On May 2:
1335 Otto the Merry, Duke of Austria, became Duke of Carinthia.
1536 Anne Boleyn was arrested and imprisoned on charges of adultery, incest, treason and witchcraft.
1559 John Knox returned from exile to Scotland to become the leader of the beginning Scottish Reformation.
1670 King Charles II granted a permanent charter to the Hudson’s Bay Company to open up the fur trade in North America.
1729 Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, was born (d. 1796).
1737 William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was born (d. 1805).
1806 Catherine Labouré, French visionary and saint was born (d. 1876).
1808 Outbreak of the Peninsular War: The people of Madrid rose up in rebellion against French occupation. Francisco de Goya later memorializes this event in his painting The Second of May 1808.
1808 Emma Wedgwood, English naturalist, wife of Charles Darwin, was born (d. 1896).
1866 Peruvian defenders fought off Spanish fleet at the Battle of Callao.
1885 Good Housekeeping magazine went on sale for the first time.
1885 Cree and Assiniboine warriors won the Battle of Cut Knife, their largest victory over Canadian forces during the North-West Rebellion.
1885 – The Congo Free State was established by King Léopold II of Belgium.
1889 Menelik II, Emperor of Ethiopia, signs a treaty of amity with Italy, which gave Italy control over Eritrea.
1892 Manfred von Richthofen, German World War I pilot – the Red Baron – was born (d. 1918).
1895 Lorenz Hart, American lyricist ws born (d. 1943).
1903 Benjamin Spock, American pediatrician and author was born (d. 1998).
1918 General Motors acquired the Chevrolet Motor Company of Delaware.
1932 Comedian Jack Benny‘s radio show aired for the first time.
1935 King Faisal II of Iraq was born (d. 1958).
1936 Engelbert Humperdinck, Indian-born singer, was born.
1945 World War II: The US 82nd Airborne Division liberated Wöbbelin concentration camp finding 1000 dead inmates, most starved to death.
1946 The “Battle of Alcatraz” in which two guards and three inmates died.
1950 Bianca Jagger, Nicaraguan socialite, was born.
1952 The world’s first ever jet airliner, the De Havilland Comet made its maiden flight, from London to Johannesburg.
1963 Berthold Seliger launched a rocket with three stages and a maximum flight altitude of more than 100 kilometres near Cuxhaven.
1964 Vietnam War: An explosion sank the USS Card while docked at Saigon.
1964 Tram #252, displaying the message ‘end of the line’ and with Mayor Frank Kitts in the driver’s seat, travelled from Thorndon to the Zoo in Newtown – the last electric tram journey in New Zealand.
1969 Queen Elizabeth 2 departsedon her maiden voyage to New York City.
1969 Brian Lara, Trinidadian West Indies cricketer, was born.
1994– Bus disaster in Poland, 32 people died.
1995 During the Croatian War of Independence, Serb forces fired cluster bombs at Zagreb, killing 7 and wounding over 175 civilians.
1998 The European Central Bank was founded in Brussels in order to define and execute the European Union’s monetary policy.
1999 Panamanian election: Mireya Moscoso became the first woman to be elected President of Panama.
2000 Princess Margriet of the Netherlands unveiled the Man With Two Hats monument in Apeldoorn and the other in Ottawa on May 11, 2000, symbolically linking the Netherlands and Canada for their assistance throughout World War II.
2002 Marad massacre of eight Hindus near Palakkad in Kerala.
2004 Yelwa massacre of more than 630 nomad Muslims by Christians in Nigeria.
2008 Cyclone Nargis made landfall in Myanmar killing over 130,000 people and leaving millions of people homeless.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia