On This Day

What Happened in May 2021

Historical Events

  • May 1 India is the first country to record more than 400,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day (401,993) [1]
  • May 1 147th Kentucky Derby: Medina Spirit gives jockey John Velazquez his fourth Derby win and trainer Bob Baffert a record seventh victory in the race
  • May 3 US Environmental Protection Agency takes first significant step against climate change by announcing new limits on hydrofluorocarbons (-85% over 15 years) [1]
  • May 3 German police announce operation and arrests into 'Boystown' world's largest child abuse image website with 400,000 members worldwide [1]
  • May 3 Former U.S. Senator and astronaut Bill Nelson, becomes Administrator of NASA
  • May 3 DR Congo announces the end of the latest Ebola outbreak after three months with a death toll of six
  • May 3 Subway overpass carrying a train collapses in Mexico City killing at least 24 people
  • May 3 World Snooker Championship, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield: Englishman Mark Selby wins his 4th world title with an 18-15 win over countryman Shaun Murphy

Historic Event

May 4 US President Joe Biden announces new goal of 160 million people, nearly of 70% of adults, vaccinated by July 4

  • May 4 Following several positive Covid-19 cases across franchises the BCCI announces the indefinite postponement of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament
  • May 4 Malian woman Halima Cisse gives birth to nonuplets (nine babies) in Morocco, in only third known case worldwide
  • May 4 Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador makes an historic apology to the Mayan people for abuses against them in the five centuries since the Spanish conquest [1]
  • May 5 Canada is the first country to authorize the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12-15 year olds
  • May 5 Evidence of Africa's earliest burial, a three-year-old boy, 78,000 years ago, in a cave in Kenya published [1]

Historic Event

May 5 Donald Trump's ban from Facebook upheld by the company's Oversight Board for a further six months

  • May 5 A week of mass protests and demonstrations against government tax reform and poverty in Colombia leaves 24 dead
  • May 5 US President Joe Biden announces the US will support temporarily lifting patent protection on COVID-19 vaccines with the WHO
  • May 5 The possible eviction of Palestinian families from a Jerusalem neighborhood begins days of unrest in the city, injuring hundreds
  • May 5 Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means no-hits Seattle Mariners, 6-0 at T-Mobile Park, Seattle
  • May 6 Armed police raid on drug traffickers kills 25 in cities deadliest ever, in a favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Historic Event

May 7 Philadelphia Museum of Art unveils major interior renovation and expansion designed by American architect Frank Gehry

  • May 7 The World Health Organization approves the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine Sinopharm, its first made by a non-western country
  • May 7 Ransomware attack on US Colonial pipeline by the DarkSide criminal group stops supply to half of east coast
  • May 7 Former police officer and suspected serial killer Hugo Ernesto Osorio Chávez arrested in Chalchuapa, El Salvador, after a mass grave of 15-40 bodies found at his house
  • May 7 Cincinnati Reds pitcher Wade Miley no-hits Cleveland Indians, 3-0 at Progressive Field, Cleveland
  • May 8 Bombings outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, kill at least 50 people, mostly teenage girls, amid growing fears about US military withdrawal

Film & TV History

May 8 Tesla chief executive Tesla Elon Musk hosts "Saturday Night Live" in the US

  • May 8 Indian Medical Association calls for a national lockdown, criticizing President Modi's government's response as recorded COVID-19 deaths pass 4,000 a day
  • May 10 Violence escalates between Palestinians and Israelis after Israeli officers enter Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, rockets then fired from Gaza and airstrikes from Israel kill at least 31
  • May 10 US F.D.A. authorizes the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12-to-15-year-olds
  • May 10 World Health Organization classifies the Indian COVID-19 variant B.1.617 as a variant of global concern
  • May 10 Chinese safari park in Fuyang forced to apologize for not informing the public that three leopards had escaped April 19 and been roaming nearby neighborhoods

Historic Event

May 10 Kazungula road and rail bridge 1km long opens over the Zambezi River linking Botswana and Zambia, with a curve so it doesn't encroach on Zimbabwe (Robert Mugabe opposed it)

