1494 – Christopher Columbus sighted Jamaica on his second trip to the Western Hemisphere. He named the island Santa Gloria.
1798 – U.S. Secretary of War William McHenry ordered that the USS Constitution be made ready for sea. The frigate was launched on October 21, 1797, but had never been put to sea.
1809 – Mary Kies was awarded the first patent to go to a woman. It was for technique for weaving straw with silk and thread.
1814 – The British attacked the American forces at Ft. Ontario, Oswego, NY.
1818 – Socialist writer (“Das Kapital”, “The Communist Manifesto”), founder of communism Karl Marx was born
1834 – The first mainland railway line opened in Belgium.
1862 – The Battle of Puebla took place. It is celebrated as Cinco de Mayo Day.
1865 – The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery in the U.S.
1865 – Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochran Seaman) Journalist, wrote about taboo subjects for her time period (divorce, poverty, capital punishment, insanity), women’s rights advocate
1892 – The U.S. Congress extended the Geary Chinese Exclusion Act for 10 more years. The act required Chinese in the U.S. to be registered or face deportation.
1912 – Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda began publishing.
1916 – U.S. Marines invaded the Dominican Republic.
1917 – Eugene Jacques Bullard becomes the first African-American aviator when he earned his flying certificate with the French Air Service.
1925 – John T. Scopes, a biology teacher in Dayton, TN, was arrested for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution.
1926 – Eisenstein’s film “Battleship Potemkin” was shown in Germany for the first time.
1945 – The Netherlands and Denmark were liberated from Nazi control.
1945 – A Japanese balloon bomb exploded on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon. A pregnant woman and five children were killed.
1955 – The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) became a sovereign state.
1961 – Alan Shepard became the first American in space when he made a 15 minute suborbital flight.