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• Columbus dies in poverty... • Martial law in Beijing... • Thermonuclear bomb tested at Bikini... • Hamburger Hill battle ends... • Panzers break through in France... • Homestead Act... • Balzac is born... • Condamnés à mort par la Révolution... • Da Gama reaches India... • French optimism in Vietnam... • Auden becomes US citizen... • Equal rights for homosexuals... • Lindbergh flies off to cross Atlantic... • Parents killed today, school shooting tomorrow... • D'Antona freddato... • John Stuart Mill is born...• Levi Strauss jeans...
a May 20:
2003 “Happy Sindane”, 18 [photo >], goes to a police station in Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa, and says that, from his Afrikaans-speaking family in Johannesburg, at age 6 he was kidnapped by a maid who gave him to a Ndebele-speaking couple in a rural area, where they made him watch herds and do agricultural work. He his fluent in Ndebele and seems to speak very little Afrikaans.
2002 After two-and-a-half years under UN trusteeship since having its independence vote drowned in blood by Indonesian militias, East Timor becomes an independent country. Xanana Gusmão, a former anti-Indonesia independence leader, becomes President, Mari Alkatiri Prime Minister, José Ramos Horta (1996 Nobel Peace Prize) Foreign Minister.
2001 Local elections in Croatia for officials in 21 county and 422 municipal councils, as well as 123 city halls. 3.9 million Croats are eligible to vote.
2001 Presidential elections in Mongolia. President Natsagiin Bagabandi is reelected. His Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party runs the country almost as a one-party state. It has 72 of parliament's 76 seats, won in elections in 2000. Formerly Communist, it now claims to be for democracy and radical economic reform.
2000 The five nuclear powers on the UN Security Council agree to eventually eliminate their nuclear arsenals, as part of a new disarmament agenda approved by 187 countries.
Supreme Court defends equal rights of homosexuals
In a historic victory for the "gay" and lesbian civil rights movement, the US Supreme Court voted six to three to strike down an amendment to Colorado’s state constitution that would have prevented any city, town, or county from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of homosexuals. In 1992, Colorado’s Amendment Two was passed with a majority of the state’s citizens approving it in a special referendum. Four years later, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Romer v. Evans, a case that allowed the nation’s highest court to scrutinize the constitutionality of the amendment. On 20 May 1996, in a ruling authored by Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the Supreme Court struck down Amendment Two, arguing that the law inherently violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by defining a specific group of person and then denying them the possibility of protection across the board. Although the ruling, authored by a Republican appointee, was cautious in its language, it was applauded as a historic civil rights victory that gave activists of the gay and lesbian civil rights movement their first major constitutional precedence for fighting future anti-gay legislation.
| 1992 Illegitimacy is something we should talk
about in terms of not having it. says Vice President Dan Quayle (reported
in Esquire Aug.92)
1991 Lawmakers in the Soviet Union voted to liberalize foreign travel and emigration.
1985 Dow Jones industrial avg closes above 1300 for first time.
1985 US began broadcasts to Cuba on Radio Marti
1980 In a referendum, 59.5% of Québec voters reject separatism.
1978 US launches Pioneer Venus 1; produces first global radar map of Venus
1972 Republic of Cameroon declared as constitution is ratified.
1970 Some 100'000 demonstrate in New York's Wall Street district in support of US policy in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Bloody battle for Hamburger Hill ends
After ten days and ten bloody assaults, Apbia Mountain (Hill 937), known as "Hamburger Hill" by the Americans who fought there, is finally captured by US and South Vietnamese troops.
Located 1.5 km east of the Laotian border, Hill 937 was to be taken as part of Operation Apache Snow, a mission intended to limit enemy infiltration from Laos that threatened Hue to the northeast and Danang to the southeast. On May 10, following air and artillery strikes, a US-led infantry force launched its first assault on the North Vietnamese stronghold, but suffered a high proportion of casualties and fell back.