  • May 10 NBC says it will not televise the 2022 Golden Globes because of criticism of its lack of diversity [1]
  • May 11 China census figures show country's population 1.41 billion people, growth at its slowest since 1960s, (+0.53 down from +0.57) [1]
  • May 11 Northern Ireland inquest into 1971 Ballymurphy killing of ten people finds people were innocent and killed (nine by soldiers) using unjustified force [1]
  • May 11 First major US offshore windfarm off the coast of Massachusetts approved by Biden administration
  • May 12 US Republicans vote to demote their No.3 Liz Cheney from party leadership after she publicly rebuked Donald Trump for lies about the election
  • May 13 Gaza conflict has killed 103 people in Palestine, including 27 children, through Israeli airstrikes, more than 1000 rockets fired into Israel by Gaza militants killing seven, city of Lod center of street fighting [1]
  • May 13 American CDC says people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can stop wearing masks
  • May 15 China lands its Zhurong rover on Utopia Planitia, Mars, for the first time as part of the Tianwen-1 mission [1]
  • May 16 Taiwan imposes tough restrictions against COVID-19 as a recent spike in cases threatens their up-to-now pandemic success [1]
  • May 16 Death toll passes 200 from Gaza conflict as 42 people killed in Israeli airstrikes and three building flattened [1]
  • May 17 Cyclone Tauktae makes landfall in the Indian state of Gujarat with wind speeds of up to 160km/h (100mph)
  • May 17 Long working hours killed 745,000 people a year, in 2016, in the first study of its kind by the World Health Organization [1]
  • May 18 India records the highest recorded daily COVID-19 death toll to date in the world with 4,529 deaths
  • May 18 Detroit Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull no-hits Seattle Mariners, 5-0 at Comerica Park, Detroit
  • May 19 New York City begins re-opening after 423 days (March 2020) with the COVID-19 death toll at 33,000
  • May 19 The EU agrees to open its borders to vaccinated travelers from safe countries
  • May 19 World's largest iceberg 'A-76' at 1,667-square-miles (4,320 square km) calves off the Ronne Ice Shelf in Antarctica [1]
  • May 19 Israel and Hamas agree to a bilateral ceasefire in Gaza after nearly two weeks of fighting, amid international diplomatic efforts
  • May 19 BBC investigation finds their 1995 Princess Dianna interview was secured through 'deceitful behavior' by journalist Martin Bashir [1]
  • May 19 Argentine President Alberto Fernandez announces a 'circuit-breaker lockdown' as the country records over 39,000 daily COVID-19 cases
  • May 19 New York Yankees pitcher Cory Kluber no-hits Texas Rangers, 2-0 at Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas
  • May 20 One of Sri Lanka's worst ecological disasters as cargo ship MS X-Press Pearl, carrying toxic chemicals, catches fire off the country's coast and begins spilling debris
  • May 22 Mount Nyiragongo erupts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sending rivers of lava towards the nearby city of Goma, prompting evacuations
  • May 22 Eurovision Song Contest won by Italian metal band Maneskin with 524 points in Rotterdam
  • May 22 30 year old Scottish light-welterweight boxer Josh Taylor becomes Britain's first undisputed world champion in the four-belt era by beating Jose Ramirez by unanimous decision in Las Vegas
  • May 23 21 runners die in freezing conditions during an ultramarathon in Yellow River Stone Forest Park, Gansu Province, China

PGA Championship

May 23 PGA Championship Men's Golf, Ocean Course Kiawah Island: Phil Mickelson becomes oldest major winner in history (50); wins his 6th major by 2 strokes over Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen

  • May 23 Belarus accused of “state-sponsored hijacking" after diverting commercial Ryanair flight to Minsk to arrest dissident journalist Roman Protasevich
  • May 24 India's official COVID-19 death toll passes 300,000 (303,720), the third country to do so, with experts saying it is a vast undercount [1]
  • May 24 Constitutional crisis deepens in Samoa after Speaker of the House shuts out Fiame Naomi Mata’afa from being sworn in as the country's first woman leader in 56 years [1]

Historic Event

May 24 Deposed Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi appears in court against charges laid by the military government

  • May 25 New research show impact of 'climate racism' in the US, with black people facing double (+3.12C) the amount of heat stress in urban areas [1]
  • May 25 US CDC says half of all US adults are now fully vaccinated, with 61% having had their first shot
  • May 25 Coup in Mali as military Colonel Assimi Goïta ousts country's civilian President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane arresting and detaining them
  • May 26 Amazon says it will buy 97-year-old film and television studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for $8.45 billion
  • May 26 President Joe Biden orders US intelligence services to intensify their efforts to investigate the origins of COVID-19

