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1912–Jazz orchestra leader, Gil Evans, is born Ian Ernest Gilmore Green in Toronto, Canada. He played an important role in the development of cool jazz, modal jazz, free jazz, and jazz fusion. He collaborated extensively with Miles Davis.



535–St. Agapitus I begins his reign as Catholic Pope.

609–Pope Boniface I turns the Pantheon in Rome, Italy, into a Catholic church.

1254–Maria of Brabant, Queen of France, is born in Leuven, Brabant, France.

1373–Julian of Norwich has visions which are later transcribed in her Revelations of Divine Love. It is the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman. Julian was also known as a spiritual authority within her community, where she also served as a counselor and advisor.

1397–Korean King, Sejong the Great, is born Sejong Jangheon Yeongmun Yemu Inseong Myeonghyo Daewang in Hansung, Joseon (present-day Seoul, South Korea).

1515–Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, are officially married at Greenwich.

1568–The forces of Mary Queen of Scots, are defeated by a confederacy of Scottish Protestants under James Stewart, Earl of Moray, her half-brother.

1607–Captain John Smith and a party of soldiers land in Virginia at Jamestown, and establish the first permanent British settlement in the New World.

1619–Dutch statesman, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, is executed after being convicted of treason in The Hague, at age 72.

1637–Cardinal Richelieu of France creates the table knife. He had the points rounded on all knives to be used at his table so no one could stab him.

1643–An earthquake strikes Santiago Chile, killing one third of the population.

1648–Construction of the Red Fort at Delhi, India, is completed.

1655–Pope Innocent XIII is born Michelangelo dei Conti in Poli, Lazio, Papal State.

1730–Politician, Charles Watson-Wentworth, is born in Wentworth, Yorkshire, England. He was Prime Minister of Great Britain for two terms (1765-1782).

1768–Princess Louisa of Great Britain dies at Carlton House, London, England, at age 19. Her health was delicate throughout her life. She was the daughter of Frederick, Prince of Wales, a grandchild of George II, and the sister of George III.

1775–Writer, Henry Crabb Robinson, is born in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England. An Englishman of letters, his voluminous diaries provide valuable information on life in the early Romantic period. While a lawyer in London, he also served as a foreign correspondent for The Times of London and helped in the founding of the University of London.

1780–The Cumberland Compact is signed by leaders of the settlers in early Tennessee.

1787–A fleet of 11 ships depart Britain with two years provisions, a cargo of 759 convicts, their guards, and the ships’ crews. Captain, Arthur Phillip, and the 1,530 aboard are off to colonize the new land of Australia.

1792–Pope Pius IX is born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti in Senigallia, Marche, Papal States.

1830–The Republic of Ecuador is founded, with Juan Jose Flores as President.

1842–Composer, Arthur Sullivan, is born in London, England. He became half of the team of Gilbert and Sullivan. He was very successful at a young age, only 20 years old when his orchestral suite, The Tempest, was performed and enthusiastically received. He wrote the Irish Symphony, and the comic opera, Cox and Box. He was introduced to poet, W.S. Gilbert, in 1871. Four years later, they began working together for impresario, Richard D'Oyly Carte. Their works include Trial By Jury, HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado. Gilbert and Sullivan would break up their successful partnership over a petty quarrel.

1846–The United States declares war on Mexico, starting the Mexican-American War.

1848–Finland's national anthem is performed for the first time.

1861–Regarding the American Civil War, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom issues a "proclamation of neutrality," which recognizes the breakaway states as having belligerent rights.

1861–The Great Comet of 1861 is discovered by John Tebbutt of Windsor, New South Wales, Australia.

1861–Pakistan's first railway line opens from Karachi to Kotri.

1862–The USS Planter, a steamer and gunship, steals through Confederate lines and is passed to the Union by a southern slave, Robert Smalls. Later, he was officially appointed as captain, becoming the first black man to command a United States ship.

1865–In far south Texas, more than a month after Confederate General Robert E. Lee's surrender, the last land battle of the Civil War ends with a Confederate victory.

1880–In Menlo Park, New Jersey, Thomas Edison performs the first test of his electric railway.

1882–20th-century painter and developer of Cubism, Georges Braque is born in Argenteuil, Val-d'Oise, France. His first works were Impressionist and then Fauvist. A later serious study in the effects of light and perspective, led Braque to a more geometric style and a working friendship with Pablo Picasso. In his mature years, Braque softened the geometry in his work, developing a Cubist based style enriched by the brilliant color of Fauvism and rich textures of Impressionism.

