Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in May 2017 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 2017. There are 315 anniversaries for May in the book (more than six times more than listed here). The book covers the whole of 2017 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.
If you need to work further ahead, Next Year’s News 2018 (the new name for the Date-A-Base Book series) is now available!
Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your articles published.
400 years ago (23 May 1617)
Birth of Elias Ashmole, English antiquarian and collector. A founding member of the Royal Society. Greatly rewarded for his support for the royalists in the English Civil War. Most of his collection was donated to Oxford University, which established the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology to house it.
200 years ago (15 May 1817)
Friends Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA was officially opened (as the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason). It was founded by the Quakers in 1813 and was the first privately run psychiatric hospital in the USA.
150 years ago (7 May 1867)
Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel was granted a British patent for his invention of dynamite – a safer and more manageable alternative to black powder and nitroglycerin. (He was also granted a Swedish patent on 19th October.)
150 years ago (26 May 1867)
Birth of Mary of Teck, Queen consort of the United Kingdom (1910–36). Wife of King George V. Mother of Edward VIII (the Duke of Windsor) and George VI.
150 years ago (29 May 1867)
Austria-Hungary (also known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire) was established as a dual monarchy when the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 (also known as the Ausgleich) came into effect. (It was dissolved in 1918 following WWI.)
100 years ago (13 May 1917)
Our Lady of Fátima, an apparition of the Virgin Mary, was reported for the first time by three shepherd children in Fátima, Portugal. (The children later revealed that they had experienced apparitions during 1916 too, but had kept the secret to themselves. The final apparition was on 13th October 1917 during an event now known as the Miracle of the Sun.)
100 years ago (18 May 1917)
The Selective Service Act came into effect in the USA. It authorised a compulsory military draft to increase the size of the U.S. Army as it entered WWI. Draft days were held on 5th June 1917, 5th June 1918 and 12th September 1918. (The war ended on 11th November 1918. All Selective Service operations closed down between March and July 1919.)
100 years ago (21 May 1917)
Birth of Raymond Burr, Emmy Award-winning Canadian-American actor. Best known for his leading roles in the TV series Perry Mason and Ironside.
100 years ago (23 May 1917)
Birth of Edward Lorenz, American mathematician and meteorologist. Noted for his work on chaos theory and the Lorenz attractor. He also coined the term ‘butterfly effect’.
100 years ago (29 May 1917)
Birth of John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States (1961–63).(Assassinated 1963.)
90 years ago (4 May 1927)
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded. The first official meeting took place on 11th May and the actor and producer Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. was elected as its first president.
90 years ago (9 May 1927)
The Australian Parliament convened in the new capital, Canberra, for the first time, after moving from Melbourne.
90 years ago (18 May 1927)
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (now the TCL Chinese Theatre) opened in Hollywood, California, USA. The theatre is famous for the many (approximately 200) celebrity hand prints, footprints and autographs left in cement in its forecourt.
90 years ago (20 – 21 May 1927)
American aviator Charles Lindbergh made his historic first non-stop solo transatlantic flight, from New York, USA to Paris, France aboard the Spirit of St. Louis.
80 years ago (1 May 1937)
The U.S. Congress passed the Neutrality Act of 1937 in an attempt to avoid becoming entangled in foreign conflicts. (The Neutrality Acts of the 1930s are now regarded as negative as they treated both sides as belligerents and limited the USA’s ability to supply aid to ‘friendly’ nations such as Britain and France during WWII.)
80 years ago (6 May 1937)
The Hindenburg disaster. The German airship Hindenburg burst into flames as it docked at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, USA. 36 people were killed.
80 years ago (12 May 1937)
The coronation of King George VI of the United Kingdom. (This was also the BBC’s first official outdoor television broadcast and marked the first use of an Outside Broadcast Van – a mobile television control/production room.)
80 years ago (27 May 1937)
The Golden Gate Bridge was officially opened. It links San Francisco and Marin County in California, USA.
80 years ago (28 May 1937)
Neville Chamberlain became British Prime Minister.
75 years ago (3 May 1942)
World War II: Japanese American internment. The USA ordered all people of Japanese ancestry living in Military Area No. 1 (near San Francisco, California) to go to assembly centres and await transportation to permanent relocation centres.
75 years ago (5 May 1942)
World War II: food rationing began in the USA. The first food item to be rationed was sugar, which was restricted to half of normal consumption.
75 years ago (5 May 1942)
Birth of Tammy Wynette, American country music singer and songwriter. Known as ‘the first lady of country music’. Best known for her song Stand By Your Man. (Died 1998.)
75 years ago (12 May 1942)
Birth of Ian Dury, British punk/rock/new wave singer and songwriter. Known for his songs Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick, Reasons to be Cheerful (Part Three) and the controversial Spasticus Autisticus. (Died 2000.)
