In 1682 Robert Cavalier de la Salle discovered the mouth of the Mississippi River, claimed it for France, and named it Louisiana. In 1865 General Robert E Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S Grant at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the American Civil War. In 1940 Nazi collaborator and Norwegian traitor Vidkun Quisling seizes power in Norway, while in 1945 German dissident and Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who participated in an attempt to assassinate Hitler, was executed by the Nazi regime.
In air and space news NASA introduced the first US astronauts, known as the Mercury 7, in 1959. The first Boeing 737 took its maiden flight in 1967. And the first British-French Concorde made its maiden fight in 1969.
Joining the world on this date was J William Fulbright, Arkansas Senator whose global focus lead him to the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and creator of the Fulbright Scholarship to support overseas international studies for qualifying students, such as former President Bill Clinton – similar to Rhodes Scholarships. Also joining us was Mary Jackson the first African American aerospace engineer (story told in Hidden Figures) in 1921, and J Prepper Eckert (1919) the American engineer who invented the ENIAC – the first programmable, electronic, general purpose digital computer.
Leaving us on this date were two popes: Constantine (715) and Benedict VIII (1024), three British leaders: English jurist Francis Bacon (1626); Scottish rebel Simon Fraser (Lord Lovat, 1747); and Prince Philip (2021); and two creators: American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1959) and director, producer, and screenwriter Sydney Lumet (2011).