A closer look at key historic events that took place on May 18:

In 1980, Mount St. Helens erupts

In what is one of the greatest volcanic explosions in American history, the volcano erupted on May 18 after a 5.1 magnitude earthquake shook Washington.

Eruption of Mt St Helens May 18, 1980, Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Flickr

In 1974, India detonates a nuclear weapon

In its first successful nuclear weapons test, code-named “Smiling Buddha,” India detonated a nuclear device in the Pokhran desert of Rajasthan. This event marked India’s entry into the nuclear club, becoming the sixth nation in the world to possess nuclear weapons.

NEW DELHI, INDIA : (FILES) Picture dated 26 January 1999 shows an Agni intermediate range ballistic missile being towed past the presidential dais during India’s annual Republic Day parade. EPA PHOTO AFPI FILES/JOHN MACDOUGALL/jd/fjb/ta/rab/mr

In 1953, the first woman breaks thee sound barrier

American aviator Jacqueline Cochran flew an F-86 Sabre jet aircraft and reached a speed of Mach 1.04 (approximately 1,287 kilometers per hour or 800 miles per hour), surpassing the speed of sound.

Jacqueline Cochran: Internationally Known Woman Aviator..Date: ca. 1940 State Archives of Florida

In 1940, Brussels falls to Germany

The city’s capture during World War II was a significant event in the German invasion of Belgium and France, ultimately leading to the occupation of Belgium by Nazi forces.

Brussels, 1940. Wikimedia Commons

In 1927, the worst school massacre in the US takes place
The Bath school disaster claimed the lives of 45 people, when a disgruntled school board member detonated several bombs at the Bath Consolidated School and other locations in Michigan.

Plaque commemorating the victims of the Bath School disaster, May 18, 1927.
Source: en:Image:20060207002907!DCP 1455bsd.JPG by en:User:Jtmichcock with {{GFDL-self}}

In 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson is ruled in

This landmark decision upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation laws for public facilities as long as they were “separate but equal.” This ruling had a profound impact on the legal doctrine of “separate but equal” and allowed for the proliferation of racial segregation in the United States for decades.

Plessy v Ferguson marker, side 2 – NOLA. Flickr

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