May 1

  • 1707 – Under the terms of the Acts of Union, the Kingdoms of England and Scotland merged to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, a single kingdom encompassing the entire island of Great Britain with a single parliament and government based in Westminster.
  • 1776 – The Order of the Illuminati, a secret society, was founded by Adam Weishaupt and Adolph von Knigge in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany.
  • 1786 – The Marriage of Figaro, an opera buffa composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, premiered at the Burgtheatre in Vienna.
  • 1840 – The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland first issued the Penny Black, the first official adhesive postage stamp.
  • 1851 – The Great Exhibition, the first ever World's Fair, opened in London's Hyde Park.
  • 1885 – The original Chicago Board of Trade Building opened for business.
  • 1893 – The World's Columbian Exposition, a World's Fair to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the New World, opened in Chicago.
  • 1897 – The Hindu monastic order Shri Ramakrishna Math and Mission was founded by Swami Vivekananda.
  • 1898 – The American Asiatic Squadron under Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish Pacific Squadron under Admiral Patricio Montojo at the Battle of Manila Bay, the first engagement of the Spanish–American War.
  • 1925 – The All-China Federation of Trade Unions, today the largest trade union in the world with over 130 million members, was founded.
  • 1931 – New York City's Empire State Building, at the time the tallest building in the world, opened.
  • 1941 – Citizen Kane, a widely acclaimed film by actor and director Orson Welles, premiered.
  • 1956 – A doctor in Japan reported an "epidemic of an unknown disease of the central nervous system", marking the official discovery of Minamata disease.
  • 1960 – Bombay State in India was partitioned into Gujarat and Maharashtra along linguistic lines.

May 2

  • 1670 – A Royal Charter granted the Hudson's Bay Company a monopoly in the fur trade in Rupert's Land.
  • 1808 – The people of Madrid rebelled against French occupation of the city, triggering the Peninsular War.
  • 1829 – Captain Charles Fremantle of the Royal Navy established the Swan River Colony, the first British settlement on the west coast of Australia.
  • 1945 – World War II: General Helmuth Weidling, commander of the German troops in Berlin, surrendered the city to Soviet forces led by Marshal Georgy Zhukov, ending the Battle of Berlin.
  • 1946 – The Alcatraz Island United States Penitentiary in San Francisco Bay was taken over by six inmates following their failed escape attempt.
  • 1953 – Hussein bin Talal was enthroned as king of Jordan.
  • 1969 – The British ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2 departed on her maiden voyage from Southhampton to New York City.
  • 1982 – Falklands War: HMS Conqueror launched three torpedoes and sank ARA General Belgrano, the only ship ever to have been sunk by a nuclear-powered submarine.
  • 1986 – Henri Toivonen was killed in an accident while leading the Tour de Corse rally, resulting in FISA, the sport governing body for motor racing events, banning the powerful and popular Group B rally cars for the following season.
  • 1995 – Croatian War of Independence: Serb forces began firing rockets on the Croatian capital of Zagreb, killing 7 and injuring at least 175 others.
  • 1999 – Mireya Moscoso became the first woman to be elected President of Panama.

May 3

  • 1791 – The Polish Constitution of May 3, one of the earliest codified national constitutions in the world, was adopted by the Sejm.
  • 1808 – Finnish War: Sweden lost the fortress of Suomenlinna to Russia.
  • 1815 – Austrian troops led by Frederick Bianchi, Duke of Casalanza defeated the forces under King Joachim Murat of Naples at the Battle of Tolentino, the decisive battle of the Neapolitan War.
  • 1837 – The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the oldest university in the eastern Mediterranean, was founded.
  • 1915 – Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields, later considered one of the most notable poems written during World War I.
  • 1920 – Relying on the 11th Soviet Red Army operating in neighbouring Azerbaijan, Bolsheviks attempted to stage a coup d'etat in Georgia.
  • 1939 – Subhash Chandra Bose formed the political party All India Forward Bloc of the Indian National Congress.
  • 1942 – World War II: Japanese forces began invading Tulagi and nearby islands in the Solomon Islands Protectorate, enabling them to establish a base so they could threaten and interdict the supply and communication routes between the United States and Australia and New Zealand.
  • 1945 – World War II: German ocean liner Cap Arcona, left to float defencelessly in the Bay of Lübeck with thousands of prisoners from various concentration camps on board, was attacked and sunk by RAF Typhoons.
  • 1947 – A new Constitution of Japan went into effect, providing for a parliamentary system of government, guaranteeing certain fundamental rights, and relegating the Japanese monarchy to a purely ceremonial role.

May 4

  • 1471 – Wars of the Roses: Yorkist Edward IV defeated a Lancastrian army in the Battle of Tewkesbury.
  • 1493 – Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull Inter caetera, establishing a line of demarcation dividing the New World between Spain and Portugal.
  • 1855 – American adventurer William Walker and a group of mercenaries sailed from San Francisco to conquer Nicaragua.
  • 1886 – An unknown assailant threw a bomb into a crowd of police, turning a peaceful labour rally in Chicago into the Haymarket massacre, which resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and many bystanders.
  • 1910 – The Royal Canadian Navy was created as the Naval Service of Canada.
  • 1919 – The May Fourth Movement began in China with large-scale student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, Peking against the Paris Peace Conference and Japan's Twenty-One Demands.
  • 1942 – World War II: The Imperial Japanese Navy engaged Allied naval forces at the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, and the first naval battle in history in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.
  • 1949 – A plane carrying almost the entire Torino A.C. football team crashed into the hill of Superga near Turin, Italy, killing all 31 aboard including 18 players, club officials, and the journalists accompanying them.
  • 1970 – The Ohio National Guard opened fire at Kent State University students protesting the United States invasion of Cambodia, killing four and injuring nine.
  • 1971 – The Don't Make A Wave Committee, a fledgling environmental organisation founded in Canada, officially changed its name to the Greenpeace Foundation.
  • 1979 – Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, following the defeat of James Callaghan's incumbent Labour government in the previous day's general election.
  • 1990 – The Supreme Soviet of the Latvian SSR declared the restoration of independence of Latvia, stating that the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940 were illegal.
  • 1996 – José María Aznar was elected Prime Minister of Spain, ending 13 years of Socialist rule.

