Today in History – May 7th

1429 – English siege of Orleans was broken by Joan of Arc and the French army

1664 – Louis XIV of France began construction of the Palace of Versailles.

1697 – Stockholm’s medieval royal castle was destroyed by fire, the Codex Gigas (world’s largest extant medieval illuminated manuscript) survived by being thrown out a window

1700 – William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, began monthly meetings for blacks advocating emancipation

1718 – The city of New Orleans was founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.  Our parish was named in his honor.

1789 – First US Presidential inaugural ball (for George Washington in New York City)

1824 – Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th (Chorale) Symphony, premiered in Vienna.  It is often regarded as his greatest work.

1840 – The Great Natchez Tornado struck Natchez, Mississippi and killed 317 people. It was the second deadliest tornado in United States history.

1866 – German premier Otto von Bismarck was seriously wounded in assassination attempt

1867 – Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel patented dynamite in England, the first of three patents he would receive for the explosive material

1895 – In Saint Petersburg, Russian scientist Alexander Stepanovich Popov demonstrated to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society his invention, the Popov lightning detector—a primitive radio receiver. In some parts of the former Soviet Union the anniversary of this day is celebrated as Radio Day.

1914 – United States Congress established Mother’s Day

1915 – World War I: German submarine U-20 sunk RMS Lusitania, killing 1,198 people, including 128 Americans. Public reaction to the sinking turned many former pro-Germans in the United States against the German Empire.

1941 – British House of Commons voted for Winston Churchill (477-3)

1941 – Glenn Miller recorded “Chattanooga Choo Choo” for RCA

1942 – Nazi decree ordered all Jewish pregnant women of Kovno Ghetto to be executed

1942 – World War II: During the Battle of the Coral Sea, United States Navy aircraft carrier aircraft attacked and sank the Imperial Japanese Navy light aircraft carrier Shōhō; the battle marked the first time in naval history that two enemy fleets fought without visual contact between warring ships.

1945 – World War II: Unconditional German surrender to the Allies signed by General Alfred Jodl at Rheims

1960 – Leonid Brezhnev replaced Kliment Voroshilov as President of USSR

1960 – Cold War: U-2 Crisis of 1960: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announced that his nation was holding American U-2 pilot Gary Powers.

1966 – Mamas & Papas “Monday Monday” hit #1

1975 – US President Gerald Ford declared an end to “Vietnam Era”

1984 – $180 million out-of-court settlement reached in Agent Orange suit.

1987 – Diane Chambers’ (Shelley Long) final episode on TV comedy “Cheers”

1989 – Panamanian voters rejected dictator Manuel Noriega’s bid for presidency

1992 – Five New York City cops were arrested in Hauppauge, Long Island, for selling cocaine

1992 – Space Shuttle program: The Space Shuttle Endeavour was launched on its first mission, STS-49.

1992 – Three employees at a McDonald’s Restaurant in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, were brutally murdered and a fourth permanently disabled after a botched robbery. It was the first “fast-food murder” in Canada.

1994 – Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream was recovered undamaged after being stolen from the National Gallery of Norway in February.

1996 – Comedian Martin Lawrence suffered a nervous breakdown

1997 – Science fiction film “The Fifth Element” written and directed by Luc Besson, starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich was released.  Then the most expensive European film ever made.

1998 – Mercedes-Benz bought Chrysler for US$40 billion and formed DaimlerChrysler in the largest industrial merger in history.

2011 – “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”, directed by Rob Marshall, starring Johnny Depp and Penélope Cruz, premiered.  Opening weekend makes $350.6 million.

2015 – Underwater explorers discovered a silver ingot of Captain William Kidd’s treasure near Madagascar.

2019 – Hackers seized control of the computer system of the US city of Baltimore, and demanded a ransom in Bitcoins to unlock them

2020 – US Father and son arrested for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, after video of the killing surfaced.

2020 – US unemployment claims hit 33.3 million or 20% of the workforce, vs two months ago unemployment 3.5%, a 50-year low