Today In History May 20

Undated -- Today in History

Today is Sunday, May 20, the 141st day of 2012. There are 225 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 20, 1712, the first version of Alexander Pope's satirical mock-heroic poem "The Rape of the Lock" was published anonymously in Lintot's Miscellany. (Pope later revised and expanded the poem.)

On this date:

In 1799, French author Honore de Balzac was born in Tours, France.

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which was intended to encourage settlements west of the Mississippi River by making federal land available for farming.

In 1902, the United States ended a three-year military presence in Cuba as the Republic of Cuba was established under its first elected president, Tomas Estrada Palma.

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, N.Y., aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. (Because of weather and equipment problems, Earhart set down in Northern Ireland instead of her intended destination, France.)

In 1939, regular trans-Atlantic mail service began as a Pan American Airways plane, the Yankee Clipper, took off from Port Washington, N.Y., bound for Marseille, France.

In 1942, during World War II, the Office of Civilian Defense was established.

In 1959, nearly 5,000 Japanese-Americans had their US citizenship restored after renouncing it during World War II.

In 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala., prompting the federal government to send in US marshals to restore order.

In 1969, US and South Vietnamese forces captured Ap Bia Mountain, referred to as "Hamburger Hill" by the Americans, following one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.

In 1970, some 100,000 people demonstrated in New York's Wall Street district in support of US policy in Vietnam and Cambodia.
In 1985, the FBI arrested John A. Walker Jr., who was later convicted of heading a spy ring for the Soviet Union.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush said he wouldn't budge toward easing restrictions on trade and travel with Cuba until Fidel Castro's government took steps to hold free and fair elections and began to adopt meaningful economic reform. FBI Director Robert Mueller, addressing district attorneys meeting in Alexandria, Va., said it was inevitable that suicide bombers like those in Israel would strike the United States. East Timor became the first new sovereign nation of the millennium. Paleontologist and author Stephen Jay Gould died in New York at age 60. Veteran Los Angeles TV newscaster Jerry Dunphy died at age 80.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush welcomed NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to his Crawford, Texas, ranch, to review strategy on a flurry of issues. Gunman Jason Hamilton took his own life following a rampage in Moscow, Idaho, that killed three victims, including his wife. A pair of investment firms agreed to acquire Alltel Corp. in a deal worth $27.5 billion.

One year ago: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the idea of using his country's 1967 boundaries as the basis for a neighboring Palestinian state, declaring his objections during a face-to-face meeting with President Barack Obama, who had raised the idea in an effort to revive stalled Mideast peace talks. The former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was released from a New York City jail after spending nearly a week incarcerated on charges of trying to rape a hotel chambermaid. (The charges were later dropped.) Randy "Macho Man" Savage, 58, a larger-than-life personality from professional wrestling's 1980s heyday, died in Pinellas County, Fla.


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