|<<||Selected anniversaries for May||>>|
|An archive of historical anniversaries that appeared on the Main Page
2017 day arrangement
- 1169 – Norman mercenaries landed at Bannow Bay in Leinster, marking the beginning of the Norman invasion of Ireland.
- 1776 – The secret society known as the Order of Illuminati was founded by Adam Weishaupt and Adolph von Knigge in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany.
- 1925 – The All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the world's largest trade union, was founded in Guangzhou, China.
- 1947 – Sicilian separatist Salvatore Giuliano and his gang fired into a crowd of May Day marchers near Piana degli Albanesi, Sicily, killing 11 and wounding 33.
- 1994 – Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna, a three-time Formula One World Champion, was killed in a crash (wreckage pictured) during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
- 1559 – Scottish clergyman John Knox returned from exile to lead the Scottish Reformation.
- 1863 – American Civil War: Confederate general Stonewall Jackson was wounded by friendly fire during the Battle of Chancellorsville, leading to his death by pneumonia eight days later.
- 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 (Brandenburg Gate pictured).
- 1999 – Mireya Moscoso became the first woman to be elected President of Panama.
- 2014 – Ukrainian crisis: Forty-eight people were killed during a confrontation between pro-Russian protesters and pro-Ukrainian unity protesters in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa.
- 1491 – Nkuwu Nzinga of the Kingdom of Kongo was baptised as João I by Portuguese missionaries.
- 1791 – The Polish–Lithuanian Constitution of May 3, the oldest codified national constitution in Europe, was adopted by the Great Sejm.
- 1915 – The oldest continually operational Royal Air Force station, RAF Northolt (pictured), opened as the home to No. 4 Reserve Aeroplane Squadron.
- 1942 – Second World War: Japanese forces began invading Tulagi and nearby islands in the Solomon Islands, enabling them to threaten and interdict the supply and communication routes between the United States and Australia and New Zealand.
- 2007 – Three-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared while on holiday with her family in Portugal, sparking "the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history".
- 1493 – Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull Inter caetera, establishing a line of demarcation dividing the New World between Spain and Portugal.
- 1776 – The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations became the first of the Thirteen Colonies to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown.
- 1886 – An unknown assailant threw a bomb into a crowd of police, turning a peaceful labor rally in Chicago into the Haymarket massacre, which resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four bystanders.
- 1974 – An all-female Japanese team reached the summit of Manaslu (pictured) in the Himalayas, becoming the first women to climb an 8,000-metre peak.
- 2015 – The Parliament of Malta moved from the Grandmaster's Palace to the purpose-built Parliament House.
- 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.
- 1809 – Mary Dixon Kies became one of the first American women to receive a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
- 1936 – Second Italo-Abyssinian War: Italian troops captured Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, unopposed.
- 1992 – The 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified 202 years after it was proposed.
- 2007 – Kenya Airways Flight 507 crashed immediately after takeoff from Douala International Airport in Cameroon, resulting in the deaths of all 114 people aboard.
- 1757 – English poet Christopher Smart was admitted into St Luke's Hospital for Lunatics in London, beginning his six-year confinement to mental asylums.
- 1801 – French Revolutionary Wars: The outmanned and outgunned HMS Speedy captured the 32-gun Spanish frigate El Gamo.
- 1937 – The German zeppelin Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed (pictured) during an attempt to dock at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, killing 36 people.
- 1954 – At Oxford's Iffley Road Track, English runner Roger Bannister became the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.
- 2013 – Amanda Berry escaped from the Cleveland, Ohio, home of her captor Ariel Castro having been held there with two other women for ten years.
- 351 – Jews in the Roman province of Syria Palaestina rebelled against the rule of Constantius Gallus, Caesar of the Eastern Roman Empire.
- 1685 – Great Turkish War: Ottoman forces prevailed over Venetian irregulars in the Battle on Vrtijeljka.
- 1763 – Pontiac of the Odawa Native American tribe led an attempt to seize Fort Detroit from the British, marking the start of Pontiac's War.
- 1895 – Alexander Stepanovich Popov (pictured) presented his radio receiver, refined as a lightning detector, to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society.
- 2009 – Police in Napier, New Zealand, began a 40-hour siege of the home of a former New Zealand Army member who shot at officers during the routine execution of a search warrant.
- 1794 – The Reign of Terror: Branded a traitor, French chemist Antoine Lavoisier (pictured), a former royal tax collector with the Ferme générale, was tried, convicted, and guillotined on the same day.
- 1927 – French aviators Charles Nungesser and François Coli aboard the biplane L'Oiseau Blanc, attempting to make the first non-stop transatlantic flight from Paris to New York, disappeared after takeoff.
- 1945 – A parade to celebrate the end of World War II turned into a riot, followed by widespread disturbances and killings in and around Sétif, French Algeria.
