This Day in History

May 24


1032      first recorded transit of Venus—by Persian polymath Avicenna   985
1136      Hugues de Payens, co-founder and first Grand Master of the Knights Templar for 20 years, dies in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, age 66   881
1153      David I, King of the Scots, dies after a reign of 29 years, age about 69   864
1543      Nicholas Copernicus dies age 70   474
1544      English natural philosopher William Gilbert born in Colchester   473
1595      first printed catalog of an institutional library—Nomenclator of Leiden University Library published   422
1624      James I revokes the charter for the Virginia Colony and establishes it as a Royal Colony   393
1626      Peter Minuit exchanges trade goods for Manhattan Island   391
1632      English mathematician and geographer Robert Hues dies in Oxford, age about 78   385
1667      French army of Louis XIV crosses the border into the Spanish Netherlands initiating the year-long War of Devolution   350
1683      Ashmolean Museum, world's first university museum opens in Oxford, England   334
1689      English Parliament passes Act of Toleration protecting Protestants—Roman Catholics are intentionally excluded   328
1738      John Wesley's 'Aldersgate Experience' leading to the break from the Anglican Church and the founding of Methodist Movement   279
1819      Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom, born in London   198
1830      Baltimore and Ohio Railroad opens with section from Baltimore west to Ellicott's Mill—first railway common carrier in U.S.   187
1830      "Mary Had a Little Lamb" by Sarah Josepha Hale is first published in Boston   187
1843      French mathematician Sylvestre François Lacroix dies in Paris, age 78   174
1844      Samuel Morse sends the first message over a telegraph line (Washington D.C. to Baltimore):  "What hath God wrought."   173
1869      expedition led by John Wesley Powell departs Green River, Wyoming to explore downstream through the Grand Canyon   148
1883      Brooklyn Bridge opens linking the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River   134
1895      English stage actor Henry Irving is knighted—first person from the theatre to be awarded a knighthood   122
1930      British pilot Amy Johnson lands in Darwin—becomes the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia   87
1935      first night game in Major League Baseball history—the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 at Crosley Field   82
1936      Yankee's Tony Lazzeri becomes the first MLB hitter to hit two Grand Slam home runs in a single game—against Philadelphia Athletics   81
1956      first Eurovision Song Contest is held in Lugano, Switzerland, with seven nations participating   61
1962      launch of Mercury 7—Scott Carpenter orbits Earth three times, second U.S. orbital mission   55
1970      drilling begins on the Kola Superdeep Borehole on the Soviet Kola Peninsula—eventually reaches record 12,262 m (40,230 ft) in 1989   47
1972      Magnavox demonstrates Ralph Baer's Odyssey—first home TV game console   45
1974      American jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington dies in New York City, age 75   43
1976      British Airways Concorde initiates transatlantic supersonic service—London to Washington D.C.   41
2000      Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, establishes the seven Millennium Prize Problems   17
2001      during a wedding in Jerusalem the building collapses killing 23 and injuring 380 others   16
2010      last episode of Law and Order—joins Gunsmoke with record 20 seasons of primetime television drama   7
2013      German painter Gotthard Graubner dies, age 82   4
2015      British writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy Tanith Lee dies in East Sussex, age 67   2

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

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