This Day in History - May 19
With allies in the Senate first requiring his Adminstration to deliver a satisfactory plan for what to do with detainees before they would agree to finance the proposed move, President Barack Obama’s promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison suffers a blow on this day in history, 2009.

Today is the 139th day of 2022. There are 226 days left in the year.


1881: The American Red Cross is founded by Clara Barton.


1535: Jacques Cartier sails from St Malo, on his second voyage to Canada, to explore the St Lawrence River and discover the future site of Montreal.

1554: France’s King Henry II invades the Netherlands.

1585: English shipping in Spanish ports is confiscated, serving as a declaration of war on England.

*1643: During the Thirty Years’ War, the French army — led by Louis II de Bourbon — defeated the Spanish in the Battle of Rocroi, ending Spain’s military ascendancy in Europe.

1649: England is declared a republic after King Charles I is executed by parliamentarians.

1792: Russia invades Poland at the behest of Polish conservatives, resulting in the second partition of Poland.

1845: English explorer John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition to find the Northwest Passage begins as the Erebus and the Terror set sail from London; both ships later became trapped in ice, and Franklin and his crew perished.

1884: The Ringling brothers open a small circus in Baraboo, Wisconsin, on this day in 1884 and by the early 20th century had transformed it into the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the leading American circus.

1897: Armistice ends Thirty Days’ War, with Greece conceding defeat to newly modernised Turkish army.

1898: Postcards are first authorised by the United States Post Office.

1900: The Tonga Islands in the South Pacific become a British protectorate. The world’s longest railroad tunnel, the 19-kilometre (12-mile) long Simplon Tunnel opens. The tunnel links Switzerland to Italy through the Alps.

1916: Britain introduces Daylight Saving Time, originally called “summer time”.

1930: White women are enfranchised in South Africa.

1935: T E Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, dies in England from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash.

1943: In an address to the US Congress, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill pledges his country’s full support in the war against Japan.

1962: Actress Marilyn Monroe performs a rendition of Happy Birthday for US President John F Kennedy during a fund-raiser at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

1967: The Soviet Union ratifies a treaty with the United States and Britain banning nuclear weapons from outer space.

1973: The Soviet Union and West Germany sign a 10-year agreement calling for economic, industrial and technical cooperation.

1993: Colombian jetliner crashes near Medellin, killing 132.

1994: Kamuzu Banda of Malawi, with 30 years at the helm as Africa’s longest-ruling dictator, concedes defeat to Bakili Muluzi in the country’s first multi-party election.

1997: More than 350 people are killed when a cyclone sweeps coastal Bangladesh.

1998: Indonesian students storm the parliament in Jakarta, demanding President Suharto’s resignation.

1999: Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic accepts “principles” of a Kosovo peace plan as NATO jets bomb Belgrade suburbs.

2001: The World Health Organization (WHO) adopts diluted proposal on wider international access to cheap HIV/AIDS drugs. The WHO urges tackling the epidemic instead.

2005: Egyptian authorities arrest 75 members of the Muslim Brotherhood and extend the detention of four leaders jailed earlier in a Government crackdown sparked by a wave of pro-reform protests by the banned movement believed to be Egypt’s largest Islamist group.

2006: The UN panel that monitors compliance with the world’s anti-torture treaty says the United States should close its prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and avoid using secret detention facilities in the war on terror.

2007: British Prime Minister Tony Blair, on his last visit to Iraq before stepping down in June, urges Iraq’s leaders to speed up reconciliation efforts — after three blasts rock the compound in Baghdad’s Green Zone where he met with Iraq’s leaders.

2008: The Dalai Lama meets with Germany’s development minister, provoking criticism within Angela Merkel’s Government after the chancellor angered China by inviting the Dalai Lama to the chancellory.

2009: President Barack Obama’s promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison suffers a blow when his allies in the Senate said they would refuse to finance the move until the Administration delivers a satisfactory plan for what to do with the detainees there.

2011: President Barack Obama steps into an explosive Middle East debate, endorsing a key Palestinian demand for the borders of its future state and prodding Israel to accept that it can never have a truly peaceful nation based on “permanent occupation”.

2012: A blind Chinese legal activist is hurriedly taken from a hospital and put on a plane for the United States, closing a nearly month-long diplomatic tussle that had tested US-China relations.

2013: Around 11,000 police officers and soldiers block an annual conference at Tunisia’s main religious centre by a radical Islamist movement that has been implicated in attacks across the country, prompting clashes with angry youths that result in one death.

2018: Prince Harry marries American actress Meghan Markle at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle; the ceremony, unlike any previous British royal wedding, mixed pomp and circumstance with African American culture, the latter a celebration of the bride’s biracial background.


Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey (1881-1938); King Faisal I, first king of independent Iraq (1883-1933); Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese Communist leader and president of North Vietnam (1890-1969); Wycliffe Bennett, pioneer producer and theatre arts extraordinaire (1922-2009); Pol Pot, Cambodian communist leader (1925 or 1928-1998); Malcolm X, Muslim minister and human rights activist (1925-1965); Lorraine Hansberry, playwright whose A Raisin in the Sun (1959) was the first drama by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway (1930-1965); Pete Townshend, British rock singer-composer of The Who (1945- ); Grace Jones, Jamaican-born singer-actress (1952- ).

— AP and Jamaica Observer

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