On May 24, 1775, Boston merchant John Hancock is elected President of the Second Continental Congress. Clearly a patriot, Hancock has nevertheless been an unwitting spark to the rebellion over the previous decade. A raid on one of his sloops in 1768 incited a violent riot that drove the British out of the city briefly. And it was a confrontation at Hancock's dock in 1770 that sparked the demonstrations that led to the Boston Massacre. A little over a year from now, Hancock will be the first member of the Continental Congress to sign the Declaration of Independence. On May 24, 1917, the British Royal Navy introduces a new tactic for hopefully protecting supply ships on the Atlantic; the convoy. For the first time, merchants will sail from the Americas in a group, protected from German U-boat activity by several ships of the Navy that will escort them for the entire voyage. The convoy also includes at least one troop transport. The convoy system is an immediate success; the Allies lost 373 ships to the U-boats in the previous month. Over the next year, more than a million troops will sail to Europe in convoys, with the loss of fewer than 700. On May 24, 1976, California kicks France's vintage ass. The field of battle is Paris' Intercontinental Hotel and the weapon of choice is wine. It is British wine merchant Steven Spurrier who throws down the gauntlet. Spurrier is a purveyor of French wines only, but is open minded about other nations' product, and after a wine tasting tour of California's infant Napa Valley wineries proposes a competitive tasting. Spurrier would later say he had no intention of embarrassing his French colleagues, but that's exactly how it went down at the event, dubbed the Judgement of Paris. A panel of nine wine experts - all French - is convened, and in a blind taste test of 10 reds and 10 whites, California is the winner. The French press managed to ignore the results for several months (though the industry essentially black-balled Spurrier from wine events for a year), but the Judgement of Paris is a huge shot in the arm for the Cali wine industry. Bottles of the winning vintages are now on display in the Smithsonian's Museum of American History (Spurrier on the right in photo).