50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in May 2015 for you to write about (and make money from!)

I’ve just realised that our blogging schedule has gotten out of sync and we’ve been listing the 2015 anniversaries five months ahead instead of six. To correct this, we’re skipping April and going straight to May. If you need April anniversaries you’ll find more than 350 of them in The Date-A-Base Book 2015 (see below). If you need to work further ahead, The Date-A-Base Book 2016 is out on 26 November.

So… here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in May 2015 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.

The Date-A-Base Book 2015 | ideas4writersThe listing below is a small sample of the entries for May from The Date-A-Base Book 2015There are 366 anniversaries for May in the book, which covers the whole of 2015 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy of the book many times over.


750 years ago (May/June 1265)
Birth of Dante, major Italian poet, writer, literary theorist and political thinker of the Middle Ages. Best known for The Divine Comedy.

250 years ago (3 May 1765)
The first medical school in the USA was founded. (It is now known as the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The first courses began in Sept 1765.)

200 years ago (20 May 1815)
The Neopolitan War between Naples and Austria ended with the signing of the Treaty of Casalanza.

150 years ago (1 May 1865)
The Treaty of the Triple Alliance was signed by Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. The secret treaty prescribed their actions during and after the Paraguayan War.

150 years ago (5 May 1865)
The first train robbery in the USA took place in the village of North Bend, Ohio. The train was derailed by tearing up the tracks, over 100 passengers were robbed at gunpoint, and safes containing thousands of dollars in U.S. bonds were blown open. (The robbers were never captured.)

150 years ago (10 May 1865)
The American Civil War officially ended.

100 years ago (6 May 1915)
Birth of Orson Welles, Academy Award-winning American stage, film and radio actor, director, producer and writer. Best known for the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds and the film Citizen Kane.

100 years ago (7 May 1915)
World War I: the sinking of the Lusitania. A German U-boat sank the British passenger liner Lusitania off the coast of Ireland. Over 1,000 passengers were killed, including 128 Americans. (After U.S. diplomatic pressure the German naval blockade around Britain was lifted in September, but reimposed in Feb 1917 leading the USA to join the war.)

100 years ago (10 May 1915)
Birth of Monica Dickens, British novelist, writer and children’s author. Helped found the first U.S. branch of the Samaritans. Great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens.

100 years ago (17 May 1915)
The National Baptist Convention of America was established after splitting from the National Baptist Convention in a dispute over the ownership and operation of the Publishing Board.

100 years ago (22 May 1915)
Quintinshill rail disaster, near Gretna Green, Scotland. 226 people were killed and 246 injured when 3 passenger trains collided due to a signalling error, causing a fire that spread to 2 goods trains. It remains the worst rail disaster in the UK (by number of fatalities).

100 years ago (22 May 1915)
Lassen Peak in California, USA erupted. It was the only volcano apart from Mount St. Helens to erupt in the contiguous USA during the 20th century. (There were 3 eruptions in Alaska and 2 in Hawaii.)

100 years ago (23 May 1915)
Italy declared war on its former Triple Alliance partner Austria-Hungary, entering World War I. (Italy also declared war on Germany in Aug 1916.)

100 years ago (27 May 1915)
Birth of Herman Wouk, American novelist. Known for his epic war novels (The Caine Mutiny, Winds of War, War and Remembrance).

100 years ago (31 May 1915)
World War I: the first German Zeppelin air raid on London. 7 people were killed, 35 injured and 7 properties destroyed.

90 years ago (19 May 1925)
Birth of Malcolm X, controversial African American Muslim leader and human rights activist. (Assassinated 1965.)

80 years ago (15 May 1935)
The first section of the Moscow Metro opened to the public. It was the first underground railway system in the Soviet Union.

80 years ago (19 May 1935)
Death of T. E. Lawrence, (‘Lawrence of Arabia’), British Army officer, military strategist, archaeologist and writer. Best known for his activities in the Middle East during WWI and for his autobiographical account The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. (Fatally injured in a motorcycle accident.)

80 years ago (25 May 1935)
American athlete Jesse Owens set 3 world records (long jump, 220-yard sprint and 220-yard hurdles) and equalled the record for the 100-yard dash (all in just 45 minutes) at the Big Ten meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

80 years ago (30 May 1935)
American baseball legend Babe Ruth played his final game.

80 years ago (31 May 1935)
Balochistan earthquake, British India. The city of Quetta (now in Pakistan) was destroyed and about 40,000 people were killed (some sources say up to 60,000).

