Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in May 2014 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time for research and writing.
We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.
This list is just a small sample of the entries for May from The Date-A-Base Book 2014. There are more than 200 anniversaries for this month in the book, which covers the whole of 2014 from January to December and features more than 2,650 anniversaries in total.
Just one published article will cover the cost of your copy many times over.
200 years ago (4 May 1814)
King Ferdinand VII of Spain abolished the 1812 Constitution and returned Spain to an absolute monarchy.
200 years ago (29 May 1814)
Death of Joséphine de Beauharnais, first Empress of France; first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte.
200 years ago (30 May 1814)
The War of the Sixth Coalition ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. France’s borders were restored to their positions as at 1st Jan 1792; territories outside those borders were returned to their former owners. France also returned Monaco to the Grimaldi family, who were restored to the throne. (France had seized Monaco during the French Revolution in 1793.)
150 years ago (5 May 1864)
Birth of Nellie Bly, pioneering American journalist; best known for beating Jules Verne’s fictional story Around the World in Eighty Days by doing it in real life in 72 days. She also had herself committed to an asylum in order to expose the conditions within it.
150 years ago (17 May 1864)
The postal money order service was established in the USA, providing a safe and trustworthy way of sending money by mail. (Money orders, and their successors, postal orders, had been in use in Britain since 1792.)
150 years ago (26 May 1864)
Montana Territory was established in the USA. (Statehood: Nov 1889.)
125 years ago (6 May – 31 Oct 1889)
The Universal Exposition (World’s Fair) was held in Paris, France. Highlights included the official opening of the Eiffel Tower.
100 years ago (9 May 1914)
Death of C. W. Post, American breakfast cereal manufacturer.
100 years ago (13 May 1914)
Birth of Joe Louis, American world heavyweight boxing champion.
100 years ago (15 May 1914 – or 29th?)
Birth of Tenzing Norgay, (Sherpa Tenzing), Tibetan/Nepali mountaineer; Sir Edmund Hillary’s climbing partner in the first successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. (Note: exact birth date unknown – he himself did not know it.)
100 years ago (21 May 1914)
The Greyhound Bus Company (now Greyhound Lines) was founded in Minnesota, USA.
100 years ago (22 May 1914)
Birth of Sun Ra, American jazz keyboard player, composer, poet and philosopher; pioneered the use of synthesizers in jazz; claimed he was from the planet Saturn.
100 years ago (25 May 1914)
Britain’s House of Commons passed the Home Rule Bill, intended to provide self-government for Ireland. (It received royal assent in Sept but was never implemented due to the outbreak of WWI. It was repealed in 1920 and replaced by the Anglo-Irish Treaty which was signed in Dec 1921 and led to the establishment of the Irish Free State in Dec 1922.)
100 years ago (29 May 1914)
The British liner RMS Empress of Ireland sank after colliding with the Norwegian cargo ship Storstad on the Saint Lawrence River in Canada. 1,012 people killed. It was one of the worst maritime disasters in history.
80 years ago (11 May 1934)
A two-day dust storm stripped massive amounts of topsoil from the American Great Plains. One of the worst storms of the Dust Bowl era.
80 years ago (23 May 1934)
American bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were shot and killed in a police ambush while driving a stolen car in Louisiana.
80 years ago (23 May 1934 – or 24th?)
The first nylon fibre was produced at DuPont Laboratories, Delaware by a team led by Dr. Wallace Carothers.
75 years ago (1 May 1939)
The superhero Batman first appeared, in Detective Comics #27. (That issue is now one of the most valuable comic books in existence, with copies selling for over $1 million.)
75 years ago (13 May 1939)
Holocaust: the Voyage of the Damned. The German ship MS St. Louis carrying 937 Jewish refugees left Hamburg for Cuba. It was denied permission to land there and headed to Florida, USA, where it was turned away on 4th June. It was also refused permission to land in Canada on 9th June and was forced to return to Europe, where more than 200 of its passengers later died in Nazi concentration camps.
