1517 - "Evil May Day" riots in London as apprentices attack foreign residents. Sixty rioters are later hanged.

1522 - England declares war on France and Scotland.

1648 - Scots begin second Civil War.

1707 - Union between England and Scotland goes into effect under name Great Britain.

1770 - Forby Sutherland is laid to rest at Botany Bay - the first European to be buried in NSW.

1786 - Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro premieres in Vienna.

1819 - Freedom of the press is introduced in France.

1884 - Work begins on a 10-storey building in Chicago using a unique steel-framed interior, making it the world's first skyscraper.

1889 - May 1 is chosen by socialist congress meeting in Paris as the date to demonstrate for the eight-hour day.

1896 - Naser od-Din, the unpopular Shah of Persia, is murdered by a fanatic.

1913 - The Australian Government releases the first commonwealth banknote - ten shillings.

1919 - Mount Kelud erupts in Indonesia, killing 5000 people.

1925 - Cyprus is declared a British crown colony.

1931 - The 102-storey Empire State Building in New York is officially opened.

1937 - Spanish painter Pablo Picasso produces the first sketch of his masterpiece Guernica, five days after the Basque town is bombed by the Germans.

1942 - Japanese forces take Mandalay, Burma, while British retreat along Chindwin Valley to India.

1945 - Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels commits suicide in his Berlin bunker; German headquarters in Italy formally agrees to an unconditional surrender.

1948 - Democratic People's Republic of Korea, known as North Korea, is established.

1960 - The Soviet Union shoots down an American U-2 plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers, who is jailed for spying before being exchanged in an East-West spy swap in February 1962.

1961 - Cuban leader Fidel Castro declares the country a socialist nation and abolishes elections.

1967 - Elvis Presley marries Priscilla Beaulieu.

1970 - US and South Vietnamese troops myanmar adventure tour invade Cambodia to root out Vietnamese Communist bases.

1974 - Sir Frank Packer, chairman of Australian Consolidated Press, founder of The Australian Women's Weekly and father of Kerry and Clyde, dies in Sydney, aged 67.

1979 - Greenland is granted home rule by Denmark.

1986 - Millions of blacks stay away from jobs and schools in what is described as largest anti-apartheid protest in South Africa's history.

1988 - Police clash with demonstrators throughout Poland as thousands heed labour group Solidarity's call for national day of protest.

1989 - Government of Kampuchea changes the country's name to Cambodia.

1990 - Soviet protesters heckle President Mikhail Gorbachev at May Day parade on Red Square.

1992 - US President George Bush orders 1000 riot police to Los Angeles, torn by ethnic rioting, and puts 4000 soldiers on standby.

1994 - Ayrton Senna, three times world Formula One racing champion, dies after a high-speed crash in the San Marino Grand Prix.

1995 - The Croatian Army mounts a full-scale assault on the Serb-held enclave of Slavonia in Croatia, sending thousands of civilians fleeing.

1997 - Britain's Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, wins a landslide victory in a general election.

1998 - The former prime minister of Rwanda, Jean Kambanda, becomes the first person ever to plead guilty before an international tribunal, admitting to his role in the 1994 genocide of more than 500,000 Rwandans.

1999 - During a visit by American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic agrees to release three US soldiers held captive for more than a month.

1999 - The body of British mountaineer George Mallory is found on Mount Everest, almost 75 years after he disappeared.

2002 - Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf coasts to a landslide victory in a referendum extending his rule by five years.

2003 - UN international staff return to Baghdad for the first time since the US invasion.

2005 - North Korea test fires a short-range missile that plunges into the Sea of Japan.

2007 - President Hugo Chavez's government takes over Venezuela's last privately run oil fields, intensifying a power struggle with international companies over the world's largest known petroleum deposit.

2008 - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes Time magazine's list of the world's most influential people, alongside US President George W Bush and Iraq's radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

2009 - Hundreds of Venezuelan police and National Guard troops break up a protest march with volleys of tear gas and blasts from water cannon that scatters a crowd of President Hugo Chavez's opponents.

2010 - Pope Benedict XVI cracks down on the scandal-plagued Legionaries of Christ, announcing a papal envoy would take over and reform the conservative order after revelations that its founder sexually abused seminarians and fathered at least one child.

2014 - US Secretary of State John Kerry says he had no advance warning of Palestinian deal for unity government that scuttled Middle East peace talks.

2015 - The bodies of executed Australian drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are driven from a Jakarta funeral home to the airport before being flown back to Sydney.


Joseph Addison, English poet-politician (1672-1719); Kate Smith, US singer (1909-1986); Joseph Heller, US writer (1923-1999); John Meillon, Australian radio and television actor (1934-1989); Judy Collins, US singer (1939-); Rita Coolidge, US singer (1945-); John Woo, Chinese-born film director (1946-); Joanna Lumley, English actress (1946- ); Wes Anderson, US film director (1969-); Tim McGraw, US country singer, (1967-); Stuart Appleby, Australian golfer (1971-).


Think much, speak little, and write less - Italian proverb