Today in History
On May 7, 1763, Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa Indians, attempted to lead a sneak attack on British-held Fort Detroit, but was foiled because the British had been tipped off in advance. (The Ottawa Indians and other tribes then launched an all-out war with the British that came to be known as Pontiac's War.)
On this date:
In 1789, the first inaugural ball was held in New York in honor of President George Washington and his wife, Martha.
In 1824, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, had its premiere in Vienna.
In 1825, composer Antonio Salieri died in Vienna, Austria.
In 1833, composer Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany.
In 1840, composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, Russia.
In 1915, nearly 1,200 people died when a German torpedo sank the British liner RMS Lusitania off the Irish coast.
In 1942, U.S. Army Gen. Jonathan Wainwright went on a Manila radio station to announce the Allied surrender of the Philippines to Japanese forces during World War II.
In 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Rheims, France, ending its role in World War II.
In 1954, the 55-day Battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam ended with Vietnamese insurgents overrunning French forces.
In 1963, the United States launched the Telstar 2 communications satellite.
In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford formally declared an end to the "Vietnam era." In Ho Chi Minh City -- formerly Saigon -- the Viet Cong celebrated its takeover.
In 1992, the latest addition to America's space shuttle fleet, Endeavour, went on its first flight. A 203-year-old proposed constitutional amendment barring Congress from giving itself a midterm pay raise received enough votes for ratification as Michigan became the 38th state to approve it.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush ordered the lifting of sanctions against Iraq, and called on members of the U.N. Security Council to do the same. The White House announced President Bush had chosen New Mexico oilman Colin R. McMillan to be secretary of the Navy and Air Force Secretary James Roche to replace the dismissed secretary of the Army, Thomas White. (However, McMillan died in an apparent suicide in July 2003, while Roche's nomination languished in Congress before being withdrawn in March 2004.)
Five years ago: President George W. Bush, addressing the Council of Americas, said Cuba's post-Fidel Castro leadership had made only "empty gestures at reform" as he rejected calls for easing U.S. restrictions on the communist island. Dmitry Medvedev was sworn in as Russia's president.
One year ago: Education Secretary Arne Duncan broke ranks with the White House, stating his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage one day after Vice President Joe Biden suggested on NBC that he supported gay marriage as well. Vladimir Putin took the oath of office as Russia's president in a brief but regal Kremlin ceremony.
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