Historic anniversaries in May 2012

You might like to write about the following historic anniversaries. Dates are given 6 months in advance to allow you time for research and writing.

The list presented here is just a fraction of that available in The Date-A-Base Book 2012. For example, there are 60 anniversaries listed below, but 216 anniversaries for the same month in the book, which covers the whole of 2012. (See the end of this list for more details.)

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.

1000 years ago (12 May 1012)
Death of Pope Sergius IV

250 years ago (5 May 1762)
Seven Years’ War: Russia and Prussia signed the Treaty of Saint Petersburg, and on 22nd Sweden and Prussia signed the Treaty of Hamburg, ending the war

200 years ago (7 May 1812)
Birth of Robert Browning, British poet

200 years ago (11 May 1812)
Death of Spencer Perceval, British Prime Minister (1809-12), the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated

200 years ago (12 May 1812)
Birth of Edward Lear, British landscape artist and illustrator, best known as a writer of nonsense verse and limericks

150 years ago (6 May 1862)
Death of Henry David Thoreau, American writer, poet, philosopher and transcendentalist, known for his book ‘Walden’ which discusses simple living in natural surroundings, and for his essay ‘Civil Disobedience’

150 years ago (15 May 1862)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture was established

150 years ago (20 May 1862)
U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law. It granted 160 acres of unoccupied public land free of charge to heads of families who agreed to settle there and cultivate it. This accelerated the settlement of the western territories

100 years ago (2 May 1912)
Birth of Axel Springer, German publisher, founder of Axel Springer Verlag AG, one of the largest publishing companies in Europe

100 years ago (11 May 1912)
Birth of Phil Silvers, American actor and comedian, best known for playing Sergeant Bilko in ‘The Phil Silvers Show’

100 years ago (13 May 1912)
The Royal Flying Corps (now the Royal Air Force) was founded in Britain

100 years ago (14 May 1912)
Death of King Frederick VIII of Denmark

100 years ago (16 May 1912)
Birth of Studs Terkel, American writer, historian, broadcaster and actor

100 years ago (18 May 1912)
Birth of Walter Sisulu, South African anti-apartheid activist

100 years ago (18 May 1912)
Birth of Perry Como, popular American singer and television entertainer

100 years ago (26 May 1912)
Birth of Jay Silverheels, Canadian Mohawk Indian actor (played Tonto in the television series ‘The Lone Ranger’)

100 years ago (28 May 1912)
Birth of Patrick White, British-born Australian novelist and playwright, winner of the 1973 Nobel Prize for Literature

100 years ago (30 May 1912)
Death of Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer (Wright brothers)

90 years ago (30 May 1922)
The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., USA was dedicated

80 years ago (7 May 1932)
Death of Paul Doumer, President of France (1931-32). (Assassinated)

80 years ago (12 May 1932)
The kidnapping of American aviator Charles Lindbergh’s young son became a murder investigation when his decomposed body was found a few miles from his home in New Jersey

80 years ago (15 May 1932)
Japanese Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi was assassinated during a coup

80 years ago (19 May 1932)
Birth of Alma Cogan, British pop singer. (Died 1966)

80 years ago (21 May 1932)
American aviator Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean

75 years ago (6 May 1937)
The German airship Hindenburg burst into flames as it docked at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, New Jersey, USA. 36 people were killed

75 years ago (12 May 1937)
Coronation of King George VI of the United Kingdom

75 years ago (23 May 1937)
Death of John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist and philanthropist, founder of Standard Oil

75 years ago (27 May 1937)
The Golden Gate Bridge was opened. It links San Francisco and Marin County, California, USA

75 years ago (28 May 1937)
Neville Chamberlain became British Prime Minister

70 years ago (4 May 1942)
World War II: Germany bombed Exeter, UK, destroying the city centre

70 years ago (6 May 1942)
World War II: all American forces in the Philippines surrendered unconditionally to the Japanese

70 years ago (15 May 1942)
The Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps was established in the USA

60 years ago (2 May 1952)
BOAC (now British Airways) launched the world’s first jet passenger service (from London to Johannesburg) as the de Havilland Comet went into commercial service

50 years ago (19 May 1962)
American actress Marilyn Monroe famously sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to President John F. Kennedy during a birthday party/fundraiser at Madison Square Garden, New York City

50 years ago (31 May 1962)
Death of Adolf Eichmann, German Nazi leader who organised the identification and transportation of Jews from occupied Europe to extermination camps. (Executed)