May 5

  • 553 – The Second Council of Constantinople, considered by many Christian churches to have been the fifth Christian Ecumenical Council, began to discuss the topics of Nestorianism and Origenism, among others.
  • 1260 – Kublai Khan became ruler of the Mongol Empire.
  • 1789 – The Estates-General convened in Versailles to discuss a financial crisis in France, triggering a series of events that led to the French Revolution.
  • 1862 – Mexican troops led by Ignacio Zaragoza halted a French invasion at the Battle of Puebla.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Union Lt. Gen.Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign in Virginia began with the Battle of the Wilderness in Spotsylvania County.
  • 1891 – New York City's Carnegie Hall, built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, officially opened with a concert conducted by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
  • 1904 – Cy Young of the Boston Americans pitched the first perfect game in the modern era of professional baseball.
  • 1949 – Ten European countries signed the Treaty of London, creating the Council of Europe, today one of the oldest international organisations working for European integration.
  • 1961 – Project Mercury: Aboard the American spacecraft Freedom 7, astronaut Alan Shepard made a sub-orbital flight, becoming the second person to travel into outer space after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
  • 1980 – The British Special Air Service stormed the Iranian embassy in London, which had been taken over by Arab separatists, ending a six-day siege.
  • 1992 – The 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified 202 years after it was proposed.
  • 1994 – American teenager Michael P. Fay was caned in Singapore for theft and vandalism, a punishment that the United States deemed to be excessive for a teenager committing a non-violent crime.
  • 1994 – Armenia and Azerbaijan signed the Bishkek Protocol, a provisional ceasefire treaty to end hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, with both sides agreeing, among others, to grant a wide-ranging autonomy to the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

May 6

  • 1542 – Christian missionary Francis Xavier reached Goa, the capital of Portuguese India at the time.
  • 1682 – King Louis XIV of France moved the French royal court and the seat of government from Paris to the Château de Versailles in Versailles.
  • 1757 – After Prussian troops forced the Austrians to retreat at the Battle of Prague, the former army retreated as well after deciding that they lost too many men to effectively capture Prague.
  • 1757 – English poet Christopher Smart was admitted into St Luke's Hospital for Lunatics in London, beginning his six-year confinement to mental asylums.
  • 1863 – American Civil War: The Army of Northern Virginia, led by Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, scored a Confederate victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville near Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia.
  • 1882 – Irish Under-Secretary Thomas Henry Burke and Irish Chief Secretary Lord Frederick Cavendish were stabbed to death by members of the radical group Irish National Invincibles as they walked through the Phoenix Park in Dublin.
  • 1882 – The United States Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, implementing a ban on Chinese immigration to the United States that eventually lasted for over 60 years until the 1943 Magnuson Act.
  • 1910 – George V became King of the United Kingdom upon the death of his father, Edward VII.
  • 1937 – The German zeppelin Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed while trying to land at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, killing over 30 people on board.
  • 1941 – Entertainer Bob Hope performed his first show for the United Service Organisations.
  • 1954 – At Oxford's Iffley Road Track, English athlete Roger Bannister became the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.
  • 1991 – Time magazine published "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power", an article highly critical of the Scientology organisation; leading to years of legal conflict which ended when the Church of Scientology's petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States in the case was denied in 2001.
  • 1994 – The Channel Tunnel, a 50.5 kilometres rail tunnel, officially opened beneath the English Channel, connecting Folkestone, England, and Coquelles, France.

May 7

  • 553 – The main dome of the Hagia Sophia completely collapsed during an earthquake, causing Byzantine Emperor Justinian I to order its reconstruction.
  • 1272 – The first session of the Second Council of Lyon was held to discuss, among other things, the pledge by Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos to end the Great Schism and reunite the Eastern church with the West.
  • 1697 – Stockholm's royal castle, dating back to the 13th century, was destroyed in a huge fire. The blueprint for the current royal palace was presented only a couple of weeks later.
  • 1718 – Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville and the Mississippi Company founded New Orleans, naming the French colonial settlement after Philippe II, Duke of Orléans.
  • 1763 – Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa Native American tribe led an attempt to seize Fort Detroit and drive out the British settlers, marking the start of Pontiac's Rebellion.
  • 1824 – Ludwig van Beethoven's last complete symphony, the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, which incorporates part of Friedrich Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy" in its fourth movement, premiered at the Kärntnertortheatre in Vienna.
  • 1895 – Alexander Stepanovich Popov presented his radio receiver, refined as a lightning detector, to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society.
  • 1915 – World War I: The German submarine Unterseeboot 20 torpedoed and sank the ocean liner RMS Lusitania, killing 1,198 on board.
  • 1920 – Soviet Russia recognised the independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia by signing the Treaty of Moscow, only to invade the country six months later.
  • 1920 – Polish–Soviet War: During the Kiev Offensive, Polish troops, with the help of a symbolic Ukrainian force, captured Kiev, only to be driven out by the Soviet Red Army counter-offensive a month later.
  • 1960 – Cold War: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announced that his country was holding American pilot Francis Gary Powers, whose U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union six days earlier.
  • 1999 – President of Guinea-Bissau João Bernardo Vieira was ousted in a military coup.

May 8

  • 1429 – Siege of Orléans: French troops led by Joan of Arc lifted the English siege and turned the tide of the Hundred Years' War.
  • 1541 – The expedition led by Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto became the first documented Europeans to reach the Mississippi River.
  • 1794 – The Reign of Terror: Branded a traitor, French chemist Antoine Lavoisier, a former royal tax collector with the Ferme Générale, was tried, convicted, and guillotined on the same day.
  • 1846 – The first major battle in the Mexican-American War was fought at the Battle of Palo Alto near present-day Brownsville, Texas.
  • 1886 – In Atlanta, American pharmacist John Pemberton first sold his carbonated beverage Coca-Cola as a patent medicine, claiming that it cured a number of diseases.
  • 1902 – The volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée destroyed the town of St. Pierre, Martinique, killing over 30,000 people.
  • 1927 – Attempting to make the first non-stop transatlantic flight from Paris to New York, French warheroes Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli disappeared after taking off aboard The White Bird biplane.
  • 1945 – Most armed forces under German control ceased active operations by 23:01 CET after the German Instrument of Surrender was formally ratified, marking the end of World War II in Europe.
  • 1984 – The Soviet Union announced the boycott of the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, citing security concerns and stated that "chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria [were] being whipped up in the United States".

