1501 - The Portuguese discovered an island in the south Atlantic on Ascension Day and named it Ascension Island. (How creative.)
1830 - H.D. Hyde of Reading, Pennsylvania patented the fountain pen. (And, shirt pockets everywhere trembled with fear.)
1861 - North Carolina became the last of the Confederate states to secede from the Union.
1861 - The capital of the Confederacy was moved from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia. (A hard move to make if North Carolina's not on your side - you may now go Google a map of the United States.)
1875 - The International Bureau of Weights and Measures was established. (Really? We need an International Bureau for this?!)
1899 - Jacob German of New York City became the first driver to be arrested for speeding. Mr. German was whipping his taxicab all over Lexington Avenue and being a pain in the neck by going over the posted 12 mile-per-hour speed limit! (Maniac.)
1902 - Cuba was handed over to a republican government and the last U.S. troops left. (How'd that work out for everyone?)
1922 - The P&O liner Egypt sank off Ushant with the loss of 90 lives after colliding in fog with the French steamship Seine. The ship was also carrying one million sterling worth of gold and silver. (Was that 1922 dollars? Because if this wreck was never recovered, I think I'm about to plan a trip to Ushant and take up scuba diving. Just as soon as I figure out where Ushant is...)
1923 - British Prime Minister Bonar Law resigned because of ill health and was replaced by Stanley Baldwin. (Please tell me you pronounce that man's name 'boner'.)
1927 - Great Britain signed the Treaty of Jeddah with King Ibn Saud, recognizing the independence of Saudi Arabia. (Bet they wish they'd kept the oil and mineral rights.)
1927 - ‘Lucky’ Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in New York aboard the small airplane "Spirit of St. Louis", en route to Paris, France. Thirty-three and one-half hours later, Charles A. Lindbergh arrived at his destination - and flew into history. (Yeah. That really is cool.)
1932 - Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland for Ireland to became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. (May 20 is a good day in the history of flight!)
1956 - The first hydrogen bomb to be dropped from the air was exploded by the Americans over the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.
1961 - A white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order. (This gives me hope that our country does have the ability to become better than we are, even when it seems like we have so far to go.)
1972 - A referendum in Cameroon approved the country's change from a federation into a unitary state. (Now looking up the words "federation" and "unitary"...)
1972 - Shawn was born! (A loud crash was heard by his dad in the waiting room of the clinic, but his mom swears he wasn't dropped.)
1973 - Ken Moore beat 4,030 competitors to win the 63rd Bay-to-Breakers footrace in San Francisco, California. Moore stepped his way to the finish line in 37 minutes, 15 seconds over a course measured at 7.8 miles. (Wow. I can barely get to the end of the block in 37 minutes.)
1978 - Mavis Hutchinson, 53, made it to New York City to become the first woman to run across America. The 3,000-mile trek took her 69 days. She ran an average of 45 miles each day. (What is wrong with these people?)
1980 - The Canadian province of Quebec voted against a proposal to negotiate independence from Canada. (Granted I was only in kindergarten, but I do not remember the Quebecian uprising of 1980.)
1985 - Larry Holmes retained the heavyweight boxing title of the International Boxing Federation at Reno, Nevada - by defeating Carl Wilson in 15 rounds. The fight marked the first, heavyweight title fight in Reno since Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries duked it out in 1910. (Way to go Reno Chamber of Commerce!)
1989 - Chinese communist authorities slapped martial law on the capital of Beijing after student-led protests brought millions of people onto the streets.
(Who could ever forget this picture?)