1469 Niccolò Machiavelli, Italian historian and political author was born (d. 1527).
1491 Kongo monarch Nkuwu Nzinga was baptised by Portuguese missionaries, adopting the baptismal name of João I.
1715 Edmund Halley’s total solar eclipse.
1768 Charles Tennant, Scottish chemist and industrialist, was born (d. 1838).
1791 The Constitution of May 3 (the first modern constitutionin Europe) was proclaimed by the Sejm of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
1802 Washington, D.C. was incorporated as a city.
1808 Finnish War: Sweden lost the fortress of Sveaborg to Russia.
1808 Peninsular War: The Madrid rebels were fired upon near Príncipe Pío hill.
1820 Missionary John Butler turned the first furrow at Kerikeri, becoming the first to use a European plough in New Zealand.
1830 The Canterbury and Whitstable Railway was opened – the first steam hauled passenger railway to issue season tickets and include a tunnel.
1837 The University of Athens was founded.
1844 Richard D’Oyly Carte, English theatrical impresario was born (d. 1901).
1849 The May Uprising in Dresden began – the last of the German revolutions of 1848.
1860 Charles XV of Sweden-Norway was crowned king of Sweden.
1877 Labatt Park, the oldest continually operating baseball grounds in the world had its first game.
1887 Margaret Cruickshank became the first woman to be registered as a doctor in New Zealand.
1898 Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel, was born (d. 1978).
1901 The Great Fire of 1901 began in Jacksonville, Florida.
1903 Bing Crosby, American singer and actor, was born (d. 1977).
1913 Raja Harishchandra the first full-length Indian feature film was released.
1919 Pete Seeger, American singer, was born (d.2014).
1920 A Bolshevik coup failsedin the Democratic Republic of Georgia.
1921 Sugar Ray Robinson, American boxer was born (d. 1989).
1921 Joe Ames, American singer, was born (d. 2007).
1928 Japanese atrocities in Jinan, China.
1929 – Charles Ewing Mackay, the disgraced former mayor of Whanganui, was shot dead by Berlin police during May Day riots in the German capital.
1933 Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first woman to head the United States Mint.
1933 James Brown, American singer and dancer, was born (d. 2006).
1934 Frankie Valli, American singer (The Four Seasons), was born.
1946 International Military Tribunal for the Far East began in Tokyo with twenty-eight Japanese military and government officials accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
1947 New post-war Japanese constitution went into effect.
1948 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities were legally unenforceable.
1951 – The Kentucky Derby was televised for the first time.
1951 Christopher Cross, American musician, was born.
1960 The Off-Broadway musical comedy, The Fantasticks, opened in Greenwich Village, eventually becoming the longest-running musical of all time.
1960 – The Anne Frank House opened in Amsterdam.
1963 The police force in Birmingham, Alabama switches tactics and responded with violent force to stop the “Birmingham campaign” protesters.
1973 The Sears Tower in Chicago was topped out as the world’s tallest building.
1978 The first unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail (later known as “spam“) was sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative to every ARPANET address on the west coast of the United States.
1986 Twenty-one people were killed and forty-one are injured after a bomb exploded in an airliner (Flight UL512) at Colombo airport in Sri Lanka.
1991 The Declaration of Windhoek was signed.
1999 Oklahoma City was slammed by an F5 tornado killing forty-two people, injuring 665, and causing $1 billion in damage. One of 66 from the 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak, this was the strongest tornado ever recorded with wind speeds of up to 318 mph.
2000 The sport of geocaching began, with the first cache placed and the coordinates from a GPS posted on Usenet.
2002 A military MiG-21 aircraft crashed into the Bank of Rajasthan in India, killing eight.
2003 – New Hampshire’s famous Old Man of the Mountain collapsed.
2006 Armavia Flight 967 crashed into the Black Sea, killing 113 people on board, with no survivors.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia