Today in History – May 21st

1703 – Daniel Defoe was imprisoned on charges of seditious libel.

1758 – Ten-year-old Mary Campbell was abducted in Pennsylvania by Lenape during the French and Indian War. She was returned six and a half years later.

1792 – A lava dome collapsed on Mount Unzen, near the city of Shimbara on the Japanese island of Kyūshū, which created a deadly tsunami that killed nearly 15,000 people.

1819 – First bicycles (swift walkers) in US were introduced in New York City.

1851 – Slavery in Colombia was abolished.

1881 – The American Red Cross was established by Clara Barton in Washington, D.C.

1917 – The Great Atlanta fire of 1917 caused $5.5 million in damages, destroyed some 300 acres including 2,000 homes, businesses and churches, displaced about 10,000 people but led to only one fatality (due to heart attack).

1918 – US House of Representatives passed an amendment allowing women to vote.

1924 – University of Chicago Students Nathan Leopold & Richard Loeb kidnapped and killed 14-year-old Bobby Franks to demonstrate their supposed intellectual superiority by committing a “perfect crime”.

1927 – Charles Lindbergh touched down at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

1932 – Bad weather forced Amelia Earhart to land in a pasture in Derry, Northern Ireland, and she thereby became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

1934 – Oskaloosa, Iowa, became the first municipality in the United States to fingerprint all of its citizens.

1946 – Physicist Louis Slotin was exposed to a lethal dose of radiation while preparing a plutonium core experiment at the Los Alamos lab. He died 9 days later and the accident ended all hands-on nuclear assembly work at Los Alamos.

1969 – Robert F. Kennedy’s murderer Sirhan Sirhan sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment.

1977 – Electric Light Orchestra released “Telephone Line” in the UK; it would peak in the Top 10 in the UK and US.

1979 – White Night riots occured in San Francisco after Dan White was given a lenient sentence for assassinating Mayor George Moscone and the openly gay elected official Harvey Milk.

1980 – “Star Wars Episode V – Empire Strikes Back”, produced by George Lucas opened in cinemas in UK and North America.

1992 – After 30 seasons, Johnny Carson hosted his penultimate episode and last featuring guests (Robin Williams and Bette Midler) of The Tonight Show.

2005 – The tallest roller coaster in the world, Kingda Ka opened at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey.

2017 – Barnum & Bailey Circus performed for the last time at the Nassau Coliseum in New York City after 146 years.

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