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This day in history

Wednesday, May 15, is the 135th day of 2013. There are 230 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy is 77. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is 76. Country singer K.T. Oslin is 71. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is 65. Singer-songwriter Brian Eno is 65. Actor Chazz Palminteri is 61. Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett is 60. Musician-composer Mike Oldfield is 60. Actor Lee Horsley is 58. Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith is 44.Actor David Krumholtz is 35. Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler is 32.

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In 1602, English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold and his ship, the Concord, arrived at present-day Cape Cod, which he’s credited with naming.

In 1776, Virginia endorsed American independence from Britain.

In 1862, President Lincoln signed an act establishing the Department of Agriculture. Austrian author and playwright Arthur Schnitzler was born in Vienna.

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, whose members came to be known as WACs. Wartime gasoline rationing went into effect in 17 Eastern states, limiting sales to three gallons a week for non-essential vehicles.

In 1963, astronaut L. Gordon Cooper blasted off aboard Faith 7 on the final mission of the Project Mercury space program. Weight Watchers was incorporated in New York.

In 1970, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, two black students at Jackson State College in Mississippi, were killed as police opened fire during student protests.

In 1972, Alabama Governor George C. Wallace was shot and left paralyzed by Arthur H. Bremer while campaigning in Laurel, Md., for the Democratic presidential nomination. (Bremer served 35 years of a 53-year sentence for attempted murder.)

In 1975, US forces invaded the Cambodian island of Koh Tang and recaptured the American merchant ship Mayaguez. (All 40 crew members had already been released safely by Cambodia; some 40 U.S. servicemen were killed in the operation.)

In 1988, the Soviet Union began the process of withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, more than eight years after Soviet forces had entered the country.

In 1991, Edith Cresson was appointed by French President Francois Mitterrand to be France’s first female prime minister.

In 2008, President George W. Bush, addressing the Israeli Knesset, gently urged Mideast leaders to ‘‘make the hard choices necessary for peace’’ and condemned what he called ‘‘the false comfort of appeasement.’’ California’s Supreme Court declared same-sex couples in the state could marry — a victory for the gay rights movement that was overturned the following November by the passage of Proposition 8, now the focus of a legal battle.

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