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1st May: Find Out What Happened On This Day In History

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May 1 is the 121st day of the year (122nd in leap years). 244 days remain until the end of the year. Today also marks the International Workers Day, also known as May Day. Find out some of the important events that occurred on 1st May in history.


Historical  events

305 — Diocletian and Maximian retire from the office of Roman Emperor.

1006 — The Chinese and Egyptians observe Supernova in constellation Lupus.

1328 — Wars of Scottish Independence end. Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton — the Kingdom of England recognises the Kingdom of Scotland as an independent state.

1489 — Explorer of the New World Christopher Columbus proposes his plan to search for a western route to India in an audience with Spanish monarch, Isabella I. He receives full support three years later, in 1492.

1704 — Boston Newsletter publishes the first newspaper advertisement.

1707 — The Acts of Union comes into force, uniting England and Scotland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

1756 — France and Austria sign an alliance.

1786 — Classical musician and composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “Marriage of Figaro” premieres in Vienna with Mozart himself directing.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera "Marriage of Figaro
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera, Marriage of Figaro


1st May in the 19th Century

1840 — Great Britain issues “Penny Black”, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp.

1846 — Ida Pfeiffer, 48, begins a trip around the world.

1852 — Authors Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm publish the first part of their German Dictionary. They complete it fully in 1961.

1853 — Argentina adopts its constitution.

1854 — Amsterdam begins transferring drinking water out of the dunes.

1863 — Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled first opens its doors.

1867 — Howard University charters.

1873 — Alexandra Palace opens on Queen of the United Kingdom Queen Victoria’s 54th birthday with a grand celebration. It includes concerts, recitals and fireworks. It reopens after being burnt down in 1873.

1883 — Amsterdam World’s Fair opens.

1884 — Construction begins on Chicago’s first skyscraper with 10 stories.

1884 — Proclamation of the demand for eight-hour workday in the United States.

1886 — US general strike for the eight-hour working day begins.

1889 — 2nd International Congress calls for the first International Workers Day 1st May 1890 to mark protests in Chicago in 1886.


1st May in the 20th Century

1923 — Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler and Ernst Rohm attempt to break up socialist May Day demonstrates. They invite Nazis from as far away as Nuremberg to take part in the violence.

1924 — Admiral Paul Koundouriotis becomes the President of Greece.

1928 — Lei Day, a Hawaiian celebration, begins.

On May 1, 1928, Lei Day, a Hawaiian celebration, begins.
Hawaiian Lei Day celebration

1929 — Farmworkers strike begins in East-Groningen.

1929 — Police kill 19 Mayday demonstrators in Berlin.

1930 — The planet Pluto is officially named by 11-year-old Venetia Burney.

1935 — Canada circulates its first silver dollar.

1937 — US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Neutrality Act, banning travel on belligerent ships and imposes an arms embargo on warring nations.

1943 — Food rationing begins in the United States during World War II.

1950 — Gwendolyn Brooks is the first African American awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

1950 — Mayor of Brussels reluctantly bans May Day parade.

1952 — Mr Potato Head introduced.

1956 — A doctor in Japan reports an “epidemic of an unknown disease of the central nervous system”. This marks the official discovery of Minamata disease.

1957 — TV and Radio Host Larry King’s first radio broadcast.

1959 — West Germany introduces the five-day work week.


More dates

1961 — Pulitzer prize awarded to Author Harper Lee for her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

Author Harper Lee’s novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

1961 — Tanganyika granted full internal self-government by Britain.

1962 — First French underground nuclear experiment in the Saharan Algeria at Ecker.

1963 — Journalist Gloria Steinem’s expose on Playboy bunny working conditions published in “Show” magazine.

1964 — The first BASIC program runs on a computer (Dartmouth).

1967 — Anastasio Somoza Debayle becomes President of Nicaragua.

1971 — Rolling Stones release “Brown Sugar”.

1978 — Naomi Uemura becomes first to reach North Pole overland alone.

1978 — Actor Jackie Chan’s breakthrough film “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow” directed by Yuen Woo-ping, releases in Hong Kong.

1979 — Singer Elton John becomes the first pop star to perform in Israel.

1984 — Novelist Danielle Steel publishes romance novel “Full Circle”.

1987 — Pope John Paul II beatifies Edith Stein, a Jewish born nun.

1989 — 135 acre Disney’s MGM studio officially opens to the public.

1991 — Skin-Spit-Skin featuring lesbian, homosexual and heterosexual n**e couples caressing, is seen by 5,000 in NYC.

1997 — Tony Blair elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1997 — Tasmania becomes the last state in Australia to decriminalise homosexuality.

1999 — Animated series “SpongeBob SquarePants”, created by Stephen Hillenburg, debuts on Nickelodeon.

SpongeBob SquarePants begins on 1st May 1999
SpongeBob SquarePants


1st May in the 21st Century

2000 — “Gladiator”, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, premieres in LA.

2004 — Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia join the European Union, celebrated at the residence of the Irish President in Dublin.

2007 — British model Kate Moss launches a clothing line with chain Topshop.

2007 — Author, journalist and orator Christopher Hitchens publishes his bestseller “God is not Great” making a case against organised religion.

2008 — China imposes a smoking ban to improve the Chinese capital city of Beijing ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

2009 — Sweden legalises same-s*x marriage.

2011 — Pope John Paul II is beatified by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

2013 — A digital camera is created that can mimic insect compound eyes.

2014 — Hundreds march through Nigerian capital Abuja calling for the release of the schoolgirls abducted by Islamic militants, Boko Haram, who oppose Western education.

2018 — Chinese authorities label British cartoon “Peppa Pig” subversive. It is removed from the Doujin video website.

Peppa Pig removed from Chinese websites on 1st May 2018
Peppa Pig

2018 — Violent May Day protests in Paris by far-left Black Blocs group result in 200 arrests.

2018 — Scotland is the first country in the world to introduce a minimum price on alcohol.

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