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715 May 19
St. Gregory II began his reign as Catholic Pope.
Links: Vatican     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1296 May 19
Pietro di Murrone, former Pope Celestine V, died in the castle of Fumone, where he was imprisoned by his successor, Boniface VIII.
Links: Vatican     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1565 May 19
~ Sep 8, In Malta the Great Siege lasted over this period as Suleyman the Magnificent sought to add the island to his conquests. The Turkish army of 40,000 men besieged the Knights of Malta, led by Grand Master Jean de la Valette, at their garrison, St. Elmo. The defenders numbered 540 knights, 400 Spanish troops, and Maltese gentry. In the initial attack 200 of 260 defenders lay dead at the end of the day but the garrison held out. The Turks continued their efforts for four months when reinforcements arrived and saved them. The arrival of a fleet from Spain, the “Gran Soccorso,” turned the tide. This halted the westward advance of Islam in the Mediterranean. St. Elmo was later transformed into Valletta, the capital of Malta. The Order of St. John continues to thrive to today.
Links: Turkey, Spain, Malta     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1587 May 19
English sea captain John Davis set sail from Dartmouth with 3 ships in a 3rd unsuccessful attempt to find a Northwest passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. 2 ships spent the journey fishing and managed to cover expenses.
Links: Britain, Explorer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1756 May 19
The island of Minorca, one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea and a British possession since 1708, fell to the French as the British garrison at Fort Philip capitulated.
Links: Britain, France     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1780 May 19
A mysterious darkness enveloped much of New England and part of Canada in the early afternoon; the cause has never been determined.
Links: Canada     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1795 May 19
James Boswell (54), friend and biographer of Samuel Johnson, died. His 1791 biography, the Life of Samuel Johnson,” changed the way biographies were written by its emphasis on character and careful research.
Links: Britain, Writer, Biography     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1798 May 19
A French armada of 335 ships carrying nearly 40,000 men set sail for Alexandria, Egypt, which Napoleon planned to conquer. In 2008 Paul Strathern authored “Napoleon in Egypt.”
Links: France, Egypt     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1836 May 19
Comanche warriors in Texas attacked Fort Parker and kidnapped Cynthia Ann Parker (9) and several others. She was recaptured by whites in 1860 and was forced to live among whites until her death in 1871. Her son Quanah (d.1911) escaped capture and grew up to become leader of the Quahadi, the most feared subset of the Comanche. In 2010 S.C. Gwynne authored “Empire of the Southern Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History.”
Links: USA, Texas, AmerIndian     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1845 May 19
May 19, The HMS Erebus and Terror sailed from England under Sir John Franklin to navigate through the Arctic and find the elusive Northwest passage. Sir John Franklin and his 128-member crew all died on the journey and the ships vanished. By 1847 the British Admiralty had received no reports of Franklin. [see Franklin Jun 11, 1847]
Links: Arctic, Britain, Ship, Explorer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1885 May 19
German chancellor Bismarck took possession of Cameroon & Togoland.
Links: Cameroon     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1885 May 19
“Professor” Robert Emmet Odlum of Washington, D.C., a well named swimming instructor and author of pamphlets on diving, jumped from Brooklyn bridge. He entered the water feet first (as was the accepted diving position at the time) and shattered every bone in his frame from heel to skull. He was pulled from the river unconscious and died a half hour later.
Links: USA, NYC, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1890 May 19
Ho Chi Minh, revolutionist and leader of North Vietnam (1946-1969), was born. He fought the Japanese, French and United States to gain independence for his country.
Links: Vietnam     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1901 May 19
John Henry Boalt, an attorney who resided in Oakland, Ca., in the late 19th century, died in Cloverdale, Ca. His widow, Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt, donated funds to the University of California in 1906 to construct the original Boalt Hall on the Berkeley campus. It was dedicated in 1911.
Links: USA, California, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1909 May 19
San Francisco Mayor Edward Taylor wrote a letter to Pres. Taft testifying to the valuable aid of the federal government in the city’s recent campaign against bubonic plague.
Links: USA, Microbiology, SF     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1920 May 19
In Matewan, West Virginia, a gunbattle between coal company-hired detectives and local townspeople leaving 10 men dead, including mayor Cabell Testerman, 2 miners and 7 detectives.
Links: USA, Labor, West Virginia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1921 May 19
Edward W. White (1845-1921), Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court (1910-1921), died. He served 26 years with the last 10 as Chief Justice.