1883–Doctor, Georgios Papanikolaou, inventor of the Pap smear, is born in Kymi, Euboea, Kingdom of Greece.

1884–Industrialist, Cyrus McCormick, dies from a stroke in Chicago, Illinois, at age 75. He was the founder of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, which became part of International Harvester Company in 1902.

1888–With the passage of the Lei Áurea ("Golden Law"), Brazil abolishes slavery.

1891–The 17th Kentucky Derby: Isaac Murphy, riding Kingman, wins in 2:52.

1903–Politician, Apolinario Mabini, dies of cholera in Manila, Philippine Islands, at age 38. He was the first Prime Minister of the Philippines.

1905–Politician, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, is born in Old Delhi, Delhi, Punjab Province, British India. He was the fifth President of India.

1907–Author, Daphne du Maurier, is born in London, England. Many of her works have been successfully adapted into films, including the novels Rebecca and Jamaica Inn.

1909–The first Giro d'Italia starts from Milan, Italy. Italian cyclist, Luigi Ganna, will be the winner.

1911–The 37th Kentucky Derby: George Archibald, riding Meridian, wins in 2:05.

1912–The Royal Flying Corps is established in England.

1912–Jazz orchestra leader, Gil Evans, is born Ian Ernest Gilmore Green in Toronto, Canada. He played an important role in the development of cool jazz, modal jazz, free jazz, and jazz fusion. He collaborated extensively with Miles Davis.

1914–Joe Louis, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion (1937-1949), is born Joseph Louis Barrow in LaFayette, Alabama. In all, Louis made 25 defenses of his Heavyweight Chapionship title from 1937 to 1948, and was a world champion for 11 years and 10 months. His most remarkable record is that he knocked out 23 opponents in 27 title fights, including five world champions.

1916–The 42nd Kentucky Derby: Johnny Loftus, riding George Smith, wins in 2:04.

1917–Three peasant children report seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary near Fátima, Portugal.

1918–The first U.S. airmail stamps are issued.

1922–The 48th Kentucky Derby: Albert Johnson, riding Morvich, wins in 2:04.

1922–Actress, Beatrice Arthur, is born Bernice Frankel in New York, New York. She starred in the TV shows Maude and The Golden Girls. She appeared in the films Lovers and Other Strangers, Mame, History of the World, Part I, and Because I Said So. She was married to film director, Gene Saks.

1923–The Pulitzer Prizes are awarded. Reporting: Alva Johnston, of The New York Times, for his reports of the proceedings of the convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held in Cambridge Massachusetts, in December, 1922; Fiction: One of Ours by Willa Cather (Knopf); Drama: Icebound by Owen Davis (Little); History: The Supreme Court in United States History by Charles Warren (Little); Biography or Autobiography: The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page by Burton J. Hendrick (Houghton); Poetry: The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver–A Few Figs from Thistles: Eight Sonnets in American Poetry 1922. A Miscellany by Edna St. Vincent Millay (Harper).

1927–Clive (Alexander) Barnes, critic for The New York Times and The New York Post, is born in Lambeth, London.

1927–Film director and producer, Herbert (David) Ross, is born in Brooklyn, New York. His films include Carmen Jones, The Young Ones, Summer Holiday, Funny Girl, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Funny Lady, The Last of Sheila, The Goodbye Girl, Pennies From Heaven, The Turning Point, Max Dugan Returns, Footloose, and Boys on the Side. He was married to socialite, Lee Radziwill.

1928–Enrique Bolaños, President of Nicaragua (2002-2007), is born Enrique José Bolaños Geyer in Masaya, Nicaragua.

1928–Champion rodeo cowboy, Jim Shoulders, is born James A. Shoulders in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was a professional rodeo cowboy and rancher. He is commemorated at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and at the time of his death, was the most successful contestant in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

1929–The first suicidal person jumps off of the Statue of Liberty.

1930–A farmer is killed by hail in Lubbock, Texas.

1931–Paul Doumer is elected President of France.

1931–Jim Jones, leader of Peoples Temple, is born James Warren Jones in Crete, Indiana. He was an American cult leader. He started the Peoples Temple on Indiana in the 1950s. He later moved the Temple to California in the mid-1960s, and gained notoriety with the move of the Temple's headquarters to San Francisco in the early 1970s. In November 1978, of 918 of its members in Jonestown, Guyana, were part of a mass murder-suicide commanded by Jones, after Temple members killed U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan and many others at the local airport. Jones died from a gunshot wound to the head. It is suspected his death was a suicide.