May 9

  • 328 – Athanasius became the Patriarch of Alexandria.
  • 1092 – Lincoln Cathedral in Lincolnshire, England was consecrated.
  • 1671 – Irish-born Colonel Thomas Blood was caught trying to steal the English Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.
  • 1901 – The first Parliament of Australia opened in the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, exactly 26 years (1927) before it moved to Canberra's Provisional Parliament House, and exactly 87 years (1988) before it moved into the current, over AU$ 1.1 billion Parliament House.
  • 1904 – On a trip from Plymouth to London Paddington, the GWR 3700 Class 3440 City of Truro reputedly became the first steam locomotive in Europe to travel in excess of 100 mph (160 km/h), although this was not verified by physical recording of speed.
  • 1946 – Italian King Victor Emmanuel III abdicated, hoping to influence the vote on a referendum to decide whether Italy should retain the monarchy or become a republic.
  • 1950 – Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard was first published, describing his self-improvement techniques known as Dianetics, which later became part of the wider subject of Scientology.
  • 1950 – French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presented the Schuman Declaration, a proposal to place France's and West Germany's coal and steel industries under joint management, triggering a series of events that eventually led to the founding of the European Union.
  • 2004 – Akhmad Kadyrov, the first President of the Chechen Republic, and about 30 others were killed by a bomb during a World War II memorial victory parade in Grozny.

May 10

  • 1503 – Christopher Columbus and his crew became the first Europeans to visit the Cayman Islands, naming them Las Tortugas after the numerous sea turtles there.
  • 1768 – English radical John Wilkes was imprisoned in King's Bench Prison for criticising King George III, sparking riots in London.
  • 1775 – American Revolutionary War: A small force of American Patriots led by Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold captured, without significant injury or incident, the small British garrison at Fort Ticonderoga in New York.
  • 1801 – First Barbary War: The Barbary pirates of Tripoli declared war on the United States.
  • 1824 – The National Gallery in London opened to the public, in the former townhouse of the collector John Julius Angerstein.
  • 1837 – The Panic of 1837 began with the failure of New York City banks.
  • 1857 – The Sepoy Mutiny against the company rule by the British East India Company, began.
  • 1869 – The golden spike ceremony was held at Promontory Summit, Utah, celebrating the completion of North America's First Transcontinental Railroad between the Missouri and Sacramento Rivers.
  • 1893 – For trade purposes under the Tariff Act of 1883, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Nix v. Hedden that a tomato is a vegetable instead of a fruit.
  • 1924 – J. Edgar Hoover became the director of the Bureau of Investigation, which would later become the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • 1940 – British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned and formally recommended Winston Churchill as his successor.
  • 1941 – World War II: Nazi leader Rudolf Hess parachuted into Scotland, claiming to be on a peace mission.
  • 1945 – Air Commodore Harry Cobby was removed as commander of the Australian First Tactical Air Force as a result of the Morotai Mutiny, a mass resignation of subordinates weeks earlier.
  • 1997 – A 7.3 Mw earthquake struck Iran's Khorasan Province, killing 1,567, injuring over 2,300, leaving 50,000 homeless, and damaging or destroying over 15,000 homes.

May 11

  • 330 – Byzantium became the new capital of the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine I, and was referred to as Constantinople.
  • 1647 – Peter Stuyvesant arrived in New Amsterdam to replace Willem Kieft as Director-General of New Netherland, the Dutch colonial settlement in present-day New York City.
  • 1745 – War of the Austrian Succession: French forces defeated the Anglo-Dutch-Hanoverian "Pragmatic Army" at the Battle of Fontenoy in the Austrian Netherlands in present day Belgium.
  • 1792 – Merchant sea captain Robert Gray first entered the Columbia River, becoming the first recorded European to navigate the largest river flowing into the Pacific Ocean from North America.
  • 1812 – In the lobby of the British House of Commons, Spencer Perceval became the first, and to date only, British Prime Minister to be assassinated.
  • 1858 – Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted as the thirty-second U.S. state.
  • 1867 – The major powers in Europe signed the Second Treaty of London to solve the Luxembourg Crisis between France and Prussia over the political status of Luxembourg.
  • 1880 – Seven people were killed in the Mussel Slough Tragedy, a gun battle near Hanford, California, that inspired Frank Norris' muckraking novel The Octopus.
  • 1894 – In response to a 28 percent wage cut, 4,000 Pullman Palace Car Company workers went on a strike in Illinois, bringing traffic west of Chicago to a halt.
  • 1910 – Glacier National Park, located in the U.S. state of Montana, was designated a national park.
  • 1918 – Tapa Tchermoeff became the first, and eventually only, Prime Minister of the short-lived Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus.
  • 1946 – The United Malays National Organisation, today Malaysia's largest political party, was founded, originally to oppose the constitutional framework of the Malayan Union.
  • 1949 – Siam was officially renamed Thailand, a name unofficially in use since 1939.
  • 1960 – Israeli Mossad agents captured Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi leader and fugitive war criminal who was sometimes referred to as "the architect of The Holocaust", hiding in Argentina.
  • 1995 – The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was extended indefinitely.

May 12

  • 1551 – The National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas, was founded in Lima, Peru.
  • 1885 – North-West Rebellion: Louis Riel and the Métis rebels were decisively defeated by Canadian forces under Major-General Frederick Middleton in Batoche, Saskatchewan.
  • 1926 – The Trades Union Congress, a federation of British trade unions, announced that it would end its week-long general strike "in defence of [coal] miners' wages and hours".
  • 1941 – German engineer Konrad Zuse presented the Z3, the world's first working programmable, fully automatic computer, to an audience of scientists in Berlin.
  • 1942 – World War II: – Soviet forces under Marshal Semyon Timoshenko launched a major offensive in eastern Ukraine, only to be encircled and destroyed by German troops two weeks later.
  • 1958 – Canada and the United States signed a formal agreement establishing the North American Air Defence Command to provide aerospace warning and defence for North America.
  • 1975 – The Cambodian navy seized the American container ship SS Mayaguez in recognised international waters, but claimed as territorial waters by Cambodia.
  • 2008 – An earthquake measuring about 8.0 Ms struck the Sichuan province of China, killing at least 69,000 people, injuring at least 374,000, and leaving at least 4.8 million others homeless.

