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May - History, Trivia & Fun Facts

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May Trivia

Now You Know...

Birthstone: Emerald
Flower: Daisy or Sweet Pea

Taurus (April 21 - May 20)
Gemini (May 21 - June 21)

More May lore here

Spanish: En mayo
Italian: Mei
French: Mei
German: Mai
Polish: Maj
Latin: Maius

May Trivia

First Saturday in May: National Homebrew Day
The 3rd Monday of May and the rest of the week: American Craft Beer Week
May is traditionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic traditions.
ALS Awareness Month
Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
Barbecue Month
Better Hearing and Speech Month
International Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness month
Bike Month
National Blood Pressure Month
Brain Tumor Awareness Month.
Burger Month
Celiac Awareness Month
Chocolate Custard Month
Community Action Awareness Month
Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month
Date Your Mate Month
Egg Month
Electrical Safety Month
Foster Care Month
Garden for Wildlife Month
National Golf Month
Haitian Heritage Month
Hamburger Month
Hepatitis Awareness Month
Jewish American Heritage Month
International Mediterranean Diet Month
Loaded Potato Month
Mental Health Awareness Month
Military Appreciation Month
Mobility Awareness Month
Moving Month
Older Americans Month
National Osteoporosis Month
Photagrapher Month
Salad Month
Salsa Month
Skin Cancer Awareness Month
National Smile Month
Strawberry Month
Stroke Awareness Month
Water Safety Month
World Trade Month

The month 'may' have been named for the Greek goddess Maia, who was identified with the Roman goddess of fertility, Bona Dea, whose festival was held in May.

In Japan, there is a so-called 'May sickness', where new students or workers start to be tired of their new schoolwork or jobs. (In Japan school years and fiscal years start on April 1st).

May is a character in the Merchant's Tale part of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. May was young woman who married a 60 year-old knight Januarie. The name is thought to represent youth opposing her husband's old age. In the tale she weds the old knight but has an affair with his squire, who the Merchant indicates may be the true father of May and Januarie's child.

The first Saturday is the Kentucky Derby.

The second Sunday in May is Mother's Day.

Old saying: April Showers Bring May Flowers.
Old joke: What do Mayflowers bring?

answer: Pilgrims.

Flowers are natural fireworks in extreme slow motion.

For the want of a nail, the horseshoe was lost;
For the want of a horseshoe a horse was lost;
For the want of a horse, the rider was lost;
For the want of a rider, the message was lost;
For the want of a message, the battle was lost;
For the want of a battle, the war was lost;
For the want of a war, the kingdom was lost;
And all for the want of a horseshoe's nail.

May Is...

. Better Sleep Month
. National Good Car Care Month
. National Photo Month
. National Salad Month
. National Egg Month
. National Barbecue Month
. Revise Your Work Schedule Month
. Date Your Mate Month
. National Hamburger Month
. Fungal Infection Awareness
. Skin Cancer Awareness Month
. Zombie Awareness Month
. National Military Awareness Month.

May In Pop Culture History

May 1
526 (Earthquake) Antioch, Byzantine Empire (Turkey) May 1

May 1 is Law Day, begun in 1958. "A national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law. Law Day underscores how law and the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans share."

1951 - Great Exhibition opened in the Crystal Palace in London with over 10,000 exhibitors.

1941 - Citizen Kane debuted at the RKO Palace Theater in New York City.

1960 - American U-2 spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union.

1983 - V miniseries began broadcasting on NBC

2011 - Osama bin Laden was reported killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan.

May 2
1670 - Hudson's Bay Company was chartered by King Charles II of England.

1960 - Dick Clark concluded his second day of testimony in the Payola scandal, saving his career. "Believe me this is not as unusual as it may seem. I think the crime I have committed, if any, is that I made a great deal of money in a short time on little investment. But that is the record business."

1965 - The Rolling Stones made their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

1982 - The Weather Channel began broadcasting in the US

2008 - Cyclone Nargis, Myanmar

2008 - Marvel's Iron Man was released in theaters.

May 3
1951 - The Senate Armed Forces and Foreign Relations Committees began hearings of General Douglas MacArthur.

1952 - Flying US Air Force C-47, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph O. Fletcher and Lieutenant Colonel William P. Benedict becme the first to land a plane on the North Pole.

