This Week in History

HISTORY, 11 May 2015

Satoshi Ashikaga – TRANSCEND Media Service

May 11-17


“The only thing that stands between you and your dream is the will to try and the belief that it is actually possible.” – Joel Brown

MAY 11

2013  At least 46 people are killed in a bombing in Reyhanlı, Turkey.

2011  The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) together with the Government of Japan will not cap compensation payments resulting from the Fukushima I nuclear accidents.

2000  Second Chechen War: Chechen separatists ambush Russian paramilitary forces in the Republic of Ingushetia.

1998  India conducts three underground atomic tests in Pokhran to include a thermonuclear device.

1997  Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.

1996  After the aircraft’s departure from Miami, Florida, a fire started by improperly handled chemical oxygen generators in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592 causes the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades killing all 110 on board.

1995  More than 170 countries extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions.

1987  Klaus Barbie goes on trial in Lyon for war crimes committed during World War II.

1973  Citing government misconduct, Daniel Ellsberg has charges for his involvement in releasing the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times dismissed.

1972  US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1968  The Toronto Transit Commission opens the largest expansion of its Bloor–Danforth line, going to Scarborough in the East, and Etobicoke in the West.

1967  Andreas Papandreou, Greek economist and socialist politician, is imprisoned in Athens by the Greek military junta.

1965  USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1963  Racist bombings in Birmingham, Alabama disrupt nonviolence in the Birmingham campaign and precipitate a crisis involving federal troops.

1962  US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Christmas Island.

1962  US sends troops to Thailand.

1960  In Buenos Aires, Argentina, four Israeli Mossad agents capture fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann who is living under the alias of Ricardo Klement.

1949  Israel joins the United Nations.

1949  Siam officially changes its name to Thailand for the second time. The name had been in use since 1939 but was reverted in 1945.

1946  UMNO (United Malays National Organization) is created.

1945  World War II: Off the coast of Okinawa, the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill is hit by two kamikazes, killing 346 of its crew. Although badly damaged, the ship is able to return to the U.S. under its own power.

1944  World War II: The Allies begin a major offensive against the Axis Powers on the Gustav Line.

1943  World War II: American troops invade Attu Island in the Aleutian Islands in an attempt to expel occupying Japanese forces.

1918  The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus is officially established.

1907  Thirty-two Shriners are killed when their chartered train derails at a switch near Surf Depot in Lompoc, California.

1880  Seven people are killed in the Mussel Slough Tragedy, a gun battle in California.

1867  Luxembourg gains its independence.

1857  Indian Rebellion of 1857: Indian rebels seize Delhi from the British.



MAY 12

2013  The World Health Organization announces that the Novel coronavirus 2012, the newly discovered coronavirus, also referred to as Saudi SARS, can be transmitted from person-to-person contact.

2008  An earthquake (measuring around 8.0 magnitude) occurs in Sichuan, China, killing over 69,000 people.

2007  Riots in which over 50 people are killed and over 100 are injured take place in Karachi upon the arrival in town of the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

2006  Iranian Azeris interpret a cartoon published in an Iranian magazine as insulting, resulting in massive riots throughout the country.

2006  Mass unrest by the Primeiro Comando da Capital begins in São Paulo (Brazil), leaving at least 150 dead.

2003  The Riyadh compound bombings, carried out by Al Qaeda, kill 26 people.

2002  Former US President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro becoming the first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro’s 1959 revolution.

1982  During a procession outside the shrine of the Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal, security guards overpower Juan María Fernández y Krohn before he can attack Pope John Paul II with a bayonet. Krohn, an ultraconservative Spanish priest opposed to the Vatican II reforms, believed that the Pope had to be killed for being an “agent of Moscow

1981    Francis Hughes starves to death in the Maze Prison in a Republican campaign for political prisoner status to be granted to Provisional IRA prisoners.

1978  In Zaire, rebels occupy the city of Kolwezi, the mining center of the province of Shaba (now known as Katanga). The local government asks the U.S.A., France and Belgium to restore order.

1975  Mayagüez incident: The Cambodian navy seizes the American merchant ship SS Mayaguez in international waters.

1970  US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1968  Vietnam War: North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces attack Australian troops defending Fire Support Base Coral, east of Lai Khe in South Vietnam on the night of 12/13 May, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides and beginning the Battle of Coral–Balmoral.

1962  US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Christmas Island.

1958  US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Enwetak.

1958  A formal North American Aerospace Defense Command agreement is signed between the United States and Canada.

1955  Austria regains its independence as the Allied occupation following World War II ends.

1955  Nineteen days after bus workers went on strike in Singapore, rioting breaks out and seriously impacts Singapore’s bid for independence.