75 years ago (8 May 1940)
Birth of Peter Benchley, American novelist. Best known for Jaws (later adapted into a blockbuster movie by Steven Spielberg). (Died 2006.)

75 years ago (10 May 1940)
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned. Succeeded by Winston Churchill.

75 years ago (10 May to 22 Jun 1940)
World War II – the Battle of France. Axis victory – the French Third Republic was replaced by Vichy France.

75 years ago (14 May 1940)
World War II: the Netherlands surrendered to Germany.

75 years ago (14 May 1940)
World War II: the Home Guard was established in the UK (as the Local Defence Volunteers). It was nicknamed ‘Dad’s Army’ as it was comprised of volunteers ineligible for military service, usually due to their age.

75 years ago (15 May 1940)
The first McDonald’s restaurant opened, in San Bernardino, California, USA.

75 years ago (20 May 1940)
Holocaust: the first prisoners arrived at Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland – 30 German criminals who would become kapos (prisoners who supervised other prisoners, meaning that fewer staff were needed to run the camp). The first mass transport of prisoners arrived on 14th June.

75 years ago (27 May to 4 June 1940)
World War II – the Dunkirk Evacuation. Allied forces launched a massive evacuation of troops from Dunkirk in France across the English Channel to England after they were cut off by approaching German forces. Nearly 340,000 soldiers were rescued in a hastily assembled fleet of 800 boats.

75 years ago (28 May 1940)
World War II: Belgium surrendered to Germany.

70 years ago (2 May 1945)
World War II: the Battle of Berlin (Germany) ended. Allied victory which led to the surrender of all German forces outside Berlin by 8th-9th May, and the end of the war in Europe.

70 years ago (8 May 1945)
World War II: VE day (Victory in Europe) – celebrated as a public holiday.

70 years ago (8 May 1945)
Setif massacre, Algeria. French police opened fire on demonstrators, leading to rioting and reprisal attacks in which approximately 6,000 people were killed. (Estimates range from 1,020 to 45,000.)

60 years ago (14 May 1955)
The Warsaw Pact was established – a Soviet-led mutual defence treaty between eight communist European states during the Cold War. (It was disestablished in Dec 1991.)

60 years ago (18 May 1955)
Partition of Vietnam: Operation Passage to Freedom ended and the border between North Vietnam and South Vietnam was sealed. (The USA and France transported up to 1 million civilians and soldiers from North Vietnam to South Vietnam during the 300-day operation.)

50 years ago (3 or 7 May 1965)
Vietnam War: the first major U.S. Army ground combat unit arrived in South Vietnam.

50 years ago (11 May 1965)
Bengal Cyclone I, India. (A second cyclone hit the same region on 1st June. The two cyclones killed a total of about 47,000 people.)

50 years ago (21 May 1965)
Death of Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, British aircraft designer and engineer.

40 years ago (30 May 1975)
The European Space Agency (ESA) was founded when the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) merged with the European Launch Development Organisation (ELDO).

30 years ago (11 May 1985)
Bradford City stadium fire, England. 56 football fans were killed and at least 265 injured when a flash fire swept through the main stand during a match against Lincoln City.

30 years ago (29 May 1985)
Heysel Stadium disaster, Brussels, Belgium. 39 football fans were crushed to death during rioting at the European Cup Final between Liverpool and Juventus. (All English football clubs were subsequently banned from playing in European competitions until 1990.)

25 years ago (16 May 1990)
Death of Sammy Davis, Jr., American singer, dancer, actor and entertainer.

25 years ago (16 May 1990)
Death of Jim Henson, American puppeteer, film director and television producer. Creator of the Muppets.

25 years ago (22 May 1990)
North Yemen and South Yemen unified to form the Republic of Yemen.

25 years ago (22 May 1990)
Death of Rocky Graziano, American world middleweight boxing champion (1947-48).

25 years ago (21 or 22 May 1990)
Death of Max Wall, British music hall, stage, film and television comedian and actor. Acclaimed for his serious roles as well as his comic talents.

20 years ago (11 May 1995)
An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus was confirmed in Zaire. 317 people became infected, of whom 245 died.

20 years ago (27 May 1995)
American Superman actor Christopher Reeve was paralysed from the neck down when he was thrown from his horse during an equestrian competition in Virginia. (Died 2004.)

15 years ago (4 May 2000)
Ken Livingstone became the first mayor of London.

10 years ago (29 May 2005)
In a referendum to approve the Constitution of the European Union, French voters rejected it. (Dutch voters also rejected it on 1st June. It was eventually abandoned and replaced by the Lisbon Treaty.)

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