40 years ago (2 May 1972)
Death of J. Edgar Hoover, American director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and its predecessor the Bureau of Investigation

40 years ago (4 May 1972)
The Canadian-founded Don’t Make A Wave Committee changed its name to Greenpeace – the global environmental organisation

40 years ago (8 May 1972)
Vietnam War – Operation Linebacker. U.S. President Richard Nixon announced an intensive and continuous bombing campaign against North Vietnam to disrupt the flow of weapons and supplies. (The operation commenced on 9th May and lasted until October, leading to international condemnation and anti-war protests)

40 years ago (22 May 1972)
Ceylon adopted a new constitution and became the Republic of Sri Lanka

40 years ago (26 May 1972)
The USA and the Soviet Union signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in Moscow. (Effective from 3rd October 1972)

40 years ago (28 May 1972)
Death of Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom

40 years ago (30 May 1972)
The Official IRA in Northern Ireland announced a ceasefire against the British Army and sectarian groups (except in self-defence). It would instead pursue its aims through parliament. The Provisional IRA said it would continue its campaign of terrorism

30 years ago (2 May 1982)
Falklands War: the British submarine HMS Conqueror sank the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano. Over 300 Argentine sailors were killed

30 years ago (27 May 1982 to 28th)
Falklands War: the Battle of Goose Green. British forces recaptured Goose Green from the Argentines

25 years ago (8 May 1987)
Elite soldiers from the British SAS and the Royal Ulster Constabulary ambushed and killed 8 of the IRA’s top terrorists, who became known as the Loughgall Martyrs

25 years ago (8 May 1987)
Death of Doris Stokes, British psychic medium

25 years ago (11 May 1987)
Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie (‘the Butcher of Lyon’) went on trial in Lyon, France. (On 3rd July he was sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity)

25 years ago (14 May 1987)
Death of Rita Hayworth, American film actress and dancer, one of the most successful and glamorous stars of her era

25 years ago (24 May 1987)
Death of Hermione Gingold, British stage, film and television actress

20 years ago (6 May 1992)
Death of Marlene Dietrich, German-born American stage and film actress and singer

15 years ago (1 May 1997)
The Labour Party won the UK general election in a landslide victory, ending 18 years of Conservative rule. Tony Blair became Prime Minister

15 years ago (6 May 1997)
The Bank of England was granted operational independence by the government, including sole responsibility for setting interest rates

15 years ago (11 May 1997)
The IBM computer ‘Deep Blue’ defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a six-game match. (Kasparov: 1, Deep Blue: 2, drawn: 3)

15 years ago (19 May 1997)
The British government announced that the sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco companies would be banned. (Came into effect July 2003)

10 years ago (1 May 2002)
Death of John Nathan-Turner, British TV producer, best known as the producer of the BBC science fiction series ‘Doctor Who’

10 years ago (3 May 2002)
Death of Barbara Castle, Baroness Castle of Blackburn, British politician who played a prominent role in Labour governments of the 1960s and 70s

10 years ago (6 May 2002)
Death of Wilhelmus (‘Pim’) Fortuyn, Dutch sociologist and politician. (Assassinated)

10 years ago (20 May 2002)
East Timor became an independent nation – the first of the 21st century

10 years ago (20 May 2002)
Death of Stephen Jay Gould, American palaeontologist, evolutionary biologist, science historian and science writer

10 years ago (23 May 2002)
Death of Sam Snead, American golfer

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The Date-A-Base Book 2012

You’ll find lots more anniversaries in The Date-A-Base Book 2012, which covers the whole of 2012 and lists over 2,250 forthcoming newsworthy and notable anniversaries – more than three times as many entries each month than our standard list above. You’ll find out about  hundreds of fascinating anniversaries that other writers don’t even know about – giving you a huge advantage!

The Date-A-Base Book 2012 is a terrific source of ideas for writers, journalists, film-makers, editors, researchers, producers, teachers, students, speakers and event planners.

Click here for more details (You’ll also be able to see the complete chapter for January 2012)

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Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers today for just £49.95 and you’ll receive The Date-A-Base Book 2012 (plus all future editions) as well as The Fastest Way to Write Your BookThe Fastest Way to Get Ideas, our complete 5,000+ collection of writing ideas, unlimited use of our forums and writing software, and much more (total value: over £150!)
Click here for full details

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