Today in History

Associated Press

Today is Saturday, May 21, the 141st day of 2011. There are 224 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 21, 1911, during the Mexican Revolution, the Treaty of Ciudad Juarez was signed by President Porfirio Diaz and revolutionary leader Francisco I. Madero; under the agreement, Diaz resigned his office, and ended up living the rest of his life in exile in France.

On this date:

In 1471, King Henry VI of England died in the Tower of London at age 49.

In 1542, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto died while searching for gold along the Mississippi River.

In 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.

In 1892, the opera "Pagliacci," by Ruggero Leoncavallo, was first performed, in Milan, Italy.

In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St. Louis near Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 33½ hours.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean as she landed in Northern Ireland, about 15 hours after leaving Newfoundland.

In 1941, a German U-boat sank the American merchant steamship SS Robin Moor in the South Atlantic after allowing the ship's passengers and crew to board lifeboats.

In 1956, the United States exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

In 1972, Michelangelo's Pieta, on display at the Vatican, was damaged with a hammer by an apparently deranged man who shouted he was Jesus Christ.

In 1991, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during national elections by a suicide bomber.

Ten years ago: The Mitchell Report on Mideast violence called on Palestinians to jail terrorists and Israel to freeze settlement activity. Cardinals from around the world gathered at the Vatican for a three-day meeting to ponder the challenges facing the Roman Catholic Church and who might lead it after Pope John Paul II. The Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that a radio host cannot be sued for airing a phone conversation taped illegally by a third party.

Five years ago: Iraq's new prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki (NOO'-ree ahl-MAHL'-ih-kee), promised to use "maximum force" if necessary to end the brutal insurgent and sectarian violence racking his country. Anthony Bell of Baton Rouge, La., was charged with shooting to death his wife and four of her relatives. (Bell was later convicted of murder and sentenced to death.) Katherine Dunham, a pioneering dancer, author and civil rights activist, died in New York City at age 96. Grand Ole Opry legend Billy Walker died in a traffic accident along an Alabama interstate highway; he was 77.

One year ago: President Barack Obama directed the government to set the first-ever mileage and pollution limits for big trucks and to tighten rules for future cars and SUVs. Citing overwhelming evidence that North Korea sank a South Korean warship, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned the reclusive communist state of consequences.

Today's Birthdays: Rhythm-and-blues singer Ron Isley (The Isley Brothers) is 70. Rock musician Hilton Valentine (The Animals) is 68. Actor Richard Hatch ("Battlestar Galactica") is 66. Musician Bill Champlin is 64. Singer Leo Sayer is 63. Actress Carol Potter is 63. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is 60. Actor Mr. T is 59. Music producer Stan Lynch is 56. Actor Judge Reinhold is 54. Actor-director Nick Cassavetes is 52. Actor Brent Briscoe is 50. Actress Lisa Edelstein is 45. Actress Fairuza Balk is 37. Rapper Havoc (Mobb Deep) is 37. Actress Ashlie Brillault is 24. Actor Scott Leavenworth is 21. Actress Sarah Ramos is 20.

Thought for Today: "Originality does not consist in saying what no one has ever said before, but in saying exactly what you think yourself." — James Stephens, Irish poet and novelist (1882-1950).

(Above Advance for Use Saturday, May 21)

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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