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This Day in History – 5th May

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This Day in History is DUE’s daily dose of trivia for all the history buffs out there. So sit back and take a ride to all the fascinating things that happened today!

People are trapped in history and history is trapped in people, and hence, every day has been a significant one in the foibles of History. Let’s take a tour of “This Day in History – 5th of May”.

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1260 Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, becomes ruler of the Mongol Empire

Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, becomes ruler of the Mongol Empire.
Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, becomes ruler of the Mongol Empire. (Image Source:

Kublai Khan was a Mongolian general and statesman who was the grandson and greatest successor of Genghis Khan. He was the fifth emperor (reigned 1260–94) of the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty. In 1279 he completed the conquest of China begun by Genghis Khan and became the first Yuan ruler of all of China.

1494 Columbus sights Jamaica

On this day in History, voyager Christopher Columbus sighted Jamaica during his 2nd voyage to the New World. He sighted the present-day Caribbean country by landing at Discovery Bay.

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1789 French Estates-General meets for the first time since 1614 at Versailles, summoned King Louis XVI

The Estates-General of 1789 was the first meeting since 1614 of the French Estates-General, a general assembly representing the French estates of the realm. Summoned by King Louis XVI to propose solutions to his government’s financial problems, the Estates-General convened for several weeks in May and June 1789.

1792 Delambre is appointed to calculate the length of a meter

Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre commissioned to measure the meridian between Dunkerque to Rodez to calculate the accurate length of the meter.

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Read more here.

1809 Mary Kies is 1st woman issued a US patent for weaving straw

Mary Kies
Mary Kies (Image Source:

The Patent Act of 1790 opened the door for anyone, male or female, to protect his or her invention with a patent. However, because in many states women could not legally own property independent of their husbands, many women inventors didn’t bother to patent their new inventions. Mary Kies broke that pattern on this day in History. She became the first woman to receive a U.S. patent for her method of weaving straw with silk. With her new method, Kies could make and sell beautiful hats such as this one, and, by law, no one else could sell hats just like hers.

1870 The British and Foreign Society for Improving the Embossed Literature of the Blind adopts Braille as the best format for blind people

On this day in History, this society adopted braille as the best format for blind people and published the UK’s first key to the braille alphabet and music notation.

1893 Panic of 1893 causes a large crash on the NY Stock Exchange

The was the scene the day after the collapse of the National Cordage Company on 4 May. It was part of the then-largest economic crisis to hit America that triggered a depression that lasted until 1897.

The panicked scene at the New York Stock Exchange on the infamous morning of Friday, 5 May, 1893.
The panicked scene at the New York Stock Exchange on the infamous morning of Friday, 5 May, 1893. (Image Source:

Loans were called in across the country 600 banks failed, 15,000 companies collapsed and unemployment soared to 25%.

1900 “The Billboard” began weekly publication

"The Billboard" began weekly publication.
“The Billboard” began weekly publication. (Image Source: Wikipedia)

The first issue of Billboard was published in Cincinnati, Ohio, by William Donaldson and James Hennegan. After a brief departure over editorial differences, Donaldson purchased Hennegan’s interest in the business in 1900 for $500 (equal to $13,000 today) to save it from bankruptcy. On this day in History, Donaldson changed it from a monthly to a weekly paper with a greater emphasis on breaking news.

1908 Great White Fleet arrives in San Francisco

In the last years of his administration, President Theodore Roosevelt ordered a massive US Navy fleet to circumnavigate the globe to project American naval power. The fleet, their hulls painted white, was meant as a showpiece of American goodwill and was to make courtesy calls at a number of ports globally. On this day in History, it arrives in San Franciso.

1912 Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda begins publishing (4/22 OS)

Pravda (Russian: “Truth”) is a Russian broadsheet newspaper, formerly the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, when it was one of the most influential papers in the country with a circulation of 11 million. It emerged as a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union after the October Revolution. The newspaper was an organ of the Central Committee of the CPSU between 1912 and 1991.

1921 Perfume Chanel No. 5 released by fashion designer Coco Chanel

Chanel No. 5 was the first perfume launched by French couturier Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel in 1921. The scented formula for the fragrance was compounded by French-Russian chemist and perfumer Ernest Beaux. The design of its bottle has been an important part of the product’s allure.

