A closer look at key historic events that took place on May 4:

In 1970, four students are shot at Kent State
The Ohio National Guard shot and killed four unarmed students at an anti-Vietnam War demonstration at Kent State University and injured nine others. The event further turned the public’s opinion against the ongoing war.

04 May 1970, Kent, Ohio, USA — Views at Kent State. Masked National Guardsmen fired a barrage of tear gas into a crowd of demonstrators on the campus of Kent State University May 4th. When the gas dissipated, four students lay dead and several others injured. Hundreds of students staged the demonstration in protest against the Nixon administration’s expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS. Flickr

In 1959 the first Grammy Awards are presented
The first ceremony was held simultaneously in Beverly Hills, California and New York City with 28 Grammys awarded. Winners included Frank SinatraElla Fitzgerald, and the Kingston Trio.

In 1919, the May Fourth Movement takes place
Chinese students protested the decision of the the Treaty of Versailles at the Paris Peace Conference regarding the transfer of German rights and possessions in the Shandong province to Japan.

Tiananmen Square on 4 May 1919. Around 3,000 students from 13 universities in Beijing gathered there to oppose Article 156 of the Treaty of Versailles which handover a German possession in China to Japan (Shandong Problem). This officially sparked the May Fourth Movement. Wikimedia Commons

In 1904, the US takes over the construction of the Panama Canal

French engineers had begun construction in 1881, but had abandonded the project after suffering 22,000 deaths due to accidents and disease. It was completed in 1914.

This before photograph of the Panama Canal was used as a guide in the construction of the Cape Cod Canal by the U.S. Army’s Office of the Chief Engineers. Cape Cod Canal Preparatory Studies. 1914. The U.S. National Archives

In 1814, Napoleon lands on Elba

After abdicating, he was exiled for the first time to the island of Elba, off the coast of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. He returned to France in 1815 for the Hundred Days, until he was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.

Cartoon on Napoleon’s exile to the island of Elba, May 1814. Rijksmuseum

In 1675, King Charles II of England commissions the Royal Observatory in Greenwich

This observatory was was built on the prime meridian primarily to improve navigation and solve the problem of determining longitude at sea, which was crucial for maritime exploration and trade. The Royal Observatory later became the location from which Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was measured.

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