1977 - British journalist David Frost interviewed former President Richard Nixon.

1980 - 13-year-old Cari Lightner of Fair Oaks, California, was hit and killed by a drunk driver. Her mother, Candy Lightner, later founded the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)

1986 - 54-year-old Willie Shoemaker, riding 18:1shot Ferdinand, becamethe oldest jockey ever to win the Kentucky Derby

1991- The final episode of Dallas was broadcast on the CBS network; it was resurrected 21 years later on TNT.

2007 - Nearly 4 year old Madeleine McCann of Rothley, England, disappeared during a family vacation at a resort in southern Portugal.

May 4
May 4 is Star Wars Day. "May the Fourth be with you."

1886 - A labor protest in Haymarket Square in Chicago, Illinois resulted in 100 wounded and 8 police officers killed.

1948 - Norman Mailer's first novel, The Naked and the Dead, was published.

1970 - Jeffrey Glenn Miller, Allison B. Krause, William Knox Schroeder and Sandra Lee Scheuer were killed by National Guard troops at Ohio's Kent state campus.

1990 - Jesse Tafero was executed in Florida after his electric chair malfunctioned three times, causing his hair & head to catch fire.

May 5
1821 - Corsica-born Napoleon Bonaparte died as a British prisoner on the remote island of Saint Helena in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

1862 - General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated a French army led by General Charles Latrille de Lorencez that was attempting to capture Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. This was the initial Cinco de Mayo cause for celebration.

1961 - Navy Commander Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. was launched into space aboard the Freedom 7 space capsule, the first American astronaut to travel into space.

2002 - Spider-Man was released and became the fastest movie ever to earn more than $100 million at the box office, raking in $114.8 million by Sunday, May

May 6
1840 (Tornado) Natchez, Mississippi

1933 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order creating the Works Progress Administration (WPA)

1937 - The Hindenburg exploded over Lakehurst, New Jersey, killing 36 passengers and crewmembers.

1954 - Roger Bannister broke four-minute mile (3:59.4) at the Iffley Road Track in Oxford, England

1956 - Elvis Presley appeared on the Milton Berle Show

1984 - Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer, collectively called Spinal Tap, performed at CBGB's in NYC.

2013 - Michelle Knight, Amada Berry and Gina DeJesus were freed after being held for years in the home of Ariel Castro.

May 7
1896 - Dr. H. H. Holmes, one of America's first well-known serial killers, was hanged to death in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Over 200 bodies were found in his property.

1902 (Volcano) Mount Pelee (Mount Pele), Martinique

1915 - A German U-boat sank the Lusitania

1994 - Norway's most famous painting, 'The Scream' by Edvard Munch (1893), was recovered almost three months after it was stolen from a museum in Oslo.

1998 - Germany's Daimler-Benz announced the purchase of the Chrysler Corporation, forming DaimlerChrysler AG. It was sold again in 2006, forming Chrysler LLC.

May 8
1902 (Tornado) Goliad, Texas

1945 - V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) was celebrated in America and Great Britain.

1963 - Dr No, starring Sean Connery, opened in theaters.

1984 - The Soviet Union announced that they were boycotting the 1984 Olympics.

2010 - Betty White hosted Saturday Night Live, thanks to a push by fans on Facebook. She won an Emmy for her appearance.

May 9
1887 - Buffalo Bill's Wild West show opened in London, England.

1914 - Although referred to since the late 1800s, US President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Mother's Day holiday on this date.

1950 - L. Ron Hubbard (Lafayette Ronald Hubbard) published Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.

1955 - Harpo Marx appeared on a very special I Love Lucy Episode

1960 - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the world's first commercially produced birth-control bill-Enovid-10.

1961 - Newton Minow, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, referred to television as the "vast wasteland"

1992- The Golden Girls aired their series finale.

May 10
1869 - Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads completed the Transcontinental Railroad.

1877 - US President Rutherford B. Hayes has the White House's first telephone installed in the 'telegraph room.'

1924 - J. Edgar Hoover as named acting director of the Bureau of Investigation (now the FBI).

1980 - The US Government gave Chrysler a $1.5 billion loan.

1994 - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was sworn in as the first black president of South Africa.

May 11
1942 - Go Down, Moses, by William Faulkner, was published

1947 - B.F. Goodrich Co. announced the development of tubeless tire.

