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May 21, 2013

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, May 21, the 141st day of 2013. There are 224 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On May 21, 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.

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 1863, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was officially organized.

In 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.

In 1892, the opera “Pagliacci,” by Ruggero Leoncavallo, premiered 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 1941, a German U-boat sank the American merchant steamship SS Robin Moor in the South Atlantic after the ship’s passengers and crew were allowed to board lifeboats.

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

In 1959, the musical “Gypsy,” inspired by the life of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, opened on Broadway with Ethel Merman starring as Mama Rose.

In 1972, Michelangelo’s Pieta, on display at the Vatican, was damaged by a hammer-wielding man who shouted he was Jesus Christ.

In 1982, during the Falklands War, British amphibious forces landed on the beach at San Carlos Bay.

In 1998, teen gunman Kip Kinkel opened fire inside Thurston High School in Springfield, Ore., killing two students, a day after he’d killed his parents. (Kinkel was sentenced to nearly 112 years in prison.) In the wake of deadly protests, Indonesia President Suharto stepped down after 32 years in power.

Ten years ago: Christie Whitman resigned as Environmental Protection Agency administrator. The most devastating earthquake to hit Algeria in two decades killed at least 2,200 people. Ruben Studdard edged Clay Aiken to win the second “American Idol” competition on Fox.

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