On May 17:
152 Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, was executed for treason.
1536 George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford and four other men were executed for treason.
1590 Anne of Denmark was crowned Queen of Scotland.
1642 Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve (1612–1676) founded the Ville Marie de Montréal.
1673 Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette began exploring the Mississippi River.
1749 Edward Jenner, English medical researcher was born (d. 1823).
1775 American Revolutionary War: the Continental Congress banned trade with Canada.
1792 The New York Stock Exchange was formed.
1805 Muhammad Ali became Wāli of Egypt.
1809 Napoleon I of France ordered the annexation of the Papal States to the French Empire.
1814 Occupation of Monaco changed from French to Austrian.
1814 The Constitution of Norway was signed and the Danish Crown Prince Christian Frederik was elected King of Norway by the Norwegian Constituent Assembly.
1849 A fire threatened to burn St. Louis, Missouri to the ground.
1860 German football club TSV 1860 München was founded.
1863 Rosalía de Castro published Cantares Gallegos, her first book in the Galician language.
1865 – The International Telegraph Union (later International Telecommunication Union) was established.
1868 Horace Elgin Dodge, American automobile manufacturer, was born (d. 1920).
1873 El Paso, Texas was established by charter from the Texas Legislature.
1875 Aristides won the first Kentucky Derby.
1877 The Victorian Football League was founded.
189– The first Omonoia station of the Athens metro was inaugurated in Greece.
1900 Second Boer War: British troops relieved Mafeking.
1902 Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovered the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer.
1911 Maureen O’Sullivan, Irish actress, was born (d. 1998).
1914 The Protocol of Corfu was signed recognising full autonomy to Northern Epirus under nominal Albanian sovereignty.
1915 The last British Liberal Party government (Herbert Henry Asquith) fell.
1919 War Department (UK) ordered the use of National Star Insignia on all airplanes.
1927 U.S. Army aviation pioneer, Major Harold Geiger, died in the crash of his Airco DH.4 de Havilland plane.
1933 Vidkun Quisling and Johan Bernhard Hjort formed Nasjonal Samling — the national-socialist party of Norway.
1935 Dennis Potter, English writer, was born (d. 1994).
1936 Dennis Hopper, American actor and director, was born.
1939 The Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers played in the first-ever televised sporting event, a collegiate baseball game.
1939 Gary Paulsen, American author, was born.
1940 World War II: Germany occupied Brussels.
1940 World War II: the old city centre of the Dutch town of Middelburg was bombed by the German Luftwaffe, to force the surrender of the Dutch armies in Zeeland.
1943 The United States Army contracted with the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School to develop the ENIAC.
1943 – World War II: the Dambuster Raids by No. 617 Squadron RAF on German dams.
1949 Bill Bruford, English musician (Yes), was born.
1954 The United States Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education which declared that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students and denying black children equal educational opportunities unconstitutional.
1956 Sugar Ray Leonard, American boxer, was born.
1961 Enya, Irish singer and songwriter, was born.
1962 George Wilder escaped from New Plymouth prison.
1963 Bruno Sammartino defeated Nature Boy Buddy Rogers in 48 seconds in Madison Square Garden for the WWWF Heavyweight Championship. It begins the longest heavyweight championship reign in professional wrestling history.
1967 Six-Day War: President Abdul Nasser of Egypt demanded dismantling of the peace-keeping UN Emergency Force in Egypt.
1969 Venera program: Soviet Venera 6 began its descent into the atmosphere of Venus, sending back atmospheric data before being crushed by pressure.
1970 – Thor Heyerdahl sets sail from Morocco on the papyrus boat Ra II to sail the Atlantic Ocean.
1971 Princess Máxima of the Netherlands was born.
1973 – Watergate scandal: Hearings begin in the United States Senate and are televised.
1974 Andrea Corr, Irish singer (The Corrs), was born.
1974 Police in Los Angeles raided the Symbionese Liberation Army‘s headquarters, killing six members, including Camilla Hall.
1974 Thirty-three people were killed by terrorist bombings in Dublin and Monaghan.
1980 General Chun Doo-hwan of South Korea declared martial law in order to suppress student demonstrations.
1980 – On the eve of presidential elections, Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path attacked a polling location in the town of Chuschi, Ayacucho, starting the Internal conflict in Peru.
1983 U.S. Department of Energy declassified documents showing world’s largest mercury pollution event in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (ultimately found to be 4.2 million pounds), in response to Appalachian Observer’s Freedom of Information Act request.
1983 Lebanon, Israel, and the United States signed an agreement on Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.
1984 Prince Charles calls a proposed addition to the National Gallery, London, a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend,” sparking controversies on the proper role of the Royal Family and the course of modern architecture.
1987 An Iraqi fighter jet fired two missiles into the U.S. warship USS Stark (FFG-31), killing 37 and injuring 21 of her crew.
1992 Three days of popular protests against the government of Prime Minister of Thailand Suchinda Kraprayoon began in Bangkok, leading to a military crackdown that resulted in 52 officially confirmed deaths, many disappearances, hundreds of injuries, and more than 3,500 arrests.
1994 Malawi held its first multiparty elections.
1995 After 18 years as the mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac took office as President of France.
1997 – Troops of Laurent Kabila march into Kinshasa. Zaire is officially renamed Democratic Republic Of Congo.
2004 Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.
2006 The aircraft carrier USS Oriskany was sunk in the Gulf of Mexico to be an artificial reef.
2007 Trains from North and South Korea crossed the 38th Parallel in a test-run agreed by both governments. This was the first time that trains crossed the Demilitarized Zone since 1953.
2009 Dalia Grybauskaitė was elected the first female President of Lithuania.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.