1934–The Great Dustbowl begins in the America’s “Heartland.”

1939–The first commercial FM radio station in America is launched in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

1939–Actor, Harvey Keitel, is born in Brooklyn, New York. He appeared in the films Reflections in a Golden Eye, Brewster McCloud, Mean Streets, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Taxi Driver, Falling in Love, Off Beat, Wise Guys, The Last Temptation of Christ, Thelma & Louise, Mortal Thoughts, Bugsy, Bad Lieutenant, Reservoir Dogs, Point of No Return, The Piano, Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, Smoke, Natonal Treasure, Inglourious Basterds, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

1940–In World War II, Germany's conquest of France begins, as the German army crosses the Meuse. Winston Churchill makes his "blood, toil, tears, and sweat" speech to the House of Commons.

1940–Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands flees her country for Great Britain after the German invasion. Princess Juliana takes her children to Canada for their safety.

1941–Actress, Senta Berger, is born in Vienna, Austria. She appeared in the films The Victors, The Spy with My Face, Major Dundee, Cast a Giant Shadow, The Poppy is Also a Flower, The Quiller Memorandum, If It's Tuesday This Must Be Belgium, and The Scarlet Letter.

1941–Singer, Ritchie Valens, is born Richard Steven Valenzuela in Pacoima, California. A rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens' recording career lasted only eight months, as it abruptly ended when he died in a plane crash while on tour with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper. His hits include Donna, La Bamba, and Come On, Let’s Go.

1943–Singer, Mary (Esther) Wells, is born in Detroit, Michigan. Her biggest hit was the classic R&B song My Guy. She also recorded Two Lovers and You Beat Me to the Punch.

1944–Writer, Armistead Maupin, is born in Washington, D.C. He was a young, conservative Republican until the early 1970s, when he went to work for The San Francisco Chronicle, and there admitted that he was gay. He wrote a popular column, “Tales of the City,” for the Chronicle, which later became a TV mini-series.

1947–The U.S. Senate approves the Taft-Hartley Act, limiting the power of unions.

1948–In the Arab-Israeli War, the Kfar Etzion massacre is committed by Arab irregulars, the day before the declaration of independence of the state of Israel on May 14th.

1949–Comedian-actor, Franklin Ajaye, is born in Brooklyn, New York. He appeared in the films The Jazz Singer and Car Wash.

1949–Pete “Overend” Watts, bassist for Mott the Hoople, is born in Birmingham, England.

1950–Diner's Club issues its first credit cards.

1950–The first round of the Formula One World Championship is held at Silverstone Circuit, next to the Northamptonshire villages of Silverstone and Whittlebury, England.

1950–Rock musician, Peter (Brian) Gabriel, is born in Chobham, Surrey, England. He rose to fame as the original lead singer and flautist of the progressive rock band Genesis. After leaving Genesis in 1975, he went on to a successful solo career. His 1986 album, So, is certified triple platinum in the U.K. and five times platinum in the U.S. The album's biggest hit, Sledgehammer, won a record nine MTV Awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards, and it remains the most played music video in the history of MTV.

1950–Soul singer, Stevie Wonder, is born Steveland Morris in Saginaw, Michigan. One of the most prolific singer-songwriter’s of his generation, his hits include I Just Called to Say I Love You, Superstition, You Are the Sunshine of My Life, and My Cherie Amour.

1951–The 400th anniversary of the founding of the National University of San Marcos is commemorated by the opening of the first large-capacity stadium in Peru.

1951–Paul Thompson, drummer for Roxy Music, is born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

1952–Pandit Nehru becomes Premier of India. Shortly thereafter, “Nehru jackets” became the latest fashion.

1952–The Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India, holds its first sitting.

1952–Politician, John (Richard) Kasich, is born in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. He was the 69th Governor of Ohio. Kasich served nine terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Ohio's 12th Congressional District from 1983 to 2001. Kasich unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for president in 2000 and in 2016.

1954–The U.S. performs an atmospheric nuclear test at Enwetak.

1954–Pajama Game opens at the St. James Theater in New York City, for 1,063 performances.

1955–Elvis Presley’s concert in Jacksonville, Florida, ends in a riot, as the audience literally tears the clothes off his back.

1958–Jordan and Iraq form the Arab Federation.

1958–Pierre Pflimlin becomes the Prime Minister of France.

1958–Vice President Richard Nixon's limousine is battered by rocks thrown by anti-American demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela.

