This Day In History, May 8th

What happened on this day in history: The first Coca-Cola is sold, people around the world celebrate V-E Day, and more events from May 8th.

1753: Miguel Hidalgo Is Born

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest and the father of Mexican independence, is born in Guanajuato, Mexico. In 1810, Hidalgo gave an impassioned speech known as the Cry of Dolores, urging the Mexican people to rise up against Spanish colonizers. This call to arms sparked the Mexican War of Independence. Hidalgo gathered an army of 90,000 farmers and poor citizens in his march across Mexico, but he was captured and executed in 1811.

1886: The First Coca-Cola Is Sold

Dr. John Pemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola, sells the first glass of his new soda at Jacobs’ Pharmacy in Atlanta. He had created the drink about a month earlier and brought a jug of it to the pharmacy on May 8th to test its potential as a retail product. It was sold for five cents per glass, and for the first year, an average of nine drinks were sold each day. Pemberton sold his interest in the business in 1888 and died without ever knowing how monumentally successful his product would become around the world.

1902: Mount Pelée Erupts

Mount Pelee Eruption

Wikimedia CommonsThe aftermath of the Mount Pelée eruption in Saint-Pierre, Martinique.

Mount Pelée on the Caribbean island of Martinique erupts, destroying the city of Saint-Pierre and killing around 28,000 people. Volcanic activity had begun with smaller explosions two weeks prior, but nobody expected the blast that came at 8 a.m. on May 8th. Only two people within the city survived, including a prisoner who was locked in an underground jail cell. In the end, this disaster was one of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in history.

1945: V-E Day

VE Day Celebration

Wikimedia CommonsPeople celebrate the surrender of Nazi Germany in the streets of London.

Germany surrenders to the Allies, bringing an end to World War II in Europe. Immediately, people around the world celebrated Victory in Europe Day, commonly known as V-E Day. The surrender marked the end of the six-year war in Europe, though the conflict in the Pacific didn’t come to an end until several months later.

People across the globe filled the streets to celebrate the occasion, while, in the words of U.S. President Harry S. Truman, “Our rejoicing is sobered and subdued by a supreme consciousness of the terrible price we have paid to rid the world of Hitler and his evil band.”

2018: Rily Gaul Is Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murder Of Emma Walker

Rily Gaul is sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Emma Walker. Formerly Walker’s boyfriend, Gaul was obsessed with maintaining their relationship, even going so far as to fake his own kidnapping to get Walker’s attention. On November 21, 2016, Gaul walked around the outside of Walker’s home and fired two shots through Walker’s bedroom wall. Walker’s mother found her dead in her bed the next morning. A videotaped confession would eventually convict Gaul for her murder.