On This Day

20th May

1506 - Christopher Columbus died in poverty in Spain.

1570 – Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issued the first modern atlas.

1609 – Shakespeare's Sonnets were first published in London, perhaps illicitly, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe.

1631 – The city of Magdeburg in Germany was seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire and most of its inhabitants massacred, in one of the bloodiest incidents of the Thirty Years' War.

1873 – Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.

1902 – Cuba gained independence from the United States. Tomás Estrada Palma became the first President of Cuba.

1927 - Charles Lindbergh took off for Paris from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, N.Y., aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

1932 – Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to begin the world's first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot. She landed in Ireland the next day.

1940 – The first prisoners arrivede at a new concentration camp, Auschwitz.

1961 - A white mob attacked a busload of "Freedom Riders" in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting the federal government to send in United States marshals to restore order.

2002 - East Timor became an independent nation.

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