1958–The trademark for velcro is registered.

1958–Ben Carlin becomes the first (and only) person to circumnavigate the world by amphibious vehicle, having traveled over 11,000 miles by sea and 39,000 miles by land during a 10-year journey.

1958–Six months after marrying his third wife, his 13-year-old second-cousin, Myra Gale Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis is finally granted a divorce from his second wife, Jane Mitcham.

1960–Hundreds of University of California students congregate for the first day of protest against a visit by the House Committee on Un-American Activities in Berkeley, California. Thirty-one students are arrested and the Free Speech Movement is born.

1960–The juvenile delinquent movie, Platinum High School, starring Conway Twitty, opens in New York.

1961–Basketball player, Dennis (Keith) Rodman, is born in Trenton, New Jersey. He played for the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was married to model, Carmen Electra.

1961–Actor, Gary Cooper, dies of cancer in Los Angeles, California, at age 60. He is known for his natural, authentic, and understated acting style and screen performances. He appeared in the films Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, The Plainsman, The Adventures of Marco Polo, Beau Geste, Meet John Doe, Sergeant York, Ball of Fire, The Pride of the Yankees, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Foutainhead, It’s a Big Country, High Noon, Friendly Persuasion, Love in the Afternoon, and Ten North Frederick.

1964–Comedian, Stephen (Tyrone) Colbert, is born in Washington, D.C. He is a writer, producer, actor, media critic, and television host. Colbert succeeded David Letterman as the host of The Late Show on CBS-TV, beginning his tenure on September 8, 2015.

1965–The Rolling Stones record Satisfaction.

1966–Singer, Darius (Carlos) Rucker, of Hootie & the Blowfish, is born in Naperville, Illinois.

1967–Dr. Zakir Hussain becomes the third President of India. He is the first Muslim President of the Indian Union.

1968–Talks between North Vietnamese and American negotiators aimed at ending the Vietnam War begin in Paris, France.

1969–Race riots, later known as the 13 May Incident, take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

1970–The Beatles documentary, Let It Be, premieres in New York. None of the former Beatles attend. The film will open in the U.K. on May 20th.

1971–Jefferson Airplane recording sessions are halted, after singer Grace Slick smashes her Mercedes into a concrete wall near San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

1971–Virginia O'Hanlon Douglas dies at age 81. When Virginia was eight years old, she wrote the famous letter to the editor of The New York Sun asking if Santa Claus really existed. The response to her was titled, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

1972–Faulty electrical wiring ignites a fire underneath the Playtown Cabaret in Osaka, Japan. Blocked exits and non-functional elevators lead to 118 fatalities, with many victims leaping to their deaths.

1972–John Lennon takes part in anti-Vietnam war protests in New York, leading a mass singalong of Give Peace a Chance. His wife, Yoko Ono, calls for North Vietnam to invade the United States.

1972–Actor, Dan Blocker, dies of a pulmonary embolism following gall bladder surgery in Los Angeles, California, at age 43. He is best known for the role of Hoss Cartwright on the Western TV series Bonanza.

1975–Western swing musician, Bob Wills, dies of pneumonia in a nursing home in forth Worth, Texas, at age 70. He had been in a coma since suffering a stroke in 1973. He was universally known as the “King of Western Swing.”

1977–Actress, Samantha (Jane) Morton, is born in Nottingham, England. She appeared in the films This is the Sea, Under the Skin, Sweet and Lowdown, Pandaemonium, Minority Report, Control, Mr. Lonely, The Messenger, and The Unloved.

1977–Mobster, Mickey Spillane, is killed in a “Mob hit” outside his apartment in Queens, New York, at age 43. He was called the "last of the gentleman gangsters."

1978–Joie Chitwood drives a Chevette 5.6 miles on just two wheels.

1981–Mehmet Ali Aca attempts to assassinate Pope John Paul II at St. Peter's Square in Rome, Italy. The Pope is rushed to the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic to undergo emergency surgery, and manages to survive.

1981–A tornado 450 yards wide destroys 90% of Emberson, Texas. People did not see a tornado, but rather a wall of debris. Homes are leveled, a man in a bathtub is hurled a quarter of a mile, and a 1,500 pound recreational vehicle is hurled 500 yards. Miraculously, no one is killed.

1981–Musician, Nathan Abshire, dies in Basile, Louisiana, at age 67. He was a Cajun accordion player who, along with Iry LeJeune, was responsible for the renaissance of the accordion in Cajun music in the 1940s. He had lived most of his life in Basile, as the overseer of the town dump.

