Friday, May 28, 2010

On This Day in History: May 28

585 BC: As predicted by Thales of Miletus -- a tremendously influential Greek philosopher, scientist and mathematician -- a solar eclipse occurred while Alyattes II, King of the Lydian Empire, battled Cyaxares, King of Media at the Battles of Halys.  Later known as the Battle of the Eclipse, the factions ended their five-year war when the solar eclipse appeared, as both sides took the phenomena as an omen from the gods to end their fighting.

This is most notable because the battle is the earliest historical event of which the date is known with exact precision, eventually becoming the cardinal event by which other dates could be calculated.

1754: In the first engagement of the French and Indian War, a Virginia militia led by 22-year-old Lieutenant Colonel George Washington defeat a French reconnaissance party in the Battle of Jumonville Glen in what is now Fayette County in southwestern Pennsylvania.

1937: The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is opened by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (via Washington, DC), who pushed a button that signaled the go-ahead for vehicle traffic over the bridge.

1987: A West German pilot named Mathias Rust evades Soviet Union air defenses and lands a private plane in Red Square in Moscow.  He was immediately arrested and remained in confinement for over 14 months.

1996: Bill Clinton's (pictured) former business partners -- James McDougal, Susan McDougal, and Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker -- are convicted of fraud in the Whitewater land deal.  That ol' boy is now 10 years out of office, and he still can't stay out of trouble.

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