Ten more infantry assaults came over the next ten days, and Hill 937’s North Vietnamese defenders did not give up their fortified position until May 20. Almost one hundred Americans had been killed and more than 400 had been wounded, amounting to a shocking 70-percent casualty rate during the ten-day battle.
The same day that Hamburger Hill was finally captured, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts called the operation "senseless and irresponsible" and attacked the military tactics of President Richard Nixon’s administration. His speech before the Senate was seen as part of a growing public outcry over the US military policy in Vietnam.
In the next week, US military command reversed their stance on the strategic importance of Hamburger Hill, and, on May 28 it was abandoned, just one week after it was taken. North Vietnamese forces eventually returned and re-fortified their original position.
Criticism in the US Senate.
As part of a growing outcry over US military policy in Vietnam, Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), in a Senate speech, scorns the military tactics of the Nixon administration. He condemned the battle for Ap Bia Mountain, which had become known as "Hamburger Hill," as "senseless and irresponsible." The battle in question had occurred as part of Operation Apache Snow in the A Shau Valley. Starting on May 10, paratroopers from the 101st Airborne had engaged a North Vietnamese regiment on the slopes of Hill 937, known to the Vietnamese as Ap Bia Mountain. Entrenched in prepared fighting positions, the North Vietnamese 29th Regiment repulsed the initial American assault, and beat back another attempt by the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry on May 14. An intense battle raged for the next 10 days as the mountain came under heavy Allied air strikes, artillery barrages, and 10 infantry assaults. On May 20, Maj. Gen. Melvin Zais, commanding general of the 101st, sent in two additional US airborne battalions and a South Vietnamese battalion as reinforcements. The Communist stronghold was finally captured in the 11th attack when the American and South Vietnamese soldiers fought their way to the summit of the mountain. In the face of the four-battalion attack, the North Vietnamese retreated to sanctuary areas in Laos.
During the intense fighting, 597 North Vietnamese were reported killed and US casualties were 56 killed and 420 wounded. Due to the bitter fighting and the high loss of life, the battle for Ap Bia Mountain received widespread unfavorable publicity in the United States and was dubbed "Hamburger Hill" in the US media, a name evidently derived from the fact that the battle turned into a "meat grinder." Since the operation was not intended to hold territory but rather to keep the North Vietnamese off balance, the mountain was abandoned soon after the battle and was occupied by the North Vietnamese a month later. Senator Kennedy was not the only American who thought the battle had been futile and ill advised; there was widespread public outrage over what appeared to be a senseless loss of American lives. The situation was exacerbated by pictures published in Life magazine of 241 US soldiers killed during the week of the Hamburger Hill battle. Gen. Creighton Abrams, commander of US Military Assistance Command Vietnam, was ordered by the White House to avoid such battles. Because of Hamburger Hill, and other battles like it, US emphasis was placed on "Vietnamization" (turning the war over to the South Vietnamese forces), rather than direct combat operations.
| 1961 White mob attacks a busload of "Freedom Riders"
in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting the federal government to send in US marshals
to restore order.
1956 Atomic fusion (thermonuclear) bomb dropped from plane-Bikini Atoll
1932 Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland for Ireland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
1926 Thomas Edison says Americans prefer silent movies over talkies
1916 Codell, Kansas hit by tornado (also on same date in 1917 and 1918)
1902 US military occupation of Cuba (since 01 Jan 1899) ends
1875 Intl Bureau of Weights and Measures established by treaty
1874 Levi Strauss markets blue jeans with copper rivets, price $13.50 doz
1861 the capital of the Confederacy is moved from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia
1861 Kentucky proclaims its neutrality in Civil War
1845 first legislative assembly convenes in Hawaii
1795 (1 prairial an III) MIGELLI Charlotte Françoise Carle, âgée de 21 ans, native de Paris, département de la Seine, y demeurant, marchande fripière, coopère volontairement, sans provocation violente, sans la nécessité actuelle de la défense légitime de soi-même, ou d'autrui, et avec préméditation, à l'homicide du représentant du peuple Ferraud. Ce pourquoi elle sera condamnée à mort le 25 prairial an 4 (13 Jun 1796), par le tribunal criminel du département de la Seine, et en plus pour avoir dans les 1er jours de prairial an 4, participé volontairement sans provocation violente, sans la nécessité actuelle de la défense légitime de soi-même où d'autrui et avec préméditation aux attaques qui ont été faites à dessein de tuer les représentants du peuple Boissy-d'Anglas et Camboulas; elle sera exécutée le 21 fructidor an 4 (07 septembre 1796).
