May 1st in History

This day in historyMay 1 is the 121st day of the year (122nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 244 days remaining until the end of the year.

Holidays: Something about the 1st Day of May

  • Lei Day (Hawaii)
  • May Day (beginning of Summer) observances in the Northern hemisphere (see April 30):
    • Beltane (Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Celtic neopagans and Wiccans in the Northern hemisphere)
    • Earliest day on which Beltane can fall, while May 7 is the latest; celebrated on the first Monday in May. (Ireland, Scotland)
    • Walpurgis Night, celebrated before dawn (Central and Northern Europe)
  • Executive Coaching Day
  • Keep Kids Alive – Drive 25 Day
  • Law Day USA
  • Loyalty Day
  • Mother Goose Day
  • National Dance Day
  • National Infertility Survival Day
  • New Homeowner’s Day
  • School Principal’s Day
  • Stepmothers Day
  • Festival of Saint Efisio (Italy)
  • International Labor Day (Russia 05/01-02)
  • Yom Hashoah (Israel – Holocaust Day)


In 475 BC,  Roman consul Publius Valerius Poplicola celebrates a Roman triumph for his victory over Veii and the Sabines.

In 305,  Diocletian and Maximian retire from the office of Roman Emperor.

In 524,  King Sigismund of Burgundy is executed at Orléans after an 8-year reign and is succeeded by his brother Godomar.

In 880,  The Nea Ekklesia is inaugurated in Constantinople, setting the model for all later cross-in-square Orthodox churches.

Matylda zena.jpgIn 1118, Matilda of Scotland (c. 1080 – 1 May 1118), originally christened Edith, dies. She was Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry I. Matilda and Henry married in late 1100. They had two children who reached adulthood and two more who died young. Matilda led a literary and musical court, but was also pious. She embarked on building projects for the church, and took a role in government when her husband was away; many surviving charters are signed by her. Matilda lived to see her daughter Matilda become Holy Roman Empress but died two years before the drowning of her son William. Henry remarried, but had no further legitimate children, which caused a succession crisis known as The Anarchy. Matilda is buried in Westminster Abbey and was fondly remembered by her subjects as “Matilda the Good Queen” and “Matilda of Blessed Memory”. There was an attempt to have her canonized, which was not pursued.

In 1169,  Norman mercenaries land at Bannow Bay in Leinster, marking the beginning of the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In 1328,  Wars of Scottish Independence end: By the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton the Kingdom of England recognises the Kingdom of Scotland as an independent state.

In 1455,  Battle of Arkinholm, Royal forces end the Black Douglas hegemony in Scotland.

In 1576,  Stephen Báthory, the reigning Prince of Transylvania, marries Anna Jagiellon and they become co-rulers of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

In 1704, The Boston Newsletter published the first newspaper ad. On April 24th, the same year, John Campbell, the postmaster of Boston, published the first issue of the Boston News-Letter. A small single sheet, printed on both sides, the News-Letter made history as the first continuously published newspaper in America.

In 1707,  The Act of Union joins the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

In 1753,  Publication of Species Plantarum by Linnaeus, and the formal start date of plant taxonomy adopted by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

In 1759,  Josiah Wedgwood founds the Wedgwood pottery company in Great Britain.

In 1776,  Establishment of the Illuminati in Ingolstadt (Upper Bavaria), by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt.

In 1778,  American Revolution: The Battle of Crooked Billet begins in Hatboro, Pennsylvania.

In 1785,  Kamehameha I, the king of Hawaiʻi, defeats Kalanikūpule and establishes the Kingdom of Hawaii.

In 1786,  In Vienna, Austria, Mozart‘s opera The Marriage of Figaro is performed for the first time.

In 1794,  War of the Pyrenees: The Battle of Boulou ends, in which French forces defeat the Spanish and regain nearly all the land they lost to Spain in 1793.

In 1794, The first trade union in America is formed — the Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers formed in Philadelphia — (shoemakers).

In 1815, The United States Congress issued Georgetown University the first federal university charter in 1815, which allowed it to confer degrees, and the first Bachelor degrees were awarded two years later.

In 1820,  Execution of the Cato Street Conspirators

In 1840,  The Penny Black, the first official adhesive postage stamp, is issued in the United Kingdom.

In 1844,  Hong Kong Police Force, the world’s second modern police force and Asia’s first, is established.

In 1844, the Whig convention nominated Henry Clay as presidential candidate.

In 1846,  The few remaining Mormons left in Nauvoo, Illinois, formally dedicate the Nauvoo Temple.

In 1846, Abraham Lincoln is nominated to be the Whig candidate for U.S. Congress.

