This Day in History

May 1


305      Diocletian abdicates after reigning 22 years—only Roman emperor to voluntarily abdicate the position   1712
1006      supernova in Lupus first observed—SN 1006reaches −7.5 magnitude whch is brightest supernova in recorded history   1011
1328      Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton is ratified by the English Parliament recognizing Scottish independence   689
1455      Battle of Arkinholm near Langholm ends in a victory for King James II of Scotland over Black Douglases   562
1699      Fort Maurepas (Old Biloxi) is completed by the French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville—first settlement in the Mississippi valley   318
1700      English poet and playwright John Dryden dies in London, age 68   317
1707      Union of Parliaments of Scotland and England form the Kingdom of Great Britain   310
1731      German composer and violinist Johann Ludwig Bach dies in Meiningen, Germany, age 54   286
1753      publication of Species Plantarum by Linnaeus—formal start date of plant taxonomy of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature   264
1759      Josiah Wedgwood founds the Wedgwood pottery company in Stoke-on-Trent, England   258
1840      Penny Black, the world's first adhesive postage stamp used in a public postal system, is issued in Britain   177
1851      Great Exhibition with the Crystal Palace opens—first "World's Fair" of culture and industry   166
1873      Scottish missionary and explorer in Africa David Livingstone dies, age 60   144
1873      first U.S. postal card issued   144
1900      explosion in the Winters Quarter Mine near Scofield, Utah, kills over 200   117
1904      Czech composer Anton Dvorák dies, age 62   113
1909      first patients admitted to The Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) in Washington, D.C.   108
1920      longest Major League Baseball game—Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) battle 26 innings to a 1-1 tie   97
1929      7.2 earthquake strikes in the Kopet Dag area of northern Iran—3800 killed and 1100 others injured   88
1931      Empire State Building in New York opens   86
1941      Cherrios introduced as the first oat-based, ready-to-eat cold cereal—originally named CheeriOats   76
1958      James Van Allen publishes the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts   59
1960      the U-2 piloted by Gary Powers shot down over Soviet airspace   57
1963      James Whittaker becomes first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest   54
1977      constituency votes to change name from Southwestern Union College to Southwestern Adventist College   40
1991      Nolan Ryan pitches his seventh career no-hitter—three more than any other pitcher   26
1992      Rickey Henderson steals his 1000th base—continues to set record 1406   25
1998      Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas, is dedicated   19
2008      Anthony Joseph Mamo, first president of Malta (1974-1976), dies, age 99   9
2013      British writer Stuart Wilde dies, age 66   4
2014      French computer scientist known for inventing Abstract interpretation Radhia Cousot dies in New York City, age 67   3
2015      Canadian University College in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada, officially becomes Burman University   2
2016      last time elephants perform for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus—last show in Providence, Rhode Island   1
   May Day 

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

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