75 years ago (13 May 1939)
The first commercial FM radio station in the USA was launched, in Bloomfield, Connecticut (WDRC-FM).
75 years ago (20 May 1939)
The first transatlantic airmail service was launched. Pan Am’s Yankee Clipper flying boat took off from Port Washington, New York, USA and flew to Lisbon, Portugal.
75 years ago (22 May 1939)
Germany and Italy signed the Pact of Steel (officially called the Pact of Friendship and Alliance) in Berlin, Germany.
75 years ago (25 May 1939)
Death of Sir Frank Dyson, Astronomer Royal of England and Scotland. His observations of the 1919 solar eclipse helped prove Einstein’s theory of general relativity. He also introduced the Greenwich Time Signal (‘pips’).
75 years ago (26 May 1939)
Death of Charles H. Mayo, American physician; one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic.
60 years ago (6 May 1954)
British athlete Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. (3 minutes 59.4 seconds, Oxford, England.)
60 years ago (17 May 1954)
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated public schools were unconstitutional. This was considered a major landmark in the history of the civil rights movement.
60 years ago (20 May 1954)
Bill Haley & His Comets released Rock Around the Clock, now considered one of the most important records in rock and roll history.
50 years ago (2 May 1964)
Death of Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, American-born British politician; the first female Member of Parliament (MP) to sit in the House of Commons.
50 years ago (18 – 19 May 1964)
Thousands of Mods and Rockers rioted at seaside towns along the south coast of England, most notably in Brighton, but also in Margate, Hastings and Broadstairs. Many of them received prison sentences as a result. (The Brighton riots are depicted in the film Quadrophenia.)
50 years ago (27 May 1964)
Death of Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India (1947–64); father of Indira Gandhi, grandfather of Rajiv Gandhi (they both also became prime minister).
50 years ago (28 May 1964)
The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was founded.
50 years ago (30 May 1964)
Death of Leó Szilárd, Hungarian-born American nuclear physicist who conceived and helped create the first sustained nuclear chain reaction, which led to the development of the atomic bomb.
40 years ago (24 May 1974)
Death of Duke Ellington, American jazz pianist, composer and big-band leader; regarded as the greatest jazz composer of the 20th century.
40 years ago (27 May 1974)
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing became President of France.
40 years ago (28 May 1974)
The Sunningdale Agreement (an attempt to establish a power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive) collapsed following Unionist opposition, violence and a general strike by loyalists.
40 years ago (31 May 1974)
Israel and Syria signed a ceasefire agreement on the Golan Heights, which left most of the region in Israel’s control.
30 years ago (8 May 1984)
The Thames Flood Barrier in London was officially opened.
25 years ago (13 May 1989)
British war hero Jackie Mann, a former Battle of Britain pilot, was kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanon. (Released September 1991.)
25 years ago (20 May 1989)
Death of Gilda Radner, award-winning American comedian and actress; best known for her appearances on the TV series Saturday Night Live.
20 years ago (1 May 1994)
Death of Ayrton Senna, Brazilian racing driver, killed in a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix, Italy.
20 years ago (4 May – 7 Jul 1994)
Yemen Civil War; northern victory.
20 years ago (6 May 1994)
The Channel Tunnel linking England and France was officially opened.
20 years ago (6 May 1994)
Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, filed a lawsuit against U.S. President Bill Clinton alleging he had sexually harassed her in 1991.
20 years ago (10 May 1994)
Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president after more than three hundred years of white rule.
20 years ago (10 May 1994)
Death of John Wayne Gacy, American serial killer (executed).
20 years ago (12 May 1994)
Death of John Smith, leader of the British Labour Party (1992–94).
20 years ago (19 May 1994)
Death of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, First Lady of the United States (1961–63); wife of President John F. Kennedy and Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.
20 years ago (30 May 1994)
The USA and Russia ceased targeting long-range nuclear missiles at each other.
10 years ago (9 May 2004)
Death of Akhmad Kadyrov, President of the Chechen Republic (assassinated).
10 years ago (17 May 2004)
Massachusetts legalised same-sex marriages – the first U.S. state to do so.
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