COVID-19 Pandemic

May 26 Former advisor Dominic Cummings gives a damming report to MPs into UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government's handling of the COVID-19 crisis

  • May 26 In landmark case oil giant Royal Dutch Shell ordered by a Hague court to cut its global carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 [1]
  • May 26 A super "blood" moon, the first total lunar eclipse for two years, visible across the Pacific
  • May 26 Nine people shot and killed by their colleague, a public transit employee in San Jose, California
  • May 26 Russia reports it has started vaccinating domestic animals against COVID-19, using the Karnivak-Kov vaccine [1]
  • May 26 Ferry sinks carrying about 150 people in Nigeria between Niger state and Kebbi state, with only 20 people rescued

Historic Event

May 27 French President Emmanuel Macron recognizes France's role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide after a meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Kigali, Rwanda

Film & TV History

May 27 "Friends" reunion screens, 17 years after the TV sitcom series ended

  • May 27 US President Joe Biden calls for a ceasefire in the Tigray conflict, north Ethiopia, citing killings and "widespread sexual violence" as a weapon of war
  • May 27 English playwright William Shakespeare reported to have died after receiving COVID-19 vaccine by Argentine news channel Chanal 26 (case of mistaken identity, the Bard died in 1616)
  • May 28 Discovery of a mass grave with the remains of 215 children from Kamloops Indian Residential School announced by First Nation in British Columbia, Canada [1]
  • May 29 UEFA Champions League Final, Porto: Kai Havertz scores just before halftime to give Chelsea a 1-0 win over Manchester City in an all-English final; Blues' second CL title

COVID-19 Pandemic

May 30 Tens of thousands of people march in Brazilian cities against President Jair Bolsonaro and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • May 30 Indianapolis 500: Brazilian Hélio Castroneves wins his record 4th title in 2:37:19.3846; new record for fastest running of the race with average speed 190.690 mph
  • May 31 China's ruling Communist Party announces it will allow married couples to have three children, in effort to boost falling birthrates [1]
  • May 31 Peru says its COVID-19 death toll is three times higher than its official count (180,764 vs 68,000), making it one of the hardest hit countries per capita
  • May 31 Tulsa, Oklahoma, marks 100 year anniversary of the massacre of hundreds of black residents by a white mob in the Greenwood neighborhood

Sports History

May 31 Naomi Osaka pulls out of the French Open citing her mental health, after refusing to appear at compulsory post match press conferences


Famous Weddings

Ariana Grande

May 15 American pop star Ariana Grande (28) weds realtor Dalton Gomez (25) at home in Montecito, California

Boris Johnson

May 29 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (56) marries third wife Carrie Symonds (33) at Westminster Cathedral, London


Famous Divorces

Divorce of Interest

May 3 Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates announce their divorce after 27 years