- 1970 – Construction workers in New York City attacked students and others who were protesting the Kent State shootings.
- 1987 – A British Army Special Air Service unit ambushed a Provisional Irish Republican Army unit in Loughgall, Northern Ireland, killing eight IRA members and a civilian.
- 328 – Athanasius (pictured) became the Patriarch of Alexandria.
- 1877 – An 8.5 Ms earthquake struck the northern portion of Chile, resulting in the death of 2,541 people, including victims of the ensuing tsunami as far away as Hawaii and Japan.
- 1964 – Ngô Đình Cẩn, de facto ruler of central Vietnam under his brother, President Ngô Đình Diệm, was executed.
- 1977 – The Hotel Polen in Amsterdam was destroyed by fire, leaving 33 people dead and 21 injured.
- 1992 – An underground methane explosion at the Westray Mine occurred in Plymouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, killing all 26 coal miners who were working at the time.
- 1833 – Lê Văn Khôi broke out of prison to start a revolt against Vietnamese Emperor Minh Mạng, primarily to avenge the desecration of the grave of his adoptive father Lê Văn Duyệt, former viceroy of the southern part of Vietnam.
- 1849 – A personal dispute between actors Edwin Forrest and William Macready in New York City devolved into a riot that left at least 25 dead and more than 120 injured.
- 1940 – British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (pictured) resigned and formally recommended Winston Churchill as his successor.
- 1997 – A 7.3 Mw earthquake struck Iran's Khorasan Province, killing 1,567, injuring more than 2,300, leaving 50,000 homeless, and damaging or destroying more than 15,000 homes.
- 2005 – Armenian Vladimir Arutyunian attempted to assassinate US President George W. Bush and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi using a hand grenade, which failed to detonate.
- 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.
- 1812 – Spencer Perceval became the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated when he was shot in the lobby of the House of Commons.
- 1894 – In response to a 28 percent wage cut, 4,000 Pullman Palace Car Company workers went on strike in Illinois, bringing rail traffic west of Chicago to a halt.
- 1985 – During an association football match between Bradford City and Lincoln City in Bradford, England, a flash fire consumed one side of the Valley Parade stadium, killing 56 attendees.
- 1997 – Deep Blue (pictured) became the first computer to win a match against a world chess champion, when it defeated Garry Kasparov in six games.
- 907 – Zhu Wen forced Emperor Ai into abdicating, ending the Tang dynasty after nearly three hundred years of rule.
- 1881 – Under the threat of invasion, the Bey of Tunis Muhammad III as-Sadiq signed the Treaty of Bardo to make Tunisia a French protectorate.
- 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.
- 1967 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience released the critically acclaimed and widely influential debut album Are You Experienced.
- 1982 – The Coppergate Helmet (pictured), the best preserved of the six known Anglo-Saxon helmets, was discovered.
- 1638 – Construction began in Delhi on the Red Fort, the residence of the Mughal emperors, now an iconic symbol of India.
- 1779 – Russian and French mediators negotiated the Treaty of Teschen to end the War of the Bavarian Succession.
- 1917 – Ten-year-old Lúcia Santos (pictured middle) and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto reportedly began experiencing a Marian apparition near Fátima, Portugal, now known as Our Lady of Fátima.
- 1981 – Pope John Paul II was shot and critically wounded in St Peter's Square, Vatican City.
- 1992 – Li Hongzhi introduced Falun Gong in a public lecture in Changchun, Jilin province, China.
- 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.
- 1796 – English physician Edward Jenner (pictured) began testing cowpox as a vaccine against smallpox.
- 1878 – The last witchcraft trial in the United States opened in Salem, Massachusetts.
- 1931 – Five people were killed in Ådalen, Sweden, as soldiers opened fire on an unarmed trade union demonstration.
- 1940 – World War II: The bulk of Dutch forces surrendered to the Wehrmacht, ending the Battle of the Netherlands.
- 1793 – Inventor Diego Marín Aguilera, the "father of aviation" in Spain, flew one of the first gliders for about 300 yd (270 m).
- 1850 – Members of the 1st Cavalry Regiment of the United States Cavalry massacred at least 135 Pomo Indians in Lake County, California.
- 1904 – Russo-Japanese War: After striking several mines off Port Arthur, the Japanese battleships Hatsuse and Yashima sank.
- 1970 – During a confrontation with a group of Jackson State College students, police opened fire, killing two students and injuring twelve.
- 1990 – Vincent van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet (pictured) was sold at auction in Christie's New York office for US$82.5 million, at the time the world's most expensive painting.
- 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.
- 1916 – The United Kingdom and France signed the Sykes–Picot Agreement, a secret agreement considered to have shaped the Middle East, defining the borders of Iraq and Syria.
