May 19 in History Events, Birthdays, & News

To know what happened today in history, famous events occurred,  famous birthdays, death day, legend quotes, and historical news on May 19.


Events on May 19

1649 England is declared a Commonwealth by the Rump Parliament.

1795 James Boswell, biographer of Dr. Samuel Johnson, died at the age of 54.

1802 Napoleon institutes the title Legion d’honneur, which will be the highest honor awarded for civil and military distinction.

1864 Death of Nathaniel Hawthorne, American novelist and short story writer.

1898 British statesman William Gladstone, elected Liberal prime minister four times, dies aged 88.

1900 The 169 islands collectively known as the Kingdom of Tonga, or the Friendly Islands, become a British protectorate.

1906 The 12-mile (19-km) Simplon Tunnel linking Italy and Switzerland through the AIPs is officially opened.

1971 Death of American humorist Ogden Nash.

1991 Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman dies aged 78.

1991 Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space, blasts off with two Soviet cosmonauts for a rendezvous with the Soviet Mir space station.

2077 The new Wembley Stadium is officially opened in London.

Famous Birthdays on May 19

Dame Nellie Melba 1848, Australia operatic singer of world renown.

William Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount 1879, English politician and proprietor of The Observer.

Ho Chi Minh 1890, North Vietnamese revolutionary leader.

Malcolm x 1926, American Black Muslim leader.

Edward de Bono 1933, British doctor who developed the concept of lateral thinking.

Ruskin Bond 1934, Indian author of British descent, who won the Padma Shri in 1999 for his contribution to children’s literature.

Pete Townshend 1945, British guitarist with pop group The Who.

Quotes from Legend

The ballot is stronger than the bullet.

- Abraham Lincoln, in a speech on this day, 1856.

Historical News on May 19

Anne Boleyn Goes to The Block

1536 Anne Boleyn, English King Henry VIII’s second wife, was beheaded in London today.

She was 29. She had been charged with incest with her brother and four counts of adultery, but her real crimes were to let the king tire of her and to fail to bear him a male heir.

She gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, soon after they were married three years ago.

Earlier this year Henry had her arrested after the stillbirth of a boy.

He had meanwhile become infatuated with Anne’s lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour, and with Anne out of the way, an immediate marriage is planned, Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, died in January, When she failed to bear him a son he tried to have the marriage annulled, and when Pope Clement VII refused Henry broke with the Roman church so that he could marry Anne.

In fact, they had already married in secret.

Mt St Helens Explodes

MT ST Helens explodes on May 19
MT ST Helens explodes on May 19

1980 At least 15 people were killed today when a long-dormant volcano in the US exploded.

About 400 people were evacuated earlier when Mt St Helens in southwestern Washington State started smoking a few weeks ago, but geologists did not expect the sudden violence of today’s eruption, which started fires, mudslides, and floods in areas thought to be safe.

About 120 square miles (310 sq km) are devastated.

The volcano is sending up a huge column of smoke and ash, darkening the sky 100 miles (160 km) away.

It last erupted in 1857.

1982 The Italian actress Sophia Loren was jailed today for tax evasion.

She will spend a month in a women’s prison near Naples.

Loren, 47, had not paid ₤2,500 ($4,600) in tax in 1970 “through a little error”, she said.

She must also pay a large fine.

Jackie Kennedy to Be Reunited With John

1994 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis has died today and will be buried next to her former husband President John F.

Kennedy in Arlington National Cemetery.

During her time as First Lady, Jackie became known for her fashion sense and her decoration of the White House.

She was honored for her dignity after the assassination of her husband in 1963.

She went on to marry wealthy Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in 1968, then became a publishing editor after his death seven years later.

Lawrence of Arabia Dies

T.E. Lawrence dies on May 19
T.E. Lawrence dies on May 19

1935 Retire hero T.E. Lawrence died today, five days after sustaining a fractured skull in a road accident.

He was racing his motorcycle down a Dorset lane when he swerved to avoid two boys on bicycles and crashed.

He never regained consciousness.

During World War I Lawrence of Arabia won popular fame as the dashing young intelligence officer who led the Arabs in a guerrilla war against the Turks and finally captured Damascus.

In 1922 he dropped from sight, changing his name to Shaw and joining the Tank Corps and then the RAF.

Lawrence unsuccessfully championed the Arab cause at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

Though his friend Sharif Hussein of Mecca had fought for Arab independence and was backed by Britain, the Arab lands emerged as British and French colonies.

Maybe this was what Lawrence meant when he told Irish writer W.B. Yeats, “I was an Irish nobody.

I did something.

It was a failure.

And I became an Irish nobody again.” Lawrence refused to publish his book on Arabia, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, in his lifetime.

It will now be published posthumously.

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