On May 15:
1252 Pope Innocent IV issued the papal bull ad exstirpanda, which authorised but also limited, the torture of heretics in the Medieval Inquisition.
1525 The battle of Frankenhausen ended the Peasants’ War.
1536 Anne Boleyn stood trial on charges of treason, adultery and incest; she was condemned to death by a specially-selected jury.
1602 Bartholomew Gosnold became the first European to see Cape Cod.
1648 The Treaty of Westphalia was signed.
1701 The War of the Spanish Succession began.
1755 Laredo, Texas was established by the Spaniards.
1756 The Seven Years’ War began when Great Britain declares war on France.
1776 American Revolution: the Virginia Convention instructed its Continental Congress delegation to propose a resolution of independence from Great Britain.
1792 War of the First Coalition: France declaresdwar on Kingdom of Sardinia.
1793 Diego Marín Aguilera flew a glider for “about 360 meters”, at a height of 5-6 meters, during one of the first attempted flights.
1800 George III survived two assassination attempts in one day.
1811 Paraguay declaresdindependence from Spain.
1817 Opening of the first private mental health hospital in the United States, the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason (now Friends Hospital) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1849 Troops of the Two Sicilies took Palermo and crushed the republican government of Sicily.
1851 Rama IV was crowned King of Thailand.
1858 Opening of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
1859 Pierre Curie, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate, was born (d. 1906).
1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law creating the United States Bureau of Agriculture.
1864 American Civil War: Battle of Resaca, Georgia ended.
1891 Rerum Novarum, the first document of the Catholic Social Teaching tradition, was published by Pope Leo XIII.
1897 The Greek army retreated with heavy losses in the Greco-Turkish War.
1905 The Russian minelayer Amur laid a minefield about 15 miles off Port Arthur and sank Japan’s battleship Hatsuse, 15,000 tons, with 496 crew.
1910 The last time a major earthquake happened on the Elsinore Fault Zone.
1919 Greek invasion of Izmir. During the invasion, the Greek army kills or wounds 350 Turks.
1920 Wanganui mayor Charles Mackay shot poet and returned soldier Walter D’Arcy Cresswell who alleged that Mackay had made homosexual overtures to him.
1920 Council of Lithuania adjourned as the newly elected Constituent Assembly of Lithuania met for the first time in Kaunas.
1929 A fire at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio killed 123.
1935 The Moscow Metro was opened to public.
1936 Amy Johnson arrived back in England after a record-breaking return flight to Cape Town.
1937 Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, was born.
1940 World War II: After fierce fighting, the poorly trained and equipped Dutch troops surrendered to Germany, marking the beginning of five years of occupation.
1940 – McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California.
1942 World War II: in the United States, a bill creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was signed into law.
1945 World War II: The final skirmish in Europe was fought near Prevalje, Slovenia.
1948 Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia invaded the territory partitioned for the Arab state by the British Mandate of Palestine starting the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
1948 Brian Eno, British musician and record producer, was born.
1951 The Polish cultural attache in Paris, Czesław Miłosz, asked the French government for political asylum.
1953 Mike Oldfield, British composer, was born.
1955 The Austrian Independence Treaty was signed.
1955 – The first ascent of Makalu, the world’s fifth highest mountain.
1957 At Malden Island Britain tested its first hydrogen bomb in Operation Grapple. The device failed to detonate properly.
1958 The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 3.
1960 The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 4.
1962 – Lisa Curry-Kenny, Australian Ironwoman, was born.
1969 People’s Park: California Governor Ronald Reagan had an impromptu student park owned by University of California at Berkeley fenced off from student anti-war protestors, sparking a riot called Bloody Thursday.
1970 Philip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green were killed at Jackson State Universit by police during student protests.
1972 The island of Okinawa, under U.S. military governance since its conquest in 1945, reverts to Japanese control.
1974 Ma’alot massacre: In an Arabterrorist attack and hostage taking at an Israeli school, 31 people were killed, including 22 schoolchildren.
1987 The Soviet Union launched the Polyus prototype orbital weapons platform. It fails to reach orbit.
1988 Soviet war in Afghanistan: After more than eight years of fighting, the Red Army began its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
1990 Portrait of Doctor Gachet by Vincent van Gogh was sold for a record $82.5 million, the most expensive painting at the time.
1991 Edith Cresson became France’s first female prime minister.
2008 California became the second U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage after the state’s own Supreme Court ruled a previous ban unconstitutional.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia