This Day in History – May 3

Today is the 123rd day of 2021. There are 242days left in the year.


1494: Columbus discovers Jamaica.


1660: Peace of Olivia is signed, ending war between Brandenburg, Poland, Austria and Sweden.

1765: The first US medical school, University of Pennsylvania, is founded.

1791: Polish Parliament approves Europe’s first modern constitution.

1814: France’s King Louis XVIII returns to Paris after allied forces defeat Napoleon Bonaparte.

1841: New Zealand is formally proclaimed a British colony.

1859: France declares war on Austria.

1898: Bread riots erupt in Milan, Italy, and are crushed with heavy loss of life.

1921: West Virginia imposes the first US state sales tax.

1933: Nellie Taylor is sworn in as the first female director of the US Mint.

1937: Margaret Mitchell wins a Pulitzer Prize for her novel Gone with the Wind.

1945: Allied troops enter Hamburg, Germany, in World War II; Indian forces capture Rangoon, Burma, from the Japanese.

1947: Japan’s new post-war Constitution, reflecting the policies of Allied occupiers, takes effect.

1948: The US Supreme Court rules that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities are legally unenforceable.

1963: Government crisis in Syria threatens recently agreed-upon union of Syria, Iraq and United Arab Republic.

1971: Anti-war protesters calling themselves the Mayday Tribe begin four days of demonstrations in Washington, DC, aimed at shutting down the nation’s capital.

1972: Turkish guerrillas hijack Turkish plane and land in Sofia, Bulgaria.

1979: Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female prime minister as the Tories oust the incumbent Labour government in parliamentary elections.

1985: Lebanese Christians protesting against sectarian fighting in their country occupy their diplomatic missions in Argentina, Australia and Sweden.

1986: In NASA’s first post-Challenger launch, an unmanned Delta rocket loses power in its main engine shortly after liftoff, forcing safety officers to destroy it by remote control.

1988: The White House acknowledges that first lady Nancy Reagan used astrological advice to help schedule her husband’s activities.

1991: Hundreds of Iraqi troops withdraw from an expanded allied security zone in northern Iraq.

1992: Guerrillas loyal to radical fundamentalist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar fight with militia on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan.

1993: Thousands of workers drop their tools and leave factories around eastern Germany to demand the 26 per cent wage hike they were promised after German reunification.

1994: Civil war erupts in Yemen.

1995: The Armed Islamic Group in Algeria expands its terrorist threat against women by vowing to kill every mother, sister or daughter of government officials.

1996: Warlord Roosevelt Johnson is secretly carried out of Monrovia, Liberia, and to neighbouring Freetown, Sierra Leone, aboard a US helicopter.

1997: The rebels of the Guatemalan Revolutionary Unit surrender the last of their weapons to the Government, marking the end of one of Latin America’s most drawn-out wars.

1998: Yugoslav forces battle ethnic Albanian rebels smuggling weapons into Kosovo, killing at least 10 according to Serbs.

2000: Four hostages held by Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines are killed when government troops stumble upon the group. Fifteen of the original 27 hostages are rescued.

2001: Ronnie Biggs, fugitive robber of Britain’s 1963 “Great Train Robbery” says he is ready to return home to face justice after three decades of exile in Brazil.

2002: A ferry carrying hundreds of people sinks in a storm on the Meghna River about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Dhaka. More than 300 perish.

2003: James Miller, British freelance journalist and producer of International award winning documentaries, Beneath the Veil and Innocents Lost, is shot and killed by Israeli military tank in the Gaza Strip.

2004: The US military reprimands seven officers in the alleged abuse of inmates at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison, the first known punishments in the case. Six of them – officers and noncommissioned officers – received the most severe administrative reprimand in the US military. A seventh officer received a more lenient admonishment.

2005: In a major setback to Kuwaiti women hoping to participate in their first elections, lawmakers stall long enough to keep women out of this year’s race. The next municipal elections to be held are scheduled for 2009.

2006: An Armenian airliner carrying 113 people tumbles into the Black Sea harbour of the Russian resort of Sochi.

2007: At least 21 workers – most of them foreigners – are kidnapped in separate attacks in Nigeria’s oil-rice delta region, leaving a Nigerian soldier dead. Eight foreigners and a Nigerian driver were later freed.

2008: Cyclone Nargis strikes Myanmar, killing at least 78,000 and leaving 56,000 others missing. Aid workers shackled by the country’s military regime struggle to get even the most basic data about the needs of up to 2.5 million survivors, and to get aid to them.

2009: Pakistan’s army and the Taliban blame each other for a rise in tensions that threatens to destroy a much-criticised peace deal.

2010: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton engage in a verbal nuclear exchange Monday on the UN stage, where nations gathered for a month-long debate over the world’s ultimate weapons.

2011: An authoritative international assessment says the ice of Greenland and the rest of the Arctic is melting faster than expected and could help raise global sea levels by as much as 5 feet (1.5 metres) this century, dramatically higher than earlier projections.

2012: Founding member of The Skatalites and bassist Lloyd Brevett dies. Letters from Osama bin Laden’s last hideaway, released by US officials intent on discrediting his organisation, portray a network weak, inept and under siege – and its leader seemingly near wit’s end about the passing of his global jihad’s glory days.

2013: Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives take a drubbing in local British elections amid a surge of support for an anti-European Union and anti-immigration party.


Nicolo Machiavelli, Italian political philosopher (1469-1527); William Broome, English scholar-poet (1689-1745); Golda Meir, Israeli statesman (1898-1978); William Inge, US playwright (1913-1973); Betty Comden, US songwriter-entertainer (1919-2006); James Brown, US soul musician (1928-2006); Pete Seeger, US folk singer (1919-2014); Engelbert Humperdinck, British singer (1936- ); Christopher Cross, US singer (1951- )

– AP/Jamaica Observer

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