|<<||Selected anniversaries for May||>>|
|An archive of historical anniversaries that appeared on the Main Page|
2021 day arrangement
- 1707 – Under the terms of the Acts of Union, the Kingdoms of England and Scotland merged to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, with a single parliament and government based in Westminster.
- 1941 – Citizen Kane (scene pictured), a widely acclaimed film by actor and director Orson Welles, premiered.
- 1991 – In Major League Baseball, Rickey Henderson broke the record for stolen bases on the same night that Nolan Ryan broke his own record for no-hitters.
- 2016 – The evacuation of nearly 88,000 people began when a wildfire swept through Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, and burned for another 14 months, becoming the costliest disaster in Canadian history.
- 1559 – Presbyterian clergyman John Knox (pictured) 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.
- 1964 – Vietnam War: An explosion caused by Viet Cong commandos led USNS Card to sink in the port of Saigon.
- 1999 – Mireya Moscoso became the first woman to be elected President of Panama.
- 2011 – Osama bin Laden was shot and killed by U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 in a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
- 1491 – Nkuwu Nzinga, the ruler of the Kingdom of Kongo, was baptised as João I by Portuguese missionaries.
- 1848 – The Benty Grange helmet (pictured), a boar-crested Anglo-Saxon helmet similar to those mentioned in the contemporary epic poem Beowulf, was discovered in Derbyshire, England.
- 1921 – Under the British Government of Ireland Act, Ireland was partitioned into two self-governing territories, Northern and Southern Ireland.
- 1963 – Police in Birmingham, Alabama, used high-pressure water hoses and dogs against civil-rights protesters, bringing scrutiny on racial segregation in the southern United States.
- 1971 – Erich Honecker became First Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the governing party of East Germany.
- 1436 – Swedish nobleman Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson was assassinated while leading a rebellion against Eric of Pomerania.
- 1780 – The first running of the Epsom Derby horse race took place, won by Diomed, owned by Sir Charles Bunbury.
- 1942 – World War II: The Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Allied naval forces at the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other.
- 1974 – An all-female Japanese team reached the summit of Manaslu (pictured) in the Himalayas, becoming the first women to climb a peak higher than 8,000 metres (26,247 ft) above sea level.
- 1654 – Cromwell's Act of Grace, which pardoned the people of Scotland for any crimes committed during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, was proclaimed in Edinburgh.
- 1936 – Second Italo-Ethiopian War: Italian troops captured the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa unopposed.
- 1961 – Project Mercury: American astronaut Alan Shepard (pictured) made a sub-orbital spaceflight on board Freedom 7, becoming the second person to travel into outer space.
- 1981 – After a 66-day hunger strike, Irish republican Bobby Sands died of starvation in HM Prison Maze.
- 1991 – Riots broke out in Washington, D.C., after a rookie police officer shot a Salvadoran man in the chest.
- 1757 – English poet Christopher Smart was admitted to St Luke's Hospital for Lunatics in London, beginning his six-year confinement to mental asylums.
- 1782 – Construction began on the Grand Palace (pictured) in Bangkok, the official residence of the king of Thailand.
- 1882 – Irish civil servants Thomas Henry Burke and Lord Frederick Cavendish were stabbed to death by members of the radical Irish National Invincibles in Phoenix Park, Dublin.
- 1941 – American entertainer Bob Hope performed his first show with the United Service Organizations, beginning a 50-year involvement with them.
- 1991 – Time magazine published the article "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" by Richard Behar criticizing the Church of Scientology, leading to years of legal conflict.
- 1685 – Great Turkish War: Ottoman forces defeated Venetian irregulars at the Battle on Vrtijeljka.
- 1895 – Alexander Stepanovich Popov (pictured) presented his lightning detector, one of the first radio receivers in the world, to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society.
- 1931 – New York City police engaged in a two-hour-long shootout with Francis Crowley, witnessed by 15,000 bystanders, before he finally surrendered.
- 1946 – Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita founded the telecommunications corporation Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo, later renamed Sony.
- 2009 – Police in Napier, New Zealand, began a 40-hour siege of the home of a former New Zealand Army member who had shot at officers during the routine execution of a search warrant.
- 1821 – Greek War of Independence: At the Battle of Gravia Inn, a 120-man Greek force led by Odysseas Androutsos repulsed an Ottoman army of 8,000 soldiers.
- 1842 – A train derailed and caught fire (depicted) near Versailles, France, killing at least 52 people.
- 1957 – South Vietnamese president Ngô Đình Diệm began a state visit to the United States, his regime's main sponsor.
- 1972 – Four members of Black September hijacked Sabena Flight 571 to demand the release of 315 convicted Palestinian terrorists.