1982–Braniff Airlines files for bankruptcy.

1984–The Fantasticks becomes the longest-running musical in theatre history, with performance number 10,000. The show opened on May 3, 1960.

1985–British Rail christens a new Pullman locomotive “John Lennon” in a ceremony at Liverpool’s Lime Street Station.

1985–Actress, Selma Diamond, dies of lung cancer in Los Angeles, California, at age 64. She is best known for the role of Selma Hacker on the TV series Night Court.

1986–Actor, Robert Pattinson, is born Robert Douglas Thomas Pattinson in London, England. He appeared in the films Vanity Fair, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Twilight, Little Ashes, Cosmopolis, The Rover, and Life.

1988–Jazz trumpeter, Chet Baker, falls to his death out of a second-story window of Hotel Prins Hendrik in Amsterdam,the Netherlands, at age 58. Heroin and cocaine were found in his hotel room, and an autopsy also found these drugs in his body. There was no evidence of a struggle, and the death was ruled an accident.

1989–Approximately 2,000 students begin a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square, China.

1991–Apple Computer releases Macintosh System 7.0.

1994–Johnny Carson makes his last television appearance on Late Show with David Letterman.

1995–Alison Hargreaves, a 33-year-old British mother, becomes the first woman to conquer Mount Everest without oxygen or the help of sherpas.

1996–A tornado kills 600 people in Bangladesh.

1998–Race riots break out in Jakarta, Indonesia, where shops owned by Indonesians of Chinese descent are looted.

1998–India conducts two nuclear tests at Pokhran.

2000–In Enschede, the Netherlands, a fireworks factory explodes, killing 22 people, wounding 950 others, and causing millions of dollars in damage.

2000–Actor, Paul Bartel, dies of liver cancer in New York, New York, at age 61. He is best known for his 1982 black comedy Eating Raoul. He appeared in the films Big Bad Mama, Death Race 2000, Grand Theft Auto, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Heartbeeps, Heart Like a Wheel, Into the Night, Lust in the Dust, Amazon Woman on the Moon, Baja California, Posse, The Usual Suspects, and Joe’s Apartment.

2001–Actor and playwright, Jason Miller, dies of a heart attack in Scranton, Pennsylvania, at age 62. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play, That Championship Season, in 1973. He appeared in the films The Exorcist, Monsignor, Toy Soldiers, Light of Day, and Rudy. His son is actor, Jason Patric.

2005–The Bính Bridge opens to traffic in Hai Phong, Vietnam.

2006–A major rebellion occurs in several prisons in Brazil.

2008–Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, Sheikh of Kuwait, dies of a heart attack at the Shaab Palace in Kuwait City, at age 78.

2011–Two bombs explode in the Charsadda District of Pakistan, killing 98 people and wounding 140 others.

2013–Psychologist, Dr. Joyce Brothers, dies of respiratory failure in Fort Lee, New Jersey, at age 85. She wrote a column for Good Housekeeping for almost 40 years, and became, according to The Washington Post, the "face of American psychology."

2014–An explosion at an underground coal mine in south-western Turkey kills 301 miners.

2015–The social website giant, Facebook, begins to host articles from nine media organizations on its “mobile app.” The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel, and Bild are Facebook’s initial partners in the program, dubbed “Instant Articles.”

2015–An industrial fire in Valenzuela, Philippines, kills 72 people.

2016–Vice President of Brazil, Michel Temer, assumes the presidential powers and duties as Acting President of Brazil.

2016–The U.S. Education and Justice Departments advise public school districts across the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity, rather than their gender at birth. The new guidance comes as North Carolina battles in Federal Court over the state's new so-called “bathroom bill.”

2016–Russian President, Vladimir Putin, threatens to "neutralize" a new ballistic missile defense system that the United States has activated in Europe.


PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Maria of Brabant, Queen of France; Jamestown, Virginia; Princess Louisa of Great Britain; Arthur Sullivan; Thomas Edison performs the first test of his electric railway; Daphne du Maurier; the Blessed Virgin Mary is sighted near Fátima, Portugal; Herbert Ross; the Great Dustbowl; Senta Berger; Franklin Ajaye; Stevie Wonder; and ad for The Pajama Game; Jerry Lee Lewis and his third wife, his 13-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown; Gary Cooper; a promo for The Beatles' last film, Let It Be; Dan Blocker; Playbill cover promoting The Fantasticks; Chet Baker; Paul Bartel; and Dr. Joyce Brothers.

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