- 305 - Diocletian and Maximian retire from the office of Roman Emperor.
- 1328 - Wars of Scottish Independence end: Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton - England recognises Scotland as an independent nation.
- 1699 - Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville founds the first European settlement in the Mississippi River Valley.
- 1707 - The Act of Union joins England, and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
- 1753 - Publication of Species Plantarum by Linnaeus, and the formal start date of plant taxonomy adopted by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.
- 1776 - Adam Weishaupt founds the Illuminati in Ingolstadt, Germany.
- 1786 - Premier night of the opera The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Vienna.
- 1790 - The United States completes its first census.
- 1834 - The British colonies abolish slavery.
- 1840 - The Penny Black postage stamp is put on sale in the United Kingdom.
- 1851 - The Great Exhibition opens in London.
- 1863 - American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville begins - Union forces under Major General Joseph Hooker begin to fight Confederate troops commanded by General Robert E. Lee (Union defeat).
- 1869 - The Folies Berg√®res open in Paris.
- 1873 - The 1873 Vienna World'Vienna" title ="Vienna">Vienna.
- 1882 - First Labour Day in the United States held in New York.
- 1883 - Buffalo Bill Cody put on his first Wild West Show.
- 1884 - Proclamation of the demand for eight-hour workday in the United States
- 1886 - The start of the general strike which eventually won the eight-hour workday in the United States. These events are today commemorated as May Day or Labour Day in most industrialized countries.
- 1893 - The World Columbian Exposition opens in Chicago, Illinois.
- 1894 - Coxey's Army, the first significant American protest march, arrives in Washington D.C..
- 1898 - Spanish-American War: The Battle of Manila Bay - The United States Navy destroys the Spanish Pacific fleet in the first battle of the war.
- 1901 - The Pan-American Exposition opens in Buffalo, New York.
- 1902 - Petrol Loco, the first prototype gasoline-powered "locomobile" (automobile), is completed.
- 1931 - The Empire State Building is dedicated in New York City.
- 1940 - The 1940 Summer Olympics are cancelled due to war.
- 1941 - Orson Welles's Citizen Kane premieres in New York City
- 1941 - World War II: German forces launch major attack on Tobruk.
- 1941 - Cheerios is introduced as CheeriOats by the General Mills cereal company.
- 1948 - The Democratic People'North_Korea" title ="North Korea">North Korea) is established, with Kim Il Sung as president.
- 1950 - Guam is organized as a United States commonwealth.
- 1954 - Taku is founded in Japan.
- 1956 - The polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk is made available to the public.
- 1960 - Cold War: U-2 Crisis - Francis Gary Powers, in a U-2 spyplane, is shot down over the Soviet Union, beginning a crisis.
- 1967 - Elvis Presley marries Priscilla Beaulieu.
- 1971 - Amtrak is formed.
- 1972 - Vietnam War: Easter Offensive - North Vietnamese troops capture Quang Tri City, effectively giving them control Quang Tri Province.
- 1978 - Japan'Dog" title ="Dog">dog, becomes the first person to reach the North Pole alone.
- 1982 - The 1982 World's Fair opens in Knoxville, Tennessee.
- 1983 - Edwin El Chapo Rosario wins boxing'WBC" title ="WBC">WBC world Lightweight title by beating Jose Luis Ramirez in San Juan, by points in 12 rounds, becoming Puerto Rico'Julio_Cesar_Chavez" title ="Julio Cesar Chavez">Julio Cesar Chavez also wins as part of the undercard.
- 1994 - Formula One driver Ayrton Senna is killed during the San Marino Grand Prix.
- 1995 - First issue of The Inner Swine published.
- 1997 - HM Prison Pentridge, Melbourne, Australia is offically closed.
- 2003 - War in Iraq: U.S. President George W. Bush announces the end of major combat operations in Iraq.
- 2004 - Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia join the European Union.
- 1218 - Rudolph I of Germany, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (d. 1291)
- 1672 - Joseph Addison, politician and writer (d. 1719)
- 1769 - Likeliest birthdate for Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, British general and Prime Minister (d. 1852)
- 1830 - Mother Jones, labor activist (d. 1930)
- 1852 - Calamity Jane, riflewoman, Wild West star (d. 1903)
- 1881 - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French palaeontologist and philosopher (d. 1955)
- 1887 - Alan Gordon Cunningham, British army officer (d. 1983)
- 1905 - Henry Koster, German film director (d. 1988)
- 1908 - Giovanni Guareschi, Italian journalist (d. 1968)
- 1909 - Kate Smith, American singer (d. 1986)
- 1913 - Walter Susskind, Czech conductor (d. 1980)
- 1915 - Archie Williams, American athlete
- 1916 - Glenn Ford, Amcerican actor
- 1918 - Jack Paar, American television host (d. 2004)
- 1923 - Joseph Heller, American novelist (d. 1999)
- 1924 - Art Fleming, game show host (d. 1995)
- 1929 - Ralf Dahrendorf, sociologist and politician
- 1939 - Judy Collins, American folk singer
- 1940 - Elsa Peretti, jewelry designer
- 1944 - Rita Coolidge, singer
- 1944 - Suresh Kalmadi, politician
- 1946 - John Woo, director, producer, writer, actor
- 1954 - Ray Parker Jr., singer/songwriter
- 1960 - Steve Cauthen, jockey
- 1964 - Yvonne van Gennip, Dutch speed skater
- 1967 - Tim McGraw, country musician
- 1968 - Oliver Bierhoff, German footballer
- 1968 - D'Arcy Wretzky, musician
- 1975 - Marc-Vivien Fo√©, Cameroonian footballer (d. 2003)
- 1308 - Albert I of Habsburg, duke of Austria, murdered by John Parricida (b. c. 1250)
- 1572 - Pope Pius V (b. 1504)
- 1873 - David Livingstone, Scottish missionary (b. 1813)
- 1904 - Anton√≠n Dvoř√°k, Czech composer (b. 1841)
- 1945 - Joseph Goebbels (b. 1897) and his wife Magda (b. 1901), (suicide) prominent figures in Nazi Germany.
- 1965 - Spike Jones, band leader, musician, comedian (b. 1911)
- 1978 - Aram Khachaturian, Armenian composer (b. 1903)
- 1982 - William Primrose, Scottish violist (b. 1903)
- 1989 - Douglass Watson, American actor (b. 1921)
- 1993 - Pierre B√©r√©govoy, French minister (suicide) (b. 1925)
- 1994 - Ayrton Senna, triple Formula One champion (b. 1960)
Holidays and observances
- Beltane, L√° Bealtaine, the first day of Summer in modern Ireland was celebrated by the Celts, and is now also celebrated by Neopagans and Wiccans.
- May Day, Labour Day, Loyalty Day, Day of the International Solidarity of Workers - see event section above.
- Lei Day - Hawaiian holiday for the Lei.
- Roman Empire - all-female festival in honour of Bona Dea
- Roman Empire - fourth and last day of the Floralia in honour of Flora
- Switzerland - official feast of Spring
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