Friday, May 9, 1997
- America's first ambassador to Vietnam, Douglas "Pete" Peterson, takes up his post.
- First hearing in Nigeria at Lagos magistrates court of treason charge against exiled Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka and 11 others over spate of bomb attacks in Lagos blamed by the government on its radical opponents.
- The Second International Festival of Alternative Theatre opens in Podgorica, Montenegro, with a performance by New Yorks La Mamma troupe.
On the horizon
- On Saturday, May 10, Pope John Paul II is scheduled to visit Lebanon. The trip marks the Pope's first visit to the Middle East.
- On Sunday, May 11, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is scheduled to visit Kazakhstan.
- On Monday, May 12, U.S. and North Korean senior officials are scheduled to hold talks to discuss U.S. concerns over North Korea's export of missiles, including those to such countries as Iran.
- On Tuesday, May 13, the 38th annual Clio advertising awards will be presented in New York.
- On Wednesday, May 14, French President Jacques Chirac visits China.
On this day
- In 1386, the Treaty of Windsor was signed under which England and Portugal pledged their permanent alliance and friendship.
- In 1502, Christopher Columbus set out from Cadiz, Spain, on his fourth and last voyage.
- In 1671, Thomas Blood, the Irish adventurer better known as Captain Blood, stole the crown jewels from the Tower of London.
- In 1785, British inventor Joseph Bramah patented the beer-pump handle.
- In 1901, Australia opened its first parliament in Melbourne.
- In 1926, Americans Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett became the first to fly over the North Pole.
- In 1927, Canberra replaced Melbourne as the capital of Australia.
- In 1936, Ethiopia was formally annexed by Italy.
- In 1945, final surrender documents were signed by Germany at the end of World War II.
- In 1946, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy abdicated and the monarchy was replaced by a republic.
- In 1949, Prince Louis II of Monaco died shortly after delegating his powers to Prince Rainier, who began his reign on April 11, 1950.
- In 1960, the U.S. became the first country to use the birth control pill legally.
- In 1976, Ulrike Meinhof, a leader of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist group, hanged herself in prison.
- In 1978, the body of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro was found in the boot of a car; he had been kidnapped and murdered by the Red Brigade.
- In 1979, 18 people were killed when troops opened fire on terrorists occupying San Salvador cathedral in El Salvador.
- In 1980, Pope John Paul II and the Archbishop of Canterbury met for the first time in Ghana.
- In 1991, William Kennedy Smith, nephew of Edward Kennedy, was charged with rape.
- In 1993, Paraguay held its first presidential and parliamentary elections for nearly 50 years.
- In 1996, the National Party, which inflicted apartheid on South Africa then helped break the hated system, decided to quit Nelson Mandela's two-year-old government of national unity, effective June 30.
One year ago, South Africa's National Party abandoned the Government of National Unity to take its place as an opposition party to Nelson Mandela's ANC-based government. The architects of apartheid are now trying to make their mark in a multi-racial political environment. Track their efforts by visiting the National Party of South Africa's Web page.
Holidays and more
- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Turkmenistan and the Ukraine celebrate Victory Day.
- New Caledonia observes Labor Day.
- Guatemala observes Mother's Day.
- Actress Candice Bergen is 51.
- Actor Albert Finney is 61.
- Baseball player Tony Gwynn is 37.
- Actress Glenda Jackson is 60.
- Pop star Billy Joel is 48.
- TV journalist Mike Wallace is 79.
Sources: Associated Press,
Chase's Calendar of Events 1997, J.P. Morgan