Perfume Chanel No. 5 released by fashion designer Coco Chanel
Perfume Chanel No. 5 released by fashion designer Coco Chanel. (Image Source: Wikipedia)

In 1920, when presented with small glass vials containing sample scents numbered 1 to 5 and 20 to 24 for her assessment, she chose the fifth vial. Chanel told her master perfumer, Ernest Beaux, whom she had commissioned to develop a new fragrance, “I present my dress collections on the fifth of May, the fifth month of the year and so we will let this sample number five keep the name it has already, it will bring good luck.”

1922 After sharing the Polo Grounds with the New York Giants for 10 years construction begins on Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NYC

The venue was constructed for $2.4 million between 1922–1923 specifically for the Yankees, who had been sharing the Polo Grounds with the New York Giants baseball team for 10 years. Yankee Stadium opened in 1923, and at the time, it was hailed as a one-of-a-kind facility in the country for its size.

1930 Amy Johnson takes off – the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia

Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson (Image Source:

Amy set off alone from Croydon on this day in History and landed in Darwin on 24 May, a flight distance of 11,000 miles. She was the first woman to fly alone to Australia and came home to the UK to a hero’s welcome which culminated in her award of a C.B.E.

1930 Bradman scores a whopping unbeaten 185

Australian cricket batting prodigy Don Bradman scores an unbeaten 185 in a tour match for Australia v Leicestershire at Aylestone Road, Leicester.

1942 US begins rationing sugar during WW II

Sugar was the first consumer commodity rationed, with all sales ended on 27 April 1942 and resumed on 5 May with a ration of .5 pounds (0.23 kg) per person per week, half of normal consumption. Bakeries, ice cream makers, and other commercial users received rations of about 70% of normal usage.

1945 World War II: Admiral Karl Dönitz, leader of Germany after Hitler’s death, orders all U-boats to cease offensive operations and return to their bases

Admiral Karl Dönitz,
Admiral Karl Dönitz, (Image Source:

Adolf Hitler named Dönitz as his successor in his last will and testament. When he committed suicide on 30 April 1945, Dönitz succeeded him as President of Germany but lasted in this position for less than a month. Germany surrendered to the Allies on 8 May 1945, and Dönitz’ government was abolished by the occupying powers on 23 May. On this day in History, Dönitz ordered cessation of offensive naval operations.

1961 Alan Shepard becomes 1st American in space (aboard Freedom 7)

Alan Shepard becomes 1st American in space (aboard Freedom 7).
Alan Shepard becomes 1st American in space (aboard Freedom 7). (Image Source:

On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. He flew on a Mercury spacecraft. There was just enough room for one person. He named his capsule Freedom 7.

1962 West Side Story makes a record

West Side Story soundtrack album goes #1 & stays #1 for 54 weeks which is more than 20 weeks longer than any other album.

2012 Japan shuts down its nuclear reactors leaving the country without nuclear power for the first time since 1970

The closure of the third reactor at the Tomari plant in Hokkaido prefecture, northern Japan, means all of the country’s 50 nuclear reactors have been taken offline, leaving the country with no nuclear-derived electricity for the first time since 1970.

2015 Scientists announce the discovery of the oldest & most distant galaxy known to man, EGS-zs8-1

Keck Observatory in Hawaii, was then performed to precisely determine the age of the galaxy. Oesch and his colleagues at Yale and the University of California, Santa Cruz announced the finding, which was named EGS-zs8-1, surpassing the previous record for oldest galaxy by about 30 million years.

2015 Archaeornithura meemannae, the oldest known prehistoric bird, is discovered

Remains of Archaeornithura meemannae.
Remains of Archaeornithura meemannae. (Image Source: The Guardian)

Archaeornithura meemannae, the earliest known ancestor of modern birds discovered in China. An international team of palaeontologists has described a new ornithuromorph bird that lived during the Hauterivian stage of the Early Cretaceous epoch, approximately 131 million years ago.

2018 Electric cigarette explodes killing a man in St. Petersburg, Florida, the first death from a vaping product

The death of a St. Petersburg man whose Smoke-e Mountain vape pen exploded, firing pieces of the device into his brain and setting his house on fire, presents the first recorded U.S. fatality linked to an e-cigarette. Tallmadge D’Elia, was the name of the victim.

For further updates, follow the “This Day in History” section.

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