1775 Citizens of Mecklenburg County, NC declare independence from Britain.
1774 Britain gives Québec, Labrador and territory north of the Ohio.
1690 England passes Act of Grace, forgiving followers of James II
which occurred on
a May 20:
2002 Stephen Jay Gould [1999 photo >], 60, of adenocarcinoma of the lung, evolutionary biologist born on 10 September 1941. One of his controversial theories was that evolution occurs jerkily. Author of such books as Ontogeny and Phylogeny, Ever Since Darwin, The Panda's Thumb, The Mismeasure of Man (on intelligence testing), Bully for Brontosaurus, Dinosaur in a Haystack, Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (March 2002, 1464 pages).
2002 Jihad Jibril [< photo], 38, lieutenant colonel in the terrorist Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, and son of its general secretary Ahmed Jibril, who founded it in 1968. Jihad Jibril was driving his Peugeot sedan down a street off the busy Corniche Mazraa in west Beirut when a bomb under his seat detonated at midday. Israel denies involvement.
2001:: 26 of the 32 prisoners in a prison dorm in Iquique, Chile, in fire started by prisoners in mattresses and blankets. Most of the 32 were young, first-time offenders.
1997 Ezequiel Hernandez, 18, shot in the side, without
a warning, by Cpl. Banuelos, 22, of a squad of 4 camouflaged Marines on
drug surveillance duty near Mexican border in Redford, Texas, while Ezequiel
was herding his goats. Ezequiel had a .22-caliber rifle which he did NOT
fire at the Marines. They followed him for 20 minutes before killing him,
and then let him bleed to death, calling for medical help only after 22
minutes, and attempting no first-aid. On 14 August 1997, a grand jury
would refuse to indict the killer, who claimed he was acting in self-defense.
which occurred on a May 20: ^top^
1919 Bernard Cathelin, French artist.
1915 Moshe Dayan Israeli general/politician
1901 Max Euwe Netherlands, world chess champion (1935-37)
1882 Sigrid Undset Norway, novelist (Kristin Lavransdatter, Nobel 1928)
1877 Desmond Charles Otto MacCarthy, English journalist, best known as a drama and literary critic, who died on 08 June 1952. — < portrait by Duncan Grant [21 Jan 1885 – 08 May 1978]
1857 Herman Gustaf Sillen, Swedish artist who died on 29 December 1908.
1856 Henri-Edmond Delacroix Cross, French Pointillist painter who died on 16 May 1910. MORE ON “CROSS” AT ART 4 MAY LINKS — Self Portrait with Cigarette Floral Still Life Aux Champs-Elysées, Paris Woman Combing her Hair Evening Breeze The Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli near Assisi La Terrasse Fleurie Soleil couchant sur la lagune,Venice La Ronde — Femmes liant la vigne — The Flowered Column — 96 images at Webshots
1851 Emile Berliner Germany, inventor (flat phonograph record)
1843 Emil Adam, German painter, specialized in race horses, who died in 1924.
1822 Frédéric Passy co-winner of first Nobel Peace Prize (1901)
1818 William George Fargo, who would help to found Wells, Fargo and Co.
1815 Barthélémy Menn, Swiss painter and teacher who died on 13 (11?) October 1893. — more
1726 Gabriel-François Doyen, French painter who died on 13 March 1806.