Famous Deaths

  • May 1 Olympia Dukakis, Greek-American stage and screen, Obie, Oscar, and Golden Globe award-winning actress (Man Equals Man; Moonstruck; Steel Magnolias), dies at 89 [1]
  • May 1 Al Jamison, American football offensive lineman (AFL All Star 1961, 62; AFL C'ship 1960, 61; Houston Oilers), dies at 83
  • May 2 Bobby Unser, American auto racer (Indianapolis 500 1968, 1975, 1981; USAC C'ship 1968, 1974), dies at 87
  • May 2 Jacques d'Amboise, American ballet dancer, and choreographer (NYC Ballet Company, 1949-84), actor (Seven Brides For Seven Brothers), and educator (founded National Dance Institute, 1976), dies from stroke complications at 86 [1]
  • May 2 Joel Chadabe, American electronic music composer, dies at 82
  • May 3 Rafael Albrecht, Argentine soccer defender (39 caps; San Lorenzo, Club León), dies from COVID-19 at 79
  • May 3 Lloyd Price, American R&B singer ("Lawdy Miss Clawdy"; "Stagger Lee"; "Personality"), dies at 88
  • May 4 Margaret Forsyth, New Zealand netball goal attack (NZ 1979-87; World Cup gold 1979, 87) and coach (Waikato BOP Magic), dies from cancer at 59
  • May 4 Alan McLoughlin, Irish soccer midfielder (42 caps Rep of Ireland; Swindon Town, Portsmouth), dies from cancer at 54
  • May 4 Ray Miller, American baseball manager (Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles), dies at 76
  • May 4 Bertil Johansson, Swedish soccer striker (5 caps; IFK Göteborg 267 games) and manager (IFK Göteborg), dies at 86
  • May 5 (Ivor) "Nick" Kamen, British pop singer-songwriter (Each Time You Break My Heart; I Promised Myself), and model (Levi's), dies of bone marrow cancer at 59
  • May 5 Del Crandall, American baseball catcher (11 × MLB All-Star; World Series 1957; 4 × Gold Glove Award; Boston/Milwaukee Braves) and manager (Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners), dies at 91
  • May 6 Carlos Timoteo Griguol, Argentine soccer midfielder (Atlanta, Rosario Central) and manager (Ferro Carril Oeste, Real Betis, River Plate), dies from COVID-19 at 84
  • May 6 Pervis Staples, American gospel vocalist (The Staple Singers -"Uncloudy Day"), dies at 85
  • May 6 Kentaro Miura, Japanese manga author (Berserk), dies at 54
  • May 7 [Julie] Tawny Kitaen, American actress (Bachelor Party; Whitesnake videos; Witchboard), dies at 59
  • May 7 Martín Pando, Argentine soccer forward (11 caps; Argentinos Juniors, River Plate), dies at 86
  • May 8 Bo, Obama family's Portuguese water dog and "First Dog" of the White House, dies of cancer
  • May 8 Helmut Jahn, German-American architect who designed the O'Hare United Airlines Terminal and the Thompson Center in Chicago and One Liberty Place in Philadelphia, killed when struck by cars while bicycling at 80 [1] [2]
  • May 8 Georgi Dimitrov, Bulgarian soccer centre-back (77 caps; CSKA Sofia, Saint-Étienne), dies from cancer at 62
  • May 8 Curtis Fuller, American jazz trombonist (Yusef Lateef; John Coltrane; Farmer/Golson Jazztet), dies at 88
  • May 10 Norman Lloyd, American actor (St. Elsewhere - "Dr. Auschlander"; Dead Poets Society), producer and director (Alfred Hitchcock Presents), dies at 106 [1]
  • May 10 Tony Armatrading, British stage and screen actor (Colour Blind; Notting Hill), dies of cancer at 59
  • May 10 Néstor Montelongo, Uruguayan soccer utility (36 caps; Montevideo Wanderers, Peñarol, Nacional, Racing), dies at 66
  • May 12 Jerry Burns, American football coach (University of Iowa 1961-65; Minnesota Vikings 1986-91), dies at 94
  • May 12 Higinio Vélez, Cuban baseball manager (Olympic gold 2004; Santiago de Cuba, Cuban National Series 1999–2001), dies from COVID-19 at 73
  • May 13 Nelson Marcenaro, Uruguayan soccer defender (8 caps; Mundialito 1980; Progreso, Portuguesa, Peñarol, Emelec), dies from a heart attack at 68
  • May 14 Ester Mägi, Estonian composer 'First Lady of Estonian music', dies at 99
  • May 14 Torkild Brakstad, Norwegian soccer defender (3 caps; Molde) and coach (Molde, Tromsø, Rosenborg), dies at 75
  • May 14 Olga Domuladzhanova, Russian boxer (World amateur heavyweight gold 2001), dies from COVID-19 at 52
  • May 15 Fred Martinelli, American College Football Hall of Fame coach (Ashland University 1959-93), dies at 92
  • May 16 Rildo da Costa Menezes, Brazilian soccer defender (38 caps; Santos, CEUB, New York Cosmos), dies at 79
  • May 17 Héctor Silva, Argentine rugby union number 8 (24 caps; Los Tilos) and coach (Argentina 1985-87), dies from COVID-19 at 76
  • May 17 Joe Mercer, English thoroughbred race horse jockey (British flat racing Champion Jockey 1979), dies at 86
