1 MAY 1769
THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON BORN. Arthur Wellesley was born
in Dublin (d. 1852) to an aristocratic Anglo Irish Family. He
studied at Eton college, where he was an unremarkable student
and quite lonely; though his later fame undoubtedly contributed
to the saying ‘the Battle of Waterloo was won on playing fields
Arthur joined the army in 1787, fighting against the French in
Flanders, and in 1796 was posted to India. In India, he proved
an able commander, winning important battles in the Mysore
War against the Tipu Sultan. Against overwhelming odds, he
achieved a remarkable victory at Assaye in 1803. This successful
military campaign helped to strengthen the British position in
Wellington was a tough and uncompromising military officer, he
did not wince at carrying out the strictest discipline in his army.
He was somewhat suspicious and condescending towards the
ordinary poor soldiers in his army – once famously describing
them as the ‘scum of the earth’ – after the battle of Victoria. However, at the same time, he did care for his men’s welfare, and sought to minimise casualties if possible.
His military successes did endear him to his soldiers, who displayed great loyalty. In particular, Wellington was known for his careful and meticulous preparation, which meant his supply lines could always keep up with the needs of his troops. It is reported Napoleon admired the qualities of ‘caution and courage’ in his adversary Wellington. In turn, Wellington had great praise for Napoleon as a strategic planner. When asked what he thought of Napoleon, Wellington replied.
“In this age, in past ages, in any age, Napoleon!”
On returning to England, he was knighted and made a Member of Parliament; because of his Irish roots he was appointed chief secretary for Ireland. But, his political career proved short lived. In 1808, he returned to the army and took control of the Allied forces fighting Napoleon’s army in Spain.
At the time, Napoleon was at the height of his powers, winning a series of devastating victories leaving him in control of much of Europe. However, after repeated battles between 1808 and 1814, Wellington, with the help of Portuguese and Spanish forces, helped to force France to withdraw from the Spanish peninsula.
Wellesley, returned home a hero of the Napoleonic wars and was created a Duke of Wellington. After being forced to abdicate in 1814, Napoleon was exiled from France to the island of Elba. But, a year later, Napoleon made a dramatic return to France and immediately began marching on Wellington’s army and other allied forces in Belgium.
Napoleon raced after Wellington’s army trying to split him from his Prussian allies. Wellington chose the area around Waterloo to make his stand. Initially, the forces of Napoleon made great progress and it appeared uncertain who would become the victor.
But, Wellington kept his cool and refused to be drawn into desperate strategies. In the middle of the battle, the Prussian forces under Gebhard von Blucher arrived and helped to swing the battle against Napoleon. The French forces were comprehensively defeated and the threat of Napoleon was finally solved. After the Battle of Waterloo, Wellington remarked:
My heart is broken by the terrible loss I have sustained in my old friends and companions and my poor soldiers. Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.
Wellington also remarked on how much of a close thing, the Battle of Waterloo was:
It has been a damned nice (uncertain, delicately balanced) thing — the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life. … By God! I don’t think it would have been done if I had not been there.
In 1818, Wellington returned to politics, gaining a post in the Conservative government. In 1828, he reluctantly accepted the post of Prime Minister. His political style matched his military style. Strict, authoritarian and isolationist in foreign policy. He did force through the Catholic Emancipation Act 1829 – which helped to remove discrimination against Catholics.
He was opposed to any parliamentary reform and extension of the electoral franchise. His tough stance brought him many enemies. He gained the nickname of ‘Iron Duke’ A fitting epitaph for such a tough character; and more literally, he had barred the windows in his London house to protect against protesters smashing his windows.
He served as Prime Minister for two years until 1830. From 1834, the Tories returned to power, but he turned down the post of Prime Minister preferring to become foreign secretary. He retired in 1846 and died on 14 September 1852.
1 MAY 1778
THE BATTLE OF CROOKED BILLET was a battle in the
Philadelphia campaign of the American Revolutionary
War fought on May 1, 1778 near Crooked Billet
(present-day Hatboro), Pennsylvania. In the skirmish action,
British forces under the command of Major John Graves
Simcoe launched a surprise attack against Brigadier General
John Lacey and three regiments of Pennsylvania militia,
who were literally caught sleeping. The British inflicted
significant damage, and Lacey and his forces were forced
to retreat into neighboring Bucks County.
