This Day in History — May 18

Today is the 138th day of 2022. There are 227 days left in the year.


1896: The US Supreme Court endorses the concept of “separate but equal” racial segregation with its Plessy vs Ferguson decision, a ruling that is overturned 58 years later in Brown vs Board of Education.


1899: International peace conference is convened at The Hague in the Netherlands. It adopts conventions on warfare and creates the Permanent Court of Arbitration, now the UN International Court of Justice.

1934: Congress approves and President Franklin D Roosevelt signs the so-called Lindbergh Act, providing for the death penalty in cases of interstate kidnapping.

1944: Monte Cassino monastery, a German stronghold that held up the Allied advance in Italy, is taken by Polish troops during World War II, after a four-month struggle with Axis troops and bitter fighting.

1951: The United Nations, previously without a permanent home, begins to move into its headquarters in New York City.

1953: Jacqueline Cochran becomes the first woman to break the sound barrier as she pilots a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet over Rogers Dry Lake, California.

1954: European Convention of Human Rights goes into effect.

1970: Khmer Rouge forces advance to within 40 kilometres (25 miles) of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. They are repulsed, but take the capital five years later.

1974: India explodes a nuclear bomb for the first time, in the deserts of Rajasthan.

1980: The Mount St Helens volcano in Washington state explodes, leaving 57 people dead or missing.

1991: Helen Sharman becomes the first Briton to rocket into space as she flies aboard a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft with two cosmonauts on an eight-day mission to the Mir space station.

1994: Israel’s three decades of occupation in the Gaza Strip ends as Israeli troops complete their withdrawal and Palestinian authorities take over.

1999: Sierra Leone’s Government and the country’s rebels agree to a ceasefire to end seven years of fighting.

2003: Philippine military begins bombing positions of Moro Islamic Liberation Front holdouts on the southern island of Mindanao.

2006: Visiting one of the busiest crossing sectors between the US and Mexico, President George W Bush says in Yuma, Arizona, that it makes sense to put up fencing along parts of the border, but not to block off the entire 2,000-mile length to keep immigrants from entering the US illegally.

2008: Mobs rampage through poor suburbs of Johannesburg in a frenzy of anti-foreigner hatred, killing at least seven people, injuring dozens, and forcing hundreds to seek refuge at police stations.

2011: Syrian President Bashar Assad claims the country’s crisis is drawing to a close even as forces unleash tank shells on opponents and US sanctions take aim at the Syrian leader and his senior aides for their brutal crackdowns.

2012: Social network company Facebook makes its trading debut with one of the most highly anticipated IPOs in Wall Street history; however, by day’s end Facebook stock closes up only 23 cents from its initial pricing of US$38.

2015: An 11-judge panel of the ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco says a three-member panel of the same court should not have forced YouTube to take down an anti-Muslim film that sparked violence in the Middle East and resulted in death threats to actors.


Omar Khayyam, Persian poet, astronomer and mathematician (1048-1131); Bertrand Russell, English philosopher (1872-1970); Walter Gropius, German architect/director of Bauhaus (1883-1969); Frank Capra, US movie director (1897-1991); John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla), Polish-born pope (1918-2005); Dame Margot Fonteyn, English ballerina (1919-1991); Hugh Lawson Shearer, Jamaica’s third prime minister (1923-2004 ); Robert Morse, actor (1931-2022 ); Reggie Jackson, Baseball Hall-of-Famer (1946- ); George Strait, US country singer (1952- ); Chow Yun-Fat, Hong Kong-born actor (1955- ); Page Hamilton, rock singer-musician (1960- ); Martika, singer-actress (1969- ); Tina Fey, comedian-writer (1970- ); Jack Johnson, US musician (1975- ); Spencer Breslin, actor (1992- ).

– AP and Jamaica Observer

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