June 5th in History

“Tank Man” at Tiananmen Square, June 5, 1989

Today in History

  • Benjamin Franklin performs his kite experiment (1752)
  • The first installment of Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published as a magazine serial (1851)
  • The first Orient Express departs Paris (1883)
  • Denmark amends its constitution to allow women’s suffrage (1916)
  • World War I: Conscription begins in the US (1917)
  • Congress abrogates the gold standard for the US (1933)
  • Elvis Presley performs “Hound Dog” on The Milton Berle Show, scandalizing the audience with his hip movements (1956)
  • Robert F. Kennedy is shot by Sirhan Sirhan. He will die the next day (1968)
  • The “Tank Man,” also called the “Unknown Protestor” halts a column of advancing tanks in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests (1989)
  • The Bose-Einstein condensate is first created (1995)


  • Adam Smith, economist (1723 — O.S.* 16 June)
  • Pat Garrett, sheriff who killed Billy the Kid (1850)
  • Pancho Villa, Mexican general (1878)
  • John Maynard Keynes, economist (1883)
  • Salvatore Ferragamo, shoe designer (1898)
  • Richard Scarry, children’s book author and artist (1919)
  • Cornelius Ryan, journalist and author (1920)
  • Art Donovan, football player (1925)
  • Robert Lansing, actor (1928)
  • Bill Moyers, journalist and TV host (1934)
  • Spalding Gray, actor and screenwriter (1941)
  • Laurie Anderson, musician (1947)
  • Ken Follett, author (1949)
  • Suze Orman, TV financial advisor (1951)
  • Kenny G, saxophonist (1956)
  • Mark Wahlberg, rapper and actor (1971)

* People whose lives overlap the change from the Julian “old style” calendar to the Gregorian calendar frequently have dates of birth and death given using both calendars.


  • Saint Boniface, patron saint of Germany (754)
  • Stephen Crane, author (1900)
  • O. Henry, author (1910)
  • Conway Twitty, singer-songwriter (1933)
  • Mel Tormé, singer-songwriter (1999)
  • Dee Dee Ramone, singer-songwriter (2002)
  • Ronald Reagan, actor and US president (2004)
  • Ray Bradbury, author (2012)

Holidays and Celebrations

  • Apostle’s Day (Czech Republic)
  • Arbor Day (New Zealand)
  • Constitution Day (Denmark and Faroe Islands)
  • Dame Lois Browne-Evans Day (Bermuda)
  • Father’s Day (Denmark)
  • Feast of Núr (Bahá’í)
  • Flag Day (Turkey)
  • Indian Arrival Day (Suriname)
  • Khordad Movement Anniversary (Iran)
  • Liberation Day (Seychelles)
  • President’s Day (Equatorial Guinea)
  • World Environment Day/World Campaign for the Biosphere Day (United Nations)
Informal and made-up holidays include Attitude Day, Fairies’ Judgment Day, Family Yahtzee Day, the Festival of Popular Delusions, Fly a Kite Day (in honor of Benjamin Franklin), Hot Air Balloon Day, National Gingerbread Day, Orthodox Ascension Day, and Shut Up Day.
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June 5 is the 156th day of the year (157th in leap years). There are 209 days remaining until the end of the year.