- 1929 – The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles.
- 1961 – The Military Revolution Committee, led by Park Chung-hee (pictured), carried out a bloodless coup against the government of Yun Bo-seon, ending the Second Republic of South Korea.
- 1975 – Japanese climber Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
- 1395 – An outnumbered Wallachian army repulsed an Ottoman invasion force in the Battle of Rovine.
- 1590 – Anne of Denmark (pictured) was crowned Queen consort of Scotland in the abbey church at Holyrood Palace.
- 1914 – Under the Protocol of Corfu, Albania officially recognized the area of Northern Epirus as an autonomous self-governing region.
- 1947 – After renegotiating the contract with the makers of her signature Chanel No. 5 perfume, Coco Chanel received her share of wartime profits from its sale, making her one of the richest women in the world.
- 1997 – The First Congo War came to an end when Laurent-Désiré Kabila proclaimed himself president of Zaire, which was also renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- 1388 – During the Battle of Buir Lake, General Lan Yu led a Chinese army forward to crush the Mongol hordes of Toghus Temur, the Khan of Northern Yuan.
- 1869 – One day after surrendering at the Battle of Hakodate, Enomoto Takeaki (pictured) turned over Goryōkaku to Japanese forces, signaling the collapse of the Republic of Ezo.
- 1927 – Disgruntled school board treasurer Andrew Kehoe set off a series of explosives in the Bath Consolidated School, killing 44 people in the deadliest mass murder in a school in United States history.
- 1965 – Eli Cohen, a spy who is credited with gathering significant intelligence for Israel in the Six-Day War against Syria, was publicly hanged after having been captured four months earlier.
- 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.
- 639 – Ashina Jiesheshuai of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate failed in his attempt to assassinate Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty.
- 1743 – French physicist Jean-Pierre Christin published the design of a mercury thermometer with the centigrade scale, with 0 representing the freezing point of water and 100 its boiling point.
- 1780 – A combination of thick smoke, fog, and heavy cloud cover caused darkness to fall on parts of Canada and the New England area of the United States by noon.
- 1962 – Actress Marilyn Monroe (pictured) performed a sultry rendition of "Happy Birthday to You" during a televised celebration for U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
- 1997 – The Sierra Gorda Biosphere, which encompasses the most ecologically diverse region in Mexico, was established as a result of grassroots efforts.
- 685 – The Picts defeated the Northumbrians near Dunnichen, severely weakening the latter's power in northern Great Britain.
- 1217 – In the Battle of Lincoln, the last land battle of the First Barons' War, William the Marshal drove Prince Louis of France out of England.
- 1875 – Representatives from seventeen countries signed the Metre Convention which set up an institute for the purpose of coordinating international metrology and for coordinating the development of the metric system.
- 1983 – A team of researchers led by French virologist Luc Montagnier (pictured) published their discovery of HIV, although they did not know yet if it caused AIDS.
- 2012 – The first of two major earthquakes struck Northern Italy, resulting in seven deaths.
- 878 – Arab–Byzantine wars: The city of Syracuse was captured by the Aghlabids, during the Muslim conquest of Sicily.
- 1881 – Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C.
- 1917 – The Imperial War Graves Commission was established through royal charter to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of British Empire military forces.
- 1927 – Aboard the Spirit of St. Louis, American aviator Charles Lindbergh (pictured) completed the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight, flying from Roosevelt Field near New York City to Paris–Le Bourget Airport.
- 1981 – The Italian government released the membership list of Propaganda Due, an illegal pseudo-Masonic lodge that had been implicated in numerous Italian crimes and mysteries.
- 1826 – HMS Beagle departed on her first voyage from Plymouth for a hydrographic survey of the Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego regions of South America.
- 1897 – The first Blackwall Tunnel (construction pictured) under the River Thames was opened to improve commerce and trade in the East End of London.
- 1915 – California's Lassen Peak violently erupted, the only volcanic eruption in the contiguous U.S. in the 20th century until Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980.
- 1972 – Ceylon changed its name to Sri Lanka, adopted a new constitution, and officially became a republic.
- 1987 – During Hindu–Muslim rioting in Meerut, India, 19 members of the Provincial Armed Constabulary allegedly massacred 42 Muslims and dumped their bodies in water canals.
- 1430 – Hundred Years' War: Joan of Arc (pictured) was captured at the Siege of Compiègne.
- 1844 – Siyyid `Alí-Muhammad Shírází proclaimed that he was "the Báb", after a Shia religious concept, marking the beginning of the Bábí movement, the forerunner of the Bahá'í Faith.
- 1934 – During a strike against the Electric Auto-Lite company in Toledo, Ohio, a mob of nearly 10,000 began a riot and a five-day running battle with the Ohio National Guard.
- 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.
