- 585 BC – A solar eclipse occurs, as predicted by the Greek philosopher and scientist Thales, while Alyattes is battling Cyaxares in the Battle of Halys, leading to a truce. This is one of the cardinal dates from which other dates can be calculated.
- 621 – Battle of Hulao: Li Shimin, the son of the Chinese emperor Gaozu, defeats the numerically superior forces of Dou Jiande near the Hulao Pass (Henan). This victory decides the outcome of the civil war that followed the Sui dynasty’s collapse in favour of the Tang dynasty.
- 1588 – The Spanish Armada, with 130 ships and 30,000 men, sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal, heading for the English Channel (It will take until May 30 for all ships to leave port).
- 1644 – English Civil War: Bolton Massacre by Royalist troops under the command of James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby.
- 1754 – French and Indian War: In the first engagement of the war, Virginia militia under the 22-year-old Lieutenant colonel George Washington defeat a French reconnaissance party in the Battle of Jumonville Glen in what is now Fayette County in southwestern Pennsylvania.
- 1802 – In Guadeloupe, 400 rebellious slaves, led by Louis Delgrès, blow themselves up rather than submit to Napoleon’s troops.
- 1830 – US President Andrew Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act which denies Native Americans their land rights and forcibly relocates them.
- 1871 – The Paris Commune falls after two months.
- 1905 – Russo-Japanese War: The Battle of Tsushima ends with the destruction of the Russian Baltic Fleet by Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō and the Imperial Japanese Navy.
- 1918 – The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the First Republic of Armenia declare their independence.
- 1926 – The 28 May 1926 coup d’état: Ditadura Nacional is established in Portugal to suppress the unrest of the First Republic.
- 1940 – World War II: Belgium surrenders to Nazi Germany to end the Battle of Belgium.
- 1940 – World War II: Norwegian, French, Polish and British forces recapture Narvik in Norway. This is the first allied infantry victory of the War.
- 1958 – Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, heavily reinforced by Frank Pais Militia, overwhelm an army post in El Uvero.
- 1974 – Northern Ireland’s power-sharing Sunningdale Agreement collapses following a general strike by loyalists.
- 1975 – Fifteen West African countries sign the Treaty of Lagos, creating the Economic Community of West African States.
- 1987 – A West German pilot, Mathias Rust, who was 18 years old, evades Soviet Union air defences and lands a private plane in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia. He is immediately detained and released on 03 August 1988.
- 1991 – The capital city of Addis Ababa falls to the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, ending both the Derg regime in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Civil War.
- 1998 – Nuclear testing: Pakistan responds to a series of nuclear tests by India with five of its own codenamed Chagai-I, prompting the United States, Japan, and other nations to impose economic sanctions. Pakistan celebrates Youm-e-Takbir annually.
- Armed Forces Day (Croatia).
- 1140 – Xin Qiji, Chinese poet, general, and politician (d. 1207).
- 1818 – P. G. T. Beauregard, American general (d. 1893).
- 1914 – W. G. G. Duncan Smith, English captain and pilot (d. 1996).
- 1921 – Tom Uren, Australian soldier, boxer, and politician (d. 2015).
- 1922 – Tuomas Gerdt, Finnish soldier.
- 1924 – Edward du Cann, English naval officer and politician (d. 2017).
- 1945 – John N. Bambacus, American military veteran (USMC) and politician.
- 1956 – Peter Wilkinson, English admiral.
- 1960 – Mark Sanford, American military veteran (USAF) and politician, 115th Governor of South Carolina.
- 1556 – Saitō Dōsan, Japanese samurai (b. 1494).
- 1811 – Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, Scottish lawyer and politician, Secretary of State for War (b. 1742).
- 1831 – William Carnegie, 7th Earl of Northesk, Scottish-English admiral (b. 1756).
- 1904 – Kicking Bear, Native American tribal leader (b. 1846).
- 1968 – Fyodor Okhlopkov, Russian sergeant and sniper (b. 1908).
- 1971 – Audie Murphy, American soldier and actor, Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1925).
- 1982 – H. Jones, English colonel, Victoria Cross recipient (b. 1940).
- 1983 – Erastus Corning 2nd, American soldier and politician, 72nd Mayor of Albany (b. 1909).
- 1999 – Michael Barkai, Israeli commander (b. 1935).
- 2013 – Viktor Kulikov, Russian commander (b. 1921).
- 2013 – Gerd Schmückle, German general (b. 1917).
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