By spring of 1778, the British had occupied the cities of New York and Philadelphia. Even after the capture of forts Mifflin and Mercer, which had previously prevented the resupply of British-occupied Philadelphia by sea, the British relied heavily upon the overland route between New York City and Philadelphia for the movement of men, supplies and communication. British troops also regularly foraged for supplies in the countryside around the city.
Since December, Washington and the Continental Army were in winter quarters at Valley Forge, northwest of Philadelphia. Twenty-three year old Lacey (who had been promoted to Brigadier General and commander of the Pennsylvania militia in January), was tasked by Washington with patrolling the region north of Philadelphia, between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Washington ordered Lacey and the militia to prevent farmers from taking their goods into Philadelphia to sell to the British (who paid high prices, in gold), and to protect patriots in the region from harassment by British and Loyalist troops.
1 MAY 1898
US FLEET DESTROYS SPANISH FLEET: At Manila Bay in
the Philippines, the U.S. Asiatic Squadron destroys the
Spanish Pacific fleet in the first battle of the
Spanish-American War. Nearly 400 Spanish sailors were
killed and 10 Spanish warships wrecked or captured at
the cost of only six Americans wounded. The
Spanish-American War had its origins in the rebellion
against Spanish rule that began in Cuba in 1895.
The repressive measures that Spain took to suppress
the guerrilla war, such as herding Cuba's rural population
into disease-ridden garrison towns, were graphically
portrayed in U.S. newspapers and enflamed public
opinion. In January 1898, violence in Havana led U.S. authorities to order the battleship USS Maine to the city's port to protect American citizens.
On February 15, a massive explosion of unknown origin sank the Maine in the Havana harbor, killing 260 of the 400 American crewmembers aboard. An official U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry ruled in March, without much evidence, that the ship was blown up by a mine but did not directly place the blame on Spain. Much of Congress and a majority of the American public expressed little doubt that Spain was responsible, however, and called for a declaration of war.
In April, the U.S. Congress prepared for war, adopting joint congressional resolutions demanding a Spanish withdrawal from Cuba and authorizing President William McKinley to use force. On April 23, President McKinley asked for 125,000 volunteers to fight against Spain. The next day, Spain issued a declaration of war. The United States declared war on April 25.
U.S. Commodore George Dewey, in command of the seven-warship U.S. Asiatic Squadron anchored north of Hong Kong, was ordered to "capture or destroy" the Spanish Pacific fleet, which was known to be in the coastal waters of the Spanish-controlled Philippines. On April 30, Dewey's lookouts caught sight of Luzon, the main Philippine island.
That night, under cover of darkness and with the lights aboard the U.S. warships extinguished, the squadron slipped by the defensive guns of Corregidor Island and into Manila Bay. After dawn rose, the Americans located the Spanish fleet: 10 out-of-date warships anchored off the Cavite naval station. The U.S. fleet, in comparison, was well armed and well staffed, largely due to the efforts of the energetic assistant secretary of the navy, Theodore Roosevelt, who had also selected Dewey for the command of the Asiatic Squadron.
At 5:41 a.m., at a range of 5,400 yards from the enemy, Commodore Dewey turned to the captain of his flagship, the Olympia, and said, "You may fire when ready, Gridley." Two hours later, the Spanish fleet was decimated, and Dewey ordered a pause in the fighting. He met with his captains and ordered the crews a second breakfast. The four surviving Spanish vessels, trapped in the little harbor at Cavite, refused to surrender, and at 11:15 a.m. fighting resumed.
At 12:30 p.m., a signal was sent from the gunboat USS Petrel to Dewey's flagship: "The enemy has surrendered." Dewey's decisive victory cleared the way for the U.S. occupation of Manila in August and the eventual transfer of the Philippines from Spanish to American control. In Cuba, Spanish forces likewise crumbled in the face of superior U.S. forces, and on August 12 an armistice was signed between Spain and the United States.
In December, the Treaty of Paris officially ended the brief Spanish-American War. The once-proud Spanish empire was virtually dissolved, and the United States gained its first overseas empire. Puerto Rico and Guam were ceded to the United States, the Philippines were bought for $20 million, and Cuba became a U.S. protectorate. Philippine insurgents who fought against Spanish rule during the war immediately turned their guns against the new occupiers, and 10 times more U.S. troops died suppressing the Philippines than in defeating Spain.
