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May 15, 2013

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, May 15, the 135th day of 2013. There are 230 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 15, 1863, Edouard Manet's painting "Le dejeuner sur l'herbe" (The Lunch on the Grass) went on display in Paris, scandalizing viewers with its depiction of a nude woman seated on the ground with two fully dressed men at a picnic in a wooded area.

On this date:

  • In 1602, English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold and his ship, the Concord, arrived at present-day Cape Cod, which he's credited with naming.
  • In 1776, Virginia endorsed American independence from Britain.
  • In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act establishing the Department of Agriculture. Austrian author and playwright Arthur Schnitzler was born in Vienna.
  • In 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil Co. was a monopoly in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and ordered its breakup.
  • In 1930, registered nurse Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard an Oakland-to-Chicago flight operated by Boeing Air Transport (a forerunner of United Airlines).
  • In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, whose members came to be known as WACs. Wartime gasoline rationing went into effect in 17 Eastern states, limiting sales to three gallons a week for non-essential vehicles.
  • In 1963, astronaut L. Gordon Cooper blasted off aboard Faith 7 on the final mission of the Project Mercury space program. Weight Watchers was incorporated in New York.
  • In 1970, just after midnight, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, two black students at Jackson State College in Mississippi, were killed as police opened fire during student protests.
  • In 1972, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot and left paralyzed by Arthur H. Bremer while campaigning in Laurel, Md., for the Democratic presidential nomination. (Bremer served 35 years of a 53-year sentence for attempted murder.)
  • In 1975, U.S. forces invaded the Cambodian island of Koh Tang and recaptured the American merchant ship Mayaguez. (All 40 crew members had already been released safely by Cambodia; some 40 U.S. servicemen were killed in the operation.)
  • In 1988, the Soviet Union began the process of withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, more than eight years after Soviet forces had entered the country.
  • In 1991, Edith Cresson was appointed by French President Francois Mitterrand (frahn-SWAH' mee-teh-RAHN') to be France's first female prime minister.

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