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California becomes the second U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage became legal in California in 2008. The state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as the result of the Supreme Court of California ruling in 'In re Marriage Cases', which found that barring same-sex couples from marriage violated the state's constitution.

"Portrait of Dr. Gachet" by van Gogh sells for $82.5 million

"Portrait of Dr. Gachet" depicts Dr. Paul Gachet, a man who took care of van Gogh during his final months. It is one of the Gogh’s most revered painting. The 1st version was sold at Christie’s auction house to the Koyabashi Gallery of Tokyo for $82.5 million, the highest price paid for a painting at the time.

The Soviet Union begins withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan

The final and complete withdrawal of Soviet combatant forces from Afghanistan began on 15 May under the leadership of Colonel-General Boris Gromov. Planning for the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from the Afghan War began soon after Mikhail Gorbachev became the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

McDonald's opens its first restaurant

American fast food company McDonald's opened as a restaurant owned and operated by siblings Richard and Maurice McDonald, in San Bernardino, California. Businessman Ray Kroc bought the chain from the brothers, modernized it and turned it into the fast food chain we know today.

The Moscow Metro opens to the public

The Moscow Metro was opened with one single 11km long line consisting of 11 stations. As such, it was the first underground railway system in the Soviet Union. Initial plans for the metro date back to the Russian Empire. However, it was not until 1928 that construction on the first route began.

The Finnish Civil war ends

The Finnish Civil War took place during the country's transition from Grand Dutchy of the Russian Empire to an independent state. Finnish Whites, backed by the German Empire and volunteers from other countries defeated the Reds and Russians, resulting in the establishment of a democratic Finnish Republic.

Supreme Court Orders Standard Oil to Be Broken Up

Standard Oil Co. Inc. was an American company and the largest oil refinery of its time. It had a controversial history as a multinational corporation and was ruled an illegal monopoly by the US Supreme Court. It was dissolved under the Sherman Antitrust Act and subsequently split into 34 smaller companies.

The city of Las Vegas is founded

The city of Las Vegas was established near a fort erected by members of the Mormon Church halfway between Salt Lake City and LA. The garrison was later abandoned and it took another 50 years before Las Vegas was founded in its vicinity. The area benefited from water in underground artesian wells and from adjacent railroads which made it a good location for a new railway city.

The "Peace of Westphalia" is ratified

The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed be European countries to put an end to European wars of religion and halt the Thirty and Eighty Years' Wars. The negotiations that led to the treaty involved a total of 109 delegations representing the European powers, and conferences were attended by thousands of diplomats. The Treaties of Westphalia brought to a close a tumultuous period of European history which saw the deaths of approximately eight million people.

Anniversaries of the (in)famous