1 MAY 1960
FRANCIS GARY POWERS SHOT DOWN OVER USSR: An American
U-2 spy plane is shot down while conducting espionage over
the Soviet Union. The incident derailed an important summit
meeting between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet
leader Nikita Khrushchev that was scheduled for later that
The U-2 spy plane was the brainchild of the Central Intelligence
Agency, and it was a sophisticated technological marvel.
Traveling at altitudes of up to 70,000 feet, the aircraft was
equipped with state-of-the-art photography equipment that
could, the CIA boasted, take high-resolution pictures of
headlines in Russian newspapers as it flew overhead. Flights
over the Soviet Union began in mid-1956. The CIA assured
President Eisenhower that the Soviets did not possess
anti-aircraft weapons sophisticated enough to shoot down the
On May 1, 1960, a U-2 flight piloted by Francis Gary Powers
disappeared while on a flight over Russia. The CIA reassured
the president that, even if the plane had been shot down, it
was equipped with self-destruct mechanisms that would render any wreckage unrecognizable and the pilot was instructed to kill himself in such a situation.
Based on this information, the U.S. government issued a cover statement indicating that a weather plane had veered off course and supposedly crashed somewhere in the Soviet Union. With no small degree of pleasure, Khrushchev pulled off one of the most dramatic moments of the Cold War by producing not only the mostly-intact wreckage of the U-2, but also the captured pilot-very much alive.
A chagrined Eisenhower had to publicly admit that it was indeed a U.S. spy plane. On May 16, a major summit between the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France began in Paris. Issues to be discussed included the status of Berlin and nuclear arms control.
As the meeting opened, Khrushchev launched into a tirade against the United States and Eisenhower and then stormed out of the summit. The meeting collapsed immediately and the summit was called off. Eisenhower considered the "stupid U-2 mess" one of the worst debacles of his presidency. The pilot, Francis Gary Powers, was released in 1962 in exchange for a captured Soviet spy.
1 MAY 1941
1ST BOMBS FALL OF THE MAY BLITZ OF LIVERPOOL.
The May Blitz on Merseyside was one of the last
series of big raids on Britain before the German
invasion of Russia. It involved 681 bombers in all.
They dropped about 870 tonnes of high explosive
bombs and over 112,000 incendiaries (firebombs).
This was the last major air assault on Merseyside
during the war. It caused massive damage to the
city centre, the port and the entire area.
The first bomb landed upon Wallasey, Wirral, at
22:15 on 1 May. The peak of the bombing occurred
from 1 – 7 May 1941. It involved 681 Luftwaffe
bombers; 2,315 high explosive bombs and 119
other explosives such as incendiaries were dropped.
Half of the docks were put out of action inflicting
2,895 casualties and left many more homeless.
One incident on 3 May involved the SS Malakand, berthed in the Huskisson Dock, which was set alight by a barrage balloon that had somehow drifted free and had caught upon the ships upperworks. Despite valiant efforts by the fire brigade to extinguish the flames, the fire spread to the ship's cargo of 1,000 tons of bombs which exploded. The blast destroyed the dock itself and caused a huge amount of damage to the surrounding quays. The explosion was so violent that some pieces of the ship's hull plating were blasted into a park over 1-mile (1.6 km) away; fortunately, casualties were few.
Bootle, to the north of the city, suffered heavy damage and loss of life. Over 6,500 homes in Liverpool were completely demolished by bombing and a further 190,000 damaged.
Today one of the most vivid symbols of the Liverpool Blitz is the burnt outer shell of St Luke's Church, located in the city centre, which was destroyed by an incendiary bomb on 5 May, 1941. The church was gutted during the firebombing but remained standing and, in its prominent position in the city, was a stark reminder of what Liverpool and the surrounding area had endured. It eventually became a garden of remembrance to commemorate the thousands of local men, women and children who died as a result of the bombing of their city and region.
Those dark days had also been illuminated, too, by bright flashes of heroism. Heroism such as was displayed by a group of ten LMS railwaymen who, heedlessly, took their lives into their hands when, on the night of May 3, an ammunition train in a siding at Clubmoor was set alight. A 34 year old goods guard, George Roberts GM , was later awarded the George Medal in recognition of the leading part which he played in this heroic mass life saving affair.
All along the train wagons were exploding, but the men calmly uncoupled the rear section before the flames had spread to it and shunted it out of danger. 34 year old John Guinan, though officially off duty, rushed from his home in nearby Witton Road to the scene of the disaster, and continued uncoupling wagons despite repeated and violent explosions. Signalman Peter Stringer also displayed remarkable courage for, after being blown from his signal-box, he went grimly back to it to get on with the dangerous and complicated job of shunting.
