|<<||Selected anniversaries for May||>>|
|An archive of historical anniversaries that appeared on the Main Page|
2023 day arrangement
- 305 – Diocletian and Maximian retired as co-rulers of the Roman Empire, being succeeded by Galerius and Constantius Chlorus.
- 1625 – Dutch–Portuguese War: Portuguese and Spanish forces recaptured the Brazilian city of Bahia, which had previously been captured by the Dutch Republic.
- 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.
- 1945 – Second World War: British and Indian forces conducted a successful airborne assault on a Japanese artillery battery during the advance to liberate Rangoon, Burma.
- 1194 – King Richard I of England gave the city of Portsmouth (Old Portsmouth pictured) its first royal charter.
- 1559 – Presbyterian clergyman John Knox returned from exile to lead the Scottish Reformation.
- 1670 – A royal charter granted the Hudson's Bay Company a monopoly in the fur trade in Rupert's Land (present-day Canada).
- 1999 – Mireya Moscoso became the first woman to be elected President of Panama.
- 2003 – Cyclone Manou formed in the Indian Ocean; over the next two weeks it struck Madagascar and left more than 100,000 people homeless.
- 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.
- 2007 – Three-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann disappeared from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal; she has never been found.
- 1677 – Trunajaya rebellion: Dutch East India Company forces under Cornelis Speelman began an attack on Surabaya, Java.
- 1886 – During a labor rally in Chicago, a bomb explosion and gunfire led to the deaths of eight police officers and four members of the public.
- 1974 – An all-female Japanese team reached the summit of Manaslu in the Himalayas, becoming the first women to climb a peak higher than 8,000 metres (26,247 ft) above sea level.
- 1979 – Margaret Thatcher (pictured) became the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom.
- 1646 – First English Civil War: Charles I surrendered himself to Scottish Covenanter leader David Leslie near Newark, England.
- 1864 – American Civil War: Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign in Virginia began with the inconclusive Battle of the Wilderness (pictured) in Spotsylvania County.
- 1945 – World War II: The citizens of Prague spontaneously rose up against the city's German occupiers.
- 1980 – The British Special Air Service recaptured the Iranian embassy in London after a six-day siege by Iranian Arab separatists.
- 2007 – Kenya Airways Flight 507 crashed immediately after takeoff from Douala International Airport in Cameroon, resulting in the deaths of all 114 people aboard.
- 1536 – Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire: Sapa Inca emperor Manco Inca Yupanqui's army began a ten-month siege of Cusco against a garrison of Spanish conquistadors and Indian auxiliaries led by Hernando Pizarro.
- 1782 – Construction began on the Grand Palace (pictured) in Bangkok, the official residence of the king of Thailand.
- 1915 – Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition: SY Aurora, anchored in McMurdo Sound, broke loose during a gale, beginning a 312-day ordeal in the Ross Sea and Southern Ocean for her 18-man crew.
- 2004 – The final episode of the television sitcom Friends was aired.
- 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.
- 1487 – Granada War: Forces of Aragon and Castile began a siege of Málaga, a Muslim city in the south of the Iberian Peninsula.
- 1794 – French Revolution: Maximilien Robespierre (pictured) established the Cult of the Supreme Being as the new state religion of the French First Republic.
- 1798 – War of the First Coalition: A British garrison repelled a French attack on the Îles Saint-Marcouf off the Normandy coast, inflicting heavy losses.
- 1937 – Employees at Fleischer Studios in New York City went on strike in the animation industry's first major labor strike.
- 1946 – Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita founded the telecommunications corporation Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo, later renamed Sony.
- 1643 – First English Civil War: The first siege of Wardour Castle ended after six days with the surrender of the Royalist garrison under Lady Blanche Arundell (pictured).
- 1842 – A train derailed and caught fire near Versailles, France, killing at least 52 people.
- 1945 – A parade in Sétif, French Algeria, celebrating the end of World War II in Europe became a riot and was followed by reprisals, carried out by colonial authorities over the following weeks, that killed thousands.
- 1963 – In Huế, South Vietnam, soldiers opened fire into a crowd of Buddhists protesting against a government ban on the flying of the Buddhist flag on Phật Đản, killing nine and sparking the Buddhist crisis.
- 1972 – Four members of Black September hijacked Sabena Flight 571 to demand the release of 315 Palestinians convicted on terrorism charges.
- 1877 – An earthquake struck northern Chile, leading to the deaths of 2,385 people, mostly victims of the ensuing tsunami, as far away as Hawaii and Fiji.
