#TodayInHistory – May 85 min read
May 8 – Some important events on this day
1360 👉🏼 Treaty of Brétigny signed by English & French, ending the first phase of the Hundred Years’ War
1521 👉🏼 Parliament of Worms installs edict against Martin Luther.
In 1517, an obscure German theologian by the name of Martin Luther published a document criticizing the Catholic selling of ‘indulgences’, or actions performed to reduce the amount of punishment for sin.
He could not have known that his document and the subsequent events would change the face of Europe and Christendom forever. Over the next 150 years, Europe split between the Catholic faith of the Roman popes and the new, reformed religion known as Protestantism, of which there were many branches. Northern Europe switched to Protestant, Southern Europe remained Catholic, and Central Europe became the site of the devastating Thirty Years’ War.
For his writings and teachings, Luther was put on trial for heresy and in 1521 was excommunicated by the Pope. He would continue to teach and write widely on religion, including by translating the Bible into German vernacular and publishing numerous hymns. He would die in 1546, near the peak of the Reformation itself. Today, more than 900 million people adhere to the Protestant faith.
1541 👉🏼 Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his expedition discover the Mississippi River.
Commissioned by the Spanish crown to conquer Florida, Hernando de Soto and his expedition of 10 ships and 700 men landed on the coast of Florida in 1539. He was then one of the wealthiest and most successful of the Spanish conquistadors, having worked as a slave trader in Panama and the West Indies and as Francisco Pizarro’s second-in-command during the conquest of Peru.
His travels through the American south east in search of conquest and treasure would last three years. In 1841 his expedition made the first European sighting of the Mississippi River. De Soto died of a fever in 1542 and his body was interned in the Mississippi River.
1660 👉🏼 English parliament declares Charles Stuart to be King Charles II of England
1835 👉🏼 1st installment of Hans Christian Andersen “Fairy Tales” published by C. A. Reitzel in Copenhagen, Denmark 🇩🇰
1842 👉🏼 Versailles to Paris train catches fire. 50 die 🚆
1885 👉🏼 Sarah Ann Henley, 22, tried to commit suicide by throwing herself from Clifton Suspension Bridge, outside Bristol. But…..✔️ READ THE ARTICLE !
1886 👉🏼 Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta sells the first Coca-Cola (contained cocaine) 🥤
1895 👉🏼 China cedes Taiwan to Japan under Treaty of Shimonoseki
1902 👉🏼 Mount Pelée on the French overseas island of Martinique erupts, wiping out the city of Saint-Pierre, killing 30,000 and leaving only two survivors 🌋
1912 👉🏼 Film and television production and distribution studio Paramount Pictures is founded 🎥
1919 👉🏼 Edward George Honey first proposes the idea of a moment of silence to commemorate The Armistice of World War I, leads to the creation of Remembrance Day.
At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918, the First World War came to an end. The armistice (the fourth of three armistices which had already taken Germany’s three main allies out of the war) meant total victory for the Allies and the collapse of Germany.
The armistice was not a formal surrender – this would come later with the Treaty of Versailles – but it ended all the active fighting. Celebrations occurred across the world after its announcement as the “war to end all wars” had finally come to an end.
Of course this peace would only last twenty-some years. The rise of the Nazi Party gave rise to the stab in the back myth that the German Army was betrayed by the “November Criminals” who signed the armistice.
1945 👉🏼 V-E Day: World War II ends in Europe after Germany signs an unconditional surrender.
World War II in Europe ended twice. On 7 May 1945, in a small red brick schoolhouse in the French town of Reims, German representative Alfred Jodl signed the instrument of unconditional surrender on behalf of the Nazi High Command, and representatives from the US, UK and USSR signed on behalf of the Allies.
This, however, was unacceptable to the Soviet Union, who wanted a full, final signing in the German capital signed by their leading general, Georgy Zhukov. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme Allied commander, agreed, and the final signing was set for the following day.
Thus, in the ruins of Berlin, Wilhelm Keitel, Hans-Georg von Friedeburg and Hans-Jürgen Stumpff signed the surrender for Germany. Political and diplomatic haggling between the Western Allies prevented the physical signing of the document until almost 1:00am on 9 May, but it was backdated to 8 May.
Subsequently Victory in Europe Day is celebrated on two days in Europe. At the time there was meant to be a news blackout after the Reims signing so that the celebrations could take place at the same time around the world, but a news reporter broke the embargo and the West erupted in celebration on 8 May despite the fact the formal announcement of defeat was not made until later that night – just before the Berlin signing. Thus the West celebrates on 8 May, but the Soviet Union celebrates victory on 9 May, when the Berlin signing took effect.
1958 👉🏼 “Dracula” film starring Christopher Lee as the eponymous vampire, directed by Terence Fisher is the first Hammar Horror film released 🧛🏻♂️
1970 👉🏼 Beatles release “Let it Be” album 🎶
1980 👉🏼 World Health Organization announces smallpox has been eradicated
1993 👉🏼 16 year old Keron Thomas disguises himself as a motorman & takes NYC subway train and 2,000 passengers on a 3 hour ride
2007 👉🏼 A new Northern Ireland Executive is formed with Ian Paisley (Democratic Unionist Party) as First Minister and Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) as Deputy First Minister
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