History May This Day in History


May This Day in History, Historic Events

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What Historic May Events Occurred on Your Birthday?

Our “This Day in History for May” section contains historical May events categorized by month and day. See what happened on your birthday, or any day of the year. Find out what happened on this day in May.

Kentucky Dery May Event

Major Historical May Events

May 1, 1840 – England releases the first 1st adhesive postage stamp.

May 1, 1841 – The first wagon train leaves Independence, Mo for California.

May 1, 1883 – “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s first Wild West Show.

May 1, 1884 – Construction begins on the first skyscraper, the 10 story Home Insurance Company building in Chicago, IL.

May 1, 1931 – The Empire State Building was dedicated. 

May 1, 1941 – The cereal “Cheerios” hits store shelves. 

May 1, 1951 – Slugger Mickey Mantle hits his first home run.

May 1, 1952 – Mr. Potato Head is introduced. 

May 2, 1878 –  The U.S. stops minting the 20-cent coin.

May 2, 1885 – Good Housekeeping Magazine first hits the newsstands. 

May 2, 1932 – Jack Benny’s first radio show premieres.

May 2, 1939 – Lou Gehrig plays in his 2,130th game, a baseball record that will last for 57 years until Cal Ripken comes along. 

May 3, 1494 – Christopher Columbus discovers “St Iago”. It is later renamed Jamaica. 

May 3, 1936 – Joe DiMaggio makes his major-league debut with 3 hits for the NY Yankees. 

May 3, 1937 – Margaret Mitchell wins Pulitzer Prize for “Gone With the Wind”.

May 3, 1978 – Digital Equipment Corporation sends the first bulk unsolicited commercial emails… spam is born! 

May 4, 1626 – Manhattan Island is sold! Native American Indians agree to the deal in exchange for $24 in cloth & buttons. 

May 4, 1878 – The phonograph is played for the first time at the Grand Opera House. 

May 4, 1932 – Atlanta Penitentiary has a new resident after Al Capone is convicted of income tax evasion. 

May 4, 1934 – Academy of Motion Pictures is founded. (1934)

May 4, 1964 – Soap operas “Another World” and “As the World Turns” premiere. 

May 4, 1979 – Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

May 5, 1260 – Kublai Khan the grandson of Genghis Khan becomes ruler of the Mongol Empire.

May 5, 1862 – Mexican forces under Benito Juarez defeated French troops in the Battle of Puebla. Today this battle is celebrated as Cinco de Mayo

May 5, 1865 – North Bend, Ohio gets on the map. It’s the site of the first US train robbery.

May 5, 1893 – The New York Stock Exchange crashes, causing the “Great Panic of 1893”.

May 5, 1904 – Cy Young pitches the first perfect game in modern baseball history.

May 5, 1968 – Senator Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated.

May 5, 1971 – Alan Shepard rides “Freedom 7” to become 1st American in space.   

May 6, 1833 – John Deere produces the first steel plow. 

May 6, 1915 – The Yale lock is patented. 

May 6, 1889 – The Paris Exposition opens with the just-completed Eiffel Tower as its centerpiece.

May 6, 1915 – Future Baseball Hall of Famer Babe Ruth hits his first home run.

May 6, 1937 – The Dirigible Hindenburg explodes into flames at Lakehurst, NJ. 

May 6, 1994 – Chunnel linking England & France officially opens. 

May 6, 2002 – Entrepreneur Elon Musk forms SpaceX.

May 7, 1789 – The first inaugural ball is held in honor of George Washington and his wife.

May 7, 1888 – George Eastman patents the Box Camera. 

May 7, 1934 – The World’s largest pearl (6.4kg.) was discovered in the Philippines. 

May 7, 1941 – Big band leader Glenn Miller records the “Chattanooga Choo Choo”.

May 7, 1945 – Germany signs an unconditional surrender at Rheims, France, ending WWII in Europe.

May 7, 1970 – The Beatle’s last album is released- “Long and Winding Road”. 

May 7, 1992 – The maiden voyage of the space shuttle Endeavor. 

May 8, 1794 – The U.S. Post Office is established.

May 8, 1945 – V-E Day, Germany signs unconditional surrender.

May 8, 1861 – Richmond, Virginia is named the capital of the Confederacy.

May 8, 1879 – George Selden files the first patent for a gas-driven automobile.

