This Day in History: May 14

On this day, May 14 …

1948: According to the current-era calendar, the independent state of Israel is proclaimed in Tel Aviv by David Ben-Gurion, who becomes its first prime minister. President Harry S. Truman immediately recognizes the new nation.

Also on this day:

  • 1796: English physician Edward Jenner inoculates 8-year-old James Phipps against smallpox by using cowpox matter.
  • 1955: Representatives from eight Communist bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, sign the Warsaw Pact in Poland. (The Pact would be dissolved in 1991.)
  • 1961: Freedom Riders are attacked by violent mobs in Anniston and Birmingham, Ala.
  • 1973: The National Right to Life Committee is incorporated.
  • 1973: The United States launches Skylab 1, its first manned space station. (Skylab 1 would remain in orbit for six years before burning up during re-entry in 1979.)
  • 2001: The Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that there is no exception in federal law for people to use marijuana for medical purposes.
  • 2008: The Interior Department declares the polar bear a threatened species because of the loss of Arctic sea ice.
  • 2009: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accuses the CIA of misleading her and other lawmakers about the waterboarding of detainees during the Bush administration, disputing Republican charges that she'd been complicit in its use.
  • 2014: Canadian-born U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz officially renounced his birth country's citizenship amid speculation he could make a run at the White House in 2016.
  • 2018: Israel and the U.S. hold a festive inauguration ceremony for the new American Embassy in Jerusalem.
  • 2018: The Supreme Court clears the way for states coast to coast to legalize betting on sports.