1217 - The Second Battle of Lincoln is fought near Lincoln, England, resulting in the defeat of Prince Louis of France by William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke.
1293 - King Sancho IV of Castile creates the Study of General Schools of Alcalá.
1497 - John Cabot sets sail from Bristol, England, on his ship ;Matthew looking for a route to the west (other documents give a May 2 date).
1498 - Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrives at Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), India.
1521 - Battle of Pampeluna: Ignatius Loyola is seriously wounded.
1570 - Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues the first modern atlas.
1609 - Shakespeare's Sonnets are first published in London, perhaps illicitly, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe.
1631 - The city of Magdeburg in Germany is seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire and most of its inhabitants massacred, in one of the bloodiest incidents of the Thirty Years' War.
1802 - By the Law of 20 May 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte reinstates slavery in the French colonies, revoking its abolition in the French Revolution
1813 - Napoleon Bonaparte leads his French troops into the Battle of Bautzen in Saxony, Germany, against the combined armies of Russia and Prussia. The battle ends the next day with a French victory.
1835 - Otto is named the first modern king of Greece.
1840 - York Minster is badly damaged by fire
1845 - HMS;Erebus and HMS;Terror with 134 men under John Franklin sail from the River Thames in England, beginning a disastrous expedition to find the Northwest Passage. All hands are lost.
1861 - American Civil War: The state of Kentucky proclaims its neutrality, which will last until September 3 when Confederate forces enter the state.
1862 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law.
1864 - American Civil War: Battle of Ware Bottom Church – in the Virginia Bermuda Hundred Campaign, 10,000 troops fight in this Confederate victory.
1873 - Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.
1882 - The Triple Alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy is formed.
1883 - Krakatoa begins to erupt. The volcano's final and most notable explosion occurs on August 26.
1891 - History of cinema: The first public display of Thomas Edison's prototype kinetoscope.
1896 - The six ton chandelier of the Palais Garnier falls on the crowd resulting in the death of one and the injury of many others.
1902 - Cuba gains independence from the United States. Tomás Estrada Palma becomes the first President of Cuba.
1916 - The Saturday Evening Post publishes its first cover with a Norman Rockwell painting ("Boy with Baby Carriage").
1920 - Montreal, Quebec radio station XWA broadcasts the first regularly scheduled radio programming in North America.
1927 - By the Treaty of Jedda, the United Kingdom recognizes the sovereignty of King Ibn Saud in the Kingdoms of Hejaz and Nejd, which later merge to become the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
1927 - At 07:52 Charles Lindbergh takes off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York, on the world's first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, touching down at Le Bourget Field in Paris at 22:22 the next day.
1932 - Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland to begin the world's first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot, landing in Ireland the next day.
1940 - Holocaust: The first prisoners arrive at a new concentration camp at Auschwitz.
1941 - World War II: Battle of Crete – German paratroops invade Crete.
1949 - In the United States, the Armed Forces Security Agency, the predecessor to the National Security Agency, is established.
1949 - The Kuomintang regime declares martial law in Taiwan.
1956 - In Operation Redwing, (shot Cherokee), the first United States airborne hydrogen bomb is dropped over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean;
1965 - PIA Flight 705, a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 720 – 040 B, crashes while descending to land at Cairo International Airport, killing 119 of the 125 passengers and crew.
1969 - The Battle of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam ends.
1980 - In a referendum in Quebec, the population rejects by a 60% vote the proposal from its government to move towards independence from Canada.
1983 - First publications of the discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by Luc Montagnier and Robert Gallo individually.
1983 - A car-bomb explosion kills 17 and injures 197 in the centre of Pretoria, South Africa.
1985 - Radio Martí, part of the Voice of America service, begins broadcasting to Cuba.
1989 - The Chinese authorities declare martial law in the face of pro-democracy demonstrations, setting the scene for the Tiananmen Square massacre.
1990 - The first post-Communist presidential and parliamentary elections are held in Romania.
1995 - In a second referendum in Quebec, the population rejects by a slight majority the proposal from its government to move towards independence from Canada.
1996 - Gay rights: The Supreme Court of the United States rules in Romer v. Evans against a law that would have prevented any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of gays and lesbians.
2002 - The independence of East Timor is recognized by Portugal, formally ending 23 years of Indonesian rule and 3 years of provisional UN administration (Portugal itself is the former colonizer of East Timor until 1976).