May 8, 1952 – Mad Magazine hits the newsstands.

May 8, 1980 – The World Health Organization announces that Smallpox has been eradicated worldwide.

May 9, 1869 – A “Golden Spike” was driven into the railroad tracks at Promontory Summit, Utah, connecting the tracks of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads, creating the first Transcontinental railroad

May 9, 1886 – The syrup for Coca-Cola is invented by Atlanta Pharmacist John Styth Permerton.

May 9, 1899 – The lawnmower is patented. 

May 9, 1914 – President Woodrow Wilson declares Mother’s Day.

May 9, 1926 – Americans Richard Boyd and Floyd Bennett become the first to fly over the North Pole.

May 9, 1960 – The Birth control pill is approved by the FDA. 

May 10, 1797 – The first U.S. Navy ship, named United States”, is launched.

May 10, 1908 – The first Mother’s Day is observed in Philadelphia, PA.

May 10, 1969 – The first color pictures of Earth from space are sent back from Apollo 10.

May 10, 1994 – Nelson Mandela becomes South Africa’s first black president. 

Lilac Flower Purple

Celebrate Mom on Mother's Day

May 11, 1916 -Einstein presents his Theory of General Relativity.

May 11, 1928 – General Electric opens the world’s first television station in Schenectady, NY.

May 11, 1947 – BF Goodrich manufactures the first tubeless tire.

May 11, 1951 – Jay Forrester patents computer core memory.

May 12, 1921 – The first National Hospital Day is celebrated honoring the birth of Florence Nightingale.

May 12, 1792 – The flush toilet is patented. 

May 12, 1847 – Mormon pioneer William Clayton invents the odometer while crossing the western plains in a covered wagon.

May 13, 1767 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s first opera “Apollo et Hyacinthus” premieres in Salzburg. He wrote it when he was 11 years old. 

May 13, 1965 – The Rolling Stones record the now infamous song “Satisfaction”. 

May 13, 1970 – The Beatle’s movie “Let it Be” premieres. 

May 13, 1983 -” Mr. October”, Reggie Jackson becomes the first major league ballplayer to strike out 2,000 times.

May 14, 1607 – A party of settlers led by John Smith established the first permanent English settlement in New World at Jamestown Va.

May 14, 1787 – Delegates gather in Philadelphia to draw up the Constitution of the United States of America.

May 14, 176 – Physician Edward Jenner develops a vaccine for smallpox.

May 14, 1878 – Vaseline petroleum jelly slides onto store shelves for the first time. 

May 14, 1973 – The first U.S. space station, “Skylab” is launched.

May 14, 1965 – The last episode of Seinfeld is aired. It’s a sad day in May for millions of Seinfeld followers.

May 15, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln established the Department of Agriculture (USDA)  

May 15, 1918 – Regular airmail service inaugurated (between New York, Philadelphia & Washington DC.

May 15, 1940 – Nylon stockings hit the market for the first time.

May 15, 1963 – “If I had a Hammer” by Peter, Paul, and Mary wins a Grammy.

May 16, 1817 – Mississippi River steamboat service begins.

May 16, 1866 – Charles Hires invents Root Beer.

May 16, 1920 – Joan of Arc is canonized as a saint.

May 16, 1985 – Michael Jordan is named “NBA Rookie of the Year”.

May 17, 1875 – “And They’re Off!” as the first Kentucky Derby is held at Churchill Downs.

May 17, 1900 – “The Wonderful World of Oz” is published.

May 17, 1884 – Alaska becomes a U.S. territory.

May 17, 1954 – The first “Running of the Kentucky Derby” is held at Churchill Downs.

May 18, 1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte becomes Emperor of France

 May 18, 1860 – The Republican party nominates Abraham Lincoln for president.

May 18, 1927 – Grumman’s Chinese Theater opens in Hollywood, CA.

May 18, 1965 – Gene Rodenberry suggests 16 names for Star Trek Captain. The list includes Kirk. 

May 19, 1836 – Ann Boleyn, second wife of English King Henry VIII is beheaded.

May 19, 1884 – Ringling Brothers circus premieres.

 May 19, 2018 – American actress Meghan Markle marries England’s Prince Harry in a ceremony at Windsor Castle and becomes the Duchess of Sussex.

May 20, 1830 – The fountain pen is patented.