Links: USA, Supreme Court     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1925 May 19
Pol Pot (d.1998), Cambodian dictator and mass murderer, was born in Prek Sbauv, Cambodia.
Links: Cambodia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1935 May 19
Colonel Thomas E. Lawrence (b.1888), better known as Lawrence of Arabia, died 6 days after sustaining head injuries in a motorcycle accident on a Dorset, England, country road. Lawrence served the British Foreign Office as liaison officer during the Arab revolt against the Turks in World War I. His leadership and sympathetic understanding of the Arabs were instrumental in Allied General Edmund Allenby's conquest of Palestine in 1917. Bitterly disappointed by the 1919 Paris Peace Conference's refusal to mandate Arab independence, Lawrence resigned from the Foreign Office in 1922 to write books about his Middle East experiences. In 2011 Michael Korda authored “Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia.” In 20154 Anthony Sattin authored “The Young T.E. Lawrence.”
Links: Britain, Writer, Biography     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1939 May 19
In San Francisco a new Safeway grocery store opened at Bush and Larkin at a site once occupied by Lurline baths.
Links: USA, SF, Food     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1941 May 19
The new 823.5-foot Nazi battleship Bismarck left Gdynia, Poland, under the command of Commander Gunther Lutjens.
Links: Germany, Poland, Ship, WWII     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1942 May 19
Sir Joseph Larmor (b.1857), professor of mathematics, died in Ireland. His contributions bridged the old and the new physics. He published three papers all entitled “A dynamical theory of the electric and luminiferous medium” between 1894 and 1897. These papers presented his theory of the electron, which gained further weight in 1897 when J J Thomson experimentally identified the electron.
Links: Ireland, Physics     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1944 May 19
Friedrich Engel (1909-2006), a Nazi SS officer, oversaw the massacre of 59 Italian prisoners near Genoa. An Italian military court convicted Engel in absentia in 1999 and sentenced him to life for war crimes connected to a total of 246 deaths. In 2002 a German court convicted Engel of 59 counts of murder and handed him a suspended seven-year term.
Links: Italy, Germany     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1955 May 19
In Vietnam Maj. Vo Bam, a defense supply specialist, was instructed to find a supply route south. Bam's route became the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Links: Vietnam     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1958 May 19
The United States and Canada formally established the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).
Links: Canada     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1959 May 19
The Peoples' Army of Vietnam's Military Transportation Group 559 formed on the 69th birthday of Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh. It ultimately resulted in the creation of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The trail was intended to facilitate the infiltrating of troops and transporting supplies from North Vietnam to support the revolution in South Vietnam.
Links: Vietnam     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1960 May 19
Belgian parliament required a rest day for self employed.
Links: Belgium     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1962 May 19
Marilyn Monroe sang "Happy Birthday" to Pres. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden while wearing a dress described as "skin and beads." In 1999 the dress sold for $1.15 million at Christie's auction house. In 2016 the dress sold for nearly $5 million at a Los Angeles auction to Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
Links: USA, KennedyJ, Film Star     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1967 May 19
The first U.S. air strike on central Hanoi in North Vietnam was launched.
Links: Vietnam     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1971 May 19
The Russian Mars 2 Orbiter and Lander made it to Mars but the Lander crashed when braking rockets failed. The orbiter returned late until 1972.
Links: Russia, USSR, Mars     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1972 May 19
Kathy Boudin and Bernardine Dohrn, members of the Weathermen, set explosives in bathroom of the US Pentagon. [See Oct 20,1981]
Links: USA, DC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1974 May 19
Valeri Giscard d'Estaing won French presidential elections.
Links: France     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 May 19
The US Senate established congressional oversight over the CIA with the permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).
Links: USA, CIA     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 May 19
In San Francisco Jenny Read (b.1945), an Episcopal sculptor, was raped and murdered while working on a sculpture of St. John of the Cross in Potrero Hill. In 2009 police using DNA evidence arrested and charged James Lee Mayfield (63), a registered sex offender with her murder.
Links: Artist, USA, SF, Murder, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1977 May 19
David Frost, British talk-show host, extracted an on-air apology from former Pres. Richard Nixon regarding his role in Watergate.
Links: Britain, USA, NixonR     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1978 May 19
In Zaire a hundred Europeans (200 people) were massacred in the mining district of Kolwezi (formerly Katanga) by the Congolese National Liberation Front. French and Belgium paratroops were dropped in to restore order.
Links: Belgium, France, CongoDRC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 May 19
The recording "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)" by The Jacksons peaked at #5 on the pop singles chart.
