On This Day … 25 May


  • 567 BC – Servius Tullius, the king of Rome, celebrates a triumph for his victory over the Etruscans.
  • 1085 – Alfonso VI of Castile takes Toledo, Spain, back from the Moors.
  • 1644 – Ming general Wu Sangui forms an alliance with the invading Manchus and opens the gates of the Great Wall of China at Shanhaiguan pass, letting the Manchus through towards the capital Beijing.
  • 1659 – Richard Cromwell resigns as Lord Protector of England following the restoration of the Long Parliament, beginning a second brief period of the republican government called the Commonwealth of England.
  • 1660 – Charles II lands at Dover at the invitation of the Convention Parliament, which marks the end of the Cromwell-proclaimed Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland and begins the Restoration of the British monarchy.
  • 1738 – A treaty between Pennsylvania and Maryland ends the Conojocular War with settlement of a boundary dispute and exchange of prisoners.
  • 1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Battle of Carlow begins; executions of suspected rebels at Carnew and at Dunlavin Green take place.
  • 1809 – Chuquisaca Revolution: Patriot revolt in Chuquisaca (modern-day Sucre) against the Spanish Empire, sparking the Latin American wars of independence.
  • 1810 – May Revolution: Citizens of Buenos Aires expel Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros during the “May Week”, starting the Argentine War of Independence.
  • 1865 – In Mobile, Alabama, around 300 people are killed when an ordnance depot explodes.
  • 1878 – Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore opens at the Opera Comique in London.
  • 1895 – The Republic of Formosa is formed, with Tang Jingsong as its president.
  • 1914 – The House of Commons of the United Kingdom passes the Home Rule Bill for devolution in Ireland.
  • 1938 – Spanish Civil War: The bombing of Alicante kills 313 people.
  • 1940 – World War II: The German 2nd Panzer Division captures the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer; the surrender of the last French and British troops marks the end of the Battle of Boulogne.
  • 1953 – Nuclear weapons testing: At the Nevada Test Site, the United States conducts its first and only nuclear artillery test.
  • 1973 – In protest against the dictatorship in Greece, the captain and crew on Greek naval destroyer Velos mutiny and refuse to return to Greece, instead anchoring at Fiumicino, Italy.
  • 1977 – Star Wars (retroactively titled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope) is released in theatres.
  • 1982 – Falklands War: HMS Coventry is sunk by Argentine Air Force A-4 Skyhawks.
  • 1997 – A military coup in Sierra Leone replaces President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah with Major Johnny Paul Koroma.
  • 2000 – Liberation Day of Lebanon: Israel withdraws its army from Lebanese territory (with the exception of the disputed Shebaa farms zone) 18 years after the invasion of 1982.
    • Liberation Day (Lebanon).
  • 2009 – North Korea allegedly tests its second nuclear device, after which Pyongyang also conducts several missile tests, building tensions in the international community.
  • Earliest day on which Memorial Day can fall, while May 31 is the latest; celebrated on the last Monday in May. (United States).
  • Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Jordan from the United Kingdom in 1946.

People (Births)

  • 1856 – Louis Franchet d’Espèrey, Algerian-French general (d. 1942).
  • 1886 – Rash Behari Bose, Indian soldier and activist (d. 1945).
  • 1889 – Günther Lütjens, German admiral (d. 1941).
  • 1889 – Igor Sikorsky, Russian-American aircraft designer, founded Sikorsky Aircraft (d. 1972).
  • 1897 – Gene Tunney, American boxer and soldier (d. 1978).
  • 1912 – Dean Rockwell, American commander, wrestler, and coach (d. 2005).
  • 1913 – Heinrich Bär, German colonel and pilot (d. 1957).
  • 1916 – Brian Dickson, Canadian captain, lawyer, and politician, 15th Chief Justice of Canada (d. 1998).
  • 1920 – Arthur Wint, Jamaican runner and diplomat (d. 1992).
  • 1927 – Robert Ludlum, American soldier and author (d. 2001).
  • 1952 – David Jenkins, Trinidadian-Scottish runner.
  • 1965 – Yahya Jammeh, Gambian colonel and politician, President of the Gambia.
  • 1971 – Stefano Baldini, Italian runner.
  • 1976 – Erki Pütsep, Estonian cyclist.
  • 1982 – Ezekiel Kemboi, Kenyan runner.
  • 1986 – Geraint Thomas, Welsh cyclist.
  • 1988 – Cameron van der Burgh, South African swimmer.

People (Deaths)

  • 939 – Yao Yanzhang, general of Chu.
  • 1797 – John Griffin, 4th Baron Howard de Walden, English field marshal and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Essex (b. 1719).
  • 1849 – Benjamin D’Urban, English general and politician, Governor of British Guiana (b. 1777).
  • 1948 – Witold Pilecki, Polish officer and Resistance leader (b. 1901).
  • 1957 – Leo Goodwin, American swimmer, diver, and water polo player (b. 1883).
  • 1968 – Georg von Küchler, German field marshal (b. 1881).
  • 2014 – Wojciech Jaruzelski, Polish general and politician, 1st President of Poland (b. 1923).

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