325 The First Council of Nicea – the first Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church is held.
526 An earthquake kills about 300,000 people in Syria and Antiochia.
1277 Pope John XXI (died) (born 1215)
1293 King Sancho IV of Castile creates the Study of General Schools of Alcalá.
1497 John Cabot sets sail from Bristol, England, on his ship, Matthew, looking for a route to the west (other documents give a May 2 date).
1498 Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama discovers the sea route to India when he arrives at Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), India.
1503 Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici (died), Italian banker and politician (born 1463)
1506 Christopher Columbus (died), Italian explorer, discovered the Americas (born 1451)
1520 The massacre at the festival of Tóxcatl takes place during the Fall of Tenochtitlan, resulting in turning the Aztecs against the Spanish.
1521 Battle of Pampeluna: Ignatius Loyola is seriously wounded.
1570 Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas.
1609 Shakespeare’s sonnets are first published in London, perhaps illicitly, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe.
1622 Osman II (died), Ottoman sultan (born 1604)
1631 The city of Magdeburg in Germany is seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire and most of its inhabitants massacred, in one of the bloodiest incidents of the Thirty Years’ War.
1663 William Bradford (born), English-American printer (died 1752)
1706 Seth Pomeroy (born), American gunsmith and soldier (died 1777)
1713 Thomas Sprat (died), English bishop (born 1635)
1759 William Thornton (born), Virgin Islander-American architect, designed the United States Capitol (died 1828)
1768 Dolley Madison (born), American wife of James Madison, 4th First Lady of the United States (died 1849)
1772 Sir William Congreve (born), 2nd Baronet, English inventor, developed Congreve rockets (died 1828)
1775 Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence signed in Charlotte, North Carolina
1776 Simon Fraser (born), American-Canadian explorer (died 1862)
1782 William Emerson (died), English mathematician (born 1701)
1799 Honoré de Balzac (born), French author and playwright (died 1850)
1802 By the Law of 20 May 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte reinstates slavery in the French colonies, revoking its abolition in the French Revolution
1806 John Stuart Mill (born), English economist, civil servant, and philosopher (died 1873)
1813 Napoleon Bonaparte leads his French troops into the Battle of Bautzen in Saxony, Germany, against the combined armies of Russia and Prussia. The battle ends the next day with a French victory.
1818 William Fargo (born), American businessman and politician, co-founded Wells Fargo and American Express (died 1881)
1851 Emile Berliner (born), German-American inventor, invented the Gramophone record (died 1929)
1861 American Civil War: The state of Kentucky proclaims its neutrality, which will last until September 3 when Confederate forces enter the state. Meanwhile, the State of North Carolina secedes from the Union.
1862 U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law.
1873 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.
1875 Signing of the Metre Convention by 17 nations leading to the establishment of the International System of Units.
1883 Faisal I of Iraq (born) (died 1933)
1883 Krakatoa begins to erupt; the volcano explodes three months later, killing more than 36,000 people.
1884 Dinuzulu ka Cetshwayo becomes the king of the Zulu Nation.
1891 The first public display of Thomas Edison’s prototype kinetoscope.
1895 R. J. Mitchell (born), English engineer, designed the Supermarine Spitfire and Supermarine S.6B (died 1937)
1896 The six ton chandelier of the Palais Garnier falls on the crowd below resulting in the death of one and the injury of many others.
1899 The first traffic ticket in the US: New York City taxi driver Jacob German was arrested for speeding while driving 12 miles per hour on Lexington Street.
