On this day, May 3 …
1979: Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher is chosen to become Britain’s first female prime minister as the Tories oust the incumbent Labour government in parliamentary elections.
Also on this day:
- 1469: Niccolo Machiavelli is born in Florence, Italy.
- 1802: Washington, D.C., is incorporated as a city.
- 1913: Clorox has its beginnings as five entrepreneurs agree to set up a liquid bleach factory in Oakland, Calif.
- 1916: Irish nationalists Padraic Pearse, Thomas Clarke and Thomas MacDonagh are executed by a British firing squad for their roles in the Easter Rising, an armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter Week.
- 1948: The Supreme Court, in Shelley v. Kraemer, rules that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to African-Americans or members of other racial groups are legally unenforceable.
- 1952: The Kentucky Derby is televised nationally for the first time on CBS.
- 1960: The Harvey Schmidt-Tom Jones musical "The Fantasticks" begins a nearly 42-year run at New York’s Sullivan Street Playhouse.
- 1978: Spam email is born as Gary Thuerk, a marketing executive for the Digital Equipment Corp. of Maynard, Mass., transmits an unsolicited sales pitch for a new line of computers to 400 prospective customers on ARPANET, a precursor to the Internet; the stunt generates some business, as well as complaints.
- 1978: "Sun Day" takes place on a Wednesday as thousands of people extolling the virtues of solar energy hold events across the country.
- 1986: In NASA’s first post-Challenger launch, an unmanned Delta rocket loses power in its main engine shortly after liftoff, forcing safety officers to destroy it by remote control.
- 2007: British girl Madeleine McCann vanishes during a family vacation in Portugal nine days before her fourth birthday; her disappearance remains unsolved.
- 2009: Mexican President Felipe Calderon tells state television a nationwide shutdown and an aggressive informational campaign appears to have helped curtail an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico.
- 2014: California Chrome pulls away down the stretch for a dominant win at the 140th Kentucky Derby.
- 2018: A federal grand jury in Detroit indicts former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn on charges stemming from the company’s diesel emissions cheating scandal.