May 20, 1926 – Thomas Edison says Americans prefer silent movies over talkies.

May 20, 1990 – Hubble Space Telescope transmits photographs from space.

Memorial Day

May Historic Events - Memorial Day

May 21, 1602 – Captain Bartholomew Gosnold is the first to see Martha’s Vineyard.

May 21, 1861 – Richmond, VA is designated the capital of the Confederacy.

May 21, 1881 – The American Red Cross was formed.

May 22, 1455 – The opening battle in England’s 30-year “War of the Roses”.

May 22, 1807 – Former Vice President Aaron Burr is tried and acquitted of treason. 

May 22, 1868 – The Great Train Robbery. 

May 22, 1819 – The steamship Savannah departs Savannah, GA to Liverpool, England on the first trans-Atlantic crossing by a steamship. 

May 22, 1906 – The Wright Brothers are granted a patent for their “flying machine”.

May 22, 1931 – Canned rattlesnake meat goes on sale in Florida.

May 22, 1933 – First reported sighting of the Loch Ness Monster. 

May 22, 1967 – The debut of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.

May 22, 1977 – After a 94-year run, the Orient Express takes its final trip across Europe.

May 23, 1785 – Benjamin Franklin invents bifocals.

May 23, 1900 – Associated Press News Service is formed.

May 23, 1934 – Legendary bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde Barrow are shot to death in a police ambush in Louisiana.

May 23, 1958 – Cliff Notes are first used by U.S. schoolchildren.

May 24, 1775 – John Hancock is unanimously elected president of the Continental Congress.

May 24, 1830 – The nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” was written by Mary Hale of Boston.

May 24, 1844 – Samuel Morse opens the first telegraph line between Baltimore, MD, and Washington, DC.

May 24, 1883 – The Brooklyn Bridge is formally opened.

May 25, 1927 – Ford ceases production of the Model “T”.

May 25, 1961 – President John F. Kennedy announces a goal to put an American astronaut on the moon before the end of the decade.

May 25, 1968 – Gateway Arch in St. Louis is dedicated.

May 25, 1977 – The original movie blockbuster “Star Wars, Episode IV” is released.

May 25, 1983 – First National Missing Children’s Day is held.

May 25, 2012 – A SpaceX Dragon becomes the first commercial spacecraft to dock at the International Space Station.

May 26, 1805 – Lewis and Clark are the first to see the Rocky Mountains.

May 26, 1940 – During WWII, the trapped British Expeditionary Force evacuates the European mainland from Dunkirk, France.

May 26, 1994 – Michael Jackson marries Elvis Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie Presley.

May 27, 1647 – Achsah Young is the first woman to be executed as a witch in Massachusetts.

May 27, 1919 – The pop-up toaster is patented.

May 27, 1930 – Richard Gurley Drew receives a patent for cellophane tape.

May 27, 1937 – The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge opens. Over 200,000 people go across it on opening day.

May 27, 1941 – German battleship Bismarck is sunk by British Navy.

May 28, 1928 – Dodge Brothers Inc. and Chrysler Corporation merge.

May 29, 1849 – Famous Abraham Lincoln quote: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of time”.

May 29, 1916 – Official flag of the President of the United States is adopted.

May 29, 1919 – Albert Einstein publishes his Theory of Relativity.

May 29, 1942 – Bing Crosby sings “White Christmas” into the record books as the biggest-selling record.

May 29, 1953 – Sir Edmund Hillary is on top of the world. He is the first person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.

May 30, 1431 – During the Hundred Years’ War, 19-year-old Joan of Arc is burned at the stake.

May 30, 1821 – James Boyd patents the fire hose.

May 30, 1889 – The brassiere is invented. As we understand, it received a lot of support.

May 30, 1922 – The Lincoln Memorial is completed and dedicated by Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Taft.

May 31, 1790 – U.S. Copyright law is enacted.

May 31, 1884 – Dr. John Harvey Kellogg patents “flaked cereal”.

May 31, 1969 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono record the song “Give Peace a Chance”.

May 31, 1977 – The Trans-Alaska pipeline is completed.

May 31, 1990 – Seinfeld television comedy show premieres.

May 31, 2000 – The television reality show “Survivor” premieres.

Additional Resources

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Famous Birthdays Who else was born on your Birthday? Find out!

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