In 1851,  Queen Victoria opens the Great Exhibition in London.

In 1852,  The Philippine peso is introduced into circulation.

In 1855, Feminist Lucy Stone marries Henry Blackwell, reciting updated vows that exclude the word “obey.” One year after the ground-breaking ceremony, Stone reinstates her maiden name.

In 1856,  The Province of Isabela was created in the Philippines in honor of the Queen Isabela II of Spain.

In 1862,  American Civil War: The Union Army completes its capture of New Orleans.

In 1863,  American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville begins. (through May 4), A Union defeat at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia. Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson is mortally wounded. Hooker retreats. Union losses are 17,000 killed, wounded and missing. The Confederates, 13,000.

In 1863, Confederate “National Flag” replaces “Stars & Bars”

In 1865,  The Empire of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay sign the Treaty of the Triple Alliance.

In 1866,  The Memphis Race Riots begin. In three days time, 46 blacks and two whites were killed. Reports of the atrocities influenced passage of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In 1866, the American Equal Rights Association is formed with Lucretia Mott as president.

In 1867, Reconstruction of South begins, black voter registration.

In 1869,  The Folies Bergère opens in Paris.

David Livingstone -1.jpgIn 1873,  David Livingstone, Scottish-English missionary and explorer (b. 1813) dies at the age of 60 in Chief Chitambo’s village at Ilala, southeast of Lake Bangweulu, in present-day Zambia, from malaria and internal bleeding due to dysentery. His loyal attendants Chuma and Susi removed his heart and buried it under a tree near the spot where he died, which has been identified variously as a Mvula tree or a Baobab tree. That site, now known as the Livingstone Memorial, lists his date of death as 4 May, the date reported (and carved into the tree’s trunk) by Chuma and Susi; but most sources consider 1 May—the date of Livingstone’s final journal entry—as the correct one. He was a British Congregationalist, pioneer medical missionary with the London Missionary Society, an explorer in Africa, and one of the most popular national heroes of the late-19th-century in the Victorian era. He had a mythical status that operated on a number of interconnected levels: Protestant missionary martyr, working-class “rags-to-riches” inspirational story, scientific investigator and explorer, imperial reformer, anti-slavery crusader, and advocate of commercial and colonial expansion.

His fame as an explorer and his obsession with discovering the sources of the Nile River was founded on the belief that if he could solve that age-old mystery, his fame would give him the influence to end the East African Arab-Swahili slave trade. “The Nile sources,” he told a friend, “are valuable only as a means of opening my mouth with power among men. It is this power which I hope to remedy an immense evil.” His subsequent exploration of the central African watershed was the culmination of the classic period of European geographical discovery and colonial penetration of Africa. At the same time, his missionary travels, “disappearance”, and eventual death in Africa‍—‌and subsequent glorification as a posthumous national hero in 1874‍—‌led to the founding of several major central African Christian missionary initiatives carried forward in the era of the European “Scramble for Africa“.

His meeting with Henry Morton Stanley on 10 November 1871 gave rise to the popular quotation “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

The rest of his remains were carried, together with his journal, over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) by Chuma and Susi to the coastal town of Bagamoyo, where they were returned by ship to Britain for burial. In London, his body lay in repose at No.1 Savile Row, then the headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society, prior to interment at Westminster Abbey.

In 1875,  Alexandra Palace reopens after being burned down in a fire in 1873.

In 1884,  Proclamation of the demand for eight-hour workday in the United States.

In 1884,  Moses Fleetwood Walker becomes the first black person to play in a professional baseball game in the United States.

In 1885,  The original Chicago Board of Trade Building opens for business.

In 1886,  Rallies are held throughout the United States demanding the eight-hour work day, culminating in the Haymarket affair in Chicago, in commemoration of which May 1 is celebrated as International Workers’ Day in many countries.

In 1893,  The World’s Columbian Exposition opens in Chicago.

In 1894,  Coxey’s Army, the first significant American protest march, arrives in Washington, D.C.

In 1898,  Spanish–American War: Battle of Manila Bay: Commodore George Dewey gave the famous command, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley,”. The United States Navy destroys the Spanish Pacific fleet in the first battle of the war.

In 1900,  The Scofield Mine disaster kills over 200 men in Scofield, Utah in what is to date the fifth-worst mining accident in United States history.

In 1901,  The Pan-American Exposition opens in Buffalo, New York.

In 1913,  John Barclay Armstrong, American lieutenant (b. 1850) dies at his home in Armstrong, Texas, on May 1, 1913. He was a Texas Ranger lieutenant and a United States Marshal, usually remembered for his role in the pursuit and capture of the famous gunfighter John Wesley Hardin.

