May 8 (UPI) — On this date in history:
In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto becomes the first European colonizer to discover the Mississippi River.
In 1909, President William Howard Taft announced he would continue the conservation policies put in place by his predecessor, President Theodore Roosevelt.
In 1915, reports issued by The Admiralty (Royal Navy) indicated that 703 of the passengers and crew of RMS Lusitania had been rescued, with more than 1,300 believed lost in the previous day’s U-boat attack.
In 1945, President Harry S. Truman officially declared V-E Day, the end of World War II in Europe.
In 1970, Let It Be, The Beatles’ final original album, was released. In 2015, Spotify said the song “Let It Be” was the No. 2 most-played Beatles song on the streaming service.
UPI File Photo
In 1984, the Soviet Union declared it wouldn’t take part in the Los Angeles Olympics, citing fears about security for its athletes. The decision came four years after the United States team boycotted the Games in Moscow.
In 1988, France re-elected socialist Francois Mitterrand as president, defeating conservative Prime Minister Jacques Chirac.
In 1996, South Africa voted for a new Constitution. Its bill of rights included the right to food, housing and education.
In 2003, dozens of people were reported killed after the rear door of a cargo jet suddenly opened at 33,000 feet over the Democratic Republic of the Congo and passengers were sucked out of the plane. Many occupants managed to stay in the aircraft until it landed at an airport.
In 2006, Lillian Asplund, the last known U.S. survivor of the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, died of natural causes at her Shrewsbury, Mass., home. She was 99.
File Photo courtesy National Archives
In 2007, Northern Ireland installed a new power-sharing government linking Catholic and Protestant parties.
In 2011, a senior al-Qaida suspect being moved from his Baghdad cell for questioning grabbed a jailer’s gun and set off a 6-hour battle that left at least 14 people dead, including the inmate.
In 2016, Londoners elected Sadiq Khan as the first Muslim mayor in the capital city’s history.
In 2018, a 78-foot wave was observed off the coast of Campbell Island, New Zealand, the largest wave ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.
In 2019, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared the country would partially stop complying with the nuclear deal it signed in 2015 with six other nations.
In 2020, 11-year-old Brazilian skateboarder Gui Khury became the first person to successfully land a 1,080-degree turn on a vertical ramp. He earned a Guinness World Record for his achievement.