1497 John Cabot sighted land between Halifax and southern Labrador.
1763 Empress Josephine of France was born. (See March 9th entry.)
1947 Flying saucers were reported near Mount Rainier, Washington.
1948 The Berlin Blockade began. (See May 12th entry.)
1983 Sally Ride became America’s first female astronaut to return to earth. (See April 19th entry.)
Today is an historic anniversary. In 1947, flying saucers were sighted over Mount Rainier, Washington. Kenneth Arnold of Boise, Idaho swore that he saw “shining saucer-like objects. . . Not just one, but nine.” That was it. In later years, the reports were considerably more detailed, up to and including accounts of alien abductions, descriptions of “gray men” and so forth. There is little evidence that these people were deliberately trying to con the public, but the government explained the sightings as marsh gas mirages, weather balloons, or atmospheric phenomena. People didn’t seem terribly anxious to believe those explanations either.
The space shuttle Challenger safely landed on this day in 1983, at Edward’s Air Force Base. This may not seem that newsworthy until you consider that one of the crew members was Sally Ride, our first female astronaut to travel into space.
Five years after Christopher Columbus reached the New World, exploring the islands in the Caribbean, and returned to Spain to report his discoveries, a courageous British navigator sighted the coastline between Halifax, Newfoundland, and southern Labrador. On this day in 1497, John Cabot made the first recorded discovery of the North American mainland. History tells us that the Vikings had landed on this continent five centuries earlier, but they left no written record of their epic journey. John Cabot did.