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May 1, 2012

Today in History for Tuesday, May 1, 2012

-- — Highlight in History

On May 1, 1982, the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tenn., was opened by President Ronald Reagan. The fair’s theme: “Energy Turns the World.” (The six-month exposition’s last day was October 31.)

On this date

In 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was created as a treaty merging England and Scotland took effect.

In 1786, Mozart’s opera “The Marriage of Figaro” premiered in Vienna.

In 1898, Commodore George Dewey gave the command, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley,” as an American naval force destroyed a Spanish squadron in Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

In 1911, the song “I Want a Girl (Just Like the Girl That Married Dear Old Dad),” by Harry Von Tilzer and Will Dillon, was first published.

In 1931, New York’s 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated. Singer Kate Smith made her debut on CBS Radio on her 24th birthday.

In 1941, the Orson Welles motion picture “Citizen Kane” premiered in New York.

In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane over Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

In 1961, the first U.S. airline hijacking took place as Antulio Ramirez Ortiz, a Miami electrician, commandeered a National Airlines plane that was en route to Key West, Fla., and forced the pilot to fly to Cuba.

In 1962, the first Target discount store opened in Roseville, Minn.

In 1971, the intercity passenger rail service Amtrak went into operation.

In 1987, during a visit to West Germany, Pope John Paul II beatified Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun who was gassed in the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

In 1992, on the third day of the Los Angeles riots, a visibly shaken Rodney King appeared in public to appeal for calm, pleading, “Can we all get along?”

Ten years ago

Israeli armored vehicles began leaving Yasser Arafat’s battered West Bank compound, ending his five months of confinement. Well over a million people across France marched against far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, four days before Le Pen was soundly defeated by President Jacques Chirac in a presidential runoff.

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