On this day in 1889, The Eiffel Tower is officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition in Paris. The tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. It is the tallest structure in Paris at 1,063 ft. and the most visited paid monument in the world. It is locate in the 7th arrondissement on the Champs de mars next to the Seine.
The tower was not without its controversy, a letter of 300 names, including those of Maupassant, Emile Zola, Charles Garnier (architect of the Opéra Garnier), and Dumas the Younger, protested its construction, calling it an “eye sore”. Eiffel had a 20 year permit for the Tower with dismantling schedules for 1909. The Tower reverted to the City of Paris and was decided that because of its value for radio communications it would remain. During World War 1 the Tower became crucial for communications and played a roll in the capture of the infamous spy Mata Hari.
The Eiffel Tower remains today as the symbol of Paris, the City of Light. It is one of the primary tourist attractions of the city. There are stairs and lifts to the upper levels and observation decks and two restaurants. Recently an ice skating rink opens on the first floor in the winter and in the summer at the street level a swimming pool.
1527 – Spanish and German troops sack Rome; some consider this the end of the Renaissance. 147 Swiss Guards, including their commander, die fighting the forces of Charles V in order to allow Pope Clement VII to escape into Castel Sant’Angelo.
1536 – King Henry VIII orders English language Bibles be placed in every church.
1542 – Francis Xavier reaches Old Goa, the capital of Portuguese India at the time.
1682 – Louis XIV of France moves his court to Versailles.
1757 – Battle of Prague – A Prussian army fights an Austrian army in Prague during the Seven Years’ War.
1775 – William Franklin warns Dartmouth of repercussions from Lexington and Concord Benjamin Franklin s illegitimate son, New Jersey Royal Governor William Franklin, writes that the violence at Lexington and Concord greatly diminishes the chances of reconciliation between Britain and her North American colonies.
1835 – James Gordon Bennett, Sr. publishes the first issue of the New York Herald.
1857 – The British East India Company disbands the 34th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry whose sepoy Mangal Pandey had earlier revolted against the British and is considered to be the First Martyr in the War of India’s Independence.
1861 – American Civil War: Arkansas secedes from the Union.
1861 – American Civil War: Richmond, Virginia is declared the new capital of the Confederate States of America.
1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville ends with the defeat of the Army of the Potomac by Confederate troops.
1877 – Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Sioux surrenders to United States troops in Nebraska.
1882 – Thomas Henry Burke and Lord Frederick Cavendish are stabbed and killed during the Phoenix Park Murders in Dublin.
1882 – The United States Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act.
1910 – George V becomes King of the United Kingdom upon the death of his father, Edward VII.
1915 – Second Battle of Krithia, Gallipoli: After a first attempt to capture the village of Krithia, on the Gallipoli Peninsula, failed on April 28, 1915, a second is initiated on May 6 by Allied troops under the British commander Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston.
1935 – FDR creates the WPA New Deal: Executive Order 7034 creates the Works Progress Administration.
1937 – Hindenburg disaster: The German zeppelin Hindenburg catches fire and is destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people are killed.
1940 – John Steinbeck is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.
1941 – At California’s March Field, Bob Hope performs his first USO show.
1942 – World War II: On Corregidor, the last American forces in the Philippines surrender to the Japanese.
1945 – World War II: Axis Sally delivers her last propaganda broadcast to Allied troops (first is on December 11, 1941).
1945 – World War II: The Prague Offensive, the last major battle of the Eastern Front, begins.
1954 – Roger Bannister becomes the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.
1957 – Eugene O’Neill’s play “Long Day’s Journey into Night” won the Pulitzer Prize for drama; John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage” won the Pulitzer for biography or autobiography.
1960 – More than 20 million viewers watch the first televised royal wedding when Princess Margaret marries Anthony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey.
1970 –Students launch nationwide protest: Hundreds of colleges and universities across the nation shut down as thousands of students join a nationwide campus protest. Governor Ronald Reagan closed down the entire California university and college system until May 11, which affected more than 280,000 students on 28 campuses.
1972 – South Vietnamese defenders hold on to An Loc
;The remnants of South Vietnam’s 5th Division at An Loc continue to receive daily artillery battering from the communist forces surrounding the city as reinforcements fight their way from the south up Highway 13.
1981 – A jury of architects and sculptors unanimously selects Maya Ying Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial from 1,421 other entries.
1983 – The Hitler diaries are revealed as a hoax after examination by experts.
1989 – Cedar Point opens Magnum XL-200, the first roller coaster to break the 200 ft height barrier, therefore spawning what is considered to be the coaster wars.
1994 – Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and French President François Mitterrand officiate at the opening of the Channel Tunnel.
1994 – Former Arkansas state worker Paula Jones files suit against President Bill Clinton, alleging that he had sexually harassed her in 1991.
1996 – The body of former CIA director William Colby is found washed up on a riverbank in southern Maryland, eight days after he disappeared.
1997 – The Bank of England is given independence from political control, the most significant change in the bank’s 300-year history.
1998 – Kerry Wood strikes out 20 Houston Astros to tie the major league record held by Roger Clemens. He threw a one-hitter and did not walk a batter in his 5th career start.
1999 – First elections to the devolved Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly held.
2001 – During a trip to Syria, Pope John Paul II becomes the first pope to enter a mosque.
2002 – Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn is assassinated by an animal rights activist.
2006 – Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby.
2006 – Lillian Gertrud Asplund, the last American survivor of the sinking of the Titanic, died in Shrewsbury, Mass., at age 99.
1931 – Willie Mays, American baseball player
1934 – Richard Shelby, American politician
1937 – Rubin Carter, American boxer
1945 – Jimmie Dale Gilmore, American musician
1945 – Bob Seger, American singer/songwriter
1947 – Martha Nussbaum, American philosopher
1947 – Alan Dale, New Zealand actor
1948 – Mary MacGregor, American singer
1950 – Ben Masters, Actor
1952 – Michael O’Hare, American actor
1953 – Tony Blair, former British prime minister
1955 – Tom Bergeron, American game show host
1955 – Gregg Henry, actor
1960 – John Flansburgh, rock singer (They Might Be Giants)
1960 – Roma Downey, Northern Irish actress
1961 – George Clooney, American actor
1961 – Clay O’Brien, actor
1964 – Tony Scalzo, Rock singer-musician, (Fastball)
1965 – Actress Leslie Hope
1967 – Mark Bryan (Hootie and the Blowfish)
1971 – Chris Shiflett, Rock musician (Foo Fighters)
1972 – Martin Brodeur, Canadian ice hockey player
1972 – Naoko Takahashi, Japanese long-distance runner
1977 – Marc Chouinard, French Canadian ice hockey player
1977 – Mark Eaton, American ice hockey player
1978 – John Abraham, American football player
1983 – Adrianne Palicki, Actress