|<<||Selected anniversaries for May||>>|
|An archive of historical anniversaries that appeared on the Main Page
2018 day arrangement
- 1753 – Carl Linnaeus published his Species Plantarum, which, with his earlier work Systema Naturae, is considered the beginning of modern botanical nomenclature.
- 1794 – War of the Pyrenees: France regained nearly all the land it lost to Spain the previous year with its victory in the Second Battle of Boulou.
- 1884 – Moses Fleetwood Walker (pictured), the last African American in Major League Baseball until Jackie Robinson, played his first game for the Toledo Blue Stockings.
- 1974 – Argentine President Juan Perón expelled the Montoneros from a demonstration in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, forcing the group to become clandestine and later a target of the Dirty War.
- 1985 – Labor groups in the Philippines established the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, a political coalition and communist front, in order to challenge the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
- 1194 – King Richard I of England gave the city of Portsmouth its first Royal Charter.
- 1559 – Scottish clergyman John Knox returned from exile to lead the Scottish Reformation.
- 1964 – Vietnam War: An explosion caused by Viet Cong commandos led USNS Card to sink in the port of Saigon.
- 1995 – Croatian War of Independence: Serb forces began firing rockets on the Croatian capital of Zagreb, killing 7 and injuring around 200 others.
- 2008 – The Chaitén volcano (pictured) in Chile began to erupt for the first time since around 1640.
- 1491 – Nkuwu Nzinga of the Kingdom of Kongo was baptised as João I by Portuguese missionaries.
- 1848 – The Benty Grange helmet, a boar-crested Anglo-Saxon helmet similar to those in Beowulf, was discovered in Derbyshire, England.
- 1913 – Raja Harishchandra, the first Indian feature-length film, was released.
- 1920 – Relying on the 11th Red Army operating in neighboring Azerbaijan, Bolsheviks attempted to stage a coup d'etat in Georgia.
- 1999 – A Doppler on Wheels team measured the fastest winds recorded on Earth (301 ±20 mph, or 484 ±32 km/h) in a tornado near Bridge Creek, Oklahoma, U.S.
- 1493 – Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull Inter caetera, establishing a line of demarcation dividing the New World between Spain and Portugal.
- 1780 – The first running of the Epsom Derby took place, won by Diomed, owned by Charles Bunbury.
- 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.
- 1988 – A fire at an industrial plant in Henderson, Nevada, U.S., caused tons of Space Shuttle fuel to explode (pictured), resulting in two deaths, 372 injuries, and $100 million in damage.
- 2000 – Ken Livingstone took office as the first Mayor of London.
- 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.
- 1654 – Cromwell's Act of Grace, which pardoned the people of Scotland for any crimes they may have committed during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, was proclaimed in Edinburgh.
- 1940 – World War II: A squad of 250 Norwegian volunteers in Hegra Fortress finally surrendered to a vastly superior Nazi force after a 25-day siege.
- 1961 – Project Mercury: Aboard the American spacecraft Freedom 7, Alan Shepard (pictured) made a sub-orbital flight, becoming the second person to travel into outer space.
- 2010 – A series of demonstrations in Athens and general strikes across Greece began in response to austerity measures imposed by the government as a result of the debt crisis.
- 1782 – Construction began on the Grand Palace (pictured) of Bangkok, the official residence of the King of Thailand.
- 1882 – The Irish civil servants Thomas Henry Burke and Lord Frederick Cavendish were stabbed to death by members of the radical Irish National Invincibles as they walked through Phoenix Park in Dublin.
- 1941 – American entertainer Bob Hope performed the first of his many shows for the United Service Organizations.
- 1954 – At Oxford's Iffley Road Track, English runner Roger Bannister became the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.
- 2010 – Major stock indexes in the United States dropped nearly 9% and rebounded very quickly, exacerbated by high-frequency traders using algorithms which have since been outlawed.
- 1697 – Stockholm's royal castle, dating back to the 13th century, was destroyed in a huge fire; the plans for the current royal palace was presented within a year.
- 1895 – Alexander Stepanovich Popov (pictured) presented his radio receiver, refined as a lightning detector, to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society.
- 1931 – New York City Police engaged in a two-hour-long shootout with Francis Crowley that was witnessed by 15,000 bystanders before he finally surrendered.
- 1960 – Cold War: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announced that his country was holding American pilot Francis Gary Powers, whose spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union six days earlier.
- 2010 – A team of researchers presented a complete draft sequence of the Neanderthal genome, demonstrating that today's modern humans have Neanderthal ancestors.
- 1842 – A train derailed and caught fire (pictured) in Paris, killing between 52 and 200 people.
- 1924 – Lithuania signed the Klaipėda Convention with the nations of the Conference of Ambassadors, formally taking the Klaipėda Region (German: Memelland) from East Prussia and making it into an autonomous region under unconditional sovereignty of Lithuania.
- 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.
- 1963 – In Huế, South Vietnam, soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam opened fire into a crowd of Buddhist protestors against a government ban on the flying of the Buddhist flag on Vesākha, killing nine and sparking the Buddhist crisis.
