- 1536 Ann Boleyn, second wife of English King Henry VIII is beheaded at the Tower of London on charges of adultery, incest and treason
- 1643 Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut and New Harbor form the United Colonies of New England
- 1649 England is declared a Commonwealth by an act of the Long Parliament making England a republic for the next 11 years
- 1885 German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck takes possession of Cameroon and Togoland
- 1898 US Congress passes the Private Mailing Card Act, allowing private publishers and printers to produce postcards though they had to be labelled "Private Mailing Cards" until 1901 and become known as "souvenir cards"
- 1919 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk lands at Samsun on the Black Sea coast, beginning the Turkish War of Independence
About midday, near-total darkness descends on New England, now known to be caused by forest fires in Canada
On May 19, 1780