May 13

  • 1619 – Dutch statesman Johan van Oldenbarnevelt was executed in The Hague after having been accused of treason.
  • 1846 – The United States declared war on Mexico after a series of disputes in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, starting the Mexican–American War.
  • 1848 – Maamme, the national anthem of Finland written by German composer Fredrik Pacius and Finnish poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg, was performed for the first time.
  • 1888 – Isabel the Redeemer, heiress of Brazil, signed the Lei Áurea into law, formally abolishing slavery in Brazil.
  • 1909 – The first Giro d'Italia long distance road bicycle racing stage race began in Italy, with Italian professional road racing cyclist Luigi Ganna becoming the eventual winner.
  • 1912 – The Royal Flying Corps, which later became part of the Royal Air Force was established in the United Kingdom.
  • 1917 – Our Lady of Fátima: Ten-year-old Lúcia Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto reportedly began experiencing a Marian apparition near Fátima, Portugal.
  • 1952 – The Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India, held its first sitting.
  • 1958 – Algerian War: A group of French military officers led a coup in Algiers, demanding that a government of national unity be formed with Charles de Gaulle at its head in order to defend French control of Algeria.
  • 1969 – Chinese–Malay race riots began in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, leaving at least 190 people dead, and leading the government to declare a state of emergency and suspend Parliament until 1971.
  • 1981 – Mehmet Ali Agca shot and critically wounded Pope John Paul II in Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City.
  • 1985 – Eleven members of the black liberation group MOVE were killed during a police raid in Philadelphia.
  • 2005 – Uzbek Interior Ministry and National Security Service troops fired into a crowd of protesters in Andijan, Uzbekistan, killing somewhere from 187, the official count of the government, to a reported 5,000 people.

May 14

  • 1264 – Second Barons' War: King Henry III was defeated at the Battle of Lewes and forced to sign the Mise of Lewes, making Simon de Montfort the de facto ruler of England.
  • 1509 – War of the League of Cambrai: French forces defeated the Venetians at the Battle of Agnadello in present-day Northern Italy.
  • 1607 – An expedition led by Edward Maria Wingfield, Christopher Newport, and John Smith established the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in North America.
  • 1796 – English scientist Edward Jenner began testing cowpox as a vaccine for protection against smallpox.
  • 1804 – The Lewis and Clark Expedition led by explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left Camp Dubois near present-day Hartford, Illinois, and began the first American overland expedition to the Pacific coast and back.
  • 1868 – Boshin War: Troops of the Tokugawa shogunate withdrew from the Battle of Utsunomiya Castle and retreated north towards Nikko and Aizu.
  • 1940 – The Yermolayev Yer-2, a long-range Soviet medium bomber, had its first flight.
  • 1943 – World War II: The Australian Hospital Ship Centaur was attacked and sunk by a Japanese submarine off the coast of Queensland, killing 268 people aboard.
  • 1948 – David Ben-Gurion publicly read the Israeli Declaration of Independence at the present-day Independence Hall in Tel Aviv, officially establishing a new Jewish state in parts of the former British Mandate of Palestine.
  • 1951 – Trains ran on the Talyllyn Railway in Wales for the first time since preservation, making it the first railway in the world to be operated by volunteers.
  • 1973 – The NASA space station Skylab was launched from Cape Canaveral.

May 15

  • 1252 – Pope Innocent IV issued the papal bull ad extirpanda, authorising the use of torture on heretics during the Medieval Inquisition.
  • 1525 – Insurgent peasants led by Anabaptist pastor Thomas Muentzer were defeated at the Battle of Frankenhausen, ending the Peasants' War in the Holy Roman Empire.
  • 1602 – English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold became the first recorded European to visit Cape Cod.
  • 1836 – English astronomer Francis Baily first observed "Baily's beads", a phenomenon during a solar eclipse in which the rugged lunar limb topography allows beads of light to shine through.
  • 1905 – Las Vegas was established as railroad town, after 110 acre owned by the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad was auctioned off.
  • 1928 – Mickey and Minnie Mouse made their film debut in the animated cartoon Plane Crazy.
  • 1932 – Japanese Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi was assassinated in a coup attempt by radical elements of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  • 1934 – Prime Minister Karlis Ulmanis dissolved the Saeima and established an authoritarian rule in Latvia.
  • 1935 – The first line of the Moscow Metro in Moscow opened to public, connecting Sokolniki to Park Kultury with a branch from Okhotny Ryad to Smolenskaya.
  • 1948 – The Australian cricket team set a world record for the most runs scored in a day of first-class cricket (721), during the first day of their match against Essex.
  • 1955 – The Austrian State Treaty was signed in Vienna, re-establishing an independent Austria.
  • 1957 – The United Kingdom tested its first hydrogen bomb over Malden Island in Operation Grapple.
  • 1990 – Vincent van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet was sold at an auction in Christie's New York office for a total of US$82.5 million, at the time the world's most expensive painting.
  • 1991 – Édith Cresson became the first female Prime Minister of France.

May 16

  • 1204 – Fourth Crusade: Count Baldwin IX of Flanders was crowned the first Latin Emperor in Constantinople.
  • 1527 – The Medici were driven from Florence and a republic was re-established.
  • 1811 – Peninsular War: An allied force of British, Spanish, and Portuguese troops clashed with the French at the Battle of Albuera south of Badajoz, Spain.
  • 1866 – Root beer was first prepared commercially by American pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires.
  • 1877 – President Patrice de Mac-Mahon dismissed Jules Simon and installed Albert, Duc de Broglie as Prime Minister, triggering a political crisis in the French Third Republic.
  • 1918 – The Sedition Act was passed in the United States, forbidding Americans from using "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government, flag, or armed forces during the ongoing World War I.
  • 1929 – The first ceremony of the Academy Awards was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles.
  • 1960 – American physicist Theodore Harold Maiman operated the first working laser at the Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California.
  • 1966 – Chinese leader Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution officially as a campaign to rid China of its liberal bourgeoisie elements and to continue revolutionary class struggle.
  • 1975 – Based on the results of a referendum held about one month earlier, Sikkim abolished its monarchy and was annexed by India, becoming its 22nd state.
  • 2003 – In the deadliest terrorist attack in Morocco's history, a series of suicide bombings in Casablanca killed 33 civilians and 12 out of the 14 bombers.