75 years ago (15 May 1942)
The Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps was established in the USA.
75 years ago (15 May 1942)
World War II: mandatory gasoline (petrol) rationing was introduced in the eastern United States. Non-essential vehicles were allowed 3 gallons per week. Rationing was expanded to cover the whole country on 1st December. (Gasoline was not in short supply, but rubber was. Rationing gasoline reduced the demand for replacement tyres.)
75 years ago (19 May 1942)
Birth of Gary Kildall, American computer scientist who created the CP/M operating system and founded Digital Research, Inc. (Died 1994).
75 years ago (22 May 1942)
United Steelworkers was founded. It is the largest trade union in North America.
70 years ago (22 May 1947)
Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed what is now known as the Truman Doctrine. It granted $400 million in military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey to help fight the spread of communism.
60 years ago (2 May 1957)
Death of Joseph McCarthy, American politician. Senator from Wisconsin. Known for his sensational accusations and investigations of the so-called communist infiltration of the State Department and other branches of government. His charges ultimately proved unfounded and he was discredited and censured by the Senate.
60 years ago (10 May 1957)
Birth of Sid Vicious, notorious British punk rock star (the Sex Pistols). (Died 1979.)
60 years ago (15 May 1957)
Operation Grapple: Britain carried out its first hydrogen bomb test explosion over Malden Island in the Pacific Ocean. Immediately after the test, Britain announced to the world that it had become a thermonuclear power. However, the test was actually disappointing and the bomb produced less than a third of its expected 1 megaton yield. (The first real success was Grapple X, which was dropped over Kiribati on 8th November 1957 and produced a yield of 1.8 megatons – this is regarded as the date when Britain actually became a thermonuclear power.)
60 years ago (16 May 1957)
Death of Eliot Ness, American federal law enforcement officer. Best known for his efforts to enforce Prohibition in Chicago, Illinois. Leader of ‘The Untouchables’ – the legendary fearless and incorruptible group that worked to end Al Capone’s illegal activities.
60 years ago (28 May 1957)
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, best known for the Grammy Awards, was established in Hollywood.
60 years ago (31 May 1957)
The British Computer Society (BCS) was formed. Its first president was the renowned computer scientist Maurice Wilkes.
50 years ago (1 May 1967)
American singer Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas.
50 years ago (5 May 1967)
Ariel 3, the first satellite designed and built in Britain, was launched to study the Earth’s atmosphere. It remained operational (or semi-operational) until September 1969 when it was deactivated. It re-entered the atmosphere in December 1970.
50 years ago (25 May 1967)
Celtic became the first British football team to win the European Cup, beating Internazionale Milan 2 – 1 in Lisbon, Portugal.
50 years ago (28 May 1967)
British sailor and aviator Sir Francis Chichester became the first person to complete a true solo circumnavigation of the world from west to east via the clipper route and great capes.
50 years ago (30 May 1967)
The Republic of Biafra was established when the Eastern Region of Nigeria declared independence. (After a bitter civil war, Biafra was reintegrated with Nigeria in January 1970.)
50 years ago (30 May 1967)
Death of Claude Rains, British-born American stage and film actor. Noted for his smooth, polished style. His films include The Invisible Man, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia and more.
40 years ago (25 May 1977)
The film Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) was released in the USA. (UK: 27th December.)
40 years ago (27 May 1977)
British punk rock band the Sex Pistols released their controversial single God Save the Queen. It reached #2 in the charts during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in June. Many believe the sales figures were manipulated to keep it from the #1 spot.
40 years ago (29 May 1977)
American racing driver Janet Guthrie became the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500. (She suffered engine problems and finished 29th.)
30 years ago (28 May 1987)
Mathias Rust, a 19-year-old amateur pilot from West Germany, illegally landed his plane in Red Square, Moscow, Soviet Union. (He was arrested and detained until August 1988.)
25 years ago (6 May 1992)
Death of Marlene Dietrich, German-born American stage and film actress and singer.
25 years ago (9 May 1992)
Westray Mine Disaster, Nova Scotia, Canada. 26 miners were killed by a methane explosion.
20 years ago (6 May 1997)
The Bank of England was granted operational independence by the government. It was also granted sole responsibility for setting the country’s interest rates.
20 years ago (11 May 1997)
The IBM computer Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a six-game match in New York City, USA. (Kasparov: 1 win, Deep Blue: 2 wins, drawn games: 3.)
20 years ago (27 May 1997)
American software developer Eric S. Raymond published his famous essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which discusses software engineering methods – particularly the struggle between top-down and bottom-up design. The essay, and his 1999 book of the same name, is regarded as the principal manifesto of the open source software movement.
10 years ago (25 May 2007)
Google Street View was launched in the USA. It provides panoramic views along streets, and now covers many parts of the world.
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