Today in History-May 4th, Independence, balloon soaring, food rationing


Rhode Island declares independence from England.

On May 4, 1776, the General Assembly of the Colony of Rhode Island declared its absolute independence from Great Britain. They voted nearly unanimously, thus making Rhode Island the first independent sovereign state in the western world.


A balloon soars over 40,000 feet for the first time.

Hawthorne Gray launched from Scott Field, Illinois, on November 4, 1927, on his third attempt to explore conditions and test equipment that would enable aircrews to survive and function at altitudes of over 40,000 feet.


Mahatma Gandhi is arrested by the British.

The Salt March, which took place from March to April 1930 in India, was an act of civil disobedience led by Mohandas Gandhi to protest British rule in India. The march resulted in the arrest of nearly 60,000 people, including Gandhi himself. India finally was granted its independence in 1947.


The United States begins food rationing.

The government began rationing certain foods in May 1942, starting with sugar. Coffee was added to the list that November, followed by meats, fats, canned fish, cheese, and canned milk the following March.


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