May 17

  • 1590 – Anne of Denmark was crowned Queen consort of Scotland in the abbey church at Holyrood Palace.
  • 1792 – The New York Stock Exchange was formed.
  • 1814 – The Constitution of Norway was signed and Danish Crown Prince Christian Frederik was elected King of Norway by the Norwegian Constituent Assembly.
  • 1865 – The International Telecommunication Union, an international organisation that standardises and regulates international radio and telecommunications, was founded as the International Telegraph Union in Paris.
  • 1875 – The American Thoroughbred racehorse Aristides won the first running of the Kentucky Derby.
  • 1900 – Second Boer War: The Siege of Mafeking in South Africa was lifted after 217 days, a decisive victory for the British against the Boers.
  • 1902 – The Antikythera mechanism, the oldest known surviving geared mechanism, was discovered in a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera.
  • 1943 – World War II: Royal Air Force Dam Busters successfully deployed bouncing bombs on German dams in Operation Chastise.
  • 1954 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, outlawing racial segregation in public schools because "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal".
  • 1980 – On the eve of the Peruvian general election, the Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path attacked a polling location in the town of Chuschi, Ayacucho, starting the internal conflict in Peru.
  • 1992 – Three days of popular protests against the government of Prime Minister of Thailand Suchinda Kraprayoon began in Bangkok, leading to a military crackdown that resulted in 52 officially confirmed deaths, many disappearances, hundreds of injuries, and over 3,500 arrests.
  • 1995 – After 18 years as Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac was inaugurated as President of the French Republic.
  • 2009 – Dalia Grybauskaite was elected the first female President of Lithuania, receiving 68.18 percent of the vote.

May 18

  • 1268 – Baibars and his Mamluk forces captured Antioch, capital of the crusader state, the Principality of Antioch.
  • 1652 – Rhode Island passed the first law in North America making slavery illegal.
  • 1848 – During the aftermath of the March Revolution in the German Confederation, the Frankfurt Parliament opened in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt am Main.
  • 1869 – One day after surrendering at the Battle of Hakodate, Enomoto Takeaki turned over Goryokaku to Japanese forces, signaling the collapse of the Republic of Ezo.
  • 1896 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case Plessy v. Ferguson, upholding the legality of racial segregation in public transportation under the "Separate but equal" doctrine.
  • 1926 – Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared near California's Venice Beach, sparked days-long media coverage. She was later found 35 days later in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico.
  • 1933 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act establishing the Tennessee Valley Authority to stimulate the economic development of the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly impacted by the Great Depression.
  • 1944 – World War II: Polish forces under Lieutenant General Wladyslaw Anders captured Monte Cassino, Italy, after a four-month battle.
  • 1948 – The first session of the Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China convened in the then-Chinese capital of Nanjing.
  • 1955 – Operation Passage to Freedom, the evacuation of 310,000 Vietnamese civilians, soldiers and non-Vietnamese members of the French Army from communist North Vietnam to South Vietnam following the end of the First Indochina War, ended.
  • 1958 – The F-104 Starfighter, a supersonic interceptor aircraft, set a world speed record of 1404.19 miles per hour.
  • 1974 – India conducted its first nuclear test explosion at Pokhran, the first confirmed nuclear test by a nation outside the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
  • 1980 – A popular uprising against the nationwide martial law imposed by South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan's government began in Gwangju, but it was ultimately crushed by the South Korean army about nine days later.
  • 1980 – The stratovolcano Mount St. Helens erupted, killing 57 people in southern Washington State, reducing hundreds of square miles to wasteland, and causing over a billion U.S. dollars in damage.

May 19

  • 1499 – Thirteen-year-old Catherine of Aragon, the future first wife of Henry VIII of England, was married by proxy to his brother, 15-year-old Arthur, Prince of Wales.
  • 1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife and queen consort of Henry VIII of England, was beheaded at the Tower of London for adultery, incest, and high treason.
  • 1643 – Thirty Years' War: The French, led by Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, scored a decisive victory against the Spanish in Rocroi, France.
  • 1649 – The Rump Parliament passed an act to formally establish the Commonwealth of England.
  • 1780 – A combination of thick smoke, fog, and heavy cloud cover caused complete darkness to fall on parts of Canada and the New England area of the United States by noon.
  • 1802 – Napoléon Bonaparte, First Consul of the French Republic, established the Légion d'honneur order as a reward to commend civilians and soldiers.
  • 1848 – Mexico ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that was previously signed to end the Mexican–American War, officially ceding present-day California, Nevada, Utah, and other territory to the United States.
  • 1919 – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk travelled to Samsun to establish the Turkish National Movement to resist the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, marking the start of the Turkish War of Independence.
  • 1962 – During a televised birthday celebration for U.S. President John F. Kennedy at New York City's Madison Square Garden, actress and model Marilyn Monroe performed her infamous rendition of "Happy Birthday to You".
  • 1991 – Despite a boycott by the local Serb population, voters in Croatia passed a referendum supporting independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

May 20

  • 325 – The First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council of the Christian Church, was formally opened in present-day Iznik, Turkey.
  • 685 – The Picts defeated the Northumbrians near Dunnichen, severely weakening the latter's power in northern Great Britain.
  • 1293 – Sancho IV, King of Castile and León, established what is now the Complutense University of Madrid, today one of Spain's top public universities.
  • 1498 – Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived at Calicut, India, opening up trade with the Far East directly by sea.
  • 1570 – The first modern atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by cartographer Abraham Ortelius, was issued.
  • 1862 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law, which gave the right to claim freehold title to about 160 acre of undeveloped land in the American West.
  • 1873 – Clothing manufacturer Levi Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis were granted a patent for using copper rivets to strengthen the pockets of denim overalls, paving the way for their business Levi Strauss & Co. to start manufacturing their first line of blue jeans.
  • 1902 – Cuba officially gained independence from the United States, with Tomás Estrada Palma becoming its first president.
  • 1927 – By the Treaty of Jeddah, the United Kingdom recognised the sovereignty of King Ibn Saud over Hejaz and Nejd, which later merged to become Saudi Arabia.
  • 2002 – East Timor gained independence from Indonesia, becoming the first new sovereign state of the 21st century.

