This Day In History, May 15th

What happened on this day in history: The death of Emily Dickinson in 1886, the attempted assassination of George Wallace in 1972, and more important events on May 15th.

1756: The Seven Years’ War Begins

The Seven Years’ War begins. After years of fighting in North America, England and France declared war on one another, setting off a global conflict that spanned five continents. Under the leadership of William Pitt, British forces successfully defeated the French. Under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, Britain gained control over Canada, Louisiana, and Florida. In Europe, the Seven Years’ War was mainly fought between Prussia and Russia. Under the leadership of Frederick the Great, Prussia won the Seven Years’ War and bolstered its power and influence.

1856: L. Frank Baum Is Born

Lyman Frank Baum is born in Chittenango, New York. Writing under the name L. Frank Baum, he later penned the enduring classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was published in 1900 and made into an iconic film in 1939. Baum died at the age of 62 in Los Angeles in 1919.

1886: Emily Dickinson Dies

Emily Dickinson

Wikimedia CommonsAn excerpt of the only authenticated portrait of Emily Dickinson after her childhood.

Emily Dickinson dies at the age of 55 in Amherst, Massachusetts, likely from hypertension. A prolific poet, she penned some 1,800 poems during her life — only 10 of which were published while she was alive. Dismissed as an eccentric in her day, she’s now recognized as one of the finest poets in American history.

1940: The First McDonald’s Opens For Business

The restaurant that would eventually become the first McDonald’s begins serving customers in San Bernardino, California.

Brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald opened their business on the corner of 14th and E Streets as a barbecue establishment, but soon found that hamburgers and fries were their biggest sellers. After shifting their menu in that direction, they gradually developed the brand known around the world today, introducing the Golden Arches in 1962 and the original Ronald McDonald in 1965. Today, McDonald’s is the largest restaurant chain in the world by revenue.

1972: Arthur Bremer Shoots Governor George Wallace

Arthur Bremer

Public DomainArthur Bremer attending a campaign rally for George Wallace.

Would-be assassin Arthur Bremer shoots Alabama Governor George Wallace in Maryland. Though Wallace had courted controversy with his demands for “segregation forever” while governor of Alabama, Bremer’s motives were not especially political — he’d also considered shooting President Richard Nixon. Wallace survived the shooting but was left partially paralyzed.