• On May 9, 1671, in London, Irish adventurer “Captain” Thomas Blood is captured attempting to steal the Crown Jewels in retaliation after being deprived of his Ireland estates. King Charles was so impressed with Blood’s audacity that he restored his estates in Ireland and made him a member of his court with an annual pension.
• On May 10, 1869, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet and are connected in Promontory, Utah. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history. Journeys that had taken months by wagon train or weeks by boat now took only days.
• On May 7, 1915, the British ocean liner Lusitania is torpedoed without warning by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland, with 1,198 people drowned. It was later revealed that the Lusitania was carrying about 173 tons of war munitions for Britain, which the Germans cited as justification for the attack.
• On May 6, 1940, John Steinbeck is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel “The Gr apes of Wr ath.” The book traces the fictional Joad family of Oklahoma as they lose the family farm and move to California in search of a better life.
• On May 4, 1965, San Francisco Giants outfielder Willie Mays hits his 512th career home run to break Mel Ott’s National League record. Mays would finish his career with 660 home runs, good for third on the all-time list at the time of his retirement.
• On May 8, 1984, the Soviet government announces a boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Los Angeles. Although the Soviets cited security concerns, the boycott was more likely due to America’s generous aid to Muslim rebels fighting in Afghanistan.
• On May 5, 1995, the Dallas area is hit by a severe hailstorm that causes many serious injuries. It was the worst recorded hailstorm to hit the United States in the 20th century. The Texas storm came on suddenly, and many people had not yet sought shelter when tennis ball-sized hail began to fall.
(c) 2009 King Features Synd.