May 18 in History

Painting: Portrait de Napoléon en costume impérial, by Jacques-Louis David, 1805.
Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French on May 18, 1804.

Today in History

  • Henry II marries Eleanor of Aquitaine (1152)
  • Rhode Island passes the first law in English-speaking North America outlawing slavery (1652)
  • Napoleon is proclaimed Emperor of the French (1804)
  • Abraham Lincoln wins the Republican nomination for the US Presidency (1860)
  • The Supreme Court endorses “separate but equal” in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
  • The Earth passes through the tail of Comet Halley (1910)
  • Apollo 10 is launched (1969)
  • India becomes the sixth nation to detonate a nuclear weapon (1974)

Birthdays

  • ‏غیاث عمر (Omar Khayyám), poet and scientist (1048)
  • Mathew Brady, photographer (1822)
  • Nicholas II, Russian emperor (1868 — O.S. May 6*)
  • Bertrand Russell, mathematician and philosopher (1872)
  • Walter Gropius, architect (1883)
  • Ezio Pinza, opera singer (1892)
  • Frank Capra, filmmaker (1897)
  • Jacob Javits, politician (1904)
  • Perry Como, singer (1912)
  • Margot Fonteyn, ballerina (1919)
  • John Paul II, pontiff (1920)
  • Pernell Roberts, actor (1928)
  • Fred Saberhagen, science fiction author (1930)
  • Don Martin, Mad cartoonist (1931)
  • Dwayne Hickman, ator (1934)
  • Brooks Robinson, baseball player (1937)
  • Reggie Jackson, baseball player (1946)
  • Mark Mothersbaugh, singer-songwriter (1950)
  • 周潤發 (Chow Yun-fat), actor (1955)
  • Tina Fey, comedienne (1970)

Deaths

  • Elijah Craig, invented bourbon (1808)
  • Gustav Mahler, composer (1911)
  • Hal Chase, baseball player (1947)
  • Mary McLeod Bethune, activist (1955)
  • Ernie Davis, football player (1963)
  • Arthur O’Connell, actor (1981)
  • William Saroyan, author (1961)
  • Daws Butler, voice actor (1988)
  • Jill Ireland, actress (1990)
  • Elisha Cook, Jr., actor (1955)
  • Александр Годунов (Alexander Godunov), ballet dancer (1995)
  • Elizabeth Montgomery, actress (1995)

Holidays and Celebrations

  • Apollon Day (Ireland)
  • Baltic Fleet Day (Russia)
  • Battle of Las Piedras Day (Uruguay)
  • Day of Revival, Unity, and the Poetry of  مختوم‌قلی فراغی (Magtymguly) (Turkmenistan)
  • Flag and Universities Day (Haiti)
  • Independence Day (Somaliland)
  • International Museum Day (worldwide)
  • முள்ளிவாய்க்கால் நினைவு நாள் (Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day) (Sri Lankan Tamil)
  • World AIDS Vaccine Day (international)
Informal and made-up holidays include National Cheese Souffle Day, No Dirty Dishes Day, and Visit Your Relatives Day.
*O.S., or Old Style, refers to the fact that Russia did not convert from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar until 1918.