0408 – Theodosius II succeeded to the throne of Constantinople.
1308 – King Albert was murdered by his nephew John, because he refused his share of the Habsburg lands.
1486 – Christopher Columbus convinced Queen Isabella to fund an expedition to the West Indies.
1707 – England, Wales and Scotland were united to form Great Britain.
1751 – America’s first cricket tournament was held in New York City.
1805 – The state of Virginia passed a law requiring all freed slaves to leave the state, or risk either imprisonment or deportation.
1863 – In Virginia, the Battle of Chancellorsville began. General Robert E. Lee’s forces began fighting with Union troops under General Joseph Hooker. Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by his own soldiers in this battle. (May 1-4)
1867 – Reconstruction in the South began with black voter registration.
1877 – U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew all Federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction.
1883 – William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) had his first Wild West Show.
1884 – The construction of the first American 10-story building began in Chicago, IL.
1889 – Asa Candler published a full-page advertisement in The Atlanta Journal, proclaiming his wholesale and retail drug business as “sole proprietors of Coca-Cola … Delicious. Refreshing. Exhilarating. Invigorating.” Mr. Candler did not actually achieve sole ownership until 1891 at a cost of $2,300.
1898 – The U.S. Navy under Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay in the Philippines.
1905 – In New York, radium was tested as a cure for cancer.
1912 – In London’s Kensington Gardens, a statue of Peter Pan was erected.
1915 – A German submarine sank the U.S. ship Gulflight.
1922 – Charlie Robertson of the Chicago White Sox pitched a perfect no-hit, no-run game against the Detroit Tigers. The Sox won 3-0. Another perfect game did not come along until 46 years later.
1927 – Adolf Hitler held his first Nazi meeting in Berlin.
1931 – The Empire State Building in New York was dedicated and opened. It was 102 stories tall and was the tallest building in the world at the time.
1934 – The Philippine legislature accepted a U.S. proposal for independence.
1937 – U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt signed an act of neutrality, keeping the United States out of World War II.
1941 – “Citizen Kane,” directed and starring Orson Welles, premiered in New York.
1944 – The Messerschmitt Me 262, the first combat jet, made its first flight.
1945 – Martin Bormann, private secretary to Adolf Hitler, escaped from the Fuehrerbunker as the Red Army advanced on Berlin.
1945 – Admiral Karl Doenitz succeeded Hitler as leader of the Third Reich. This was one day after Hitler committed suicide.
1948 – The People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) was proclaimed.
1950 – Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry called Annie Allen.
1958 – James Van Allen reported that two radiation belts encircled Earth.
1960 – Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. Powers was taken prisoner.
1961 – Fidel Castro announced there would be no more elections in Cuba.
1967 – Anastasio Somoza Debayle became president of Nicaragua.
1968 – In the second day of battle, U.S. Marines, with the support of naval fire, continue their attack on a North Vietnamese Division at Dai Do.
1969 – Leonard Tose bought the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles for $16,155,000.
1970 – Students at Kent State University riot in downtown Kent, OH, in protest of the American invasion of Cambodia.
1971 – The National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak) went into service. It was established by the U.S. Congress to run the nation’s intercity railroads.
1981 – The Japanese government announced that it would limit passenger car exports to the United States over the next three years.
1986 – The Tass News Agency reported the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.
1986 – Bill Elliott set a stock car speed record with his Ford Thunderbird in Talladega, AL. Elliott reached a speed of 212.229 mph.
1989 – Disney-MGM Studios opened.
Disney movies, music and books
1992 – On the third day of the Los Angeles riots resulting from the Rodney King beating trial. King appeared in public to appeal for calm, he asked, “Can we all get along?”
1998 – Arrow Air was fined $5 million for using spare parts that lacked federal approval in the U.S.
1999 – On Mount Everest, a group of U.S. mountain climbers discovered the body of George Mallory. Mallory had died in June of 1924 while trying to become the first person to reach the summit of Everest. At the time of the discovery it was unclear whether or not Mallory had actually reached the summit.
2000 – ABC aired the first celebrity “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
2000 – The “Barbie for President” doll was released in stores.
2001 – Chandra Levy was last seen in Washington, DC. Her remains were found in Rock Creek Park on May 22, 2002. California Congressman Gary Condit was questioned in the case due to his relationship with Levy.
2011 – U.S. President Barack Obama announced that U.S. soldiers had killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.