Armstrong was born in McMinnville, Tennessee, son of Dr. John B. Armstrong and Maria Susannah Ready on January 1, 1850. Among notable relatives were his maternal grandfather Charles Ready, a U.S. Representative from Tennessee and his cousin Confederate States Army Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan. After living in Arkansas and Missouri for a short time, Armstrong moved to Austin, Texas in 1871. After a short experience as a lawman, in 1875 he joined the Special Force under Captain Leander H. McNelly, a newly created quasi-military branch of the Texas Rangers that was to operate in southern Texas. His role as McNelly’s second in command and right hand earned him the promotion to sergeant and the nickname “McNelly’s Bulldog”.

With the death of McNelly and the absorption of the Special Force within the Texas Rangers’ Frontier Battalion in 1876, Armstrong was promoted to Lieutenant. He was involved in several notable cases, like the capture of Hardin and the pursuit and killing of noted bank robber Sam Bass.

Armstrong resigned his position at the Rangers in 1881, and was shortly after appointed U.S. Marshal. He established in Willacy County, Texas, where he founded a considerably large ranch.

In 1915,  The RMS Lusitania departs from New York City on her two hundred and second, and final, crossing of the North Atlantic. Six days later, the ship is torpedoed off the coast of Ireland with the loss of 1,198 lives. On the same day the German Embassy took out advertisements warning anyone traveling on ships carrying a British flag that they did so at their own risk.

In 1925,  The All-China Federation of Trade Unions is officially founded. Today it is the largest trade union in the world, with 134 million members.

In 1925,  The first Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer is held at the University of Toronto, Canada.

In 1927,  The first cooked meals on a scheduled flight are introduced on an Imperial Airways flight from London to Paris.

In 1927,  The Union Labor Life Insurance Company is founded by the American Federation of Labor.

In 1930,  The dwarf planet Pluto is officially named.

In 1931,  The Empire State Building is dedicated in New York City. The 102 story skyscraper holds the record as the world’s tallest at 1,454 feet high until 1973.

In 1933,  The Roca–Runciman Treaty between Argentina and Great Britain is signed by Julio Argentino Roca, Jr., and Sir Walter Runciman.

In 1933,  The Humanist Manifesto I published.

In 1935, Boulder Dam was finished after 4 years and 354 days.

In 1940,  The 1940 Summer Olympics are cancelled due to war.

In 1941,  World War II: German forces launch a major attack on Tobruk.

In 1941, the cereal Cheerios was introduced by General Mills.

In 1942,  The Donald Duck film, “Donald Gets Drafted” is released.

In 1944,  World War II: Two hundred Communist prisoners are shot by the Germans at Kaisariani in Athens, Greece in reprisal for the killing of General Franz Krech by partisans at Molaoi.

In 1945,  World War II: A German newsreader officially announces that Adolf Hitler has “fallen at his command post in the Reich Chancellery fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany”. The Soviet flag is raised over the Reich Chancellery, by order of Stalin.

In 1945,  World War II: Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda commit suicide in the Reich Garden outside the Führerbunker. Their children are also killed by having cyanide pills inserted into their mouths by their mother, Magda.

In 1945,  World War II: Up to 2,500 people die in a mass suicide in Demmin following the advance of the Red Army.

In 1945,  World War II: Yugoslav Partisans free Trieste.

In 1946,  Start of three-year Pilbara strike of Indigenous Australians.

In 1946,  The Paris Peace Conference concludes that the islands of the Dodecanese should be returned to Greece by Italy.

In 1947,  Portella della Ginestra massacre against May Day celebrations in Sicily by the bandit and separatist leader Salvatore Giuliano where 11 persons are killed and 33 wounded.

In 1948,  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is established, with Kim Il-sung as leader.

In 1948, Glen H. Taylor, Idaho Senator, was arrested in Birmingham Alabama for trying to enter a meeting through a door marked “for Negroes”.

In 1950,  Guam is organized as a United States commonwealth.

In 1956,  The polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk is made available to the public.

In 1956,  A doctor in Japan reports an “epidemic of an unknown disease of the central nervous system”, marking the official discovery of Minamata disease.

In 1957,  Thirty-four people are killed when a Vickers Viking airliner crashes in Hampshire England.

In 1960,  Formation of the western Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Also known as “Maharashtra Day“.

In 1960,  Cold War: U-2 incident: Francis Gary Powers, in a Lockheed U-2 spyplane, is shot down over the Soviet Union, sparking a diplomatic crisis.

