Historical Events on May 8
- 1842: In the city of Paris in France, approximately two hundred people are killed when a train comes off the track and catches on fire.
- 1846: North of the Rio Grande, a Mexican force is defeated by Zachary Taylor during the first major skirmish of the Mexican American War. It will become known as the Battle of Palo Alto.
- 1861: The Confederate States of America name Richmond, Virginia to be their capital during the American Civil War.
- 1886: A pharmacist by the name of John Pemberton begins selling “Coca-Cola,” a carbonated beverage that’s being sold as a patent medicine.
- 1912: Paramount Pictures is born on this day.
- 1941: Nazi Luftwaffe begins bombing the towns of Nottingham and Derby.
- 1942: The German11th Army starts Operation Trappenjagd (Operation Bustard Hunt) on this day and destroys the Soviet 44th, 57th and 51st Armies which were defending Kerch Peninsula in Crimea.
- 1942: The USS Lexington is attacked and sunk by an Imperial Japanese Naval aircraft which were launched from an aircraft carrier. This concludes the Battle of the Coral Sea during World War II.
- 1942: Sri Lankan gunner of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery on Horsburgh Island in the Cocos Island Chain mutiny during the Coco Islands Mutiny. The mutiny is quickly put down and several soldiers are executed.
- 1945: During the Setif Massacre, the French Army kills hundreds of Algerian civilians.
- 1945: Combat ends in Europe – thus beginning V-E Day (Victory in Europe). German forces agree to an unconditional surrender.
- 1945: The Prague Uprising comes to a halt.
Famous Birthdays on May 8
- English historian and politician, Edward Gibbon is born in 1737.
- African-American poet Phillis Wheatley is born in 1753.
- American colonel and 33rd President of the U.S., Harry S. Truman is born in 1884.
- American radio personality, actor and comedian, Arthur Q. Bryan is born in 1899.
- Austrian economist and Nobel Prize laureate, Friedrich Hayek is born in 1899.
- French microbiologist and Nobel Prize laureate, Andre Michel Lwoff is born in 1902.
- American singer-songwriter and King of the Delta Blues, Robert Johnson is born in 1911.
- American author and screenwriter, Peter Benchley is born in 1940.
- American singer-songwriter John Fred is born in 1941.
- English author Pat Barker is born in 1943.