1494 – European explorer Christopher Columbus encountered the island of Jamaica, which he named Santiago.
1791 – Constitution of May 3 is proclaimed by the Great Sejm (Parliament) of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, becoming the 1st modern constitution in Europe
1926 – Britain’s Trade Union Congress calls for the country’s first ever general strike, begins at 1 minute to midnight in support striking coal miners, lasts 9 days
1937 – Margaret Mitchell wins Pulitzer Prize for “Gone With the Wind”
1945 – World War II: German ship “Cap Arcona” laden with prisoners sunk by Royal Air Force in East Sea, 5,800 killed – one of largest maritime losses of life
1947 – Japan’s post-war constitution goes into effect, granting universal suffrage, stripping Emperor Hirohito of all but symbolic power and outlawing Japan’s right to make war
1996 – At the first formal review of the 1980 Geneva Convention on Inhumane Weapons, the signatories agreed to curtail the use of land mines over the next decade.
1979 – Margaret Thatcher of the Conservative Party was elected British prime minister, becoming the first woman in Europe to hold that post and later the longest continuously serving British premier since 1827.
2016 – A wildfire forced the evacuation of Fort McMurray, Alberta—the capital of Canada’s tar sand industry—and the surrounding area; ultimately more than 80,000 people fled the blaze, which caused billions of dollars in losses.
Births & Deaths:
1903 – American singer, actor, and songwriter Bing Crosby was born in Tacoma, Washington.
1944 – “Going My Way”, directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby premieres in New York (Best Picture 1945)
1960 – Musical “Fantasticks” by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, premieres in NYC (world’s longest running musical)
Via Britannica / On This Day