1 MAY 1863
BATTLE OF CHANCELLORSVILLE begins in Virginia.
Earlier in the year, General Joseph Hooker led the
Army of the Potomac into Virginia to confront
Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Hooker
had recently replaced Ambrose Burnside, who
presided over the Army of the Potomac for one
calamitous campaign the previous December: The
Battle of Fredericksburg, in which the Yankees
amassed over 14,000 casualties to the Rebels' 5,000.
After spending the spring retooling and uplifting the
sinking morale of his army, Hooker advanced toward
the Confederate army, possessing perhaps the greatest advantage over Lee that any Union commander had during the war. His force numbered some 115,000 men, while Lee had just 60,000 present for service. Absent from the Confederate army were two divisions under General James Longstreet, which were performing detached service in southern Virginia. Hooker had a strategically sound plan.
He intended to avoid the Confederate trenches that protected a long stretch of the Rappahannock River around Fredericksburg. Placing two-thirds of his forces in front of Fredericksburg to feign a frontal assault and keep the Confederates occupied, he marched the rest of his army up the river, crossed the Rappahannock, and began to move behind Lee's army.
The well-executed plan placed the Army of Northern Virginia in grave danger. But Lee's tactical brilliance and gambler's intuition saved him. He split his force, leaving 10,000 troops under Jubal Early to hold the Federals at bay in Fredericksburg, and then marched the rest of his army west to meet the bulk of Hooker's force.
Conflict erupted on May 1 when the two armies met in an open area beyond the Wilderness, the tangled forest just west of the tiny burgh of Chancellorsville. Surprisingly, Hooker ordered his forces to fall back into defensive positions after only limited combat, effectively giving the initiative to Lee. Despite the fact that his army far outnumbered Lee's, and had the Confederates clamped between two substantial forces, Hooker went on the defensive.
In the following days, Lee executed his most daring battle plan. He split his army again, sending Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson further west around the Union's right flank. The crushing attack snapped the Union army and sent Hooker in retreat to Washington and, perhaps more than any other event during the war, cemented Lee's invincibility in the eyes of both sides.
1 MAY 1915
SUBMARINE WARFARE. A German submarine.
U-30, torpedoed the U.S. ship Gulflight I. The
American 5,189 ton tanker Gulflight, was
built by the New York Shipbuilding Co. of
Camden, New Jersey for the Gulf Refining
Company (a predecessor of Gulf Oil). It was
launched on 8 August 1914. The ship became
famous when it was torpedoed early in
World War I and became the center of a
diplomatic incident which moved the United States closer to war with Germany.
The ship survived the attack but was eventually sunk in 1942 by torpedo attack in World War II. Of the 38 crew, there were three fatalities. The captain had suffered a heart attack and two crew members were reported lost when they jumped overboard after the torpedo hit. She was the first American ship to be torpedoed during World War I, although another ship, the Cushing, had been bombed shortly before, again by mistake because no American markings could be seen from what was then a somewhat novel air attack.
The German government apologized for attacking Gulflight, but refused to change its strategy of unrestricted submarine warfare. A report by the British admiralty into the attack concluded that the German commander had behaved properly according to “Cruiser rules” defined in international law. A merchant ship under escort by military vessels forfeited any right to be warned before being attacked, so the patrol ships had made Gulflight a legitimate target by taking her under escort.
As an American ship, the submarine would not have attacked had he seen her nationality, but apart from an ordinary flag Gulflight was not carrying any additional markings painted on the hull to make clear her nationality, which other ships were then doing. The report also suggested that the tanker being stopped and then slowed down by the accompanying patrol had made her an accessible target. The Admiralty report was not published at the time and official comment did not explain the circumstances.
1 MAY 1785
THE BATTLE OF NU'UANU. Kamehameha I, the
king of Hawaiʻi, defeats Kalanikūpule and
establishes the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The Battle
of Nuʻuanu, fought on the southern part of the
island of Oʻahu, was a key battle in the final days
of King Kamehameha I’s wars to unify the Hawaiian
Islands. It is known in the Hawaiian language as
Kalelekaʻanae, which means “the leaping mullet”,
and refers to a number of Oahu warriors driven
off the cliff in the final phase of the battle.
