May 8- 1541: Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto becomes the first European to discover the Mississippi River. 1884: Harry S. Truman, who would be elected vice president in 1944 and succeed Franklin D. Roosevelt as president upon his death in 1945, is born in Lamar, MO. 1886: The world’s first Coca-Cola, containing an extract from coca leaves used to produce cocaine, is served at Jacobs’ Pharmacy in Atlanta, GA, and cost 5¢! 1980: The World Health Organization (WHO) announces the eradication of smallpox.

May 9- 1386: The Treaty of Windsor was signed, creating a diplomatic alliance between England and Portugal and pledging mutual support and aid. It is still in force today and considered the longest-lasting diplomatic treaty in history. 1914: US President Woodrow Wilson proclaims the first official Mothers Day. 1941: British intelligence breaks the German spy code after capturing the infamous “Enigma” machine. 1986: Tenzing Norgay, the Sherpa who famously accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary to the summit of Mount Everest in 1953, died at the age of 71 in Darjeeling, India.

May 10- 1497: Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci embarks on his first voyage to the “New World” (the continent that would one day become known by a variation of his first name!). 1869: The golden spike is driven in Promontory Summit, UT, marking the completion of the first trans-continental railroad in North America. 1872: Victoria Woodhull becomes the first woman nominated for president, by the Equal Rights Party at its convention in New York City. 1940: Winston Churchill succeeds Neville Chamberlain as British Prime Minister.

May 11- 1751: Pennsylvania Hospital is founded by Dr. Thomas Bond and Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia, PA. 1812: British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is assassinated by John Bellingham, the first and only such killing in British history. 1997: Chess world champion Garry Kasparov resigns in game 6 of his match against IBM supercomputer “Deep Blue,” losing the match with one win, two losses, and three draws.

May 12- 1551: San Marcos University opens in Lima, Peru, and remains the oldest continually operating university in the Americas. 1937: King George VI is crowned at Westminster Abbey after his older brother (Edward VIII) abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcée Wallis Warfield Simpson. 1949: The USSR lifts its blockade of Berlin, Germany after 11 months, in the face of the massive airlift of food, fuel, and medicine spearheaded by American and British forces. 2008: A powerful 7.8 earthquake in Sichuan, China results in more than 87,000 deaths, 370,000 injuries, and millions of homeless.

May 13- 1787: The British fleet leaves Portsmouth, England with a convoy of six ships of prison convicts bound for Australia. 1934: A massive dust storm, 1,500 miles long and 600 miles wide, sweeps across the great plains region of the US, removing more than 300 million tons of topsoil.

Dirt and dust storms sweep the plains in 1934.

1981: Pope John Paul II is shot by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, leading to a huge increase in Papal security measures. 2017: A 22-year-old blogger in the United Kingdom inadvertently halts a global ransomware cyber-attack by accidently identifying the “kill switch!”

May 14- 1787: Delegates from all 13 colonies gather in Philadelphia, PA to begin hammering out a new federal Constitution. 1796: Dr. Edward Jenner first administers his cowpox-based vaccine for smallpox. 1804: The Corps of Discovery, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, sets out from St. Louis, MO to explore the newly purchased Louisiana territory and seek a route to the Pacific Ocean.