On This Day

Historical Events in May 1840

Historic PublicationPenny Black

May 1 "Penny Black", the world's first adhesive postage stamp issued by Great Britain
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The Penny Black stamp featured Queen Victoria
The Penny Black stamp featured Queen Victoria

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 5 Thomas Carlyle begins his famous lecture series "The Hero as Divinity", later collected in his book "On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History"

Historian and Essayist Thomas Carlyle
Historian and Essayist
Thomas Carlyle
  • May 6 World's first adhesive postage stamp, the "Penny Black", is first used 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