1950 - Evelyn and Paul Trent took the McMinnville UFO photographs

1953 (Tornado) Waco, Texas

1980 - Bob Marley died from lung cancer

1996 - Captain Planet and The Planeteer series came to an end.

1997 - IBM's supercomputer Deep Blue defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov.

May 12
1932 - The body of the Lindbergh baby was found less than a mile from the Lindbergh home in Hopewell, New Jersey.

1963 - Bob Dylan walked out on The Ed Sullivan Show before his planned appearance over the lyrics to the song he would perform: 'Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues.'

1993- The Wonder Years television series came to an end

1995 - Day time soap opera As The World Turns aired its 10,000th episode

2008 (Earthquake) Sichuan, China

May 13
1607 - English in Virginia founded Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America.

1972 - A fire at the Playtown Cabaret nightclub in Osaka, Japan killed 118 people.

1973 - Bobby Riggs beat Margaret Court in a $10,000 winner-take-all challenge tennis match. Billie Jean King played him on September 20, 1973 and won the second BATTLE OF THE SEXES.

1981 - Pope John Paul II was shot by Mehmet Ali Agca.

1985 - Philadelphia Mayor W. Wilson Goode ordered police to raid the MOVE headquarters, and a small bomb was detonated on top of 6221 Osage Avenue. Six adults and five children were killed in the fire that destroyed the entire block.

May 14
1796 - Edward Jenner, a doctor from Gloucestershire, England successfully tested his vaccination for smallpox.

1804 - Lewis and Clark expedition left St. Louis, Missouri, on a mission to explore the Northwest from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.

1842 - Alfred Lord Tennyson published Poems.

1948 - In Tel Aviv, Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel

1955 - The Warsaw Pact was signed between the Soviet Union, Albania, Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria in response to the west's North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

1973 - Skylab as launched

1998 - 76.3 million people tuned in for the series finale of Seinfeld

1998 - Celebrity Deathmatch premiered on MTV

May 15
1793 - Diego Marín Aguilera flew a glider for approximately 1,000 feet during one of the first attempted manned flights, in Spain.

1800 - President John Adams ordered the new US federal government to leave Philadelphia and move to the nation's new capital in Washington DC.

1862 - President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law creating the United States Bureau of Agriculture. It was later renamed the United States Department of Agriculture.

1895 - A guesstimated F5 tornado hit Sherman, Texas and killed 73 people.

1942 - Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACs) was formed, granting women official military status.

2001 - The final Friends episode aired on NBC, titled "The One with Monica and Chandler's Wedding"

May 16
1964 - Motown Records got its first #1 hit with 'My Guy' by Mary Wells.

1983 - The concert special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever was broadcast by NBC; Michael Jackson performed his "moonwalk" dance for the first time on television

1996 - 12 million people tuned in for the series finale of Murder, She Wrote on CBS. The show was the longest running American Murder-Mystery drama

1998 - Unsolved Mysteries true-crime series ended.

2014 - Broadcast journalist and TV personality Barbara Walters retired from ABC News and from daytime program 'The View.'

May 17
1536 - The annulment of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn's marriage.

1792 - The New York Stock Exchange was formed

1954 - The US Supreme Court handed down an unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling that racial segregation in public educational facilities was unconstitutional.

1965 - Written in 1955, the FBI Laboratory, after a formal investigation that began in 1964, declared the lyrics of "Louie Louie" to be officially "Unintelligible at any speed."

1970 - Thor Heyerdahl and a multinational crew set out from Morocco across the Atlantic Ocean in Ra II in 57 days.

2000 - The final episode of Beverly Hills 90210 aired on FOX.

2004 - The first legal same-sex marriages in the US were performed in the state of Massachusetts.

May 18
1946 - A UFO, with living creatures inside, was reported by Gosta Carlsson, in Sweden.

1958 - Team Lotus made its Formula One debut in the Monaco Grand Prix.

1980 (Volcano Eruption) Mount St. Helens in Washington erupted with a 5.1 magnitude, causing a massive avalanche and killed 57 people.

1980 - Ian Curtis of post-punk band Joy Division committed suicide. The remaining members went on to form New Order.

1998 - Murphy Brown TV series ended on CBS.

