On This Day

What Happened in May 1881

Historical Events

  • May 5 Anti-Jewish rioting in Kyiv, Ukraine

Contract of Interest

May 8 Henry Morton Stanley signs the first of many contracts with the Congolian monarch

  • May 10 Lighthouse on Ameland begins operation
  • May 11 Bedřich Smetana's opera "Libuše" premieres iat the Natonal Theater, in Prague
  • May 12 Treaty of Bardo, Tunisia becomes a French protectorate
  • May 16 World's 1st electric tram enters service in Lichterfelder (near Berlin)
  • May 17 7th Kentucky Derby: HOF jockey Jim McLaughlin aboard heavy favourite Hindoo wins in 2:40.00

Appointment of Interest

May 17 Frederick Douglass appointed recorder of deeds for Washington, D.C.

  • May 17 Revised version of New Testament

Historic Event

May 21 American Red Cross founded by Clara Barton

  • May 21 US National Lawn Tennis Association is established in NYC, New York
  • May 24 Overloaded Canadian river ferry "Princess Victoria" sinks near London, Ontario, 180 die
  • May 24 Turkey cedes Thessaly and Arta back to Greece.
  • May 27 9th Preakness: T Costello aboard Saunterer wins in 2:40.5

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French philosopher and paleontologist (The Phenomenon of Man), born in Orcines, Auvergne, France (d. 1955)
  • May 11 Jan van Gilse, composer/resistance fighter (Frau Helga von Staveren)
  • May 11 Pascual Rogatis, composer
  • May 11 Al Cabrera, Spanish-born Cuban baseball player (d. 1964)
  • May 11 Theodore von Kármán, Hungarian physicist (d. 1963)
  • May 13 Ilona Durigo, Hungarian contralto singer, born in Budapest, Hungary (d. 1943)
  • May 14 Ed Walsh, American Baseball HOF pitcher (World Series 1906; no-hitter 1911; MLB record 1.82 career ERA; Chicago White Sox) and manager (Chicago WS 1924), born in Plains Township, Pennsylvania (d. 1959)
  • May 14 G. Murray Hulbert, American politician (d. 1950)

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

May 19 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1st President of Turkey (1923-38) and founder of the Republic of Turkey, born in Salonica, Ottoman Empire (d. 1938) real date unknown this adopted to align with Turkish Independence Day

  • May 20 Władysław Sikorski, Polish World War II general and Prime Minister of Poland in exile (1939-43), born in Tuszów Narodowy, Austria-Hungary (d. 1943)
  • May 23 Artur de Sacadura Freire Cabral, Portuguese aviator (1st flight across the south Atlantic), born in Celorico da Beira, Portugal (d. 1924)
  • May 24 Mikuláš Schneider-Trnavský, Slovak composer, born in Trnava, Slovakia (d. 1958)
  • May 27 Rudolf Pannwitz, German writer and philosopher (Urblik), born in Crossen/Oder, Province of Brandenburg, Prussia (now in Poland) (d. 1969)
  • May 29 Frederik Septimus Kelly, Australian-British composer and rower (Summer Olympic gold, 1908), born in Sydney, Australia (d. 1916)
  • May 30 Georg von Küchler, German field marshal and WWII war criminal, born in Schloss Philippsruh, German Empire (d. 1968)

Famous Weddings

Ivan Pavlov

May 1 Physiologist Ivan Pavlov (32) weds Seraphima Karchevskaya

Famous Deaths

  • May 1 John S. Preston, American Brigadier General (Confederate Army), dies at 72
  • May 3 Josip Jurcic, Slovic writer (Schone Vida), dies
  • May 11 Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Swiss writer (Journal Intime), dies at 59
  • May 24 Samuel Palmer, British landscape painter, dies at 76
  • May 26 Jakob Bernays, German philologist (b. 1824)