In 1945 President Harry Truman declared V-E (Victory in Europe) Day, announcing the surrender of Germany and officially ending the European phase of World War II. Above, crowds in Baltimore celebrate near Sun Square with flags and confetti. (Baltimore Sun file photo)

1541: Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto discovered the Mississippi River south of present-day Memphis.

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1828: Swiss philanthropist Jean Henri Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross, was born in Geneva.

1846: American forces led by Gen. Zachary Taylor won the first major battle of the Mexican War, at Palo Alto, Texas.

1886: Atlanta pharmacist John Styth Pemberton created the flavoring syrup for Coca-Cola.

Compiled by Laura Lefavor and Paul McCardell.

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