2001 - Based on William Steig's 1990 children's book, Shrek was released in movie theaters.

May 19
1965 - Pete Townshend wrote "My Generation" today, his 20th birthday on a train. He was on a train because his car, a 1935 Packard hearse, was ordered away by the Queen.

1994 - In Living Color (FOX) and L.A. Law (NBC) came to an end

1996 - Sundance Channel made its debut.

1997 - Avian flu, A(H5N1), killed a three-year-old boy in Hong Kong, its first victim.

2006 - The Da Vinci Code opened in theaters.

2009 - Glee premiered on FOX

May 20
1873 - Levi Strauss patented copper-riveted jeans, designed to help prevent tears in the fabric.

1927 - American aviator Charles A. Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, on the world's first solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean (New York to Paris.)

1957 - Pilot Milton Torres was ordered to intercept a UFO over East Anglia, UK

1993 - 80 million people watched the series finale of Cheers on NBC

1994- The Joan Rivers Show (FOX) came to an end

1995 - Star Search (syndicated) came to an end.

1995 - Pennsylvania Avenue, in front of the White House, was closed to traffic

1996 - NBC's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air series came to an end

1997 - Roseanne series came to an end on ABC

2003 - America's Next Top Model premiered on UPN

May 21
1975 - Carol Burnett was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame

1992- The first episode of The Real World aired on MTV

1992- The final episode of MacGyver aired on ABC

1999- All My Children actress Susan Lucci finally received an Emmy award for her role as Erica Kane. She had been previously nominated a record 18 times with no win.

2008 - David Cook won American Idol season seven

May 22
1455 - England's War of the Roses began when the Yorkists defeated King Henry VI's Lancastrian forces at St. Albans.

1927 (Earthquake) Gulang/Gansu, China

1960 (Earthquake) Chile killed 5,000 and left 2,000,000 homeless.

1992 - Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show for the last time

1993- NBC broadcasted the graduation episode (series finale) for Saved By The Bell

1995- Blossom came to an end on NBC

2011 (Tornado) Joplin, Missouri

May 23
1934 - Bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde ere shot to death in stolen Ford Deluxe near Bienville Parish, Louisiana.

1960 (Tsunami) Caused by yesterday's earthquake off the coast of Chile, a tsunami travelled across the Pacific Ocean and killed 61 people in Hilo, Hawaii.

1994 - Star Trek: The Next Generation aired its final episode titled "All Good Things". It aired at 6pm rather than being part of the prime-time line-up

1995 - ABC's Full House came to an end

2005 - Tom Cruise famously jumped around on Oprah Winfrey's couch, proclaiming his love for Katie Holmes

2007 - Jordin Sparks won America Idol season six

2012 - Phillip Phillips won American Idol season eleven

May 24
1775 - John Hancock was elected president of the Second Continental Congress.

1884 - Samuel F.B. Morse sent the first public telegraph message - "What Hath God Wrought?" through the Washington-to-Baltimore telegraph line.

1883 - The Brooklyn Bridge over the East River opened, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn.

1935 - The Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 in Major League Baseball's first-ever night game at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1943 - Josef Mengele, the "Angel of Death" began working at the Auschwitz, Poland concentration camp.

1991 - Thelma and Louise, starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, was released. Their car was a 1966 Ford Thunderbird.

1995 - ABC made the announcement that an episode of All My Children was deleted from broadcast due to the recent Oklahoma City bombing. In the storyline a character was supposed to explode a church in which her ex was re-marrying.

2006 - Taylor Hicks won American Idol season five

May 25
1935 - At Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Babe Ruth hit his 714th (and final) home run.

1977 - Star Wars opened Memorial Day weekend, marking the biggest entertainment juggernaut in modern popular culture.

1977 - Chinese government removed the ban on the works of William Shakespeare, the biggest entertainment juggernaut in the Elizabethan era.

1992 - Jay Leno made his debut as the new host of The Tonight Show.

1994 - George Swanson was buried in Brush Creek Cemetery, in the driver's seat of his 1984 white Corvette in Hempfield County, Pennsylvania.

1996 - Sublime singer/guitarist Bradley Nowel died from a heroin overdose. He was not 27

2005 - Carrie Underwood won season four of America Idol on FOX.

2011- Oprah Winfrey hosted the final episode of her her daytime show.

