On This Day

What Happened in May 1812

Historical Events

  • May 11 Waltz introduced into English ballrooms. Some observers consider it disgusting and immoral.

Assassination of a British Prime MinisterAssassination of a British Prime Minister

May 11 British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons, London. Ironically, descendants of both later elected to Parliament at the same time.
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An artist's impression of Spencer Perceval's fatal shooting. Photograph: Hulton Archive
An artist's impression of Spencer Perceval's fatal shooting. Photograph: Hulton Archive

Famous Birthdays

  • May 6 Martin Delany, African-American abolitionist and physician (1st African American major in US Army), born in Charles Town, Virginia (d. 1885)

Person of interestRobert Browning

May 7 Robert Browning, English poet (Pied Piper), born in London, England (d. 1889)

  • May 12 Edward Lear, English landscape painter and poet (Complete Nonsense Book), born in London, England (d. 1888)
  • May 12 Louis Ludwig Blenker, German-American Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Worms, Germany (d. 1863)
  • May 17 Joseph Warren Revere, American Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 1880)
  • May 19 Felix Kirk Zollicoffer, Brigadier General (Confederate Army), (d. 1862)
  • May 20 Gustav Adolf Mankell, composer
  • May 23 Henri-François-Alphonse Esquiros, French poet and writer (Les Vierges Folles), born in Paris (d. 1876)
  • May 30 John Alexander McClernand, American politician and Major General (Union Army), born in Breckinridge County, Kentucky (d. 1900)

Famous Deaths


MurderSpencer Perceval

May 11 Spencer Perceval, British statesman & Prime Minister (1809–1812), assassinated at 49

British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval
British Prime Minister
Spencer Perceval
  • May 13 Johann Matthias Sperger, composer, dies at 62
  • May 21 Joseph Wolfl, composer, dies at 38