1952  Gaj Singh is crowned Maharaja of Jodhpur.

1949  The western occupying powers approve the Basic Law for the new German state: The Federal Republic of Germany.

1949  The Soviet Union lifts its blockade of Berlin.

1948  Wilhelmina, Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands cedes throne.

1945  Argentinian labour leader José Peter declares the Federación Obrera de la Industria de la Carne dissolved.

1942  The Holocaust: 1,500 Jews are sent to gas chambers in Auschwitz.

1942  World War II: Second Battle of Kharkov: In eastern Ukraine, Red Army forces under Marshal Semyon Timoshenko launch a major offensive from the Izium bridgehead, only to be encircled and destroyed by the troops of Army Group South two weeks later.

1941  Konrad Zuse presents the Z3, the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin.

1935  Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith (founders of Alcoholics Anonymous) meet for the first time in Akron, Ohio, at the home of Henrietta Siberling.

1932  Ten weeks after his abduction, the infant son of Charles Lindbergh, Charles Jr., is found dead in Hopewell, New Jersey, just a few miles from the Lindberghs’ home.

1926  The Italian-built airship Norge becomes the first vessel to fly over the North Pole.

1885  North-West Rebellion: The four-day Battle of Batoche, pitting rebel Métis against the Canadian government, comes to an end with a decisive rebel defeat.

1881  In North Africa, Tunisia becomes a French protectorate.



MAY 13

2011  2 bombs explode in the Charsadda District of Pakistan killing 98 people and wounding 140 others.

2008  The Jaipur bombings in Rajasthan, India results in dozens of deaths.

2006  2006 São Paulo violence: a major rebellion occurs in several prisons in Brazil.

2005  The Bính Bridge opens to traffic in Hai Phong, Vietnam.

2005  The Andijan Massacre occurs in Uzbekistan.

1998  India carries out two nuclear tests at Pokhran, following the three conducted on May 11. The United States and Japan impose economic sanctions on India.

1998  Race riots break out in Jakarta, Indonesia, where shops owned by Indonesians of Chinese descent are looted and women raped.

1995  Alison Hargreaves, a 33-year-old British mother, became the first woman to conquer Everest without oxygen or the help of sherpas.

1992  Li Hongzhi gives the first public lecture on Falun Gong in Changchun, People’s Republic of China.

1989  Large groups of students occupy Tiananmen Square and begin a hunger strike.

1981  Mehmet Ali Ağca attempts to assassinate Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. The Pope is rushed to the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic to undergo emergency surgery and survives.

1972  The Troubles: a car bombing outside a crowded pub in Belfast sparks a two-day gun battle involving the Provisional IRA, Ulster Volunteer Force and British Army. Seven people are killed and over 66 injured.

1969  Race riots, later known as the May 13 Incident, take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

1967  Dr. Zakir Hussain becomes the third President of India. He is the first Muslim President of the Indian Union. He holds this position until August 24, 1969.

1958  Ben Carlin becomes the first (and only) person to circumnavigate the world by amphibious vehicle, having travelled over 17,000 kilometres (11,000 mi) by sea and 62,000 kilometres (39,000 mi) by land during a ten-year journey.

1958  May 1958 crisis: a group of French military officers lead a coup in Algiers demanding that a government of national unity be formed with Charles de Gaulle at its head in order to defend French control of Algeria.

1954  The anti-National Service Riots, by Chinese Middle School students in Singapore, take place.

1950  The first round of the Formula One World Championship is held at Silverstone.

1948  1948 Arab-Israeli War: the Kfar Etzion massacre is committed by Arab irregulars, the day before the declaration of independence of the state of Israel on May 14.

1943  World War II: German Afrika Korps and Italian troops in North Africa surrender to Allied forces.

1941  World War II: Yugoslav royal colonel Dragoljub Mihailović starts fighting with German occupation troops, beginning the Serbian resistance.

1940  Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands flees her country to Great Britain after the German invasion. Princess Juliana takes her children to Canada for their safety.

1940  World War II: Germany‘s conquest of France begins as the German army crosses the Meuse. Winston Churchill makes his “blood, toil, tears, and sweat” speech to the House of Commons.

1917  Three children report the first apparition of Our Lady of Fátima in Fátima, Portugal.

1912  The Royal Flying Corps, the forerunner of the Royal Air Force, is established in the United Kingdom.

1888  With the passage of the Lei Áurea (“Golden Law”), Brazil abolishes slavery.

1830  Ecuador gains its independence from Gran Colombia.



MAY 14

2013  Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declares a state of emergency in the northeast states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa due to the terrorist activities of Boko Haram.