- 1944 – World War II: The Japanese Take Ichi convoy arrived at Halmahera in the Dutch East Indies after losing many ships and thousands of troops to Allied attacks while attempting to carry two divisions of troops from China to New Guinea.
- 1977 – The Hotel Polen in Amsterdam was destroyed by fire (pictured), leaving 33 people dead.
- 1980 – Part of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida collapsed after a pier was struck by the MV Summit Venture, killing 35 people.
- 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.
- 28 BC – Chinese astronomers during the Han dynasty made the first precisely dated observation of a sunspot.
- 1833 – Siamese–Vietnamese wars: Lê Văn Khôi escaped from prison to begin a revolt against Emperor Minh Mạng, primarily to avenge his adoptive father, Vietnamese general Lê Văn Duyệt.
- 1916 – Ernest Shackleton and five companions arrived at South Georgia, completing a 1,300 km (800 mi) lifeboat voyage over 16 days to obtain rescue for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
- 1940 – World War II: German forces commenced their invasion of Belgium.
- 2013 – One World Trade Center in New York City, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, was topped out at a height of 1,776 feet (541 m).
- 868 – A copy of the Diamond Sutra was printed in Tang-dynasty China, making it the world's oldest dated printed book (frontispiece pictured).
- 1889 – Bandits attacked a U.S. Army paymaster's escort in the Arizona Territory, stealing more than $28,000.
- 1970 – Lubbock, Texas, was struck by a tornado that left 26 people dead.
- 2010 – Gordon Brown resigned as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party after failing to strike a coalition agreement with the Liberal Democrats.
- 2022 – Myanmar civil war: Government troops killed 37 unarmed civilians in Mondaingbin.
- 1743 – War of the Austrian Succession: Habsburg ruler Maria Theresa was crowned Queen of Bohemia after driving French troops from the territory.
- 1938 – During an exercise to demonstrate air power, United States Army Air Corps bomber aircraft intercepted the Italian ocean liner SS Rex (pictured) 620 nautical miles (1,100 km) off the US Atlantic coast.
- 1948 – The United Kingdom publicly announced that it was independently developing nuclear weapons, after the US Atomic Energy Act of 1946 ended cooperation on the matter.
- 1968 – Vietnam War: The 1st Australian Task Force began the defence of Fire Support Base Coral in the largest unit-level action of the war for the Australian Army.
- 1998 – Four students were shot and killed by Indonesian soldiers at Trisakti University in Jakarta, which led to widespread riots and the resignation of President Suharto nine days later.
- 1909 – The first edition of the Giro d'Italia, a long-distance multiple-stage bicycle race, began in Milan; the Italian cyclist Luigi Ganna was the eventual winner.
- 1958 – US vice president Richard Nixon's motorcade was attacked by a mob in Caracas, Venezuela.
- 2000 – An explosion (aftermath pictured) at a fireworks factory in Enschede, Netherlands, resulted in 23 deaths and approximately €450 million in damage.
- 2008 – Nine bombs placed by the Indian Mujahideen, then an unknown terrorist group, exploded in a 15-minute period in Jaipur, India, killing 80 people and injuring more than 200 others.
- 1264 – Second Barons' War: King Henry III was defeated at the Battle of Lewes (monument pictured) and forced to sign the Mise of Lewes, making Simon de Montfort the de facto ruler of England.
- 1857 – Mindon Min was crowned as King of Burma.
- 1863 – American Civil War: Union troops captured Jackson, the capital of Mississippi.
- 1931 – Five people were killed in Ådalen, Sweden, as soldiers opened fire on an unarmed trade union demonstration.
- 1948 – David Ben-Gurion publicly read the Israeli Declaration of Independence at Independence Hall in Tel Aviv.
- 392 – Roman emperor Valentinian II (pictured) was found hanged in his residence in Vienne, in present-day France.
- 1855 – Thieves stole 224 pounds (102 kg) of gold from a train travelling from London to Folkestone, England.
- 1864 – American Civil War: A small Confederate force, which included cadets from the Virginia Military Institute, forced the Union Army out of the Shenandoah Valley.
- 1904 – Russo-Japanese War: The Japanese battleships Hatsuse and Yashima sank after striking several mines off Port Arthur, China.
- 1916 – Jesse Washington, a teenage African-American farmhand, was lynched in Waco, Texas.
- 1426 – Mohnyin Thado captured Sagaing to become King of Ava.