- 1987 – A British Special Air Service unit ambushed a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) unit in Loughgall, Northern Ireland, killing eight IRA members and one civilian.
- 1877 – An earthquake struck northern Chile, leading to the death of 2,385 people, mostly victims of the ensuing tsunami, as far away as Hawaii and Fiji.
- 1901 – The first Parliament of Australia opened (depicted) in the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, exactly 26 years before it moved to Canberra's Provisional Parliament House, and exactly 87 years before it moved into the Parliament House in Canberra.
- 1961 – In a speech to U.S. broadcasters, FCC chairman Newton Minow described commercial television programming as "a vast wasteland".
- 2001 – Police at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra, Ghana, fired tear gas to quell unrest at a football match, leading to a stampede that killed 126 people.
- 1849 – A personal dispute between actors Edwin Forrest and William Macready in New York City devolved into a riot that left at least 22 dead and more than 120 injured.
- 1916 – Ernest Shackleton and five companions arrived at South Georgia, completing a 1,300 km (800 mi) lifeboat voyage (launch pictured) over 16 days to obtain rescue for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
- 1941 – World War II: German Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess parachuted into Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the British government.
- 1997 – An earthquake registering 7.3 Mw struck near Qaen, Iran, killing at least 1,567 and leaving around 50,000 others homeless.
- 2005 – Vladimir Arutyunian attempted to assassinate U.S. president George W. Bush and Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi using a hand grenade, which failed to detonate.
- 868 – A copy of the Diamond Sutra was printed in Tang-dynasty China, making it the world's oldest dated printed book.
- 1867 – The major powers of Europe signed the Treaty of London to resolve a crisis over the political status of Luxembourg between France and Prussia.
- 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.
- 1981 – Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats (performers pictured), the first megamusical, opened at the New London Theatre to become an unprecedented commercial success.
- 1998 – India began the Pokhran-II nuclear-weapons test, its first since the Smiling Buddha test 24 years earlier.
- 1588 – Catholic Parisians under Henry I, Duke of Guise, protested the moderate policies of Henry III of France.
- 1881 – Under threat of invasion, Muhammad III as-Sadiq, Bey of Tunis, signed the Treaty of Bardo to make Tunisia a French protectorate.
- 1941 – German engineer Konrad Zuse presented the Z3 (replica pictured), the first working programmable and fully automatic computer, to an audience of scientists in Berlin.
- 2008 – In Postville, Iowa, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted the largest-ever raid of a workplace and arrested nearly 400 immigrants for identity theft and document fraud.
- 1779 – Negotiated by Russian and French mediators, the Treaty of Teschen was signed by Austria and Prussia, leading to the end of the War of the Bavarian Succession.
- 1862 – American Civil War: Robert Smalls (pictured) escaped from slavery by commandeering the CSS Planter and sailing it from Confederate-controlled waters to the Union blockade.
- 1909 – The first edition of the Giro d'Italia began in Milan, with Italian cyclist Luigi Ganna becoming the eventual winner.
- 1958 – Algerian War: A group of French military officers led a coup in Algiers, demanding the formation of a government to defend French control of Algeria.
- 2005 – Uzbek Interior Ministry and State Security Service troops fired at protesters in Andijan, killing between 187 and 1,500 people.
- 1878 – The last witchcraft trial in the United States opened in Salem, Massachusetts.
- 1919 – Sir Harry Hands, the mayor of Cape Town, performed the first public observance of a two-minute silence in remembrance of those killed in World War I.
- 1931 – Five people were killed in Ådalen, Sweden, as soldiers opened fire on an unarmed trade union demonstration.
- 1951 – Trains ran on the Talyllyn Railway (locomotive pictured) in Wales for the first time since its preservation, making it the first railway in the world to be operated by volunteers.
- 1980 – Salvadoran Civil War: Refugees trying to flee El Salvador across the Sumpul River to Honduras were attacked by both Salvadoran and Honduran forces, resulting in at least 300 deaths.
- 392 – Roman emperor Valentinian II (statue pictured) was found hanged in his residence in Vienne, in present-day France.
- 1602 – Early English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold arrived on Cape Cod in present-day Massachusetts.
- 1904 – Russo-Japanese War: After striking several mines off Port Arthur, China, the Japanese battleships Hatsuse and Yashima sank.
- 1966 – Disapproving of General Tôn Thất Đính's handling of the Buddhist Uprising, South Vietnamese prime minister Nguyễn Cao Kỳ ordered an attack on his forces and ousted Đính from his post.
- 1990 – Vincent van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet was sold at auction at Christie's in New York for US$82.5 million, making it the world's most expensive painting at the time.
