Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in May 2016 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.
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 listing below is a small sample of the entries for May from The Date-A-Base Book 2016. There are 285 anniversaries for May in the book, which covers the whole of 2016 from January to December and features more than 3,450 anniversaries in total.
Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over.
If you need to work further ahead, The Date-A-Base Book 2017 is also available.
200 years ago (11 May 1816)
The American Bible Society was founded in New York City.
150 years ago (16 May 1866)
The 5 cent coin (commonly known as a nickel) was introduced in the USA.
150 years ago (17 May 1866)
Birth of Erik Satie, influential French avant-garde composer and pianist.
150 years ago (29 May 1866)
Death of Winfield Scott, (‘Old Fuss and Feathers’), U.S. Army general. Noted for his emphasis on military formalities. He was also an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1852.
125 years ago (5 May 1891)
Carnegie Hall in New York City, USA was officially opened. (It was known as Music Hall until 1893.)
100 years ago (5 May 1916 – 1924)
Banana Wars – the U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic. U.S. forces gradually occupied the Dominican Republic to protect U.S. interests and quell civil disorder. On 7th May Dominican President Juan Isidro Jimenes Pereyra was ousted and Secretary of War, Desiderio Arias, seized power. The U.S. forced Arias to leave the capital, Santo Domingo, on 15th May.
100 years ago (7 May 1916)
Birth of Sir Huw Wheldon, British television presenter, producer and executive. Managing Director of BBC Television (1968-75).
100 years ago (10 May 1916)
Birth of Milton Babbitt, Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, music theorist and teacher. Noted for his electronic music and use of serialist techniques, and for the mathematical/rhythmical precision of his work.
100 years ago (11 May 1916)
Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity was published in the physics journal Annalen der Physik. It describes how space-time is affected by energy, gravity, matter and momentum.
100 years ago (21 May 1916)
Birth of Harold Robbins, American novelist. One of the bestselling writers of all time. (The Carpetbaggers, The Dream Merchants, A Stone for Danny Fisher and more).
100 years ago (31 May – 1 Jun 1916)
World War I – the Battle of Jutland. The largest naval battle of the war. Result: inconclusive – both sides claimed victory.
80 years ago (9 May 1936)
Italian East Africa was established following Italy’s victory in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War.
80 years ago (22 May 1936)
Aer Lingus, Ireland’s national airline, began operating.
80 years ago (27 May 1936)
The British ocean liner RMS Queen Mary began her maiden voyage.
75 years ago (1 May 1941)
Orson Welles’ award-winning movie Citizen Kane was released in the USA. (UK: 24th January 1942.)
75 years ago (6 May 1941)
Joseph Stalin became Premier of the Soviet Union.
75 years ago (6 May 1941)
British-born American entertainer Bob Hope performed his first USO show at March Field, California, USA. (He continued to entertain U.S. troops until 1991, in WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Lebanese Civil War, the Iran-Iraq War and the Gulf War – a total of 57 tours.)
75 years ago (9 May 1941)
World War II: the British Royal Navy captured the German submarine Enigma machine along with codebooks and documents which enabled British code-breakers to decipher coded German messages.
75 years ago (10 May 1941)
World War II: the last major attack on London during the Blitz caused heavy damage to many important buildings. These included the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Palace and Lambeth Palace, several railway stations and hospitals, the British Museum and the Old Bailey. More than 1,300 people were killed.
75 years ago (12 May 1941)
German engineer Konrad Zuse completed his Z3 computer and presented it to an audience of scientists in Berlin. It is now recognised as the world’s first fully functional programmable digital computer. (No one outside Germany was aware of its existence at that time, so it had no influence on computer development in the UK or USA.)
75 years ago (15 May 1941)
The first flight by a jet-engined aircraft in the UK: the prototype Gloster E.28/39 fitted with a Whittle jet engine, at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire.
75 years ago (20 May – 1 Jun 1941)
World War II – the Battle of Crete. German paratroopers invaded and captured the island of Crete. This was the first mostly airborne invasion in military history. It was also the first battle in which the Allies used intelligence obtained from deciphering Germany’s Enigma code. It was also the first battle in which German forces encountered mass resistance from the civilian population.
75 years ago (24 May 1941)
World War II: the British battleship HMS Hood was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck near Iceland. (The British sunk the Bismarck three days later on 27th.)
