American cartoonist, best known as the creator of the newspaper comic strip Little Orphan Annie. He is considered to be the first American cartoonist to use a comic strip to express a political philosophy. Harold Gray was born in Kankakee, Illinois on January 20, 1894, to Estella Mary (née Rosencrans) and Ira Lincoln Gray, a farmer. Both parents died before he finished high school in 1912 in West Lafayette, Indiana, where the family had moved. In 1913, he got his first newspaper job at a Lafayette daily. He could trace his American ancestry back to 17th-century settlers. He grew up on farms in Illinois and Indiana, and worked in construction to pay his college tuition at Purdue University. He graduated with a degree in engineering by 1917. From 1921 to 1924, he did the lettering for Sidney Smith‘s The Gumps. After he came up with a strip idea in 1924 for Little Orphan Otto, the title was altered by Chicago Tribune editor Joseph Medill Patterson to Little Orphan Annie, launched August 5, 1924.

Loauncledan.jpgBy the 1930s, Little Orphan Annie had evolved from a crudely drawn melodrama to a crisply rendered atmospheric story with novelistic plot threads. The dialogue consisted mainly of meditations on Gray’s own deeply conservative political philosophy. Gray made no secret of his dislike for the New Deal ways of President Franklin Roosevelt and would often decry unions and other things he saw as impediments to the hard-working American way of life.

Gray sometimes ghosted Little Joe (1933–72), the strip by his assistant (and cousin) Ed Leffingwell which was continued by Ed’s brother Robert. Maw Green, a spin-off of Annie was published as a topper to Little Orphan Annie. It mixed vaudeville timing with the same deeply conservative attitudes as Annie.

Films, radio and merchandising made Gray a multi-millionaire

In 1969,  Carlos Lamarca leads the first urban guerrilla action against the military dictatorship of Brazil in São Paulo, by robbing two banks.

In 1970,  Vietnam War: In Washington, D.C., 75,000 to 100,000 war protesters demonstrate in front of the White House.

In 1974,  Watergate Scandal: The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opens formal and public impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon.

In 1977,  Hotel Polen fire: A disastrous fire burns down the Hotel Polen in Amsterdam causing 33 deaths and 21 severe injuries.

James Ramon Jones.jpgIn 1977,  James Jones, American author (b. 1921) dies in Southampton, New York of congestive heart failure and is buried in Poxabogue-Evergreen Cemetery, Bridgehampton, New York. His papers are now held at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. His widow, Gloria, died on June 9, 2006. He was an American author known for his explorations of World War II and its aftermath. He won the 1952 National Book Award for his first published novel, From Here to Eternity, which was adapted for the big screen immediately and made into a television series a generation later.

In 1979,  Iranian Jewish businessman Habib Elghanian is executed by firing squad in Tehran, prompting the mass exodus of the once 100,000 member strong Jewish community of Iran.

In 1980,  In Florida, Liberian freighter MV Summit Venture collides with the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, making a 1,400-ft. section of the southbound span collapse. Thirty-five people in six cars and a Greyhound bus fall 150 ft. into the water and die.

In 1980,  In Norco, California, five masked gunmen hold up a Security Pacific bank, leading to a violent shoot-out and one of the largest pursuits in California history. Two of the gunmen and one police officer are killed and thirty-three police and civilian vehicles are destroyed in the chase.

In 1987,  An LOT Polish Airlines Ilyushin IL-62M, Tadeusz Kościuszko (SP-LBG), crashes after takeoff in Warsaw, Poland, killing all 183 people on board.

In 1992,  Armenian forces capture Shusha, marking a major turning point in the Karabakh War.

In 1992,  Westray Mine Disaster kills 26 workers in Nova Scotia, Canada.

In 2001,  In Ghana 129 football fans die in what became known as the Accra Sports Stadium disaster. The deaths are caused by a stampede (caused by the firing of teargas by police personnel at the stadium) that followed a controversial decision by the referee.

In 2002,  The 38-day stand-off in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem comes to an end when the Palestinians inside agree to have 13 suspected terrorists among them deported to several different countries.

In 2012,  A Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft crashes into Mount Salak in West Java, Indonesia, killing 45 people.

Senator Harlan Mathews (D-TN).jpg

Harlan Mathews

In 2014, Harlan Mathews, American lawyer and politician (b. 1927) dies of brain cancer on May 9, 2014 at a hospice in Nashville, Tennessee. He was survived by his wife, Pat Mathews and two sons. A third son, Richard Mathews, had preceded him in death. Don’t remember him…. well he was a very nice man that just happened to be a Democratic United States Senator from Tennessee from 1993 to 1994. He had previously served in the executive and legislative branches of state government in Tennessee for over 40 years beginning in 1950.

In 1944, after high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served until 1946. Returning to Alabama, he graduated from Jacksonville State College (now Jacksonville State University) with a B.A. degree in 1949. He came to Nashville and obtained a master’s degree in public administration from Vanderbilt University in 1950. He began work on Governor Gordon Browning‘s planning staff. When Frank G. Clement was elected in 1954 Mathews moved to the state’s budget staff. A year after beginning his service as Commissioner of Finance and Administration in 1961, he completed his law degree in 1962 from the YMCA Night Law School, now Nashville School of Law.

In 2015,  An Airbus A400M Atlas military transport aircraft crashes near the Spanish city of Seville with three people on board killed.

In 2015,  Russia stages its biggest ever military parade in Moscow’s Red Square to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory Day.

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