Today’s Highlight in History
On May 20, 1956: The United States exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.
On this date
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 1916: The Saturday Evening Post published its first Norman Rockwell cover; the illustration shows a scowling boy dressed in his Sunday best, dutifully pushing a baby carriage past a couple of boys wearing baseball uniforms.
In 1927: Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field on 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 1948: Chiang Kai-shek (chang ky-shehk) was inaugurated as the first president of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
In 1959: Nearly 5,000 Japanese-Americans had their U.S. citizenships restored after choosing to renounce them during World War II.
In 1961: A white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order.
In 1969: U.S. 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 1985: Radio Marti, operated by the U.S. government, began broadcasting; Cuba responded by attempting to jam its signal.
In 2009: In a rare, bipartisan defeat for President Barack Obama, the Senate voted overwhelmingly, 90-6, to keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open for the foreseeable future and forbid the transfer of any detainees to facilities in the United States.
In 2015: Four of the world’s biggest banks — JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup’s banking unit Citicorp, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland — agreed to pay more than $5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to rigging the currency markets.
In 2020: President Donald Trump threatened to hold up federal funds for two election battleground states (Michigan and Nevada) that were making it easier to vote by mail during the pandemic.
Ten years ago: An EF5 tornado struck Moore, Okla., killing at least 24 people and flattening 1,100 homes. Former general Thein Sein (thayn sayn) became the first president of Myanmar in 47 years to visit the White House, where President Barack Obama said he appreciated the Asian leader’s efforts to lead the country in “a long and sometimes difficult” path toward democracy. Ray Manzarek, 74, a founding member of the 1960s rock group the Doors, died in Rosenheim, Germany.
Five years ago: Venezuelan officials declared socialist leader Nicolas Maduro the easy winner of the country’s presidential election; his leading challenger questioned the legitimacy of a vote marred by irregularities. Lava flowing from fissures on Kilauea, Hawaii, reached the Pacific Ocean, critically injuring one person. The Vegas Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup Finals, becoming the first NHL expansion team to achieve the feat since 1968.
One year ago: President Joe Biden opened a six-day trip to Asia by touring a South Korean computer chip factory that would be the model for a plant in Texas, holding it out as an illustration of how deeper ties with the Indo-Pacific could fuel technological innovation and foster vibrant democracies. Newly discovered emails show that Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was more deeply involved in baseless efforts to overturn the 2020 election than previously known. Longtime New Yorker writer and editor Roger Angell, who contributed hundreds of essays and stories to the magazine over a 70-year career, died at age 101.