- 1883 – New York City's Brooklyn Bridge (pictured) opened – the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time.
- 1930 – English aviatrix Amy Johnson landed in Darwin, Northern Territory, becoming the first woman to successfully fly from England to Australia.
- 1962 – Project Mercury: American astronaut Scott Carpenter orbited the Earth three times in the Aurora 7 space capsule.
- 1970 – On the Kola Peninsula in Russia, drilling began on the Kola Superdeep Borehole, eventually reaching 12,262 metres (40,230 ft), making it the deepest hole ever drilled and the deepest artificial point on the earth.
- 1982 – The port city of Khorramshahr was liberated by Iranian forces during the Iran–Iraq War after 575 days.
- 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.
- 1878 – Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore (poster featured) opened at the Opera Comique in London.
- 1977 – Star Wars, a science fantasy film written and directed by George Lucas, was released, eventually becoming one of the most successful films of all time.
- 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.
- 1644 – Portuguese Restoration War: Portuguese and Spanish forces both claimed victory in the Battle of Montijo.
- 1897 – The Church of England returned the original manuscript of Of Plymouth Plantation, the account of the Pilgrims and the early years of the colony they founded in North America, to Massachusetts.
- 1940 – Second World War: A flotilla of "little ships" (pictured) began a mass evacuation of British, French and Belgian troops cut off by the German army during the Battle of Dunkirk.
- 1991 – Lauda Air Flight 004 experienced an uncommanded thrust reverser deployment of an engine and broke apart in mid-air, killing all 223 people on board.
- 1799 – War of the Second Coalition: Austrian forces defeated the French and captured the strategically important town of Winterthur, Switzerland.
- 1874 – The first group of the Dorsland Trek, a series of explorations undertaken by Boers in search of political independence and better living conditions, departed South Africa for Angola.
- 1915 – HMS Princess Irene exploded and sank off Sheerness, United Kingdom, with the loss of 352 lives.
- 1937 – The Golden Gate Bridge (pictured), at the time the world's longest suspension bridge by span, opened between San Francisco and Marin County, California.
- 1967 – Australians voted overwhelmingly to include Indigenous Australians in the national census and for the government to make laws for their benefit.
- 1588 – Anglo-Spanish War: The Spanish Armada (pictured), with 130 ships and over 30,000 men, set sail from Lisbon for the English Channel in an attempt to invade England.
- 1830 – US President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act into law, authorizing him to negotiate with Native Americans for their removal from their ancestral homelands.
- 1936 – English mathematician Alan Turing introduced the Turing machine, a basic abstract symbol-manipulating hypothetical device that can simulate the logic of any computer algorithm.
- 1998 – The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission carried out five underground nuclear tests, becoming the seventh country in the world to successfully develop and publicly test nuclear weapons.
- 2010 – A train derailment and collision in the Paschim Medinipur district of West Bengal, India, caused the deaths of at least 141 passengers.
- 1453 – With the conquest of Constantinople, the Byzantine Empire fell to the Ottomans.
- 1852 – Swedish operatic soprano Jenny Lind (pictured) concluded a successful concert tour of the U.S. under the management of showman P. T. Barnum.
- 1911 – English dramatist W. S. Gilbert of the songwriting duo Gilbert and Sullivan died while saving a young woman from drowning in his lake.
- 1942 – Bing Crosby recorded his version of the song "White Christmas", which went on to become the best-selling single of all time, with over 50 million copies sold.
- 1953 – New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary and Nepali-Indian Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
- 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.
- 1899 – Pearl Hart (pictured), one of the few female outlaws of the American Old West, committed one of the last recorded stagecoach robberies 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Globe, Arizona.
- 1963 – Buddhist crisis: A protest against pro-Catholic discrimination was held outside South Vietnam's National Assembly, the first open demonstration against President Ngô Đình Diệm.
- 1972 – Members of the Japanese Red Army carried out the Lod Airport massacre in Tel Aviv, Israel, on behalf of PFLP External Operations, killing over 20 people and injuring almost 80 others.
- 2005 – American student Natalee Holloway disappeared while on a high school graduation trip to Aruba.
- 1223 – Mongol invasions: Mongol forces defeated a combined army of Kiev, Galich, and the Cumans at the Kalchik River in present-day Ukraine.
- 1879 – Gilmore's Garden in New York City was renamed Madison Square Garden (pictured), the city's first venue to use that name.
- 1902 – The Second Boer War came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging.
- 1935 – An earthquake of magnitude 7.7 Mw struck Balochistan in the British Raj, now part of Pakistan, killing between 30,000 and 60,000 people.
- 1981 – An organized mob of police and government-sponsored paramilitias began burning the public library in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, destroying over 97,000 items in one of the most violent examples of ethnic biblioclasm of the 20th century.