  • May 18 Franco Battiato, Italian pop, rock, and new wave singer, songwriter (“La Voce del Padrone” (“The Master’s Voice”), and filmmaker ("Lost Love"), dies at 76
  • May 18 Charles Grodin, American stage and screen actor (Heartbreak Kid; Midnight Run; Ishtar: Beethoven series), writer, and talk show host, dies of bone marrow cancer at 86 [1]
  • May 18 Arthur Hills, American golf course designer (designed and renovated more than 200 new courses), dies at 91
  • May 18 Rennie Stennett, Panamanian baseball infielder (World Series 1979; SF Giants; one of 3 players to collect 7 hits in a MLB game), dies from cancer at 70
  • May 19 Lee Evans, American athlete (Olympic gold men's 400m, 4x400m relay 1968), dies from stroke complications at 74
  • May 19 Alix Dobkin, American folk and feminist singer-songwriter (Lavender Jane Loves Women), dies of a brain aneurysm and stroke at 80
  • May 19 Abubakar Shekau, Nigerian Islamist militant (leader of Boko Haram), dies detonating a suicide vest
  • May 19 Joey Cathcart, American rock guitarist (Nelson - "Love & Affection") dies of brain cancer at 53
  • May 20 Roger Hawkins, American session drummer (the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section - Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin), dies at 75
  • May 20 Sándor Puhl, Hungarian soccer referee (1994 FIFA World Cup Final; 1997 UEFA Champions League Final; IFFHS World's Best Referee 1994-97), dies at 65
  • May 21 Juraj Hatrík, Slovak composer (Monumento malinconico; Dispute Over a Plastered Dwarf), and educator, dies at 80
  • May 23 Bob Fulton, Australian rugby league five eighth (35 Tests; Manly, Warrington, Easts; RL Immortal) and coach (39 Tests Australia; Manly, Easts), dies from cancer at 73
  • May 23 Ron Hill, British athlete (Boston Marathon, 1970; Commonwealth Games marathon gold, 1970), dies at 82
  • May 23 Max Mosley, British auto racer and lawyer (President Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile [FIA] 1993-2009), dies from cancer at 81
  • May 23 Eric Carle, American illustrator, collage artist, and writer of children's books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), dies of kidney failure at 91
  • May 23 Cristóbal Halffter, Spanish conductor, and composer (Yes, speak out, yes; Lazarus), dies at 91
  • May 24 Dmitry Mindiashvili, Soviet and Russian wrestling coach (coach Olympic champions Ivan Yariguin 1972, 76 and Buvaisar Satiev (1992, 96, 2004), dies from pneumonia at 87
  • May 24 Samuel E. Wright, American stage and screen actor and singer (Jesus Christ Superstar; Ball Four; The Little Mermaid; The Lion King), dies of prostate cancer at 74
  • May 25 J. D. Roberts, American College Football Hall of Fame guard (University of Oklahoma; Outland Trophy 1953) and coach (New Orleans Saints), dies at 88
  • May 26 Tarcisio Burgnich, Italian soccer defender (66 caps; Internazionale 358 games) and manager (Como, Genoa), dies at 82
  • May 26 Patrick Sky [Lynch], American musician, folk singer, songwriter, record producer, and uilleann bagpiper (Songs That Made America Famous), dies of cancer at 80
  • May 27 William Jay Sydeman, American avant-garde composer, dies at 93
  • May 28 Mark Eaton, American basketball center (NBA All-Star 1989; NBA Defensive Player of the Year 1985, 89; Utah Jazz), dies after a bicycle accident at 64
  • May 29 Gavin MacLeod [Allan See], American actor (Mary Tyler Moore Show -"Murray"; The Love Boat - "Captain Stubing"), dies at 90
  • May 29 B.J. Thomas, American singer ("Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head"; "Hooked On A Feeling"; "Growing Pains Theme"), dies of lung cancer at 78
  • May 29 Keith Mullings, American boxer (WBC and lineal light middleweight titles 1998), dies at 53
  • May 30 Jason Dupasquier, Swiss motorcycle racer, dies of injuries incurred in Italian motorcycle Grand Prix at 19
  • May 30 Frank Navarro, American college football coach (Williams College, Columbia University, Princeton University), dies at 91
  • May 31 Arlene Golonka, American actress (The Andy Griffith Show - "Millie Hutchins"; Mayberry R.F.D. - "Millie Swanson"), dies of Alzheimer's disease at 85
  • May 31 Colin Appleton, English soccer midfielder (Leicester City 277 games) and manager (Hull City, Swansea City, Exeter City), dies at 85
  • May 31 Leon Burtnett, American college football coach (Purdue University 1982-86; Big Ten Coach of the Year 1984), dies at 78
  • May 31 Mike Marshall, American baseball pitcher (MLB All-Star 1974, 75; NL Cy Young Award 1974; Montreal Expos, LA Dodgers, Atlanta Braves), dies at 78