- 1605 – After a scuffle in which one cardinal received broken bones, the papal conclave elected Camillo Borghese as Pope Paul V.
- 1929 – The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles.
- 1960 – American physicist Theodore Maiman operated the first working laser at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California.
- 1975 – Japanese climber Junko Tabei (pictured) became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
- 1590 – Anne of Denmark (pictured) was crowned queen consort of Scotland in a ceremony at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh.
- 1863 – American Civil War: at the Battle of Big Black River Bridge in Mississippi, Union forces under John McClernand defeated a Confederate rearguard, capturing around 1,700 men.
- 1900 – The first copies of the children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum were printed.
- 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" and therefore unconstitutional.
- 1987 – An Iraqi jet aircraft fired two Exocet missiles at the American frigate USS Stark leaving 37 personnel of the warship dead and 21 others injured.
May 18: Global Accessibility Awareness Day (2023); Haitian Flag Day in Haiti (1803); Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Crimean Tatar Genocide in Ukraine
- 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.
- 1936 – In a crime that captivated Japan, Sada Abe (pictured) strangled her lover, cut off his genitals, and carried them around with her for several days until her arrest.
- 1952 – First Indochina War: Viet Minh forces overran a French and Laotian garrison at Muong Khoua, leaving only four survivors.
- 1965 – Eli Cohen, a spy who is credited with gathering significant intelligence used by Israel during the Six-Day War, was publicly hanged in Syria.
- 1996 – Ireland won the Eurovision song contest for the seventh time, the highest number of wins for any country before Sweden tied it in 2023.
- 1776 – American Revolutionary War: A Continental Army garrison west of Montreal surrendered to British troops at the Battle of the Cedars.
- 1845 – Captain John Franklin (pictured) departed Greenhithe, England, on an expedition to the Canadian Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage; all 129 men were later lost when their ships became icebound in Victoria Strait.
- 1915 – First World War: Australian and New Zealand troops repelled the third attack on Anzac Cove, inflicting heavy casualties on the attacking Ottoman forces.
- 1991 – Breakup of Yugoslavia: With the local Serb population boycotting the referendum, Croatians voted in favour of independence from Yugoslavia.
- 2015 – A corroded pipeline near Refugio State Beach, California, spilled 142,800 gallons (3,400 barrels) of crude oil onto the Gaviota Coast.
- 685 – The Picts defeated the Northumbrians at the Battle of Dun Nechtain, severely weakening the latter's power in northern Great Britain.
- 1811 – A British squadron under Charles Marsh Schomberg defeated a French force off Tamatave, Madagascar, that was attempting to reinforce the French garrison on Mauritius.
- 1943 – The Luttra Woman (skull pictured), a bog body from the Early Neolithic period, was discovered near Luttra, Sweden.
- 1947 – The first session of the National Diet opened in Tokyo, Japan.
- 2013 – A tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, United States, killing 24 people and causing an estimated $2 billion of damage.
- 878 – Arab–Byzantine wars: The city of Syracuse was captured by the Aghlabids (pictured) as part of the Muslim conquest of Sicily.
- 1703 – English writer Daniel Defoe was imprisoned for seditious libel after publishing a pamphlet that was perceived to satirise the Tory publications about Dissenters.
- 1864 – American Civil War: The inconclusive Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia ended with combined Union and Confederate casualties totaling around 31,000.
- 1991 – Former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.
- 1998 – Indonesian president Suharto resigned after a collapse of support for his presidency amid economic and political crises, ending 32 years in power.
- 1629 – Albrecht von Wallenstein and King Christian IV of Denmark signed the Treaty of Lübeck to end Danish intervention in the Thirty Years' War.
- 1816 – A riot broke out in Littleport, England, over high unemployment and rising grain costs, spreading to Ely the next day before being quelled by troops.
- 1856 – Senator Charles Sumner (pictured) was assaulted by Representative Preston Brooks in the United States Senate chamber in retaliation for a speech in which Sumner fiercely criticized slaveholders.
- 1939 – Germany and Italy signed the Pact of Steel, a military and political alliance.
- 2010 – Upon landing in Mangalore, Air India Express Flight 812 overshot the runway and fell down a hillside, killing 158 of the 166 people on board.
- 1533 – Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, annulled Henry VIII's marriage to his first wife Catherine of Aragon (pictured), beginning events that would culminate in the English Reformation.
- 1862 – American Civil War: Confederate troops under Stonewall Jackson defeated a Union force at the Battle of Front Royal in Virginia, taking around 700 prisoners.