Links: USA, Pop&Rock     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 May 19
The Regents of the Univ. of California asked General Motors to stop doing business with the police and military forces in South Africa.
Links: USA, California, South Africa, Michigan, Cars     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982 May 19
Sophia Loren (b.1934) began serving 18 days in an Italian prison for failing to pay her taxes.
Links: Italy, Filmstar, Taxes     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982 May 19
Sophia Loren (b.1934) was jailed in Naples for tax evasion.
Links: Italy, Filmstar, Taxes     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1984 May 19
Michael Larson (1949-1999) won $110,000 on the "Press Your Luck" Game Show. He had memorized the generated game patterns.
Links: USA, TV, Games     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1984 May 19
John Betjeman (b.1906), British poet, died. In 2004 Bevis Hillier authored a 3-volume biography of Betjeman. In 2006 A.N. Wilson authored a single volume biography.
Links: Britain, Poet, Biography     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986 May 19
South African commandos struck alleged ANC "operational centers" in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia.
Links: Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 May 19
President Reagan defended America's presence in the Persian Gulf, two days after 37 American sailors were killed when an Iraqi warplane attacked the U.S. frigate Stark.
Links: USA, ReaganR     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 May 19
Carlos Lehder Rivas, co-founder of Colombia's Medellin drug cartel, was convicted in Jacksonville, Florida, of smuggling more than three tons of cocaine into the United States.
Links: Colombia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1988 May 19
Carlos Lehder Rivas, co-founder of Colombia's Medellin drug cartel, was convicted in Jacksonville, Fla., of smuggling more than 3 tons of cocaine into the US.
Links: USA, Colorado, Florida     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 May 19
The NCAA announced sanctions against the University of Kentucky's basketball program for recruiting and academic violations.
Links: USA, Kentucky, Basketball     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 May 19
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average passed the 2500 mark, ending the day at 2,501.10.
Links: DJIA     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 May 19
In Argentina shortly after the presidential elections, stores and supermarkets in several cities were looted.
Links: Argentina     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1990 May 19
The tune "Vogue" by Madonna peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart.
Links: USA, Pop&Rock     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1990 May 19
Summer Squall won the Preakness Stakes.
Links: USA, Maryland, Horse     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1990 May 19
Secretary of State James A. Baker III concluded an agreement with the Soviet Union to destroy chemical weapons and settle longstanding disputes over limits on nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.
Links: Russia, USA, USSR, Nuclear     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 May 19
Martial-law courts in Kuwait began trying people accused of collaborating with Iraqi occupation forces, sentencing one man to life in prison for wearing a Saddam Hussein T-shirt. The trials came under international criticism, and were halted.
Links: Iraq, Kuwait     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1992 May 19
The 27th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibited Congress from giving itself mid-term pay raises, went into effect as it was certified by the archivist of the United States, two centuries after it was first proposed by James Madison. It actually became part of the constitution on May 7, 1992, when Michigan became the 38th state to ratify the amendment.
Links: USA, Michigan     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1992 May 19
In San Francisco, Vice President Dan Quayle denounced what he called the "poverty of values" in America's inner cities, and criticized the TV show "Murphy Brown" for having its title character decide to bear a child out of wedlock.
Links: USA, SF, TV     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1992 May 19
In Massapequa, New York, Mary Jo Buttafuoco was shot and seriously wounded by teen-ager Amy Fisher (17), who claimed to be having an affair with Mrs. Buttafuoco's husband, Joey, an allegation the Buttafuoco's denied. Joey later pleaded guilty to 3rd degree rape and admitted to the affair. In 1998 Mr. Buttafuoco planned to premier a TV show on public cable access for "people jammed up in the media."
Links: USA, New York, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1992 May 19
Members of a Bosnian Serb paramilitary group allegedly killed 11 detained Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) civilians in the Hunters Lodge in Mostina, shooting from automatic rifles and throwing hand grenades through an opened door. In 2010 Milan Kornjaca (56) Milorad Zivkovic 54) and Dusko Tadic (46) were charged with taking part in the killing.
Links: Bosnia, Serbia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 May 19
The US White House set off a political storm by abruptly firing the entire staff of its travel office; five of seven staffers were later reinstated and assigned other duties.
Links: USA     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 May 19
Dow Jones closed above 3,500 for the first Time (3,500.03).
Links: USA, Money, DJIA     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 May 19
A Boeing 727 of Columbian SAM regional airline crashed into a jungle mountain near Medellin and killed all 132 on board.
Links: Colombia, Air Crash     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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