Today in History: May 5 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: May 5

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


Today in History
May 5

1494   Christopher Columbus lands on the island of Jamaica, which he names Santa Gloria.
1814   British attack the American forces at Ft. Ontario, Oswego, New York.
1821   Napoleon Bonaparte, considered by many to be the greatest military leader who ever lived, dies on the tiny island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1834   The first mainland railway line opens in Belgium.
1862   Union and Confederate forces clash at the Battle of Williamsburg, part of the Peninsular Campaign.
1862   Mexican forces loyal to Benito Juarez defeat troops sent by Napoleon III in the Battle of Puebla.
1886   A bomb explodes on the fourth day of a workers’ strike in Chicago.
1912   Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda begins publishing.
1916   U.S. Marines invade the Dominican Republic.
1917   Eugene Jacques Bullard becomes the first African-American aviator when he earns a flying certificate with the French Air Service.
1920   Anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are arrested for murder.
1935   American Jesse Owens sets the long jump record.
1942   General Joseph Stilwell learns that the Japanese have cut his railway out of China and is forced to lead his troops into India.
1945   Holland and Denmark are liberated from Nazi control.
1961   Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space.
1965   173rd Airborne Brigade arrives in Bien Hoa-Vung, Vietnam, the first regular U.S. Army unit deployed to that country.
1968   U.S. Air Force planes hit Nhi Ha, South Vietnam in support of attacking infantrymen.
1969   Pulitzer Prize awarded to Norman Mailer for his ‘nonfiction novel’ Armies of the Night, an account of the 1967 anti-Vietnam War march on the Pentagon.
1987   Congress opens Iran-Contra hearings.
2000   The Sun, Earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn align – Earth’s moon is also almost in this alignment – leading to Doomsday predictions of massive natural disasters, although such a ‘grand confluence’ occurs about once in every century.
Born on May 5
1813   Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher.
1818   Karl Marx, German philosopher (The Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital).
1830   John B. Stetson, American hat maker.
1861   Peter Cooper Hewitt, electrical engineer, inventor of the mercury-vapor lamp.
1883   Charles Albert “Chief” Bender, baseball player.
1890   Christopher Morley, writer (Kitty Foyle).
1899   Freeman F. Gosden, radio comedy writer and performer (Amos ‘n’ Andy).
1909   Carlos Baker, biographer.
1943   Michael Palin, actor and screenwriter (Monty Python’s Flying Circus).