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This Day in History
May 15, 2014, 05:00 AM

In 1602, English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold and his ship, the Concord, arrived at present-day Cape Cod, which he’s credited with naming.

In 1776, Virginia endorsed American independence from Britain.

In 1863, Edouard Manet’s painting “Le dejeuner sur l’herbe” (The Lunch on the Grass) went on display in Paris, scandalizing viewers with its depiction of a nude woman seated on the ground with two fully dressed men at a picnic in a wooded area.

In 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil Co. was a monopoly in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and ordered its breakup.

In 1930, registered nurse Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard an Oakland-to-Chicago flight operated by Boeing Air Transport (a forerunner of United Airlines).

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, whose members came to be known as WACs. Wartime gasoline rationing went into effect in 17 Eastern states, limiting sales to three gallons a week for non-essential vehicles.

In 1954, the Fender Stratocaster guitar, created by Leo Fender, was officially released.

In 1963, astronaut L. Gordon Cooper blasted off aboard Faith 7 on the final mission of the Project Mercury space program.

In 1974, three Palestinian infiltrators took 100 pupils hostage at a school in the town of Maalot in northern Israel; the gunmen killed 22 children as Israeli troops stormed the building, killing the hostage-takers.

In 1975, U.S. forces invaded the Cambodian island of Koh Tang and recaptured the American merchant ship Mayaguez. (All 40 crew members had already been released safely by Cambodia; some 40 U.S. servicemen were killed in the operation.)

In 1988, the Soviet Union began the process of withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, more than eight years after Soviet forces had entered the country.

In 1991, Edith Cresson was appointed by French President Francois Mitterrand (frahn-SWAH’ mee-teh-RAHN’) to be France’s first female prime minister.

Ten years ago: A 40-ton steel girder dropped from a freeway overpass construction site into morning traffic in Golden, Colorado, crushing one car and killing a family of three. Col. Robert Morgan, commander of the famed Memphis Belle B-17 bomber that flew combat missions over Europe during World War II, died in Asheville, North Carolina, at age 85. Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones posted a record 11-1/2-length victory in the Preakness (however, the horse failed to win the Belmont Stakes).

Five years ago: General Motors told about 1,100 dealers their franchises would be terminated. CIA Director Leon Panetta defended the agency against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s charge that she was misled in 2002 about the use of waterboarding on detainees. Pope Benedict XVI ended his Mideast visit at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Former basketball star and accomplished jazzman Wayman Tisdale died in Tulsa, Oklahoma. at age 44.

One year ago: Under mounting pressure, President Barack Obama released a trove of documents related to the Benghazi attack and forced out the top official at the Internal Revenue Service following revelations the agency had targeted conservative political groups. Congressional Republicans and Democrats challenged Attorney General Eric Holder over the Justice Department’s handling of the investigation of national security leaks and its failure to talk to The Associated Press before issuing subpoenas for the news service’s telephone records; Holder defended the inquiry while pointing out he had removed himself from any decision on subpoenas. Today’s Birthdays: Playwright Sir Peter Shaffer is 88. Actress-singer Anna Maria Alberghetti is 78. Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy is 78. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is 77. Singer Trini Lopez is 77. Singer Lenny Welch is 76. Actress-singer Lainie Kazan is 74. Actress Gunilla Hutton is 72. Country singer K.T. Oslin is 72. The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, is 66. Singer-songwriter Brian Eno is 66. Actor Nicholas Hammond (Film: “The Sound of Music”) is 64. Actor Chazz Palminteri is 62. Baseball Hall-of-Famer George Brett is 61. Musician-composer Mike Oldfield is 61. Actor Lee Horsley is 59. TV personality Giselle Fernandez is 53. Football Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith is 45. Singer-rapper Prince Be (PM Dawn) is 44. Actor Brad Rowe is 44. Actor David Charvet (shahr-VAY’) is 42. Actor Russell Hornsby is 40. Rock musician Ahmet Zappa is 40. Olympic gold-medal gymnast Amy Chow is 36. Actor David Krumholtz is 36. Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler is 33. Rock musician Brad Shultz (Cage the Elephant) is 32. Rock musician Nick Perri is 30.

 

 

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