On This Day, May 5, 1887 – Sitting Bull Leads Followers into Canada

Sitting Bull Monument Crazy Horse

Sitting Bull Monument Crazy Horse

1877 – Nearly a year after the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull and a band of followers cross into Canada hoping to find safe haven from the U.S. Army.

On June 25, 1876, Sitting Bull’s warriors had joined with other Native Americans in the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Montana, which resulted in the massacre of George Custer and five troops of the 7th Cavalry. Worried that their great victory would provoke a massive retaliation by the U.S. military, the tribes scattered into smaller bands. During the following year, the U.S. Army tracked down and attacked several of these groups, forcing them to surrender and move to reservations.

Sitting Bull and his followers, however, managed to avoid a decisive confrontation with the U.S. Army. They spent the summer and winter after Little Big Horn hunting buffalo in Montana and fighting small skirmishes with soldiers. In the fall of 1876, Colonel Nelson A. Miles met with Sitting Bull at a neutral location and tried to talk him into surrendering and relocating to a reservation. Although anxious for peace, Sitting Bull refused. As the victor of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull felt he should be dictating terms to Miles, not the other way around.

Angered by what he saw as Sitting Bull’s foolish obstinacy, Miles stepped up his campaign of harassment against the chief and his people. Sitting Bull’s band continued to roam about Montana in search of increasingly scarce buffalo, but the constant travel, lack of food, and military pressure began to take a toll. On this day in 1877, Sitting Bull abandoned his traditional homeland in Montana and led his people north across the border into Canada.

Ultimately, though, Sitting Bull’s attempt to remain independent was undermined by the disappearance of the buffalo, which were being wiped out by the Native Americans, settlers, and hide hunters. Without meat, Sitting Bull gave up his dream of independence and asked the Canadian government for rations. Meanwhile, emissaries from the U.S. came to his camp and promised Sitting Bull’s followers they would be rich and happy if they joined the American reservations. The temptation was too great, and many stole away at night and headed south. By early 1881, Sitting Bull was the chief of only a small band of mostly older and sick people.

Finally, Sitting Bull relented. On July 10, 1881, more than five years after the fateful battle at the Little Big Horn, the great chief led 187 Indians from their Canadian refuge to the United States. After a period of confinement, Sitting Bull was assigned to the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota in 1883. Seven years later he was dead, killed by Indian police when he resisted their attempt to arrest him for his supposed participation in the Ghost Dance uprising.


1494 – Christopher Columbus sighted Jamaica on his second trip to the Western Hemisphere. He named the island Santa Gloria.

1798 – U.S. Secretary of War William McHenry ordered that the USS Constitution be made ready for sea. The frigate was launched on October 21, 1797, but had never been put to sea.

1809 – Mary Kies was awarded the first patent to go to a woman. It was for technique for weaving straw with silk and thread.

1814 – The British attacked the American forces at Ft. Ontario, Oswego, NY.

1834 – The first mainland railway line opened in Belgium.

1865 – The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery in the U.S.

1891 – Music Hall was dedicated in New York City. It was later renamed Carnegie Hall.

1892 – The U.S. Congress extended the Geary Chinese Exclusion Act for 10 more years. The act required Chinese in the U.S. to be registered or face deportation.

1901 – The first Catholic mass for night workers was held at the Church of St. Andrew in New York City.

1904 – The third perfect game of the major leagues was thrown by Cy Young (Boston Red Sox) against the Philadelphia Athletics. It was the first perfect game under modern rules.

1912 – Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda began publishing.

1916 – U.S. Marines invaded the Dominican Republic.


Eugene Jacques Bullard

1917 – Eugene Jacques Bullard becomes the first African-American aviator when he earned his flying certificate with the French Air Service.


1925 – John T. Scopes, a biology teacher in Dayton, TN, was arrested for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution.

1926 – Sergei Eisenstein’s film “Battleship Potemkin” was shown in Germany for the first time.

1926 – Sinclair Lewis refused a 1925 Pulitzer for “Arrowsmith.”

1945 – A Japanese balloon bomb exploded on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon. A pregnant woman and five children were killed.

1955 – The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) became a sovereign state.

1956 – Jim Bailey became the first runner to break the four-minute mile in the U.S. He was clocked at 3:58.5.


1961 – Alan Shepard became the first American in space when he made a 15 minute suborbital flight.


1966 – Willie Mays broke the National League record for home runs when he hit his 512th.

1978 – Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds registered his 3,000th major league hit.

1987 – The U.S. congressional Iran-Contra hearings opened.

Source: History.com; On-This-Day.com

 

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