- 1832 – Prospector Juan Godoy found a silver outcrop in Chañarcillo, sparking the Chilean silver rush.
- 1866 – The United States Congress authorized the minting of the Shield nickel (example pictured), the country's first five-cent piece to be made of a copper–nickel alloy.
- 1943 – Second World War: The Royal Air Force's "Dambusters" squadron embarked on an attack on German dams using bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis.
- 1961 – Led by Park Chung-hee, the Military Revolution Committee carried out a bloodless coup against the government of Yun Posun in Seoul, ending the Second Republic of Korea.
- 1975 – Japanese climber Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
- 1521 – English nobleman Edward Stafford, whose father had been beheaded for rebelling against King Richard III, was himself executed for treason against King Henry VIII.
- 1865 – The International Telecommunication Union, which standardizes and regulates international radio and telecommunications, was founded as the International Telegraph Union in Paris.
- 1900 – The first copies of the children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum were printed.
- 1914 – Under the Protocol of Corfu, the Principality of Albania officially recognized Northern Epirus as an autonomous self-governing region.
- 2009 – Dalia Grybauskaitė (pictured) became the first woman to be elected as president of Lithuania, receiving 69.1 percent of the vote.
- 1388 – At the Battle of Buir Lake, a Ming Chinese army led by general Lan Yu defeated the forces of Tögüs Temür, the Mongol khan of Northern Yuan.
- 1896 – Ruling in the landmark decision Plessy v. Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the legality of racial segregation in public transportation under the "separate but equal" doctrine.
- 1936 – In a crime that captivated Japan, Sada Abe strangled her lover, cut off his genitals, and carried them around with her for several days until her arrest.
- 1980 – Mount St. Helens explosively erupted (pictured), killing approximately 57 people in southern Washington state, reducing hundreds of square miles to wasteland, and causing more than US$1 billion in damage.
- 715 – Gregory II began his pontificate; his conflict with Byzantine emperor Leo III eventually led to the establishment of the temporal power of the pope.
- 1743 – French physicist Jean-Pierre Christin published the design of a mercury thermometer using the centigrade scale, with 0 representing the melting point of water and 100 its boiling point.
- 1911 – Parks Canada, the world's first national park service, was established as the Dominion Parks Branch under the Department of the Interior.
- 1991 – Breakup of Yugoslavia: With the local Serb population boycotting the referendum, Croatians voted in favour of independence from Yugoslavia.
- 2018 – The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (both pictured) took place at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, England.
- 794 – According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, King Æthelberht II of East Anglia was beheaded on the orders of King Offa of Mercia.
- 1217 – First Barons' War: English forces under William Marshal defeated French troops at the Battle of Lincoln.
- 1873 – Levi Strauss (pictured) and Jacob W. Davis received a patent for using copper rivets to strengthen the pockets of denim overalls, allowing their company to start manufacturing blue jeans.
- 1983 – uMkhonto we Sizwe, the paramilitary wing of the African National Congress, detonated a car bomb in Pretoria, resulting in 19 deaths and 217 injuries.
- 878 – Arab–Byzantine wars: The city of Syracuse was captured by the Aghlabids as part of the Muslim conquest of Sicily.
- 1851 – The Congress of Colombia passed a law abolishing slavery in the country, to take effect at the beginning of the new year.
- 1917 – The Imperial War Graves Commission was established by royal charter to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of British Empire military forces.
- 1946 – Working with a mass of plutonium known as the "demon core" (recreation pictured), Manhattan Project physicist Louis Slotin accidentally exposed himself to a lethal dose of hard radiation.
- 1991 – Former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.
- 853 – Arab–Byzantine wars: The Byzantine navy began a raid on the Nile Delta port city of Damietta, whose garrison was absent at the time.
- 1766 – An earthquake registering an estimated 7.1 Ms struck Constantinople and was followed by a tsunami that caused significant damage.
- 1844 – In Shiraz, Iran, the Báb declared himself to be a messenger of God to Mullá Husayn, leading to the foundation of Bábism, considered to be a precursor to the Baháʼí Faith.
- 1958 – Ethnic riots mostly targeting the minority Sri Lankan Tamils broke out in Ceylon, resulting in at least 158 deaths over the next few days.
- 2014 – Prayut Chan-o-cha (pictured), the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army, launched a coup d'état against the caretaker government following six months of political crisis.
- 1555 – Gian Pietro Carafa became Pope Paul IV, beginning a tumultuous four-year papacy during which the Papal States suffered a serious military defeat.
- 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.
- 1895 – Backed by Samuel J. Tilden, the Astor Library and the Lenox Library agreed to merge and form the New York Public Library (building pictured).
- 1951 – Delegates of the 14th Dalai Lama and the government of the newly established People's Republic of China signed the Seventeen Point Agreement, affirming Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.