May 21

  • 1674 – John III Sobieski, elected by the szlachta, became the King of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
  • 1758 – French and Indian War: Ten-year-old Mary Campbell was taken captive from her Pennsylvania home by members of the Native American group Lenape, believed to have been the first white child to travel to the Connecticut Western Reserve.
  • 1863 – American Civil War: Union forces began to lay siege to the Confederate-controlled town of Port Hudson, Louisiana.
  • 1879 – War of the Pacific: Two Peruvian ironclads led by Miguel Grau Seminario attempted to lift the blockade of Iquique by Chilean battleships under Arturo Prat at the Battle of Iquique.
  • 1894 – The Manchester Ship Canal, linking Greater Manchester in North West England to the Irish Sea, officially opened, becoming the largest navigation canal in the world at the time.
  • 1904 – The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the international sport governing body of association football, was founded in Paris.
  • 1911 – Mexican President Porfirio Díaz and the revolutionary Francisco Madero signed the Treaty of Ciudad Juárez to put an end to the fighting between the forces of both men, and thus concluding the initial phase of the Mexican Revolution.
  • 1924 – University of Chicago students Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr. murdered a 14-year-old boy in a thrill killing.
  • 1927 – Aboard the Spirit of St. Louis, American aviator Charles Lindbergh completed the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight, flying from Roosevelt Field near New York City to Le Bourget Airport near Paris.
  • 1979 – Riots erupted in San Francisco after former Supervisor Dan White was only sentenced for voluntary manslaughter for the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and openly gay Supervisor Harvey Milk.
  • 1991 – Former Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
  • 1998 – Indonesian President Suharto resigned following the collapse of support for his three-decade-long reign.
  • 2006 – The Montenegrin independence referendum was held in Montenegro, with 55.5 percent of the voters favouring independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

May 22

  • 1455 – Forces led by Richard, Duke of York and Richard, Earl of Warwick captured Lancastrian King Henry VI of England, beginning the Wars of the Roses with a Yorkist victory in the First Battle of St Albans.
  • 1807 – Former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr was indicted for treason by a grand jury.
  • 1809 – War of the Fifth Coalition: Austrian forces under Archduke Charles prevented Napoleon I and his French troops from crossing the Danube near Vienna at the Battle of Aspern-Essling.
  • 1819 – The SS Savannah left port at Savannah, Georgia, USA, on a voyage to become the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 1826 – HMS Beagle departed on its first voyage from Plymouth for a hydrographic survey of the Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego regions of South America.
  • 1844 – Persian Prophet The Báb founded Bábism.
  • 1915 – Five trains were involved in a crash near Gretna Green, Scotland, killing 227 people and injuring 246 in the Quintinshill rail crash.
  • 1947 – Cold War: in an effort to fight the spread of Communism, U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed an act into law that would later be called the Truman Doctrine, granting $400 million in military and economic aid to Turkey and Greece, each battling an internal Communist movement.
  • 1960 – The Great Chilean Earthquake, measuring 9.5 Mw, devastated Valdivia, Chile, and generated destructive tsunamis that reached Hawaii the following day.
  • 1964 – During a speech at the University of Michigan, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson presented the goals of his Great Society domestic social reforms to eliminate poverty and racial injustice.
  • 1972 – Ceylon changed its name to Sri Lanka, adopted a new constitution, and officially became a republic.
  • 1980 – Pac-Man, an arcade game that became virtually synonymous with video games and an icon of 1980s popular culture, made its debut in Japan.
  • 1990 – The Yemen Arab Republic and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen merged to become the Republic of Yemen.
  • 2002 – Washington, D.C. police announced that the skeletal remains of missing Federal Bureau of Prisons intern Chandra Levy were found in Rock Creek Park.

May 23

  • 1430 – Hundred Years' War: Joan of Arc was captured at the Siege of Compiègne.
  • 1498 – Girolamo Savonarola of Florence was executed for heresy, uttering prophecies, sedition, and other crimes.
  • 1533 – The marriage of Henry VIII of England and his first wife Catherine of Aragon was annulled.
  • 1555 – Giovanni Pietro Carafa became Pope Paul IV.
  • 1568 – The Dutch Revolt broke out when rebels led by Louis of Nassau invaded Friesland at the Battle of Heiligerlee.
  • 1706 – War of the Spanish Succession: Led by the Duke of Marlborough, the allied forces of England, the Dutch Republic, and Denmark defeated the Franco-Bavarian army in Ramillies, present-day Belgium.
  • 1844 – At a meeting at his house in Shiraz, Iran, that lasted from the previous night until dawn, Siyyid `Alí-Muhammad Shírází proclaimed that he was "the Báb", after a Shi`a religious concept, marking the beginning of the Bábí movement, the forerunner of the Bahá'í Faith.
  • 1873 – The North West Mounted Police, the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was established to bring law and order to and assert Canadian sovereignty over the Northwest Territories.
  • 1934 – American criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed and killed by police on a desolate road near their hideout in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
  • 1945 – End of World War II in Europe: Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz was captured and his Flensburg government was dissolved.
  • 1949 – The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany came into effect as the de facto constitution of West Germany.
  • 1951 – Delegates of the 14th Dalai Lama and the government of the newly established People's Republic of China signed the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, affirming Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.
  • 2008 – To resolve a 29-year-old territorial dispute, the International Court of Justice awarded Middle Rocks to Malaysia and Pedra Branca to Singapore.

May 24

  • 1487 – Impostor Lambert Simnel was crowned in Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland as "King Edward VI".
  • 1626 – Director-General Peter Minuit of New Netherland acquired Manhattan from Native Americans in exchange for trade goods valued at 60 guilders.
  • 1738 – At a Moravian Church meeting in Aldersgate Street, London, John Wesley experienced a spiritual rebirth, leading him to launch the Methodist movement.
  • 1822 – Ecuadorian War of Independence: Troops led by Antonio José de Sucre secured the independence of Quito from Spain at the Battle of Pichincha.
  • 1883 – New York City's Brooklyn Bridge, at the time the longest suspension bridge in the world, was opened.
  • 1930 – English aviatrix Amy Johnson landed in Darwin, Northern Territory, becoming the first woman to successfully fly from England to Australia.
  • 1941 – World War II: The German battleship Bismarck sank the British battlecruiser HMS Hood in eleven minutes at the Battle of the Denmark Strait.
  • 1956 – The first ever competition of the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Lugano, Switzerland.
  • 1960 – Cordón Caulle in the Andes of Ranco Province, Chile, began to erupt, less than two days after the Valdivia earthquake struck the region.
  • 1962 – Project Mercury: American astronaut Scott Carpenter orbited the Earth three times in the Aurora 7 space capsule.
  • 2006 – An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary film about former United States Vice President Al Gore's campaign to educate citizens about global warming, was released.

