In 1494, during his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica.
In 1818, political philosopher Karl Marx, co-author of “The Communist Manifesto” and author of “Das Kapital,” was born in Prussia.
In 1862, Mexican troops defeated French occupying forces in the Battle of Puebla.
In 1891, New York’s Carnegie Hall (then named “Music Hall”) had its official opening night, featuring Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky as a guest conductor.
In 1892, Congress passed the Geary Act, which required Chinese in the United States to carry a certificate of residence at all times, or face deportation.
In 1925, schoolteacher John T. Scopes was charged in Tennessee with violating a state law that prohibited teaching the theory of evolution. (Scopes was found guilty, but his conviction was later set aside.)
In 1934, the first Three Stooges short for Columbia Pictures, “Woman Haters,” was released.
In 1942, wartime sugar rationing began in the United States.
In 1945, in the only fatal attack of its kind during World War II, a Japanese balloon bomb exploded on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon, killing the pregnant wife of a minister and five children. Denmark and the Netherlands were liberated as a German surrender went into effect.
In 1961, astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. became America’s first space traveler as he made a 15-minute suborbital flight aboard Mercury capsule Freedom 7.
In 1981, Irish Republican Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands died at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland on his 66th day without food.
In 1994, Singapore caned American teenager Michael Fay for vandalism, a day after the sentence was reduced from six lashes to four in response to an appeal by President Bill Clinton.
Ten years ago: Connie Culp, America’s first face transplant recipient, appeared before reporters at the Cleveland Clinic. (Culp underwent the procedure after being shot by her husband in a failed murder-suicide attempt.) Texas health officials confirmed the first death of a U.S. resident with swine flu.
Five years ago: A narrowly divided Supreme Court upheld Christian prayers at the start of local council meetings. Philadelphia guard Michael Carter-Williams won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award.
One year ago: Russians demonstrated in scores of cities across the country against the impending inauguration of Vladimir Putin to a new term as president, and police responded by reportedly arresting nearly 1,600 of them. North Korea readjusted its time zone to match South Korea’s, saying it was an early step toward making the longtime rivals “become one.” NASA launched the Mars InSight lander from California on a flight of more than six months to the red planet, where the robot geologist would dig deeper in to the Martian surface than ever before. Justify, on his way to a Triple Crown sweep, splashed through the slop at Churchill Downs to win the Kentucky Derby by 2½ lengths, becoming the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Pat Carroll is 92. Former AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney is 85. Country singer-musician Roni Stoneman is 81. Actor Michael Murphy is 81. Actor Lance Henriksen is 79. Comedian-actor Michael Palin is 76. Actor John Rhys-Davies is 75. Rock correspondent Kurt Loder is 74. Rock musician Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) is 71. Actress Melinda Culea is 64. Actress Lisa Eilbacher is 62. Actor Richard E. Grant is 62. Former broadcast journalist John Miller is 61. Rock singer Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen) is 60. NBC newsman Brian Williams is 60. Rock musician Shawn Drover (Megadeth) is 53. TV personality Kyan (KY’-ihn) Douglas is 49. Actress Tina Yothers is 46. Rhythm and blues singer Raheem DeVaughn is 44. Actor Santiago Cabrera is 41. Actor Vincent Kartheiser is 40. Singer Craig David is 38. Actress Danielle Fishel is 38. Actor Henry Cavill is 36. Rock musician Josh Smith is 36. Actor Clark Duke is 34. Soul singer Adele is 31. Rock singer Skye Sweetnam is 31. Rhythm-and-blues singer Chris Brown is 30. Figure skater Nathan Chen is 20.
Thought for Today: “Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” — Hermann Hesse, German-born Swiss poet and author (1877-1962).