1783 Jun 1, Charles Byrne (22), known as the Irish giant, died. Standing at seven feet seven inches tall (2.3 meters) he was a celebrity in his own lifetime. When he died the renowned surgeon and anatomist John Hunter was keen to acquire his skeleton. Byrne wanted to be buried at sea. The surgeon managed to bribe one of the Irishman’s friends and took his body before it could be laid to rest in the English Channel. Hunter boiled Byrne’s body down to a skeleton and it became a key feature of his anatomy collection. In 2011 Experts called for the skeleton to be buried at sea, as Byrne wanted.
1812 Jun 1, American navy captain James Lawrence, mortally wounded in a naval engagement with the British, exhorts to the crew of his vessel, the Chesapeake, “Don’t give up the ship!”
1862 Jun 1, Confederate Pres. Jefferson Davis appointed General Robert E. Lee as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, following the injury a day earlier of General Joe Johnston at Seven Pines (Fair Oaks).
1909 Jun 1, Pres. William Howard Taft touched a key in Washington, DC, sending a signal to Seattle, opening the Alaska-Yukon Pacific Expo at the Seattle World’s Fair, as well as a signal to NYC initialing the New York to Seattle Automobile Race.
1958 Jun 1, Charles de Gaulle became premier of France, marking the beginning of the end of the Fourth Republic and the beginning of the Fifth Republic. France, on the verge of civil war over Algeria, called De Gaulle out of retirement.
1963 Jun 1, Governor George Wallace vowed to defy an injunction ordering integration of the University of Alabama.
1966 Jun 1, George Harrison is impressed by Ravi Shankar’s concert in London.
1979 Jun 1, Paul McCartney and Wings released “Old Siam, Sir” on its Back to the Egg album.
1988 Jun 1, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev concluded their Moscow summit by exchanging documents of ratification of the intermediate-range nuclear arms treaty they’d signed the previous December.
1990 Jun 1, President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed more than a dozen bilateral accords in the second day of their Washington summit. Meanwhile, Barbara Bush and Raisa Gorbachev traveled to Wellesley College in Massachusetts to deliver commencement addresses.
1998 Jun 1, President Clinton abruptly abandoned his executive privilege claim in the Monica Lewinsky investigation, reducing the prospect of a quick Supreme Court review of a dispute over the testimony of presidential aides.
1998 Jun 1, In India Prime Minister Vajpayee announced that large budget increases of 14% for the armed forces, 68% for nuclear research and 62% for missile programs was approved. Social programs were increased 35%.
2000 Jun 1, In Zimbabwe Pres. Mugabe announced that the state would begin seizing 804 mostly white-owned farms and resettle them with landless blacks.
2002 Jun 1, President Bush told West Point graduates the United States would strike pre-emptively against suspected terrorists if necessary to deter attacks on Americans, saying “the war on terror will not be won on the defensive.”
2003 Jun 1, Togo’s Pres. Gnassingbe Eyadema, Africa’s longest reigning ruler, faced elections. Togo’s per capita income fell from $600 in the 1980s to less than $300 in 2003.
2005 Jun 1, Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore opened the 7th summit of Sahel and Sahara countries, spurring the 21-member body to take a decisive role in shaping globalization.
2007 Jun 1, Alan Johnston, a British reporter kidnapped in the Gaza Strip nearly three months, ago appeared in a videotape posted on an Islamic militant Web site, saying his captors had treated him well, denouncing Israel, and criticizing British and US Mideast policy. The Swords of Truth, an Islamic group, threatened to behead female TV broadcasters if they don’t wear strict Islamic dress, frightening reporters and signaling a further shift toward extremism in the Gaza Strip.
2008 Jun 1, Alton Kelley (67), co-creator of psychedelic rock posters, died in Petaluma, Ca. He and Stanley Mouse had formed Mouse Studios in SF and produced hundreds of classic psychedelic rock posters. In 1965 he and 3 other people formed Family Dog and staged the world’s first psychedelic dance concert at the Longshoreman’s Hall in SF.
2010 Jun 1, PM Bruce Golding said Jamaica will launch a sustained assault on gangs that control poor communities across the island and fuel one of the world’s highest murder rates.
2011 Jun 1, Ethiopia’s Pres. Girma Wolde Giorgis said the government has commuted the death sentences of 23 high-ranking officials from the ousted communist regime. The sentences were reduced to 25 years.
2014 Jun 1, Iran executed a prisoner linked to the opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq. Gholamreza Khosravi was sentenced to death in 2010 for providing photos of the country’s military facilities as well as financial aid to the MEK, and for helping to recruit for the group