The Battle of Nuʻuanu began when Kamehameha’s
forces landed on the southeastern portion of
Oʻahu near Waiʻalae and Waikiki. After spending
several days gathering supplies and scouting
Kalanikupule’s positions, Kamehameha’s army advanced westward, encountering Kalanikupule’s first line of defense near the Punchbowl Crater.
Splitting his army into two, Kamehameha sent one half in a flanking maneuver around the crater and the other straight at Kalanikupule. Pressed from both sides, the Oʻahu forces retreated to Kalanikupule’s next line of defense near Laʻimi. While Kamehameha pursued, he secretly detached a portion of his army to clear the surrounding heights of the Nuʻuanu Valley of Kalanikupule’s cannons.
Kamehameha also brought up his own cannons to shell Laʻimi. During this part of the battle, both Kalanikupule and Kaiana were wounded, Kaiana fatally. With its leadership in chaos, the Oʻahu army slowly fell back north through the Nuʻuanu Valley to the cliffs at Nuʻuanu Pali.
Caught between the Hawaiian Army and a 1000-foot drop, over 400 Oʻahu warriors either jumped or were pushed over the edge of the Pali (cliff). In 1898 construction workers working on the Pali road discovered 800 skulls which were believed to be the remains of the warriors that fell to their deaths from the cliff above.
1 MAY 1972
QUANG TRI FALLS TO COMMUNIST NORTH VIETNAM. North
Vietnamese troops capture Quang Tri City, the first provincial
capital taken during their ongoing offensive. The fall of the city
effectively gave the communists control of the entire province
of Quang Tri. As the North Vietnamese prepared to continue
their attack to the south, 80 percent of Hue’s population–already
swollen by 300,000 refugees–fled to Da Nang to get out of the
Farther south along the coast, three districts oof Binh Dinh Province also fell, leaving about one-third of the province under communist control. These attacks were part of the North Vietnamese Nguyen Hue Offensive (later called the “Easter Offensive”), a massive invasion by North Vietnamese forces designed to strike the blow that would win them the war.
The attacking force included 14 infantry divisions and 26 separate regiments, with more than 120,000 troops and approximately 1,200 tanks and other armored vehicles. The main North Vietnamese objectives, in addition to Quang Tri in the north, were Kontum in the Central Highlands, and An Loc farther to the south. Initially, the South Vietnamese defenders were almost overwhelmed, particularly in the northernmost provinces, where they abandoned their positions in Quang Tri.
At Kontum and An Loc, the South Vietnamese were more successful in defending against the attacks, but only after weeks of bitter fighting. Although the defenders suffered heavy casualties, they managed to hold their own with the aid of U.S. advisers and American airpower. Fighting continued all over South Vietnam into the summer months, but eventually the South Vietnamese forces prevailed against the invaders, retaking Quang Tri in September.
With the communist invasion blunted, President Nixon declared that the South Vietnamese victory proved the viability of his Vietnamization program, which he had instituted in 1969 to increase the combat capability of the South Vietnamese armed forces so U.S. troops could be withdrawn.
Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
MULLEN, PATRICK (Second Award)
G.O. No.: 62, 29 June 1865. Second award. Citation: Served as boatswain's mate on board the U.S.S. Don, 1 May 1865.
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company E, 7th U S. Infantry. Place and date: At Chancellorsville, Va., 1 May 1863.
SMITH, MAYNARD H. (Air Mission)
Rank and organization. Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 423d Bombardment Squadron, 306th Bomber Group. Place and date: Over Europe, 1 May 1943.
◆73 The Romans breach the final defenses at Masada.
◆1486 Christopher Columbus convinced Queen Isabella to fund expedition to the West Indies.
◆1528 The Spanish Narvaez expedition began an inland march to Florida with some 300 men and 40 horses.
◆1562 The 1st French colonists in the US, a 5-vessel Huguenot expedition led by Jean Ribault (1520-1565), landed in Florida. He continued north and established a colony named Charlesfort at Parris Island, NC.
◆1703 Battle at Pultusk: Swedes defeat the Russians & Saxons.
◆1759 British fleet captures Guadeloupe from the France.
◆1769 Arthur Wellsley, the Duke of Wellington born.★
1778 The Battle of Crooked Billet.★
1785 The Battle of Nu'uana.★
◆1844 Samuel Morse sent the 1st telegraphic message.
◆1857 William Walker, conqueror of Nicaragua, surrendered to US Navy.