- 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 became the Patriarch of Alexandria.
- 1877 – Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Mihail Kogălniceanu (pictured) made a speech in Parliament that declared Romania was discarding Ottoman suzerainty.
- 1901 – The first Parliament of Australia opened 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.
- 1918 – First World War: Germany repelled Britain's second attempt to blockade the Belgian port of Ostend.
- 2012 – Pilots of a Sukhoi Superjet 100 ignored alerts from the terrain warning system and crashed into Mount Salak in Indonesia, resulting in the deaths of all 45 people on board.
- 28 BC – The first precisely dated observation of a sunspot was made by Han dynasty astronomers during the reign of Emperor Cheng of Han.
- 1775 – American Revolutionary War: A small force of Patriots led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured Fort Ticonderoga in New York, without significant injury or incident.
- 1916 – Ernest Shackleton and five companions completed one of history's greatest small-boat journeys (launch pictured) when they arrived at South Georgia after sailing 800 nautical miles (1,500 km) in a lifeboat.
- 1941 – World War II: Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess parachuted into Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the British government.
- 1997 – A 7.3 Mw earthquake struck Iran's Khorasan Province, killing at least 1,567, injuring around 2,300, and damaging or destroying more than 15,000 homes, to leave 50,000 homeless.
- 1792 – Merchant sea captain Robert Gray (pictured) became the first recorded European to navigate the Columbia River in what is now the Pacific Northwest United States.
- 1813 – William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth departed westward from Sydney on an expedition to become the first Europeans confirmed to cross the Blue Mountains.
- 1910 – Glacier National Park, located in the U.S. state of Montana, was designated a national park.
- 1998 – India began conducting the Pokhran-II nuclear weapons test, its first since the Smiling Buddha test 24 years earlier.
- 2010 – David Cameron took office as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom as the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed the country's first coalition government since the Second World War.
- 1588 – Day of the Barricades: Under the leadership of Henry I, Duke of Guise (pictured), Catholic Parisians arose in protest against the moderate policies of Henry III.
- 1888 – North Borneo was established as a British protectorate.
- 1968 – The 1st Australian Task Force began the defence of Fire Support Base Coral in the largest unit-level action of the Vietnam War for the Australian Army.
- 1998 – Four students were shot and killed at Trisakti University in Indonesia, leading to widespread riots and eventually the fall of Suharto.
- 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.
- 1862 – Robert Smalls escaped from slavery in Charleston, South Carolina, by commandeering the CSS Planter and sailing it from Confederate-controlled waters to the U.S. blockade.
- 1888 – Princess Isabel of the Empire of Brazil signed the Lei Áurea into law, formally abolishing slavery in Brazil.
- 1913 – Russian-American Igor Sikorsky flew the world's first four-engine fixed-wing aircraft, the Russky Vityaz, which he designed himself.
- 1958 – Australian Ben Carlin (pictured) became the only person to circumnavigate the world in an amphibious vehicle, having travelled over 80,000 km (50,000 mi) by land and sea.
- 2008 – Nine bombs placed by the previously unknown terrorist group Indian Mujahideen exploded in 15 minutes in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, killing 80 and injuring more than 200 people.
- 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.
- 1868 – Boshin War: Troops of the Tokugawa shogunate withdrew from the Battle of Utsunomiya Castle and retreated north towards Nikkō and Aizu.
- 1943 – Second World War: 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 the state of Israel in parts of the former British Mandate of Palestine.
- 1973 – The NASA space station Skylab (pictured) was launched from Cape Canaveral.
- 1602 – English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold led the first recorded European expedition to visit Cape Cod in present-day Massachusetts.
- 1864 – American Civil War: A small Confederate force, which included cadets (pictured) from the Virginia Military Institute, forced the Union Army out of the Shenandoah Valley.
- 1911 – Mexican Revolution: A force of Maderistas captured Torreón and proceeded to massacre 303 of the city's Chinese residents.
- 1948 – The Australian cricket team, on tour in England, set a first-class world record that still stands by scoring 721 runs in a day against Essex.
- 1966 – Disapproving of his handling of the Buddhist Uprising, South Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Cao Kỳ ordered an attack on the forces of General Tôn Thất Đính and ousted him from the position.
- 1866 – The United States Congress authorized the minting of the country's first copper-nickel five-cent piece, the Shield nickel.
- 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.
- 1959 – The Triton Fountain (pictured) in Valletta, one of Malta's most important Modernist landmarks, was turned on for the first time.
- 1961 – The Military Revolution Committee, led by Park Chung-hee, carried out a bloodless coup against the government of Yun Bo-seon, ending the Second Republic of South Korea.
- 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.
- 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.
- 1642 – The Société Notre-Dame de Montréal founded a permanent mission known as Ville-Marie, which eventually grew into the city of Montreal.
- 1902 – The Antikythera mechanism (fragment pictured), the oldest known surviving geared mechanism, was discovered among artifacts retrieved from a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera.
