- 1567 – Erik XIV of Sweden and his guards murder five incarcerated Swedish nobles.
- 1607 – One hundred English settlers disembark in Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in America.
- 1667 – The French Royal Army crosses the border into the Spanish Netherlands, starting the War of Devolution opposing France to the Spanish Empire and the Triple Alliance.
- 1798 – The Irish Rebellion of 1798 led by the United Irishmen against British rule begins.
- 1813 – South American independence leader Simón Bolívar enters Mérida, leading the invasion of Venezuela, and is proclaimed El Libertador (“The Liberator”).
- 1822 – Battle of Pichincha: Antonio José de Sucre secures the independence of the Presidency of Quito.
- 1832 – The First Kingdom of Greece is declared in the London Conference.
- 1861 – American Civil War: Union troops occupy Alexandria, Virginia.
- 1900 – Second Boer War: The United Kingdom annexes the Orange Free State.
- 1915 – World War I: Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary, joining the conflict on the side of the Allies.
- 1940 – Igor Sikorsky performs the first successful single-rotor helicopter flight.
- 1940 – Acting on the orders of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, NKVD agent Iosif Grigulevich orchestrates an unsuccessful assassination attempt on exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky in Coyoacán, Mexico.
- 1941 – World War II: In the Battle of the Atlantic, the German Battleship Bismarck sinks then-pride of the Royal Navy, HMS Hood, killing all but three crewmen.
- 1948 – Arab–Israeli War: Egypt captures the Israeli kibbutz of Yad Mordechai, but the five-day effort gives Israeli forces time to prepare enough to stop the Egyptian advance a week later.
- 1967 – Egypt imposes a blockade and siege of the Red Sea coast of Israel.
- 1981 – Ecuadorian president Jaime Roldós Aguilera, his wife, and his presidential committee die in an aircraft accident while travelling from Quito to Zapotillo minutes after the president gave a famous speech regarding the 24 de mayo anniversary of the Battle of Pichincha.
- 1982 – Liberation of Khorramshahr: Iranians recapture of the port city of Khorramshahr from the Iraqis during the Iran–Iraq War.
- 1991 – Israel conducts Operation Solomon, evacuating Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
- 1992 – The last Thai dictator, General Suchinda Kraprayoon, resigns following pro-democracy protests.
- 1992 – The ethnic cleansing in Kozarac, Bosnia and Herzegovina begins when Serbian militia and police forces enter the town.
- 1993 – Eritrea gains its independence from Ethiopia.
- 1999 – The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands indicts Slobodan Milošević and four others for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo.
- 2000 – Israeli troops withdraw from southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation.
- 2002 – Russia and the United States sign the Moscow Treaty.
- Battle of Pichincha Day (Ecuador).
- 15 BC – Germanicus, Roman general (d. 19).
- 1887 – Mick Mannock, Irish soldier and pilot, Victoria Cross recipient (d. 1918).
- 1916 – Roden Cutler, Australian lieutenant and politician, 32nd Governor of New South Wales (d. 2002).
- 1924 – Philip Pearlstein, American soldier and painter.
- 1945 – Richard Ottaway, English lieutenant and politician, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
- 1988 – Monica Lin Brown, American sergeant.
- 1456 – Ambroise de Loré, French commander (b. 1396).
- 1792 – George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney, English admiral and politician, 16th Governor of Newfoundland (b. 1718).
- 1806 – John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll, Scottish field marshal and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Argyllshire (b. 1723).
- 1861 – Elmer E. Ellsworth, American colonel (b. 1837).
- 1915 – John Condon, Irish-English soldier (b. 1896).
- 1941 – Lancelot Holland, English admiral (b. 1887).
- 1945 – Robert Ritter von Greim, German field marshal and pilot (b. 1892).
- 1950 – Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell, English field marshal and politician, 43rd Governor-General of India (b. 1883).
- 1959 – John Foster Dulles, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 52nd United States Secretary of State (b. 1888).
- 2012 – Klaas Carel Faber, Dutch-German SS officer (b. 1922).
- 2014 – John Vasconcellos, American lieutenant, lawyer, and politician (b. 1932).
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