May 25

  • 1420 – Henry the Navigator became governor of the Order of Christ, the Portuguese successor to the Knights Templar.
  • 1521 – The Diet of Worms declared Protestant Reformer Martin Luther an outlaw and a heretic, banning his literature, and requiring his arrest.
  • 1659 – Richard Cromwell resigned as Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.
  • 1810 – The Primera Junta, the first independent government in Argentina, was established in an open cabildo in Buenos Aires, marking the end of the May Revolution.
  • 1895 – The Republic of Formosa was inaugurated in Taiwan, proclaiming independence from Qing China.
  • 1914 – The British parliament passed the Home Rule Act 1914, establishing a devolved government in Ireland.
  • 1926 – Anarchist Sholom Schwartzbard assassinated Symon Petliura, the head of the Paris-based government-in-exile of the Ukrainian People's Republic.
  • 1946 – Abdullah bin Husayn, Emir of the Emirate of Transjordan, was proclaimed King of the renamed "Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan".
  • 1953 – At the Nevada Test Site, the United States conducted its first and only nuclear artillery test.
  • 1961 – During a speech to a joint session of the United States Congress, U.S. President John F. Kennedy announced his support for the Apollo space programme, with "the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth".
  • 1963 The Organisation of African Unity was established.
  • 1977 – Star Wars, a science fantasy film written and directed by George Lucas, was released, becoming one of the most successful films of all time.
  • 2000 – Israel withdrew its army from most of Lebanese territory, 22 years after its first invasion in 1978.
  • 2002 – China Airlines Flight 611 crashed in the Taiwan Strait after breaking up in mid-air, killing all 225 people on board.
  • 2009 – North Korea conducted a nuclear test and several other missile tests that were widely condemned by the international community and led to sanctions from the United Nations Security Council.

May 26

  • 451 – Armenian rebels were defeated by forces of the Sassanid Empire on the Avarayr Plain in Vaspurakan, but were eventually guaranteed religious freedom.
  • 1637 – Pequot War: An allied Puritan and Mohegan force attacked a Pequot village, killing 500.
  • 1805 – Napoléon Bonaparte was crowned King of Italy at the Milan Cathedral with the Iron Crown of Lombardy.
  • 1828 – Kaspar Hauser, a foundling with suspected ties to the Royal House of Baden, first appeared in the streets of Nuremberg, Germany.
  • 1896 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average, representing twelve stocks from various American industries, was first published by journalist Charles Dow as a stock market index.
  • 1906 – Vauxhall Bridge, crossing the River Thames in London between Vauxhall and Westminster, opened.
  • 1918 – The Democratic Republic of Georgia was proclaimed following the breakup of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic.
  • 1972 – U.S. President Richard Nixon and Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in Moscow, concluding the first round of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.
  • 1991 – Zviad Gamsakhurdia became the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Georgia in the post-Soviet era.
  • 2006 – An earthquake measuring about 6.3 Mw struck near the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta on the southern side of the island of Java, killing at least 5,700 people, injuring at least 36,000, and leaving at least 1.5 million homeless.

May 27

  • 1153 – Malcolm IV became King of Scotland at the age of twelve.
  • 1328 – Philip VI of France was crowned at Notre-Dame de Reims, beginning the Valois Dynasty.
  • 1703 – Russian Tsar Peter I founded Saint Petersburg after reconquering the Ingrian land from Sweden during the Great Northern War.
  • 1799 – War of the Second Coalition: Austrian forces defeated the French at Winterthur, Switzerland, securing control of the northeastern Swiss Plateau because of the town's location at the junction of seven cross-roads.
  • 1860 – Expedition of the Thousand: Giuseppe Garibaldi and his Redshirts launched their attack on Palermo.
  • 1896 – The St. Louis – East St. Louis tornado, one of the deadliest and most destructive tornadoes in U.S. history, struck St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois, killing more than 255 people and injuring at least 1,000 others.
  • 1919 – The flying boat NC-4 arrived in Lisbon, Portugal, becoming the first fixed-wing aircraft to complete a transatlantic flight under its own power.
  • 1923 – French racing drivers André Lagache and René Léonard won the first running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans near Le Mans, Sarthe, France.
  • 1930 – Standing at 319 metres, New York City's Chrysler Building opened as the world's tallest building before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building 11 months later.
  • 1937 – The Golden Gate Bridge, at the time the world's longest suspension bridge span, connecting the San Francisco to Marin County, California, opened.
  • 1942 – Czech resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Prague ambushed and mortally wounded Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of Reich Security Main Office and the Protector of Bohemia and Moravia.
  • 1995 – Actor Christopher Reeve suffered a cervical spinal injury after being thrown from his horse during the cross country portion of an eventing competition held in Culpeper, Virginia, paralysing him from the neck down.
  • 1999 – Slobodan Miloševic was indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo.

May 28

  • 585 BC – According to Greek historian Herodotus, a solar eclipse abruptly ended the Battle of Halys between the Lydians and the Medes.
  • 1588 – Anglo-Spanish War: The Spanish Armada, with 130 ships and over 30,000 men, set sail from Lisbon for the English Channel in an attempt to invade England.
  • 1644 – English Civil War: Royalist troops allegedly slaughtered up to 1,600 people during their storm and capture of the Town of Bolton.
  • 1892 – Aided by a group of professors from the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University, Preservationist John Muir founded the environmental organisation Sierra Club in San Francisco.
  • 1905 – Japanese forces led by Admiral Togo Heihachiro destroyed the Russian Baltic Fleet in the Battle of Tsushima, the decisive naval battle in the Russo-Japanese War.
  • 1918 – The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, one of the first democratic republics in the Muslim world, was proclaimed in Ganja by the Azerbaijani National Council following the breakup of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic.
  • 1936 – English mathematician Alan Turing submitted his paper "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem" for publication, introducing the Turing machine, a basic abstract symbol-manipulating device that can simulate the logic of any computer algorithm.
  • 1961 – The British newspaper The Observer published English lawyer Peter Benenson's article The Forgotten Prisoners, starting a letter-writing campaign that grew and became the human rights organisation Amnesty International.
  • 1975 – Sixteen West African countries signed the Treaty of Lagos, establishing the Economic Community of West African States to promote economic integration.
  • 1998 – Under its nuclear development programme, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission carried out five underground nuclear tests in the Chagai Hills in the Chagai District of the Balochistan province.
  • 2009 – Following a controversy involving Church of Scientology editing on Wikipedia, the website's Arbitration Committee issued a ruling banning Scientology organisation IP addresses from editing on the site.

