Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Sunday, May 8, the 129th day of 2016. There are 237 days left in the year. This is Mother’s Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 8, 1846, the first major battle of the Mexican-American War was fought at Palo Alto, Texas; U.S. forces led by Gen. Zachary Taylor were able to beat back Mexican forces.

On this date:

In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River.

In 1794, Antoine Lavoisier (lah-vwahz-YAY’), the father of modern chemistry, was executed on the guillotine during France’s Reign of Terror.

In 1884, the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, was born in Lamar, Missouri.

In 1886, Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton began selling the original version of Coca-Cola, which he’d invented.

In 1915, Regret became the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby.

In 1921, Sweden’s Parliament voted to abolish the death penalty.

In 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced on radio that Nazi Germany’s forces had surrendered, and that “the flags of freedom fly all over Europe.”

In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon was shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.

In 1962, the musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” opened on Broadway.

In 1973, militant American Indians who’d held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for ten weeks surrendered.

In 1984, the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In 1996, South Africa took another step from apartheid to democracy by adopting a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for blacks and whites.

Ten years ago: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (mahk-MOOD’ ah-muh-DEE’-neh-zhahd) wrote to President George W. Bush, proposing “new solutions” to their differences in the first letter from an Iranian head of state to an American president in 27 years. Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias was sworn in to another term of office. Stunt artist David Blaine emerged weak and wrinkly from a week spent submerged within an 8-foot snow globe-like tank in the plaza of New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Five years ago: Relations between Egypt’s Muslims and Christians reached a new low after overnight riots left 12 people dead and a church burned. Fox television announced that Paula Abdul would be one of the judges on “The X Factor,” reuniting her with former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell (however, Abdul’s stint did not last beyond the premiere season of the new talent show).

One year ago: President Barack Obama visited Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, where he made a pitch for a Trans-Pacific agreement that would open up commerce among the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries. A Pakistani army helicopter crashed on its way to an inauguration at a resort in the country’s north, killing four foreigners ambassadors from the Philippines and Norway, as well as the wives of the ambassadors from Malaysia and Indonesia and a three-member crew.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Don Rickles is 90. Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is 90. Singer Toni Tennille is 76. Actor James Mitchum is 75. Country singer Jack Blanchard is 74. Jazz musician Keith Jarrett is 71. Actor Mark Blankfield is 68. Singer Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 65. Rock musician Chris Frantz (Talking Heads) is 65. Rockabilly singer Billy Burnette is 63. Rock musician Alex Van Halen is 63. Actor David Keith is 62. Actor Stephen Furst is 62. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is 55. Actress Melissa Gilbert is 52. Rock musician Dave Rowntree (Blur) is 52. Country musician Del Gray is 48. Rock singer Darren Hayes is 44. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 41. Blues singer-musician Joe Bonamassa is 39. Actor Matt Davis is 38. Singer Ana Maria Lombo (Eden’s Crush) is 38. Actor Elyes Gabel (TV: “Scorpion”) is 33. Actor Domhnall Gleeson is 33. Neo-soul drummer Patrick Meese (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats) is 33. Actress Julia Whelan (WAY’-lan) is 32. Actress Nora Anezeder (TV: “Zoo”) is 27.

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