2004  The Constitutional Court of South Korea overturns the impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun.

1975  US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1970  The Red Army Faction is established in West Germany.

1963  Kuwait joins the United Nations.

1961  American civil rights movement: The Freedom Riders bus is fire-bombed near Anniston, Alabama, and the civil rights protesters are beaten by an angry mob.

1955  Cold War: Eight Communist bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, sign a mutual defense treaty called the Warsaw Pact.

1955  US performs nuclear test at Pacific Ocean.

1948  US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Enwetak.

1948  Israel is declared to be an independent state and a provisional government is established. Immediately after the declaration, Israel is attacked by the neighboring Arab states, triggering the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

1945  Bleiburg Massacre against Croatian soldiers after their surrender to British authorities that commit this genocide, in Bleiburg, Austria, from May 14 – 16.

1940  World War II: The Battle of the Netherlands ends with the Netherlands surrendering to Germany.

1945  The Philippines ratifies an independence agreement.

1889  The children’s charity, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is launched in London.

1879  The first group of 463 Indian indentured laborers arrives in Fiji aboard the  Leonidas.



MAY 15

2013  An upsurge in violence in Iraq leaves more than 389 people dead over three days.

2012  U.S. scientists develop a device that can generate electricity from genetically-engineered viruses; these piezoelectric materials are a step toward the development of personal power generators.

2008  California becomes the second U.S. state after Massachusetts in 2004 to legalize same-sex marriage after the state’s own Supreme Court rules a previous ban unconstitutional.

1997  The United States government acknowledges the existence of the “Secret War” in Laos and dedicates the Laos Memorial in honor of Hmong and other “Secret War” veterans.

1991  Édith Cresson becomes France’s first female premier.

1988  Soviet war in Afghanistan: After more than eight years of fighting, the Soviet Army begins its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

1974  Ma’alot massacre: Members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine attack and take hostages at an Israeli school; a total of 31 people are killed, including 22 schoolchildren.

1972  Okinawa, under U.S. military governance since its conquest in 1945, reverts to Japanese control.

1970  President Richard Nixon appoints Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington the first female United States Army Generals.

1969  People’s Park: California Governor Ronald Reagan has an impromptu student park owned by University of California at Berkeley fenced off from student anti-war protestors, sparking a riot called Bloody Thursday.

1966  After a policy dispute, Prime Minister Nguyễn Cao Kỳ of South Vietnam‘s ruling junta launches a military attack on the forces of General Tôn Thất Đính, forcing him to abandon his command.

1964  US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1957  At Malden Island in the Pacific Ocean, Britain tests its first hydrogen bomb in Operation Grapple.

1955  US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1951  The Polish cultural attaché in Paris, Czesław Miłosz, asks the French government for political asylum.

1948  Following the demise of Mandatory Palestine, the Kingdom of Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia invade Israel thus starting the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

1945  World War II: The Battle of Poljana, the final skirmish in Europe is fought near Prevalje, Slovenia.

1943  Joseph Stalin dissolves the Comintern (or Third International).

1942  World War II: in the United States, a bill creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) is signed into law.

1940  World War II: After fierce fighting, the poorly trained and equipped Dutch troops surrender to Germany, marking the beginning of five years of occupation.

1934  Kārlis Ulmanis establishes an authoritarian government in Latvia.

1932  In an attempted coup d’état, the Prime Minister of Japan Inukai Tsuyoshi is murdered.

1925  Al-Insaniyyah, the first Arabic communist newspaper, is founded.

1919  Greek invasion of Smyrna. During the invasion, the Greek army kills or wounds 350 Turks. Those responsible are punished by the Greek Commander Aristides Stergiades.

1911  303 Chinese and 5 Japanese immigrants are killed in the Torreón massacre when the forces of the Mexican Revolution led by Francisco I. Madero‘s brother Emilio Madero take the city of Torreón from the Federales.

1904  Russo-Japanese War: The Russian minelayer Amur lays a minefield about 15 miles off Port Arthur and sinks Japan’s battleships Hatsuse, 15,000 tons, with 496 crew and Yashima.

1891  Pope Leo XIII defends workers’ rights and property rights in the encyclical Rerum novarum, the beginning of modern Catholic social teaching.

1869  Women’s suffrage: in New York, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association.



MAY 16

2013  Pope Francis calls for worldwide ‘financial reform along ethical lines’ which would curb the ‘tyranny’ of ‘markets and financial speculation’.