1901 Max Euwe (born), Dutch chess player, mathematician, and author (died 1981)
1902 Cuba gains independence from the United States. Tomás Estrada Palma becomes the country’s first President.
1908 Francis Raymond Fosberg (born), American botanist and author (died 1993)
1908 James Stewart (born), American actor and singer (died 1997)
1913 William Redington Hewlett (born), American engineer, co-founded Hewlett-Packard (died 2001)
1915 Moshe Dayan (born), Israeli general and politician, 5th Minister of Foreign Affairs for Israel) (died 1981)
1916 The Saturday Evening Post publishes its first cover with a Norman Rockwell painting (Boy with Baby Carriage).
1917 Philipp von Ferrary (died), Italian stamp collector (born 1850)
1919 George Gobel (born), American comedian, and actor (died 1991)
1920 Montreal, Quebec radio station XWA broadcasts the first regularly scheduled radio programming in North America.
1925 Alexei Tupolev (born), Russian engineer, designed the Tupolev Tu-144 (died 2001)
1927 At 07:52 Charles Lindbergh takes off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York, on the world’s first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. He touched down at Le Bourget Field in Paris at 22:22 the next day.
1927 Treaty of Jeddah: the United Kingdom recognizes the sovereignty of King Ibn Saud in the Kingdoms of Hejaz and Nejd, which later merge to become the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
1932 Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland to begin the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot, landing in Ireland the next day.
1936 Anthony Zerbe (born), American actor
1940 Holocaust: The first prisoners arrive at Auschwitz.
1942 Jill Jackson (born), American singer (Paul & Paula)
1944 Dietrich Mateschitz (born), Austrian businessman, co-founded Red Bull GmbH
1944 Joe Cocker (born), English singer-songwriter (The Grease Band)
1946 Cher (born), American singer-songwriter, actress, producer, and director (Sonny & Cher)
1946 Dave Despain (born), American journalist
1948 Chiang Kai-shek is elected as the first President of the Republic of China.
1949 In the United States, the Armed Forces Security Agency, the predecessor to the National Security Agency, is established.
1956 In Operation Redwing, the first United States airborne hydrogen bomb is dropped over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
1956 Marlene Zuk (born), American biologist and ecologist
1958 Jane Wiedlin (born), American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress (The Go-Go’s and Frosted)
1958 Ron Reagan (born), American radio host
1964 Rudy Lewis (died), American singer (The Drifters) (born 1936)
1966 Dan Abrams (born), American journalist
1967 Ramzi Yousef (born), Kuwaiti-Pakistani terrorist, conducted the World Trade Center bombing
1967 The Popular Movement of the Revolution political party is established in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
1968 Timothy Olyphant (born), American actor
1969 The Battle of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam ends.
1971 Tony Stewart (born), American race car driver
1980 In a referendum in Quebec, the population rejects by a 60% vote the proposal from its government to move towards independence from Canada.
1983 First publications of the discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by Luc Montagnier.
1985 Radio Martí, part of the Voice of America service, begins broadcasting to Cuba.
1989 Gilda Radner (died), American actress (born 1946)
1989 The Chinese authorities declare martial law in the face of pro-democracy demonstrations, setting the scene for the Tiananmen Square massacre.
1990 The first post-Communist presidential and parliamentary elections are held in Romania.
1996 Gay rights: The Supreme Court of the United States rules in Romer v. Evans against a law that would have prevented any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of gays and lesbians.
2000 Jean-Pierre Rampal (died), French flute player (born 1922)
2002 Stephen Jay Gould (died), American paleontologist (born 1941)
2002 The independence of East Timor is recognized by Portugal, formally ending 23 years of Indonesian rule and 3 years of provisional UN administration (Portugal itself is the former colonizer of East Timor until 1976).
2005 Paul Ricœur (died), French philosopher (born 1913)
2008 Hamilton Jordan (died), American politician, 8th White House Chief of Staff (born 1944)
2012 Eugene Polley (died), American engineer, invented the remote control (born 1915)
2012 Robin Gibb (died), Manx-English singer-songwriter and producer (Bee Gees, The Rattlesnakes, and One World Project) (born 1949)
2013 An EF5 tornado strikes outside Oklahoma City killing 24 people and injuring 377 others.
2013 Ray Manzarek (died), American singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and producer (The Doors, Rick & the Ravens, Manzarek–Krieger, and Nite City) (born 1939)