Today in history – May 20

1609 – Shakespeare’s sonnets are first published in London.

1861 – North Carolina secedes from the Union.

1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law.

1873 – Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive a patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.

1902 – Cuba gains independence from the United States.

1927 – Charles Lindbergh took off from Long Island aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France.

1932 – Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland to begin the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot, landing in Ireland the next day.

1983 – First publications of the discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by Luc Montagnier.

1989 – Chinese authorities declare martial law in the face of pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.