This Day in History — May 4

Today is the 124th day of 2021. There are 241 days left in the year.


1927: After 2 1/2 years the Hermitage Dam on the Wag Water River in eastern Jamaica is opened. It is 142ft high, 465ft wide, has a capacity of 430 million gallons, and is to serve the Kingston and St Andrew area.



1493: Pope Alexander VI issues edict dividing the New World between Spain and Portugal.

1626: Dutch Governor Peter Minuit lands on what is now Manhattan island.

1655: English fleet leaves Santo Domingo, West Indies, and later captures Jamaica.

1706: Britain, Holland and Holy Roman Empire declare war on France.

1776: Rhode Island declares its freedom from England two months before the Declaration of Independence is adopted.

1799: Tippoo of Mysore is killed at Seringapatam and his kingdom is divided between Britain and the Nizam of Hyderabad in India.

1814: Napoleon Bonaparte goes into exile on island of Elba and the Bourbon reign is restored in France.

1843: Natal in South Africa is proclaimed a British colony.

1863: New Maori uprisings begin in New Zealand.

1927: The US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is founded.

1932: Mobster Al Capone, convicted of income tax evasion, enters the federal penitentiary in Atlanta.

1939: Japanese bombers inflict thousands of casualties in Chungking, China.

1942: US and Japanese forces begin the Battle of the Coral Sea off New Guinea. It is the first naval battle where the forces, employing only aircraft, never come within gun range.

1945: German forces in the Netherlands, Denmark and north west Germany agrees to surrender during World War II.

1946: A two-day riot at Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay ends after five people are killed.

1961: A group of “Freedom Riders” leaves Washington, DC, for New Orleans to challenge racial segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminals.

1970: Four students protesting against Vietnam War are killed by US National Guard at Kent State University in Ohio.

1980: Yugoslav strongman Josip Broz Tito dies three days before his 88th birthday.

1982: British destroyer Sheffield sunk by Argentine plane off the Falklands.

1987: Lebanon’s veteran Prime Minister Rashid Karami announces resignation, citing divided cabinet’s failure to resolve worsening economic crisis.

1989: Tens of thousands of Chinese students march to Tiananmen Square calling for freedom and democracy. Fired White House aide Oliver North is convicted of shredding documents and two other crimes and acquitted of nine other charges stemming from the Iran-Contra affair. The three convictions are later overturned on appeal.

1991: In keeping with the constitution passed by the newly elected Parliament, Albanian President Ramiz Alia gives up all his Communist Party posts.

1992: Kuwaiti oil production returns to levels before the 1990 Iraqi invasion.

1994: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Orgganization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat sign a historic accord on Palestinian autonomy that grants self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

1995: Turkey announces it has pulled out the last of its troops from northern Iraq, six weeks after 35,000 soldiers crossed the border to wipe out Kurdish rebel bases.

1998: A major Swiss bank settles the claim of a 71-year-old Holocaust survivor, the first settlement in the dispute over Jewish-owned accounts missing since World War II. Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski is given four life sentences plus 30 years by a federal judge in Sacramento, California, under a plea agreement sparing him the death penalty.

2001: The US is voted off the UN Human Rights Commission for the first time in the world body’s history.

2002: A passenger plane belonging to Nigeria’s private EAS Airlines crashes in a densely populated suburb of the northern city of Kano, killing 148 people.

2003: A series of tornado-laden storms kill 48 people across the Midwestern and southern United States and injure hundreds of others.

2005: Israel freezes the handover of West Bank towns, citing Palestinian security forces’ failure to disarm militants in areas under their control.

2006: Ehud Olmert is formally sworn in as Israel’s prime minister with his new coalition Government, winning parliamentary approval to pursue his goal of drawing Israel’s final borders by 2010.

2007: A boat loaded with more than 160 migrants capsizes about a half-mile south of Providenciales Island in the Atlantic Ocean. The bodies of 61 migrants are eventually recovered, 78 survive and more than a dozen go missing.

2008: Two unmanned Georgian spy planes are shot down over the country’s breakaway region of Abkhazia.

2009: Iraq’s Government rules out allowing US combat troops to remain in Iraqi cities despite concern that the Iraqi forces cannot cope with the security challenge after a resurgence of bombings in recent weeks.

2010: Iceland’s clouds of volcanic ash are menacing European air traffic again, but transport chiefs insist they are learning from last month’s crisis and will not let the hard-to-measure emissions ground their continent again.

2011: President Barack Obama says he has decided not to release death photos of terrorist Osama bin Laden because their graphic nature could incite violence and create national security risks for the United States.



Sir Thomas Lawrence, English artist (1769-1830); Emmanuel Robles, Algerian-French novelist/playwright (1914-1995); Audrey Hepburn, Belgian-born actress (1929-1993); Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian president (1928-2020); Roberta Peters, US opera singer (1930-2017 ); Manuel Benitez (El Cordobes), Spanish bullfighter (1936- ); Randy Travis, US country singer (1959- ); Kimora Lee Simmons, TV personality/fashion designer (1975- ); Jacob Miller, reggae singer-songwriter and Inner Circle lead vocalist (1952-1980)


— AP and Observer

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