May 1

Christopher Columbus1486, Christopher Columbus convinced Queen Isabella of Spain to fund an exploratory route to the far east, via a western sailing route.

1931, the Empire State Building is opened in New York City. For its time, it is the world’s tallest building with 102 stories. It held the word record for tallest building for forty years until One World Trade Center was completed. After the demise of the World Trade Center towers, the Empire State Building reclaimed the title of tallest building in New York City. It is third tallest in the U.S. and fifteenth in the world.

May 2

1611, the King James version of the Holy Bible began to be printed by the royal printer, Robert Barker of London. He lost his printer’s license and good standing when in 1631, he and his help accidentally left out the word “not” from Exodus 20:14. This printing is referred to as the “wicked bible” or “sinner’s bible”. Due to the omission, he was fined and was in and out of prison till his death in 1645.

May 3

1802, Washington D.C. is incorporated as a city.

1936, the “Yankee Clipper”, a.k.a. “Joltin’ Joe” DiMaggio debuted with the New York Yankees.

1957, Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley decides to move the team to Los Angeles.

1973, with 108 floors, the Sears Tower became the tallest building in the world at 1,451 feet, surpassing the 1,368 feet-tall One World Trade Center of Manhattan.

May 4

1415, John Wycliffe and Jan Hus are condemned as heretics by the Council of Constance. The Council convened from November 16, 1414 through April 22, 1418, in Constance, Germany. Among other topics debated was the selection of one pope, versus the three that were claiming the title since the death of Pope Gregory XI in 1377 (Gregory XII, Benedict XIII at Avignon, and John XXIII.) Jan Hus was ordered to the Council, condemned and burnt at the stake on July 6, 1415.

May 5

1891, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky is the guest conductor at the grand opening of the “Music Hall” in New York City. The name was later changed to Carnegie Hall in 1893.

1862, the Battle of Puebla occurred in which the French were repelled by Mexican forces under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin in the state of Puebla. In Puebla it is celebrated as “El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla”, as a celebration of heritage and pride, but not as Mexico’s independence day (September 16).

May 6

1536, King Henry VIII ordered that English language Bibles be placed in every church.

Hindenburg burning1937, the Hindenburg caught fire while docking at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

1941, Bob Hope made his first USO tour performance at March Field.

May 9

1754, the cartoon of a segmented snake was printed in Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper with the words, “Join, or Die” under the illustration.

1944, Jimmie Davis, the gospel and country music artist who wrote, “You Are My Sunshine”, took office as governor of Louisiana for his first term. He was re-elected governor in 1959 and served his second term from 1960-64.

May 10

1773, King George III gave royal consent to the Tea Act, enacting a tax upon all tea sold to the American colonies. Throughout the 1760s and 1770s, England’s law was that the East India Company could only sell its tea in London to certain merchants. Then it was resold with taxes to the colonists. Smuggled tea or Dutch merchant tea was much cheaper but illegal, and was purchased, in part, as a method of protest. By December, the colonists in Boston were quite disenfranchised with the British laws so much that they stormed three ships and dumped crates of tea overboard. In Charleston, tea was simply left at the docks to rot.

May 13

1940, Winston Churchill took office as Britain’s Prime Minister. In his first speech, Churchill stated some of his most famous lines: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Also, “Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be.”

May 17

1792, at 68 Wall Street, New York, the Buttonwood Agreement is signed by a group of 24 stockbrokers, creating what would eventually become known as the New York Stock and Exchange Board, later changing its name to NYSE. The first building used was at 40 Wall Street. The Exchange moved in 1865 to 10-12 Broad Street.

May 18

1860, Abraham Lincoln is chosen as the presidential nominee for the Republican party.

1958, Lotus Engineering Company debuted two Formula One Lotus 12 racing cars in the Monaco Grand Prix. Though neither driver finished first, the car was improved upon and Lotus went on to win many races for the next 36 years, when they stopped racing in 1994.

1980, Mt. St. Helens erupted in Washington state.

May 19

1943, Roosevelt and Churchill made plans for the D-Day invasion, setting May 1, 1944 for the invasion date. But due to bad weather conditions, it was pushed back to June 6.

May 29

1971, Magic Mountain amusement park opened in Valencia, California. In 1979 its name was changed to Six Flags Magic Mountain. In 2011 they briefly held the record for having 18 operating roller coasters, but one was removed, sharing the record with Cedar Point of just 17 roller coasters.

May 30

1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act goes into effect, establishing the territories by the same name and their boundaries.

Big-ben-18581859, Big Ben was heard for the first time in the clock tower of Westminster, London.

 Posted by on 05/18/2012 Almanac   Add comments