- 1974 – The Airbus A300, the first twin-engined wide-body airliner, went into service with Air France.
- 1689 – The Act of Toleration became law, granting freedom of worship to English nonconformists under certain circumstances, but deliberately excluding Catholics.
- 1873 – Patrick Francis Healy (pictured) became the president of Georgetown University; he was posthumously regarded as the first black president of a predominantly white university in the United States.
- 1913 – Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia married Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover, one of the last great social events of European royalty before World War I began fourteen months later.
- 1941 – Second World War: The German battleship Bismarck sank the British battlecruiser Hood at the Battle of the Denmark Strait.
- 1991 – The Israel Defense Forces began Operation Solomon, a covert operation to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
- 1644 – Ming–Qing transition: Ming general Wu Sangui allowed the invading Manchu to pass through the Great Wall of China (pictured), allowing them to capture Beijing.
- 1816 – The English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge published one of his most famous poems, Kubla Khan.
- 1878 – Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore premiered at the Opera Comique in London.
- 1961 – In an address to Congress, U.S. president John F. Kennedy announced his support for the Apollo program, with "the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth".
- 2011 – The final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the highest-rated daytime talk show in U.S. television history, was broadcast.
- 946 – King Edmund I of England was murdered at Pucklechurch on the feast day of St Augustine.
- 1637 – Pequot War: Allied Puritan and Mohegan forces attacked a fortified Pequot village in the Connecticut Colony, killing between 400 and 700 people.
- 1822 – The deadliest fire in Norwegian history (depicted) occurred at a church in Grue, killing at least 113 people.
- 1967 – The Beatles' eighth studio album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, was released.
- 1991 – Shortly after leaving Bangkok, an engine thrust reverser on Lauda Air Flight 004 deployed without being commanded, causing the aircraft to break apart and killing all 223 people on board.
- 1096 – The largest of the Rhineland massacres took place in Mainz, where at least 1,100 Jews were killed by the People's Crusade.
- 1915 – HMS Princess Irene (pictured) exploded and sank off Sheerness, United Kingdom, with the loss of 352 lives.
- 1967 – Australians voted overwhelmingly for the number of Indigenous Australians to be included in population counts for constitutional purposes and for the federal government to make laws for their benefit.
- 2001 – Members of the Islamist separatist group Abu Sayyaf kidnapped 20 tourists in Palawan, Philippines, triggering a hostage crisis that lasted over a year.
- 621 – Tang forces led by Li Shimin defeated and captured Dou Jiande at the Battle of Hulao in the civil war that followed the collapse of the Sui dynasty.
- 1644 – English Civil War: Royalist troops stormed and captured the Parliamentarian stronghold of Bolton, leading to a massacre of defenders and local residents.
- 1901 – Mozaffar ad-Din, Shah of Persia, granted exclusive rights to prospect for oil in the country to William Knox D'Arcy.
- 1937 – The rise of Neville Chamberlain culminated with his accession as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- 1999 – After 21 years of restoration work, Leonardo da Vinci's mural painting The Last Supper (pictured), in Milan, Italy, was returned to display.
- 1852 – Swedish operatic soprano Jenny Lind concluded a successful concert tour of the United States under the management of showman P. T. Barnum.
- 1918 – World War I: Armenian forces defeated Ottoman troops at the Battle of Sardarabad, halting the Turkish advance and preventing further destruction of the Armenian nation.
- 1953 – The mountaineers Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay (both pictured) became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
- 1999 – President Olusegun Obasanjo took office as Nigeria's first elected and civilian head of state after 16 years of military rule.
- 1536 – Jane Seymour (pictured), a former lady-in-waiting, married King Henry VIII, becoming the queen consort of England.
- 1914 – RMS Aquitania, the last surviving four-funnel ocean liner, departed from Liverpool on her maiden voyage to New York City.
- 1943 – The first game of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the forerunner of women's professional league sports in the United States, was played.
- 1998 – An earthquake registering 6.5 Mw struck northern Afghanistan, killing at least 4,000 people, destroying more than 30 villages, and leaving 45,000 people homeless in Takhar and Badakhshan Provinces.
- 1795 – French Revolution: The Revolutionary Tribunal (depicted), a court instituted by the National Convention for the trial of political offenders, was suppressed.
- 1921 – The Tulsa race massacre, "the single worst incident of racial violence in American history", began in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
- 1961 – The Union of South Africa was dissolved by the Constitution Act and replaced by the Republic of South Africa.
- 1981 – An organized mob of police and government-sponsored Sinhalese paramilitary forces began three days of attacks that led to the burning of the Jaffna Library in Sri Lanka.