75 years ago (30 May 1941)
Death of Rama VII (also known as Prajadhipok), last King of Siam (1925-35).
70 years ago (7 May 1946)
Sony, the Japanese consumer electronics company, was founded (as the Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation).
65 years ago (23 May 1951)
China annexed Tibet after pressuring Tibetan negotiators to sign a 17-point agreement – which many argue they had no real authority to sign and is therefore invalid. The Tibetan Government remained in place, but was dissolved in 1959 following an uprising that forced the Dalai Lama into exile. Tibet Autonomous Region was established in 1965.
65 years ago (28 May 1951)
The first episode of the radio comedy series The Goon Show was broadcast in the UK. (The first series was called Crazy People).
60 years ago (1 May 1956)
A public polio immunisation programme began in Britain, using the vaccine developed in the USA by Dr. Jonas Salk.
60 years ago (5 May 1956)
Elvis Presley reached #1 in the Billboard Top 10 Singles chart for the first time, with his song Heartbreak Hotel.
60 years ago (24 May 1956)
The first Eurovision Song Contest was held, in Lugano, Switzerland.
50 years ago (6 May 1966)
The Moors Murderers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, were sentenced to life imprisonment in the UK. Brady was convicted of 3 murders and Hindley of 2, though they later confessed to a total of 5. Their victims were aged between 10 and 17.
50 years ago (12 May 1966)
Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, USA officially opened. It was the home of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team (1966-2005) and the Cardinals football team (1966-87). It was demolished in 2005 and replaced by the new Busch Stadium which opened on 4th April 2006.
50 years ago (16 May 1966)
Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Communist Party of China, issued the May 16 Notice. This signalled the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, which officially began on 1st August.
50 years ago (16 May 1966)
The album Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys was released.
50 years ago (16 May 1966)
The album Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan was released.
50 years ago (21 May 1966)
The newly established Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) declared war on the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Northern Ireland and announced that any known IRA members would be immediately executed.
50 years ago (26 May 1966)
British Guiana gained its independence from the UK and became Guyana.
50 years ago (30 May 1966)
NASA launched its Surveyor 1 spacecraft on a mission to the Moon to collect data for the Apollo missions. On 2nd June it became the first U.S. craft to soft-land on another extraterrestrial body.
30 years ago (25 May 1986)
Hands Across America: Approximately 7 million people joined hands to form a line that stretched across the USA. The event was held to raise money to fight poverty, hunger and homelessness.
25 years ago (3 May 1991)
The last episode of the U.S. television soap opera Dallas was broadcast.
25 years ago (6 May 1991)
Death of Wilfrid Hyde-White, British stage, film and television actor. Noted for his many supporting and character roles. Best known for his role as Colonel Pickering in the film My Fair Lady.
25 years ago (14 May 1991)
Death of Jiang Qing (also known as Madame Mao), wife of the Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong. A member of the Gang of Four. Convicted of counter-revolutionary crimes in 1981 and sentenced to death – later commuted to life imprisonment. (Suicide.)
25 years ago (15 May 1991)
Edith Cresson became the first female Prime Minister of France.
25 years ago (18 May 1991)
Helen Sharman became the first British citizen to go into space, spending 7 days on Russia’s Mir space station.
25 years ago (21 May 1991)
Death of Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India (1984-89). (Assassinated.)
25 years ago (28 May 1991)
The Ethiopian Civil War ended after 16 years when the People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) seized the capital Addis Ababa and overthrew the Marxist Derg regime.
20 years ago (17 May 1996)
U.S. President Bill Clinton signed Megan’s Law: the public must be notified if dangerous sex offenders are released into their community.
20 years ago (26 May 1996)
Whitewater scandal: U.S. President Bill Clinton’s former business partners in the Whitewater Development Corporation, James and Susan McDougal, and the Governor of Arkansas Jim Guy Tucker, were convicted of fraud and conspiracy. (Tucker received a suspended sentence due to his liver disease and resigned as Governor on 15th July. Susan McDougal was sentenced to 2 years. James McDougal was sentenced to 3 years and died in prison in March 1998.)
20 years ago (30 May 1996)
The Duke and Duchess of York – Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson – were divorced after 10 years of marriage.
10 years ago (1 May 2006)
BSE (mad cow disease): the European Union lifted its 10-year ban on the export of British beef.
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