May 16

1866: Congress eliminated the half dime coin and replaced it with the five cent piece, or nickel.
1929: The first Academy Awards were awarded, in Hollywood, Calif.
1988: A report by U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop stated that the addictive properties of nicotine are similar to those of heroin and cocaine.
1991: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom became the first British monarch to address the U.S. Congress, in joint session.
May 17
1792: The New York Stock Exchange was formed.
1875: Aristides won the first Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

May 17

1792: The New York Stock Exchange is formed.
1954: The U.S. Supreme Court decides in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case declaring segregation of public schools unconstitutional.
1990: Homosexuality was eliminated from the list of psychiatric diseases by the World Health Organization at their general assembly.
2004: The first legal same-sex marriages in the U.S. were performed in Massachusetts.

May 18

1652: Rhode Island outlawed slavery.
1933: As part of the Nw Deal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Tennessee Valley Authority.
1980: Mount St. Helens in Washington erupted, destroying several square miles of forest and blanketing the Pacific Northwest with ash, causing $3 billion damage. There were 59 known deaths.

May 19

1780: A combination of thick smoke and heavy cloud cover caused complete darkness to fall on Eastern Canada and New England of the United States at 10:30 a.m.
2015: 142,800 gallons of crude oil were spilled on California’s coastline.

May 20

1609: Shakespeare’s sonnets were first published in London by the publisher Thomas Thorpe.
1768: First Lady Dolley Madison was born in Guilford County, N.C.
1873: Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.
1899: The first traffic ticket in the U.S. was issued when New York City taxi driver Jacob German was arrested for driving 12 miles per hour on Lexington Street.
1916: The Saturday Evening Post published its first cover with a Norman Rockwell painting (Boy with Baby Carriage).
1927: Charles Lindbergh took off at 7:52 a.m. from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York, on the world’s first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. (He touched down at Le Bourget Field in Paris at 10:22 p.m. the next day.)
1983: The discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS was published by Luc Montagnier in the journal Science.
1989: Chinese authorities declared martial law in the face of pro-democracy demonstrations, setting the scene for the Tiananmen Square massacre.

May 21

1758: Ten-year-old Mary Campbell was abducted in Pennsylvania by Lenape during the French and Indian War. She was returned 6½ years later.
1863: The Seventh-day Adventist Church was organized in Battle Creek, Mich.
1881: The American Red Cross was established in Washington, D.C., by Clara Barton.
1904: Born this day: Robert Montgomery, American actor and director (died 1981); and Fats Waller, American singer-songwriter and pianist (died 1943).
1924: University of Chicago students Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr. murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks in a “thrill killing.”
1927: Charles Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
1932: Bad weather forced Amelia Earhart to land in a pasture in Derry, Northern Ireland, and she thereby became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
1934: Oskaloosa, Iowa, became the first municipality in the United States to fingerprint all of its citizens.
1946: Physicist Louis Slotin was mortally irradiated in a criticality incident during an experiment with the ‘Demon core’ at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
1961: Alabama Gov. John Malcolm Patterson declared martial law in an attempt to restore order after race riots broke out.
1966: The Ulster Volunteer Force declared war on the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland.
1972: Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City was damaged by a vandal, the mentally disturbed Hungarian geologist Laszlo Toth.
1992: After 30 seasons, Johnny Carson hosted his penultimate episode, and the last featuring guests (Robin Williams and Bette Midler) of The Tonight Show.

May 22

1807: A grand jury indicted former Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr on a charge of treason.
1826: HMS Beagle departed on its first voyage, with young Charles Darwin on board.
1849: Abraham Lincoln was issued a patent for an invention to lift boats over obstacles in a river, the only patent ever issued to a U.S. president.
1869: Montana’s first recorded earthquake occurred in Helena.
1906: The Wright brothers were granted U.S. patent number 821,393 for their “Flying-Machine.”
1915: Lassen Peak in Northern California erupted with a powerful force. It was the only mountain other than Mount St. Helens to erupt in the contiguous U.S. during the 20th century.
1960: The strongest earthquake ever recorded,
magnitude 9.5, hit southern Chile.
1968: The nuclear-powered submarine USS Scorpion sank with 99 men aboard, 400 miles southwest of the Azores.
1980: Namco of Tokyo released the highly influential arcade game Pac-Man.
1981: Ukrainian film director Boris Sagal died while shooting the TV miniseries World War III when he walked into the tail rotor blade of a helicopter and was decapitated.
2002: A jury in Birmingham, Ala., convicted former Ku Klux Klan member Bobby Frank Cherry of the 1963 murders of four girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. Cherry’s supporters displayed Confederate flags outside the courthouse as a symbol of their hatred for non-whites, Jews and Catholics.