On This Day … 02 May


  • 1536 – Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, is arrested and imprisoned on charges of adultery, incest, treason and witchcraft.
  • 1568 – Mary, Queen of Scots, escapes from Loch Leven Castle.
  • 1670 – King Charles II of England grants a permanent charter to the Hudson’s Bay Company to open up the fur trade in North America.
  • 1808 – Outbreak of the Peninsular War: The people of Madrid rise up in rebellion against French occupation. Francisco de Goya later memorialises this event in his painting The Second of May 1808.
  • 1812 – The Siege of Cuautla during the Mexican War of Independence ends with both sides claiming victory after Mexican rebels under José María Morelos y Pavón abandon the city after 72 days under siege by royalist Spanish troops under Félix María Calleja.
  • 1829 – After anchoring nearby, Captain Charles Fremantle of HMS Challenger, declares the Swan River Colony in Australia.
  • 1863 – American Civil War: Stonewall Jackson is wounded by friendly fire while returning to camp after reconnoitering during the Battle of Chancellorsville. He succumbs to pneumonia eight days later.
  • 1866 – Peruvian defenders fight off the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Callao.
  • 1876 – The April Uprising breaks out in Ottoman Bulgaria.
  • 1885 – Cree and Assiniboine warriors win the Battle of Cut Knife, their largest victory over Canadian forces during the North-West Rebellion.
  • 1889 – Menelik II, Emperor of Ethiopia, signs the Treaty of Wuchale, giving Italy control over Eritrea.
  • 1941 – Following the coup d’état against Iraq Crown Prince ‘Abd al-Ilah earlier that year, the United Kingdom launches the Anglo-Iraqi War to restore him to power.
  • 1945 – World War II: The Soviet Union announces the fall of Berlin.
  • 1945 – World War II: The surrender of Caserta comes into effect, by which German troops in Italy cease fighting.
  • 1945 – World War II: The US 82nd Airborne Division liberates Wöbbelin concentration camp finding 1000 dead prisoners, most of whom starved to death.
  • 1945 – World War II: A death march from Dachau to the Austrian border is halted by the segregated, all-Nisei 522nd Field Artillery Battalion of the US Army in southern Bavaria, saving several hundred prisoners.
  • 1963 – Berthold Seliger launches a rocket with three stages and a maximum flight altitude of more than 100 kilometres near Cuxhaven. It is the only sounding rocket developed in Germany.
  • 1964 – Vietnam War: An explosion sinks the American aircraft carrier USNS Card while it is docked at Saigon. Two Viet Cong combat swimmers had placed explosives on the ship’s hull. She is raised and returned to service less than seven months later.
  • 1982 – Falklands War: The British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror sinks the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano.
  • 1989 – Cold War: Hungary begins dismantling its border fence with Austria, which allows a number of East Germans to defect.
  • 1995 – During the Croatian War of Independence, the Army of the Republic of Serb Krajina fires cluster bombs at Zagreb, killing seven and wounding over 175 civilians.
  • 2000 – President Bill Clinton announces that accurate GPS access would no longer be restricted to the United States military.
  • 2011 – Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks and the FBI’s most wanted man, is killed by the United States special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

People (Births)

  • 1567 – Sebald de Weert, Dutch captain, vice-admiral of the Dutch East India Company (d. 1603).
  • 1579 – Tokugawa Hidetada, Japanese shōgun (d. 1632).
  • 1750 – John André, English soldier and spy (d. 1780).
  • 1892 – Manfred von Richthofen, German captain and pilot (d. 1918).
  • 1901 – Edouard Zeckendorf, Belgian doctor, army officer and mathematician (d. 1983).
  • 1910 – Alexander Bonnyman, Jr., American lieutenant, Medal of Honour recipient (d. 1943).
  • 1917 – Văn Tiến Dũng, Vietnamese general and politician, 6th Minister of Defence for Vietnam (d. 2002).
  • 1920 – Guinn Smith, American pole vaulter, soldier, and pilot (d. 2004).
  • 1924 – Hugh Cortazzi, English soldier, historian, and diplomat, British Ambassador to Japan (d. 2018).

People (Deaths)

  • 821 – Liu Zong, general of the Tang Dynasty.
  • 1450 – William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk, English admiral (b. 1396).
  • 1802 – Herman Willem Daendels, Dutch general and politician, Governor-General of the Dutch Gold Coast (b. 1762).
  • 1929 – Charalambos Tseroulis, Greek general and politician, Greek Minister for Military Affairs (b. 1879).
  • 1947 – Dorothea Binz, German SS officer (b. 1920).
  • 1957 – Joseph McCarthy, American captain, lawyer, judge, and politician (b. 1908).
  • 1969 – Franz von Papen, German general and politician, Chancellor of Germany (b. 1879).
  • 1974 – James O. Richardson, American admiral (b. 1878).
  • 1999 – Douglas Harkness, Canadian colonel and politician (b. 1903).
  • 2015 – Stuart Archer, English colonel and architect (b. 1915).

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