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1175 - Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, abandoned the siege of Alessandria and signed the Treaty of Montebello with the Lombard League.
1705 - Queen Anne of England knighted Isaac Newton. Newton is regarded as one of history's greatest scientists. He is perhaps best remembered for his theory of universal gravitation, which was published in his work popularly known as Principia. Newton's work in physics and mathematics completely revolutionized science.
1746 - The Duke of Cumberland's forces defeated the Jacobite Scots under Prince Charles Edward at the Battle of Culloden, near Inverness, Scotland. The Scots lost more than 1,000 men and most of the remaining prisoners were massacred.
1787 - The Contrast, by Robert Tyler, became the first professional United States play to be presented on the stage.
1851 - A gale in Minot's Ledge, Massachusetts swept away a lighthouse.
1856 - The Declaration of Paris was signed. It recognized the principle of free ships and free goods and defined contraband and blockade.
1883 - Paul Kruger became president of the South African Republic.
1900 - The first book of postage stamps was issued, selling two-cent stamps in books of 12, 24 and 48 stamps.
1905 - An endowment for a college teachers’ pension fund was established by Andrew Carnegie, who donated $10,000,000 of personal money to create the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
1912 - United States pilot Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly the English Channel.
1917 - The second Battle of the Aisne River in northern France began when commander Robert Nivelle launched an offensive between Soisons and Reims; the offensive ended on May 9 with enormous casualties.
1922 - The Soviet Union and Germany signed the Treaty of Rapallo, forcing Germany to recognized the Soviet Union, thus restoring diplomatic and trade relations.
1922 - Belvin Maynard, known to many as the flying parson, gave his first sermon from an airplane.
1926 - New York City's Book-of-the-Month Club chose "Lolly Willowes" or "The Loving Huntsman" by Sylvia Townsend as its first selection for its 4,750 members.
1935 - Pitcher for the New York Giants, Carl Hubbell gave Babe Ruth his first home run in the National League, the 709th homer of Ruth’s career. Ruth, then playing for the Boston Braves, retired from baseball after hitting five more home runs for a total of 714.
1935 - The radio comedy program, Fibber McGee and Molly, starring Jim and Marian Jordan, premiered on the NBC Blue Network.
1937 - One of Stan Laurel's and Oliver Hardy's best features, Way Out West, opened in theaters. Critics liked it, saying the film moved well, and the comic duo performed a charming soft-shoe dance. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Film Score.
1940 - Bob Feller earned the first no-hit, no-run game thrown on an opening day of the baseball season, when the Cleveland Indians shut out the Chicago White Sox 1-0.
1941 - German troops entered Sarajevo and the city's main synagogue was destroyed.
1945 - Troops of the United States 7th Army entered the German city of Nuremberg.
1947 - A French freighter with a cargo of nitrates exploded at Texas City, Texas, killing more than 500 people.
1947 - Zoomar a device that create close-up and long distance camera shots from a stationary camera a lens, was demonstrated by NBC-TV in New York City. The lens would later be scaled down to be used by regular photographers, and not just for television. Today there are many kinds of close-up/long distance lenses, including the zoom lens which was named after the original Zoomar.
1948 - The Organization for European Economic Co-operation was set up in Paris.
1951 - The British submarine Affray sank in the English Channel with the loss of 75 lives.
1953 - The new British royal yacht Britannia was launched, just months before Queen Elizabeth's coronation.
1953 - Titanic, starring Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Wagner, and Thelma Ritter, opened in United States theaters. Filmed in black and white, this gripping film about the sinking of the mighty ship Titanic won an Oscar for Best Script for producer Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch, and Richard Breen.
1957 - Polly Bergen starred in "The Helen Morgan Story" in CBS television's presentation of "Playhouse 90".
1957 - For the first time, telvision showed an annual stockholders’ meeting. Shareholders of the American Machine and Foundry Company (AMF) watched TV screens in New York City and Chicago, Illinois.
1959 - The Bolshoi Ballet made its debut American appearance at the Metropolitan Opera House with a performance of Romeo and Juliet.
1964 - Nine men received sentences of between 25 and 30 years for their part in Britain's 1963 Great Train Robbery.
1968 - Baseball’s longest night game came to a close after 24 innings. The game, won by the Houston Astros, took six hours, six minutes to play.
1972 - Apollo 16 was launched to make the fifth manned moon landing.
1973 - Ex-Beatle, Paul McCartney, with the group, Wings, starred in his first television special, "James Paul McCartney". The show featured the new group, which included Paul’s wife, Linda on keyboards and backing vocals.
1978 - St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Forsch tossed a no-hitter, downing the Phillies 5-0. A year later, his brother, Ken, would repeat the feat with the Houston Astros, making them the first brothers to pitch major league no-hitters. Bob tossed a second no-hitter in September, 1983, setting a record for Cardinal pitchers.
1978 - Nearly 180 people died when a tornado struck the eastern state of Orissa, India.
1982 - Queen Elizabeth proclaimed Canada's new constitution, severing the last colonial links with Britain.
1985 - Mickey Mantle, banned for several years from baseball, was reinstated. His first act was to throw the first pitch at a home game in New York between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox. Mantle was given a standing ovation.
1987 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warned United States radio stations to indecent language use on the airwaves. The FCC noted some stations had gone beyond the seven dirty words comedian George Carlin immortalized in a routine from the early 1970s.
1988 - Palestinian commando chief Khalil el-Wazir, also known as Abu Jihad, was assassinated in Tunis.
1990 - South African black leader Nelson Mandela made an appearance at a huge pop concert held in his honor during a visit to Britain.
1992 - Italian financier Carlo de Benedetti and 32 others were convicted of fraud in connection with the 1982 collapse of Banco Ambrosiano.
1993 - The quirky film Benny and Joon, starring Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aidan Quinn, and Julianne Moore, opened across the country. Depp received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance.
1995 - The European Union and Canada ended a bitter dispute over fishing rights in the north Atlantic with a deal both sides said would protect threatened fish stocks.
1996 - An Italian court found disgraced former Prime Minister Bettino Craxi guilty on further charges of corruption and sentenced him to eight years and three months in prison.
1996 - Queen Elizabeth's second son, Prince Andrew, and his wife Sarah, popularly known as Fergie, announced they were to divorce after 10 years of marriage.