- 1977 – The first Chuck E. Cheese's location, the first family restaurant to integrate food, animated entertainment, and an indoor arcade, opened in San Jose, California, U.S.
- 2000 – Following the killings of two English football fans in the previous month by Galatasaray supporters, British and Turkish hooligans attacked each other on the day of the UEFA Cup Final.
May 18: Flag and Universities Day in Haiti; Day of Revival, Unity, and the Poetry of Magtymguly in Turkmenistan
- 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.
- 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.
- 1944 – The Soviet Union forcibly deported the entire population of Crimean Tatars to the Uzbek SSR and elsewhere in the country.
- 1955 – Operation Passage to Freedom, the evacuation of 310,000 Vietnamese civilians (pictured), 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.
- 2006 – The Parliament of Nepal unanimously voted to strip King Gyanendra of many of his powers.
- 715 – The papacy of Gregory II began; his conflict with Byzantine emperor Leo III eventually led to the establishment of the popes' temporal power.
- 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.
- 1845 – Captain Sir John Franklin (pictured) and his ill-fated Arctic expedition departed from Greenhithe, England; 129 men would die on the expedition.
- 1997 – The Sierra Gorda Biosphere, which encompasses the most ecologically diverse region in Mexico, was established as a result of grassroots efforts.
- 2015 – A corroded oil pipeline in Santa Barbara County, California, burst, spilling 142,800 U.S. gallons (3,400 barrels) of crude oil onto one of the most biologically diverse coastlines of the U.S. West Coast.
- 794 – According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, King Æthelberht II of East Anglia was beheaded on the order of King Offa of Mercia.
- 1873 – Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a patent for using copper rivets to strengthen the pockets of denim overalls, allowing their company to start manufacturing blue jeans.
- 1882 – The Triple Alliance was created between the German Empire, Austria-Hungary and the Kingdom of Italy.
- 1983 – A team of researchers led by French virologist Luc Montagnier (pictured) published their discovery of HIV, but were not then certain that it caused AIDS.
- 2012 – The first of two major earthquakes struck Northern Italy, resulting in seven deaths.
- 1403 – King Henry III of Castile sent an embassy to the court of Timur (Tamerlane) to discuss a potential alliance between Timur and Castile against the Ottoman Empire.
- 1856 – A crowd of about 800 pro-slavery Americans ransacked the town of Lawrence, Kansas.
- 1894 – The Manchester Ship Canal, linking Manchester in North West England to the Irish Sea, officially opened, becoming the world's largest navigation canal at the time.
- 1911 – Mexican President Porfirio Díaz and the revolutionary Francisco Madero signed the Treaty of Ciudad Juárez to end the fighting between the forces of both men, concluding the initial phase of the Mexican Revolution.
- 1998 – Indonesian President Suharto (pictured) resigned as a result of the collapse of support for his three-decade-long rule.
- 853 – Byzantine–Arab Wars: The Byzantine navy began to sack and plunder the port city of Damietta on the Nile Delta, whose garrison was absent at the time.
- 1762 – The Trevi Fountain (pictured) in Rome was officially inaugurated by Pope Clement XIII.
- 1849 – Abraham Lincoln was issued a patent for an invention to lift boats over obstacles in a river, making him the only U.S. President ever to hold a patent.
- 1958 – Ethnic rioting broke out in Ceylon, targeted mostly at the minority Sri Lankan Tamils, resulting in up to 300 deaths over the next five days.
- 2014 – Prayut Chan-o-cha, 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 – Giovanni Pietro Carafa became Pope Paul IV, beginning a short but tumultuous papacy, during which the Papal States suffered a serious military defeat.
- 1706 – War of the Spanish Succession: Led by the Duke of Marlborough, the allied forces of England, the Dutch Republic, and Denmark–Norway defeated the Franco-Spanish-Bavarian army in Ramillies, present-day Belgium.
- 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.
- 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.
- 2013 – An oversize load struck several support beams on the bridge carrying Interstate 5 over the Skagit River in the U.S. state of Washington, leading to its immediate collapse (pictured).
- 1689 – The Act of Toleration became law in England, granting freedom of worship to nonconformists under certain circumstances, but deliberately excluding Catholics.
- 1883 – New York City's Brooklyn Bridge (pictured) opened – the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time.
- 1956 – The first edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Lugano, Switzerland.
- 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.
- 2014 – A gunman opened fire at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels, killing four people.
- 1644 – Ming general Wu Sangui let the invading Manchus pass through the Great Wall of China (pictured), allowing them to capture Beijing, leading to the foundation of the Qing dynasty.
- 1738 – King George II of Great Britain negotiated a cease-fire between the British colonies of Maryland and Pennsylvania, ending Cresap's War.
- 1816 – The English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge published one of his most famous poems, "Kubla Khan".
- 1979 – Six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared on his way to school in New York City, and later became one of the first missing children to have his picture featured on milk cartons.
- 2013 – Naxalite insurgents of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) attacked a convoy of Indian National Congress leaders in the state of Chhattisgarh, causing at least 27 deaths.
- 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.