May 20


1609: Shakespeare’s sonnets were first published in London by the publisher Thomas Thorpe.

      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.

2013: The Church of Scotland votes to allow openly gay men and women to be ministers.

2013: Yahoo purchases Tumbler for $1.1 billion.



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.

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.

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.

2011: Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping (1921-2013) predicted that the world would end on this day, a prophecy that proved slightly incorrect.


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.

1942: Mexico entered World War II on the side of the Allies. Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps as a flight instructor.

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.

1990: Microsoft released the Windows 3.0 operating system.

2012: Philip Philips is crowned the eleventh American Idol.

2019: Washington State becomes the first U.S. state to legalize composting human bodies.




May 23


1789: South Carolina ratified the U.S. Constitution.

1829: The accordion patent was granted to Cyrill Demian in Vienna, Austrian Empire.

1934: Bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde (Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow) were gunned down in an ambush near Sailes, Bienville

1995: The first version of the Java programming language was released.

1999: Professional wrestler Owen Hart, 34, died while performing when he fell from a height of 90 feet as he was being lowered into the wring for the “Over the Edge” sports entertainment event in Kansas City, Missouri.

2013: The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River collapsed in Mount Vernon, Washington.

2018: Hamburg, Germany becomes the first city to ban diesel cars on some roads.

2019: The last slave ship to smuggle slaves to America from Africa, the Clotilda (sunk 1860), is found in Mobile River, Alabama.


May 24


1784: The U.S. Treasury Board was established  with $21,000.

1830: Mary Had a Little Lamb by Sarah Josepha Hale was published in Boston.

1844: Samuel Morse sent the message “What hath God wrought” from the old Supreme Court chamber in the U.S. Capitol to his assistant, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore, Md., to inaugurate the first telegraph line.

1883: The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City was opened to traffic after 14 years of construction.

night game in Major League Baseball history was played in Cincinnati, Ohio, with the Cincinnati Reds beating the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 at Crosley Field.

1940: Igor Sikorsky performed the first successful single-rotor helicopter flight.

2013: Rafael Correa is sworn into a third term as President of Ecuador.

2018: U.S. President Donald Trump signs into law the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act easing financial regulations and reducing oversight for banks.


May 25


240 B.C.: The passage of Halley’s Comet was first recorded.

1878: Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore opened at the Opera Comique in London.

1909: Actress Mary Pickford made her screen debut in Two Memories by D.W. Griffith.

1925: John T. Scopes was indicted in Dayton, Tenn., for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

1953: The first public television station in the United States officially began broadcasting as KUHT from the campus of the University of Houston.

1961: President John F. Kennedy announced to a special joint session of Congress that it was his goal to put a man on the moon before 1970.

1968: The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo., was dedicated.

1977: The movie Star Wars was released.

1999: The U.S. House of Representatives released the Cox Report, which detailed the People’s Republic of China’s nuclear espionage against the United States over the prior two decades.

2018: Barbados elects its first female Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who leads the Barbados Labour Party to victory.

2019: First ever albino panda footage in the wild released (taken in April) from China’s Wolong National Nature Reserve.

May 26


1647: Alse Young, hanged in Hartford, Conn., became the first person executed as a witch in the British American colonies.

1828: Feral child Kaspar Hauser was discovered wandering the streets of Nuremberg, Germany.

1864: Montana was organized as a U.S. territory.

1865: Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi division, became the last general of the Confederate Army to surrender, at Galveston, Texas.

1896: Charles Dow published the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

1897: Dracula, a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, was published.

1908: The first major oil strike in the Middle East was made in Persia (now Iran) near the city of Masjed Soleyman (مسجد سليمان). The rights were secured by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.

1938: The U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee began its first session.

1976: Philosopher Martin Heidegger died in Messkirch, Germany.

1977: Mountain climber George Willig of Queens, New York, climbed the south tower of the World Trade Center.

1998: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Ellis Island, the historic gateway for millions of immigrants, is mainly in the state of New Jersey, not New York.

2015:  Cleveland Cavaliers win the NBA Eastern Conference.

2019: Ken Wyatt becomes Australia’s first Aboriginal minister in government as the minister for indigenous Australians.