2005  Kuwait permits women’s suffrage in a 35-23 National Assembly vote.

2003  In Casablanca, Morocco, 33 civilians are killed and more than 100 people are injured in the Casablanca terrorist attacks.

1997  Mobutu Sese Seko, the President of Zaire, flees the country.

1988  A report by United States’ Surgeon General C. Everett Koop states that the addictive properties of nicotine are similar to those of heroin and cocaine.

1986  The Seville Statement on Violence is adopted by an international meeting of scientists, convened by the Spanish National Commission for UNESCO, in Seville, Spain.

1984  US performs nuclear Test at Nevada Test Site.

1983  Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement rebels against the Sudanese government.

1975  Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

1974  Josip Broz Tito is re-elected president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This time he is elected for life.

1969  USSR performs nuclear Test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1969  US nuclear sub Guitarro sinks off SF.

1966  The Communist Party of China issues the “May 16 Notice“, marking the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

1964  USSR performs nuclear Test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1961  Park Chung-hee leads a coup d’état to overthrow the Second Republic of South Korea.

1960  Theodore Maiman operates the first optical laser (a ruby laser), at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California.

1943  The Holocaust: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ends.

1918  The Sedition Act of 1918 is passed by the U.S. Congress, making criticism of the government during wartime an imprisonable offense. It will be repealed less than two years later.

1888  Nikola Tesla delivers a lecture describing the equipment which will allow efficient generation and use of alternating currents to transmit electric power over long distances.

1877  May 1877 political crisis in France.

1834  The Battle of Asseiceira is fought, the last and decisive engagement of the Liberal Wars in Portugal.

1822  Greek War of Independence: The Turks capture the Greek town of Souli.



MAY 17

2007  Trains from North and South Korea cross the 38th Parallel in a test-run agreed by both governments. This is the first time that trains have crossed the Demilitarized Zone since 1953.

2004 The first legal same-sex marriages in the U.S. are performed in the state of Massachusetts.

1997  Troops of Laurent Kabila march into Kinshasa. Zaire is officially renamed Democratic Republic of the Congo.

1994  Malawi holds its first multi-party elections.

1992  Three days of popular protests against the government of Prime Minister of Thailand Suchinda Kraprayoon begin in Bangkok, leading to a military crackdown that results in 52 officially confirmed deaths, many disappearances, hundreds of injuries, and over 3,500 arrests.

1990  The General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) eliminates homosexuality from the list of psychiatric diseases.

1983  Lebanon, Israel, and the United States sign an agreement on Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

1983  The U.S. Department of Energy declassifies documents showing world’s largest mercury pollution event in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (ultimately found to be 4.2 million pounds), in response to the Appalachian Observer’s Freedom of Information Act request.

1980  On the eve of presidential elections, Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path attacks a polling location in the town of Chuschi, Ayacucho, starting the Internal conflict in Peru.

1980  General Chun Doo-hwan of South Korea seizes control of the government and declares martial law in order to suppress student demonstrations.

1974  The Troubles: Thirty-three civilians are killed and 300 injured when the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) detonates four car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan, Republic of Ireland. It is the deadliest attack of the Troubles and the deadliest terrorist attack in the Republic’s history. There are allegations that British state forces were involved.

1973  Watergate scandal: Televised hearings begin in the United States Senate.

1970  Thor Heyerdahl sets sail from Morocco on the papyrus boat Ra II to sail the Atlantic Ocean.

1967  Six-Day War: President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt demands dismantling of the peace-keeping UN Emergency Force in Egypt.

1943  World War II: the Dambuster Raids by No. 617 Squadron RAF on German dams.

1940  World War II: the old city centre of the Dutch town of Middelburg is bombed by the German Luftwaffe, to force the surrender of the Dutch armies in Zeeland.

1940  World War II: Germany occupies Brussels, Belgium.

1914  The Protocol of Corfu is signed, recognising full autonomy to Northern Epirus under nominal Albanian sovereignty.

1902  Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovers the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer.

1900  Second Boer War: British troops relieve Mafeking.

1814  Occupation of Monaco changes from French to Austrian.

1808  Napoleon I of France orders the annexation of the Papal States to the French Empire.


Satoshi Ashikaga is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment originally from Japan.

(Sources and references: to 17; to 17; to 17.html; and other pertinent websites and/or documents, mentioned above.) Note that the views expressed in the cited or quoted websites and/or documents in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the author-editor of this article. These websites and/or documents are cited or quoted for academic or educational purposes.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 11 May 2015.

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