On this day on May 20, 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and Reno, Nevada, tailor Jacob Davis are given a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, marking the birth of one of the world’s most famous garments: blue jeans.
Some other important events that happened on May 20 over the years are:
• 1498 – Admiral Dom Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese navigator, arrived in India. He sailed around the Cape of Good Hope to Calicut, Kerala with three vessels and was the first Westerner to sail to India from Europe.
• 1927 – With the Treaty of Jeddah, Britain recognises Saudi Arabia as an independent country.
• 1932 – Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
• 1936 – The largest bond, for one billion dollars, is issued in history by the US Treasury. The bonds were to help in paying the large-scale public works meant to put back millions of Americans to work.
• 1944 – An assassination bid is made on Adolf Hitler by a group of officers. A bomb explodes in his headquarters during a staff meeting.
• 1956 – The first Hydrogen Bomb is exploded by America. It is dropped from an aircraft over Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific.
• 1992 – The first independent Indian satellite is launched.
• 1994 – Miss India Sushmita Sen is crowned Miss Universe.
• 2002 – After a twenty-year struggle, East Timor gains independence from the Philippines.
• 2005 – The village of Etoumbi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo is quarantined by the government when nine people died after an Ebola virus outbreak.
• 2009 – Wayne Allwine, who lent his voice to Mickey Mouse, dies of diabetes, at the age of sixty-two.
• 2010 – Scientists at the Craig J. Venter Institute announce the successful creation of the world’s first artificial life form. It is done by transplanting a synthesised genome into an existing cell.
Text by Tasneem Dhinojwala