On This Day

May 1840 in History

Events in History


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
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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

Birthdays in History

  • May 10 Hadzhi Dimitar, Bulgarian revolutionist (d. 1868)
  • May 13 Alphonse Daudet, French writer (Tartarin of Tarascon), born in Nîmes, France (d. 1897)
  • May 24 Frederick Walker, British social realist painter, born in London (d. 1875)
  • May 29 Hans Makart, Austrian painter (Plague in Florenz), born in Salzburg, Austria (d. 1884)

Weddings in History


LoveWedding 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

Deaths in History

  • 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, dies at 75
  • May 30 Dominique J de Eerens, gov-gen of Dutch-Indies, dies at 59