May 19 in History

Today in History

  • Elizabeth I orders the arrest of Mary, Queen of Scots (1568)
  • England is declared a Commonwealth under the leadership of Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell (1649)
  • The centigrade temperature scale is developed (1743)
  • Mexico ratifies the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in which Mexico cedes California, Nevada, Utah, and portions of four other eventual US states to the United States for US$15 million (1848)
  • Oscar Wilde is released from Reading Gaol (1897)
  • The Turkish War of Independence begins (1919)
  • Egypt closes the Suez Canal to Israeli ships and commerce (1950)
  • The Soviet probe Venera 1 becomes the first man-made object to fly-by another planet (1961)
  • Marilyn Monroe sings “Happy Birthday” to JFK (1962 — link to video)
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail is published (1963)

Birthdays

  • ‏Johns Hopkins, university namesake (1795)
  • Lady Astor, politician and socialite (1879)
  • Hồ Chí Minh, North Vietnamese leader (1890)
  • ប៉ុល ពត (Pol Pot), Khmer Rouge leader (1925)
  • Malcolm X, civil rights activist (1925)
  • Paul Erdman, economist (1932)
  • Edward de Bono, creativity theorist (1933)
  • Jim Lehrer, newscaster (1934)
  • David Hartman, newscaster (1935)
  • Nancy Kwan, actress (1939)
  • Nora Ephron, screenwriter (1941)
  • Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca in Star Wars (1944)
  • Pete Townshend, singer-songwriter (1945)
  • André the Giant, wrestler and actor (1946)
  • Grace Jones, singer-songwriter, actress, model (1949)
  • Joey Ramone, singer-songwriter (1951)
  • Nicole Brown Simpson, murder victim (1959)
  • Jodi Picoult, author (1966)
  • Kevin Garnett, basketball player (1976)

Deaths

  • Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII (1536)
  • Charles Montagu, poet and politician (1715)
  • Josiah Bartlett, signer of the US Declaration of Independence (1795)
  • James Boswell, biographer (1795)
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, author (1864)
  • José Martí, poet (1895)
  • William Gladstone, UK Prime Minister (1898)
  • જમ્શેત્જી નુંસ્સેર્વાનજી ટાટા (Jamsetji Tata), founder of Tata Group (1904)
  • Raoul Lufbery, ace (1918)
  • T. E. Lawrence, “Lawrence of Arabia” (1935)
  • Booth Tarkington, author (1946)
  • Charles Ives, composer (1954)
  • Ronald Colman, actor (1958)
  • Coleman Hawkins, saxophonist (1969)
  • Ogden Nash, poet (1971)
  • John Betjeman, poet (1984)
  • James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon), science fiction writer (1987)
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, first lady (1994)
  • Walter Lord, author (2002)
  • Freddy Garrity, lead singer of Freddie and the Dreamers (2006)

Holidays and Celebrations

  • Atatürk’ü Anma, Gençlik ve spor Bayramı (Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day) (Turkey, Northern Cyprus)
  • Flag Day (Finland)
  • Frog Jumping Jubilee Day (Calaveras County, California)
  • Greek Genocide Remembrance Day (Greece)
  • Hồ Chí Minh’s Birthday (Vietnam)
  • Malcolm X Day (United States)
  • Orphan Day (Spain)
  • World Autoimmune Arthritis Day (through May 21, International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis)
Informal and made-up holidays include Accountant’s Day, Be a Millionaire Day, Boys and Girls Clubs Day, Celebrate Your Elected Officials Day, Circus Day, Dark Day, Garage Sale Day, International Chicken Flying Meet, May Ray Day, National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, National Bake Sale Day, National Devil’s Food Cake Day, National Pike Festival, and Sun Awareness Day.