May 26
1293 (Eartquake) Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan, killing about 30,000.

1869 - Boston University was chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

1896 - Charles Dow published the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

1897 - Bram Stoker's Dracula novel began being sold in the UK.

1917 (Tornadoes) Matoon and Charlestown Illinois

1977 - George Willig illegally climbed the South Tower of New York City's World Trade Center.

1990 - The final episode of The Tracey Ullman Show aired on FOX

2012 - Planet Green became Destination America on cable television

May 27
In 1994, the National League and American League Baseball M.V.P.s were Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas, respectively. Jeff and Frank were both born on the exact same day: May 27, 1968.

1896 (Tornado) St. Louis and East St. Louis, Missouri

1937 - The Golden Gate Bridge, connecting San Francisco with Marin County, California opened. Today was "Pedestrian Day" - cars were allowed the following day.

1941 - The British navy sank the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic near France, killing over 2,000 Germans.

1963 - Bob Dylan's second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, was released.

1983 - Benton Fireworks Disaster, Tennessee

1994- The Arsenio Hall Show came to an end on FOX

May 28
585 BC - A solar eclipse occurred, as predicted by the Greek philosopher and scientist Thales. Knowing this exact date helped historians find other exact and near exact historical dates.

1830 - US President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act which relocated Native Americans.

1892 - In San Francisco, California, John Muir organized the Sierra Club.

1902 - Owen Wister's The Virginian was published by Macmillan Press. The book made the American Cowboy an icon.

1935 - John Steinbeck's first successful novel, Tortilla Flat, was published.

1937 - Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH, later renamed Volkswagenwerk, or Volkswagon was founded.

1964 - The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed.

1987 - Matthias Rust, a 19-year-old amateur pilot from West Germany, took off from Helsinki, Finland, in his Cessna, and landed in Red Square, the heart of the Soviet Union.

1998 - Former Saturday Night Live actor and comedian Phil Hartman was shot and killed by his wife Brynn, in a murder/suicide.

1999 - In Milan, Italy, after 22 years of restoration work, Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece The Last Supper was put back on display. It is bigger than most people think - it is life size, almost 29 feet wide.

May 29
1453 - Ottoman armies under Sultan Mehmed II Fatih captured Constantinople after a 53-day siege, commonly referred to as The Fall of Constantinople.

1790 - Rhode Island was the last of the original United States' colonies to ratify the Constitution and was admitted as the 13th US state.

1914 - Heavy fog caused a collision between cruise ship Empress of Ireland and coal freighter, the Storstad on the St. Lawrence River in Canada that killed 1,073 people, mostly tourist passengers on the Empress.

1953 - Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, became the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which is at 29,035 feet above sea level.

1954 - First of the annual Bilderberg conferences was held in the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Netherlands.

1979 - Actor Woody Harrelson's father, Charles Harrelson, was charged with the murder of Judge John Wood.

2004 - The National World War II Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C.

May 30
1431 - At Rouen, Normandy, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for heresy.

1631 - Gazette de France, the first French newspaper, began publication.

1806 - Future US President Andrew Jackson participated in a duel, killing Charles Dickinson. Dickinson shot first, wounding Jackson, but Jackson's shot at Dockinson was fatal. Most of Andrew Jackson's duels were for the questioned honor of his wife, Rachel.

1911 - The inaugural Indianapolis 500 was run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana.

1966 - Launch of Surveyor 1, the first US spacecraft to land on an extraterrestrial body (the Moon).

2008 - The film version of HBO's comedy series Sex and the City, starring Sarah Jessica Parker was released.

May 31
1859 - Big Ben, located at the top London's 320-foot-high St. Stephen's Tower, began operating.

1889 - Johnston, Pennsylvania Flood

1935 (Earthquake) British India (Pakistan)

1970 (Earthquake) Yungay, Peru

1977 - The Sex Pistol's 'God Save The Queen" was banned from performing on the BBC.

1997 - Singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley drowned while swimming in his pool. He was not 27.

2000 - Survivor premiered on CBS

2005 - W. Mark Felt's family announced that assistant FBI director Felt, was in fact, "Deep Throat" - the insider who told reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein the details about President Nixon's Watergate scandal.

2006 - The Hills premiered on MTV

 





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