What Happened in May 1840

Historical Events

  • May 1 "Penny Blacks", first adhesive postage stamps issued by Great Britain
  • May 6 World's first postage stamp, the Penny Black, is issued in Great Britain
  • May 7 Tornado strikes Natchez, Mississippi, kills 317
  • May 8 Alexander Wolcott patents Photographic Process
  • May 20 York Minster badly damaged by fire
  • May 21 Captain William Hobson proclaims British sovereignty over New Zealand; the North Island by treaty and the South Island by 'discovery'
  • May 22 The transporting of British convicts to the New South Wales colony is abolished

Famous Birthdays

Person of interestPyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

May 7 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer of the late-Romantic period (1812 Overture, Swan Lake), born in Votkinsk, Russia (d. 1893)

  • May 10 Hadzhi Dimitar, Bulgarian revolutionist (d. 1868)
  • May 11 Filippo Capocci, composer
  • May 13 Alphonse Daudet, French writer (Tartarin of Tarascon), born in NĂ®mes, France (d. 1897)
  • May 24 Frederick Walker, painter
  • May 29 Hans Makart, Austrian painter (Plague in Florenz)

Famous Weddings

HeartWedding of Interest

May 1 Women's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton (24) weds fellow abolitionist Henry Brewster Stanton (34)

Women's Rights Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Women's Rights Activist
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Famous Deaths

  • May 5 Gottlob Benedikt Bierey, composer, dies at 67
  • May 5 Matthaus Fischer, composer, dies at 76
  • May 6 Francisco de Paula Santander, Colombian president and independence leader (b. 1792)
  • May 7 Caspar David Friedrich, German painter (b. 1774)
  • May 26 Sidney Smith, British admiral (b. 1764)
  • May 27 Niccolo Paganini, Italian composer and violin virtuoso (Princess Lucca), dies at 57
  • May 30 Dominique J de Eerens, gov-gen of Dutch-Indies, dies at 59