On This Day

What Happened in May 1780

Historical Events

Historic Discovery

May 2 William Herschel discovers 1st binary star, Xi Ursae Majoris

Historic Event

May 4 American Academy of Arts & Science founded in Boston, James Bowdoin, John and Samuel Adams founding members

  • May 4 Charles Bunbury on Diomed wins 1st Epsom Derby

Victory in Battle

May 12 American General Benjamin Lincoln surrenders Charleston to the British (Revolutionary War)

  • May 19 About midday, near-total darkness descends on New England, now known to be caused by forest fires in Canada
  • May 29 Battle of Waxhaw Creek: alleged massacre of 113 of Colonel Abraham Buford's continentals by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton's troops after the continentals raised a white flag

Famous Birthdays

  • May 10 Peter Lichtenthal, composer

Elizabeth Fry

May 21 Elizabeth Fry, English prison reformer, social reformer and Quaker Minister, born in Norwich, England (d. 1845)

  • May 22 Jan Emmanuel Doležálek, Bohemian organist and composer, born in Chotěboř, Bohemia, Habsburg Monarchy (d. 1858)
  • May 28 Franz Joseph Fröhlich, German composer, born in Würzburg, Bavaria (d. 1862)

Famous Deaths

  • May 18 Charles Hardy, British governor of Newfoundland, dies at 66