In 1961,  The Prime Minister of Cuba, Fidel Castro, proclaims Cuba a socialist nation and abolishes elections.

In 1964, The first BASIC program run on a computer (Dartmouth).

In 1965,  Battle of Dong-Yin, a naval conflict between ROC and PRC, takes place.

In 1970,  Protests erupt in Seattle, following the announcement by U.S. President Richard Nixon that U.S. Forces in Vietnam would pursue enemy troops into Cambodia, a neutral country.

In 1971,  Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation) takes over operation of U.S. passenger rail service. Amtrak, which combined and streamlined the operations of 18 inter-city passenger railroads, went into service. This new quasi governmental corporation took over operation of most of the long distance passenger train service in the U.S.

In 1974,  The Argentine terrorist organization Montoneros is expelled from Plaza de Mayo by president Juan Perón.

In 1977,  Thirty-six people are killed in Taksim Square, Istanbul, during the Labour Day celebrations.

In 1978,  Japan’s Naomi Uemura, travelling by dog sled, becomes the first person to reach the North Pole alone.

In 1981, Radio Shack releases Model III TRSDOS 1.3.

In 1982,  The 1982 World’s Fair opens in Knoxville, Tennessee.

In 1982,  Operation Black Buck: The Royal Air Force attacks the Argentine Air Force during Falklands War.

In 1983,  Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis is awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.

In 1983, President Reagan paid his first visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, placing a bouquet of yellow and pink flowers in front of the monument’s dark granite walls.

In 1987,  Pope John Paul II beatifies Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun who was gassed in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

In 1989,  Disney-MGM Studios opens at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, United States.

In 1990,  The former Philippine Episcopal Church (supervised by the Episcopal Church of the United States of America) is granted full autonomy and raised to the status of an Autocephalous Anglican Province and renamed the Episcopal Church of the Philippines.

In 1991,  Rickey Henderson of the Oakland Athletics steals his 939th base, making him the all-time leader in this category. However, his accomplishment is overshadowed later that evening by Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers, when he pitches his seventh career no-hitter, breaking his own record.

In 1993,  Dingiri Banda Wijetunga became president of Sri Lanka automatically after killing of R Premadasa in LTTE bomb explosion

In 1994,  Three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna is killed in an accident during the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

In 1995,  Croatian forces launch Operation Flash during the Croatian War of Independence.

In 1995, President Clinton defended his choice for surgeon general, Henry Foster, as a “pro-life, pro-choice doctor.”

In 1999, The body of British climber George Mallory is found on Mount Everest, 75 years after his disappearance in 1924.

In 1999,  SpongeBob SquarePants premieres on Nickelodeon.

In 2001,  Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declares the existence of “a state of rebellion”, hours after thousands of supporters of her arrested predecessor, Joseph Estrada, storm towards the presidential palace at the height of the EDSA III rebellion.

In 2002, released version 1.0, the first stable version of the software.

In 2003,  Invasion of Iraq: In what becomes known as the “Mission Accomplished” speech, on board the USS Abraham Lincoln (off the coast of California), U.S. President George W. Bush declares that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended”.

In 2004,  Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia join the European Union, celebrated at the residence of the Irish President in Dublin.

In 2006,  The Puerto Rican government closes the Department of Education and 42 other government agencies due to significant shortages in cash flow.

In 2007,  The Los Angeles May Day mêlée occurs, in which the Los Angeles Police Department‘s response to a May Day pro-immigration rally become a matter of controversy.

In 2008,  The London Agreement on translation of European patents, concluded in 2000, enters into force in 14 of the 34 Contracting States to the European Patent Convention.

In 2009,  Same-sex marriage is legalized in Sweden.

In 2011,  Pope John Paul II is beatified by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

In 2011,  Barack Obama announces that Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks has been killed by United States special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Due to the time difference between the United States and Pakistan, bin Laden was actually killed on May 2.

In 2013, A proposed law introduced in the California State legislature would allow public  school children to use bathrooms designated for members of the opposite sex, if that students’ “gender identity” differed from the students biological sex. Assembly Bill 1266, introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who represents a section of the city of San Francisco would:

“…require that a pupil be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s record.”

While the bill does not specifically mention restrooms, restrooms and locker rooms are generally considered to be part of the “facilities” in schools throughout the country.

In 2016,  A wildfire starts in Fort McMurray, Alberta, causing a mandatory evacuation and a provincial state of emergency.

In 2019,  Naxalite attack in Gadchiroli district: Sixteen army soldiers, including a driver, killed in an IED blast. Naxals targeted an anti-Naxal operations team.

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