On This Day

May 2021 in History

Events in History

  • May 1 India is the first country to record more than 400,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day (401,993) [1]
  • 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 deathtoll of six
  • May 3 Subway overpass carrying a train collapses in Mexico City killing at least 24 people

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

46th US President, Vice President and Senator Joe Biden
46th US President, Vice President and Senator
Joe Biden
  • 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]

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 5 Donald Trump's ban in Facebook upheld by its Oversight Board for a further six months

45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality Donald Trump
45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality
Donald Trump
  • 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 6 Armed police raid on drug traffickers kills 25 in cities deadliest ever, in a favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Architect Frank Gehry
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 8 Bombings outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, kill at least 50 people, mostly teenage girls, amid growing fears about US military withdrawal
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe
  • 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 Gaza 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 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 Argentine President Alberto Fernandez announces a 'circuit-breaker lockdown' as the country records over 39,000 daily COVID-19 cases
  • May 20 One of Sri Lanka's worst ecological disaster as cargo ship MS X-Press Pearl, carrying toxic chemicals, catches fire off the country's coast 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 23 21 runners die in freezing conditions during an ultramarathon in Yellow River Stone Forest Park, Gansu Province, China
  • 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]

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Burmese Politician Aung San Suu Kyi
Burmese Politician
Aung San Suu Kyi
  • 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 President Joe Biden orders US intelligence services to intensify their efforts to investigate the origins of COVID-19

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
British Prime Minister
Boris Johnson
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 27 French President Emmanuel Macron makes statement recognizing France's role in 1994 genocide meeting with Rwanda President Paul Kagame in Kigali, Rwanda

President of France Emmanuel Macron
President of France
Emmanuel Macron
  • 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 a Kamloops Indian Residential School announced by First Nation in British Columbia, Canada [1]

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro
President of Brazil
Jair Bolsonaro
  • 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 high countries per population
  • May 31 Tulsa, Oklahoma, marks 100 year anniversary of the massacre of hundreds of black residents by a white mob in the Greenwood neighborhood

Weddings in History

LovePerson of Interest

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

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
British Prime Minister
Boris Johnson

Divorces in History

Broken heartPerson of Interest

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

Philanthropist Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates
Founder of Microsoft and Computer Scientist Bill Gates
Founder of Microsoft and Computer Scientist
Bill Gates

Deaths in History

  • May 6 Kentaro Miura, Japanese manga author (Berserk), dies at 54
  • 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 19 Abubakar Shekau, Nigerian Islamist militant (leader of Boko Haram), dies detonating a suicide vest
  • May 23 Eric Carle, American illustrator, collage artist, and writer of children's books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), dies of kidney failure at 91