In 1492, Christopher Columbus reached America, making his first landing in the New World on one of the Bahamas Islands. Columbus thought he had reached India.
In 1899, the Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State in southern Africa declared war on the British. The Boer War was ended May 31, 1902, by the Treaty of Vereeniging.
In 1915, British nurse Edith Cavell, 49, was executed by a German firing squad in Brussels for helping Allied soldiers escape from Belgium in World War I.
In 1960, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev removed one of his shoes and pounded it on his desk during a speech before the United Nations.
In 1964, the Soviet Union launched Voskhod 1 into orbit around Earth, with three cosmonauts aboard. It was the first spacecraft to carry a multi-person crew and the two-day mission was also the first flight performed without space suits.
In 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon nominated U.S. House Minority Leader Gerald Ford, R-Mich., for the vice presidency to replace Spiro Agnew, who had resigned two days earlier.
In 1979, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was published by Douglas Adams.
In 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher escaped injury in the bombing of a hotel in Brighton, England. Four people were killed in the attack, blamed on the Irish Republican Army.
In 1992, more than 500 people were killed and thousands injured when an earthquake rocked Cairo, Egypt.
In 1998, University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard died five days after the 21-year-old gay man was beaten, robbed and left tied to a fence.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International