◆1863 Confederate "National Flag" replaced "Stars & Bars."
◆1863 Battle of Chancellorsvile.★
◆1877 President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew all Federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction.
◆1896 Mark Clark, American general, was born. He commanded the Fifth Army in Italy during World War II.
◆1898 Battle of Manila Bay.★
◆1898 USRC McCulloch fought under Commodore George Dewey at the Battle of Manila Bay. Revenue Captain Daniel B. Hodgson recommended retired at full pay as reward of merit.
◆1915 The luxury liner Lusitania left New York Harbor for a voyage to Europe. There were warnings by the German government in NYC newspapers that it regarded the refurbished liner a battle target. She was sunk by a German U-boat six days later.
◆1915 A German submarine sank the U.S. ship Gulflight I.★
◆1927 Adolf Hitler held the first Nazi meeting in Berlin.
◆1934 The Philippine legislature accepted a U.S. proposal for independence.
◆1937 President Franklin Roosevelt signed an act of neutrality, keeping the United States out of World War II.
◆1941 The May Blitz of Liverpool began.★
◆1943 LT Akers demonstrates blind landing system for Carrier aviation at College Park, MD in OJ-2 aircraft.
◆1943 US forces complete the occupation of Hill 609 in "Mousetrap Valley." The Axis defenses in Tunisia hold American attempts to advance further.
◆1943 Food rationing began in US.
◆1944 An American force of 7 battleships and 11 destroyers, commanded by Admiral Lee, bombards Ponape. The carriers of Task Group 58.1 (Admiral Clark) provide cover for the operation.
◆1944 The Messerschmitt Me 262 Sturmvogel, the 1st jet bomber, made its first flight.
◆1945 Hamburg radio announces that Hitler is dead and that Donitz is the second Fuhrer of the Reich. Donitz himself broadcasts, announcing that "it is my duty to save the German people from destruction by Bolshevists." Meanwhile, in Berlin, Goebbels and his wife commit suicide after poisoning their six children.
◆1945 US VADM Barbey lands Australian troops on Tarakan Island, Borneo, supported by naval gunfire.
◆1945 The US 1st and 9th Armies are firmly established along the line of the Elbe and Mulde rivers. They have been forbidden to advance farther into the zone designated for Soviet occupation. To the the south, the US 7th Army presses on into Austria.
◆1947 Radar for commercial and private planes was 1st demonstrated.
◆1948 The People's Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) was proclaimed. The border between North and South Korea was sealed when Kim Il Sung established his communist regime.
◆1951 USS Princeton aircraft attack Hwachon Dam using aerial torpedoes, only use of this weapon in Korean War. They knocked out two floodgates.
◆1951 The first phase of the Chinese offensive was halted north of Seoul.
◆1952 Marines took part in an atomic explosion training in Nevada.
◆1960 U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers shot down over Russia.★
◆1964 The 1st BASIC program ran on a computer at Dartmouth.
◆1968 In the second day of battle, U.S. Marines, with the support of naval fire, continued their attack on a North Vietnamese Division at Dai Do.
◆1972 North Vietnamese troops capture Quang Tri City, the first provincial capital taken during their ongoing offensive.★
◆1980 As the Mariel Boatlift continued, 11 Navy ships begin operations assisting Coast Guard in rescuing Cuban refugees fleeing Cuba in overcrowded boats.
◆1985 US president Reagan ended embargo against Nicaragua.
◆1991 The government of Angola and US-backed guerrillas initialed agreements ending their civil war.
◆1992 On the third day of the Los Angeles riots, beaten motorist Rodney King appeared in public to appeal for calm, asking, "Can we all get along?" President Bush delivered a nationally broadcast address in which he vowed to "use whatever force is necessary" to restore order.
◆1999 The Liberty Bell 7 Mercury capsule flown by Gus Grissom, which sank in 1961, was found 300 miles offshore from Cape Canaveral in 3 waters 3 miles deep.
◆2000 The US government began allowing civilian GPS receivers to pick up more accurate satellite signals. The sport of geocaching began 2 days later.
◆2001 Pres. Bush committed the US to a missile defense shield. He also presented his case for withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia.
◆2003 Pres. Bush, standing on the USS Abraham Lincoln, a Navy aircraft carrier in San Diego, announced that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended." Bush landed on the carrier in a Navy S-3B jet and spoke below a banner that read “Mission Accomplished.”
◆2003 The Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) begins operations.