- 1895 – Backed by Samuel J. Tilden, the Astor Library and the Lenox Library agreed to merge and form the New York Public Library.
- 1939 – The U.S. Navy submarine Squalus sank off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, during tests, causing 26 men to drown.
- 1974 – The Airbus A300, the first twin-engined wide-body airliner, went into service with Air France.
- 1667 – Led by King Louis XIV, the French army invaded the Spanish Netherlands, beginning the War of Devolution.
- 1883 – New York City's Brooklyn Bridge opened as the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time.
- 1913 – Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia married Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover; the occasion was one of the last great social events of European royalty before World War I began.
- 1986 – A stationary front began over the central Caribbean Sea, leading to severe floods that over two weeks killed dozens of people in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica.
- 1991 – The Israel Defense Forces began Operation Solomon, a covert operation to bring thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel (evacuees pictured).
- 1782 – American Revolutionary War: US Colonel William Crawford began a failed expedition to destroy British-allied American Indian towns along the Sandusky River in the Ohio Country.
- 1878 – Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore (poster featured) premiered at the Opera Comique in London.
- 1955 – Joe Brown and George Band, members of the British Kangchenjunga expedition, made the first ascent of the world's third-highest mountain but deliberately did not set foot on the summit.
- 1979 – During takeoff from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, an engine detached from American Airlines Flight 191, causing a crash that killed 273 people, the deadliest aviation accident in United States history.
- 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.
- 946 – King Edmund I of England was murdered at Pucklechurch on the feast day of St Augustine.
- 1933 – American singer Jimmie Rodgers (pictured) died at the Taft Hotel in New York City.
- 1967 – The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of the first progressive rock albums, was released.
- 1989 – Tropical Storm Cecil dissipated over Laos after devastating Quảng Nam province, Vietnam, and causing the deaths of 751 people.
- 1923 – French drivers André Lagache and René Léonard completed the most laps during the first edition of the sports car race the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
- 1963 – American singer Bob Dylan (pictured) released The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, his first album to include a significant number of original songs.
- 1983 – An explosion at an illegal fireworks factory near Benton, Tennessee, killed eleven people.
- 1995 – Bosnian War: Forces of the Army of Republika Srpska captured a United Nations post at Vrbanja Bridge in Sarajevo; six soldiers of both sides were killed when French forces retook the post later in the day.
- 2001 – Twenty tourists were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants in Palawan, Philippines, triggering a hostage crisis that lasted for more than 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.
- 1892 – Scottish-American preservationist John Muir (pictured) founded the environmental organization Sierra Club in California.
- 1940 – Second World War: Belgium surrendered to Nazi Germany, ending the Battle of Belgium.
- 1987 – Mathias Rust, a West German aviator, flew his Cessna 172 from Helsinki, Finland, through Soviet air defences, landing illegally near Red Square in Moscow.
- 2010 – A train derailment and collision in the West Midnapore district of West Bengal, India, caused the deaths of at least 148 passengers.
- 1176 – Wars of the Guelphs and Ghibellines: Troops of the Lombard League defeated forces of the Holy Roman Empire near Legnano in present-day Italy.
- 1792 – The Great Sejm of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was disbanded following the Russian invasion of Poland.
- 1935 – A strike by copper miners in Northern Rhodesia ended after six workers were shot and killed by police.
- 1953 – The mountaineers Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay (both pictured) became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
- 1954 – Diane Leather became the first woman to run a mile in less than five minutes.
- 1431 – Hundred Years' War: After being convicted of heresy, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen, France.
- 1723 – Johann Sebastian Bach (pictured) assumed the office of Thomaskantor in Leipzig, presenting the cantata, Die Elenden sollen essen, BWV 75, in the St. Nicholas Church.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 455 – Petronius Maximus, ruler of the Western Roman Empire, was stoned to death by a mob as he fled Rome ahead of the arrival of a Vandal force that sacked the city.
- 1223 – Mongol invasion of Kievan Rus': Mongol forces defeated a Kievan Rus' army at the Kalka River in present-day Ukraine.
- 1468 – Cardinal Bessarion (pictured) announced his donation of 746 Greek and Latin codices to the Republic of Venice, forming the Biblioteca Marciana.
- 1935 – An earthquake registering 7.7 Mw struck Balochistan in British India, now part of Pakistan, killing between 30,000 and 60,000 people.
- 2013 – A tornado struck Central Oklahoma, killing 8 people and injuring more than 150.