01 May 2007

This day in history: 1 May

1707: The Act of Union, which had been ratified by the Scottish parliament in January and by the English in March, joined England and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.*

1786: The opera Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna.

1851: The Great Exhibition was opened in London by Queen Victoria.

1857: William Walker surrendered to Commander Charles H Davis, United States Navy, and was repatriated from Nicaragua to the United States.

1863: The Battle of Chancellorsville, between Robert E Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and Joseph Hooker's Army of the Potomac, began. The battle ended in a Confederate victory when Hooker retreated back across the Rappahannock River, though Lieutenant General "Stonewall" Jackson was shot by his own men during the night of 2/3 May and died on the 10th.
Also on this date, the "Stainless Banner" replaced the "Stars and Bars" as the national flag of the Confederate States of America.

1893: The World's Columbian Exposition (aka the Chicago World's Fair) opened in Chicago.

1898: The US Navy destroyed the Spanish Pacific fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay.

1930: The dwarf planet Pluto, discovered on 18 Feb 1930 by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, was officially named.

1931: The Empire State Building was dedicated in New York City.

1943: Sergeant Maynard H Smith, USAAC, was flying his first combat mission, as ball turret gunner aboard a B-17, when his plane was severely damaged by anti-aircraft fire and enemy fighters. Three of the crew baled out when an intense fire broke out in the centre section of the aircraft. Smith fought the fire by himself, administered first aid to the tail gunner, manned the waist guns, and fought the fire. When ammunition stowed in the radio compartment began to explode, Smith threw the exploding ammunition overboard, continued fighting the fire until all the firefighting aids were exhausted, manned the workable guns until the enemy fighters were driven away, further administered first aid to the tail gunner, and then completely extinguished the fire by hand. Smith was awarded the Medal of Honor.

1960: Captain Francis Gary Powers, USAF, flying a Lockheed U-2 spyplane, was shot down over the Soviet Union.

1978: Naomi Uemura, travelling by dog sled, became the first person to reach the North Pole alone.

2001: Thomas Blanton Jr became the second ex-Ku Klux Klansman to be convicted in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.

2004: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined the European Union.

2004: Private Johnson Beharry, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, was driving a Warrior armoured vehicle through Al Amarah, Iraq, when it was hit by several rocket-propelled grenades. Showing initiative and great courage, Beharry drove through the ambush, taking his own crew and leading five other Warriors to safety. For this, and for his actions during a second ambush on 11 June 2004, Beharry was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Jean Baptiste Bessières, Duke of Istria (1768-1813), David Livingstone (1813–1873), Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904), Joseph Goebbels (1897–1945), Spike Jones (1911–1965), Eldridge Cleaver (1935–1998) and Steve Reeves (1926–2000) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Martha Jane Canary (1855–1903), Fr Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ (1881–1955), Sir Alan Cunningham GCMG KCB DSO MC (1887-1983), Mark Wayne Clark (1896–1984), Otto Kretschmer (1912-1998), Krystyna Skarbek GM OBE (1915-1952), Glenn Ford (1916–2006), Jack Paar (1918–2004), Scott Carpenter (1925-TBD), Judy Collins (1939-TBD), Lady Sarah Chatto (1964-TBD) and Tim McGraw (1967-TBD).

* This year being the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union, the Royal Mint will be producing a special £2 coin to commemmorate the event.


Deb Goodrich said...

Actually, Stonewall was wounded that night, but he died May 10. It is a day of mourning in Virginia.

RM1(SS) (ret) said...

Deb Goodrich said...
Actually, Stonewall was wounded that night, but he died May 10.

Oops. Correction made - thanks!