May 29

  • 363 – Roman Emperor Julian defeated Sassanid Emperor Shapur II outside the walls of the Sassanid capital of Ctesiphon, but was unable to take the city.
  • 1167 – A 1,600-man force of the Holy Roman Empire led by Christian of Buch and Rainald of Dassel defeated a 10,000-man Papal States army.
  • 1176 – Wars of the Guelphs and Ghibellines: The Lombard League defeated the forces of the Holy Roman Empire in Legnano, Lombardy, present-day Italy.
  • 1453 – Constantinople fell to the besieging Ottoman army led by Sultan Mehmed II, ending the Byzantine Empire.
  • 1660 – The monarchy in England was restored under King Charles II.
  • 1848 – Wisconsin became the 30th U.S. state admitted to the Union.
  • 1913 – The Rite of Spring, a ballet with music by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, was first performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris.
  • 1914 – The ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland sank in the Saint Lawrence River after colliding with the Storstad, killing 1,012 on board.
  • 1919 – Observations made by English astrophysicist Arthur Stanley Eddington during a solar eclipse confirmed part of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.
  • 1953 – New Zealand explorer Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
  • 1985 – A wall at Brussels' Heysel Stadium collapsed under the pressure of football fans escaping a riot before the European Cup Final between England's Liverpool F.C. and Italy's Juventus F.C., killing 39 people and injuring over 600 others.
  • 1999 – Olusegun Obasanjo took office as President of Nigeria, the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule.
  • 2001 – The U.S. Supreme Court delivered its decision in PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, ruling that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, disabled golfer Casey Martin could use a golf cart to ride in PGA Tour tournaments.
  • 2008 – Oxford University Press published the book Targeted Killing in International Law, which argues support for targeted killing in multiple countries increased following the September 11 attacks.

May 30

  • 1431 – Hundred Years' War: Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen, France, after being convicted of heresy in a politically motivated trial.
  • 1434 – Taborite forces led by Prokop the Great were decisively defeated in the Battle of Lipany.
  • 1536 – Jane Seymour, a former lady-in-waiting, became Queen of England by marrying King Henry VIII.
  • 1815 – The East Indiaman ship Arniston was wrecked during a storm at Waenhuiskrans, near Cape Agulhas, present-day South Africa, with the loss of 372 lives.
  • 1854 – The Kansas–Nebraska Act became law, establishing the U.S. territories of Nebraska and Kansas, repealing the 1820 Missouri Compromise, and allowing settlers in those territories to determine if they would permit slavery within their boundaries.
  • 1911 – American race car driver Ray Harroun won the first running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.
  • 1913 – The Treaty of London was signed to deal with territorial adjustments arising out of the conclusion of the First Balkan War, declaring, among other things, an independent Albania.
  • 1922 – The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., featuring a sculpture of the sixteenth U.S. President Abraham Lincoln by Daniel Chester French, opened.
  • 1963 – Buddhist crisis: A protest against pro-Catholic discrimination was held outside South Vietnam's National Assembly, the first open demonstration during the eight-year rule of Ngo Dinh Diem.
  • 1967 – Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu announced the establishment of Biafra, a secessionist state in southeastern Nigeria, an event that sparked the Nigerian Civil War one week later.
  • 1972 – Members of the Japanese Red Army carried out the Lod Airport massacre in Tel Aviv, Israel on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, killing over 20 people and injuring almost 80 others.
  • 1989 – Goddess of Democracy, a ten-meter (33 ft) high statue made mostly of polystyrene foam and papier-mâché, was erected by student protestors in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.
  • 1998 – A 6.9 Mw earthquake struck northern Afghanistan, killing at least 4,000 people, destroying more than 30 villages, and leaving 45,000 people homeless in the Afghan Provinces of Takhar and Badakhshan.

May 31

  • 1279 BC – According to estimates accepted by most egyptologists today, Ramesses II became Pharaoh of Egypt.
  • 1223 – Mongol invasions: Mongol forces defeated a combined army of Kiev, Galich, and the Cumans on the banks of the Kalchik River in present-day Ukraine.
  • 1669 – Citing poor eyesight, English naval administrator and Member of Parliament Samuel Pepys recorded his last entry in his diary, one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: Confederate forces under Joseph E. Johnston and G. W. Smith engaged Union forces under George B. McClellan at the Battle of Seven Pines outside Richmond, Virginia.
  • 1889 – The South Fork Dam near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, US, failed, unleashing a torrent of 18.1 million cubic meters (4.8 billion gallons) of water that killed over 2,200 people.
  • 1910 – The previously separate colonies of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State united to form the Union of South Africa, exactly 51 years before it would become the Republic of South Africa.
  • 1916 – The German Kaiserliche Marine and British Royal Navy clashed in the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle during World War I.
  • 1935 – A 7.7 Mw earthquake struck Balochistan in the British Raj, now part of Pakistan, killing somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000 people.
  • 1970 – The Ancash earthquake devastated various coastal towns in Peru and resulted in a massive avalanche on the north side of Nevado Huascarán, burying the town of Yungay.
  • 1981 – An organised mob of police and government-sponsored paramilitias began burning the public library in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, destroying over 97,000 unique books and manuscripts in one of the most violent examples of ethnic biblioclasm of the 20th century.
 
We reserve the right to not be responsible for the topicality, correctness, completeness or quality of the information provided.
 
 
 

Learn more ...

Dictionary
  • Dictionary
  • English Dictionary

BETA

 Double click on any word  on the page or type a word:

Powered by DictionaryBox.com