* 46 BC – Julius Caesar defeats Caecilius Metellus Scipio and Marcus Porcius Cato (Cato the Younger) in the battle of Thapsus.
* 402 – Stilicho stymies the Visigoths under Alaric in the Battle of Pollentia.
* 1199 – King Richard I of England dies from an infection following the removal of an arrow from his shoulder.
* 1250 – Seventh Crusade: Ayyubids of Egypt capture King Louis IX of France in the Battle of Fariskur.
* 1320 – The Scots reaffirm their independence by signing the Declaration of Arbroath.
* 1327 – The poet Petrarch first sees his idealized love, Laura, in the church of Saint Clare in Avignon.
* 1385 – John, Master of the Order of Aviz, is made king John I of Portugal.
* 1453 – Mehmed II begins his siege of Constantinople (Istanbul), which falls on May 29.
* 1580 – One of the largest earthquakes recorded in the history of England, Flanders, or Northern France, takes place.
* 1652 – At the Cape of Good Hope, Dutch sailor Jan van Riebeeck establishes a resupply camp that eventually becomes Cape Town.
* 1667 – An earthquake devastates Dubrovnik, then an independent city-state.
* 1776 – American Revolutionary War: Ships of the Continental Navy fail in their attempt to capture a Royal Navy dispatch boat.
* 1782 – Rama I of Siam (modern day Thailand) founds the Chakri dynasty.
* 1793 – During the French Revolution, the Committee of Public Safety becomes the executive organ of the republic.
* 1808 – John Jacob Astor incorporates the American Fur Company, that would eventually make him America's first millionaire.
* 1812 – British forces under the command of the Duke of Wellington assault the fortress of Badajoz. This would be the turning point in the Peninsular War against Napoleon-led France.
* 1814 – Nominal beginning of the Bourbon Restoration — anniversary date that Napoleon abdicates and is exiled to Elba. (Rule by the Bourbons is delayed a few weeks, though allies held most key locales of France.)
* 1830 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the original church of the Latter Day Saint movement, is organized by Joseph Smith, Jr. and others at Fayette or Manchester, New York.
* 1860 – The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—later renamed Community of Christ—is organized by Joseph Smith III and others at Amboy, Illinois
* 1861 – First performance of Arthur Sullivan's debut success, his suite of incidental music for The Tempest, leading to a career that included the famous Gilbert and Sullivan operas.
* 1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Shiloh begins – in Tennessee, forces under Union General Ulysses S. Grant meet Confederate troops led by General Albert Sidney Johnston.
* 1865 – American Civil War: The Battle of Sayler's Creek – Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia fights its last major battle while in retreat from Richmond, Virginia.
* 1866 – The Grand Army of the Republic, an American patriotic organization composed of Union veterans of the American Civil War, is founded. It lasts until 1956.
* 1869 – Celluloid is patented.
* 1888 – Thomas Green Clemson dies, bequeathing his estate to the State of South Carolina to establish Clemson Agricultural College.
* 1893 – Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is dedicated by Wilford Woodruff.
* 1895 – Oscar Wilde is arrested in the Cadogan Hotel, London after losing a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry.
* 1896 – In Athens, the opening of the first modern Olympic Games is celebrated, 1,500 years after the original games are banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I.
* 1903 – The Kishinev pogrom in Kishinev (Bessarabia) begins, forcing tens of thousands of Jews to later seek refuge in Israel and the Western world.
* 1909 – Robert Peary and Matthew Henson reach the North Pole.
* 1911 – During the Battle of Deçiq, Dedë Gjon Luli Dedvukaj, leader of the Malësori Albanians, raises the Albanian flag in the town of Tuzi, Montenegro, for the first time after George Kastrioti (Skenderbeg).
* 1917 – World War I: The United States declares war on Germany (see President Woodrow Wilson's address to Congress).
* 1919 – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi orders a general strike.
* 1923 – The first Prefects Board in Southeast Asia is formed in Victoria Institution, Malaysia.
* 1926 – Varney Airlines makes its first commercial flight (Varney is the root company of United Airlines).
* 1929 – Huey P. Long Governor of Louisiana is impeached by the Louisiana House of Representatives.
* 1930 – Gandhi raises a lump of mud and salt and declares, "With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire." beginning the Salt Satyagraha.
* 1936 – Tupelo-Gainesville tornado outbreak: Another tornado from the same storm system as the Tupelo tornado hits Gainesville, Georgia, killing 203.
* 1941 – World War II: Nazi Germany launches Operation 25 (the invasion of Kingdom of Yugoslavia) and Operation Marita (the invasion of Greece).
* 1945 – World War II: Sarajevo is liberated from German and Croatian forces by the Yugoslav Partisans.
* 1945 – World War II: the Battle of Slater's Knoll on Bougainville comes to an end.
* 1947 – The first Tony Awards are presented for theatrical achievement.
* 1957 – Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis buys the Hellenic National Airlines (TAE) and founds Olympic Airlines.
* 1962 – Leonard Bernstein causes controversy with his remarks from the podium during a New York Philharmonic concert featuring Glenn Gould performing Brahms' First Piano Concerto.
* 1965 – Launch of Early Bird, the first communications satellite to be placed in geosynchronous orbit.
* 1965 – The British Government announces the cancellation of the TSR-2 aircraft project.
* 1968 – In Richmond, Indiana's downtown district, a double explosion kills 41 and injures 150.
* 1970 – Newhall Incident: Four California Highway Patrol officers are killed in a shootout.
* 1972 – Vietnam War: Easter Offensive – American forces begin sustained air strikes and naval bombardments.
* 1973 – Launch of Pioneer 11 spacecraft.
* 1973 – The American League of Major League Baseball begins using the designated hitter.
* 1974 – ABBA win the 19th annual Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton with Waterloo.
* 1982 – Estonian Communist Party bureau declares "fight against bourgeois TV" — meaning Finnish TV — a top priority of the propagandists of Estonian SSR
* 1984 – Members of Cameroon's Republican Guard unsuccessfully attempt to overthrow the government headed by Paul Biya.
* 1994 – The Rwandan Genocide begins when the aircraft carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira is shot down.
* 1998 – Pakistan tests medium-range missiles capable of reaching India.
* 1998 – Travelers Group announces an agreement to undertake the $76 billion merger between Travelers and Citicorp, and the merger is completed on October 8, of that year, forming Citibank.
* 2004 – Rolandas Paksas becomes the first president of Lithuania to be peacefully removed from office by impeachment.
* 2005 – Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani becomes Iraqi president; Shiite Arab Ibrahim al-Jaafari is named premier the next day.
* 2008 – 2008 Egyptian general strike starts led by Egyptian workers.
* 2009 – A 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes near L'Aquila, Italy, killing 307.
* 2010 – Maoist rebels kill 76 CRPF officers in Dantewada district, India.
* 2011 – In San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico, over 193 bodies were exhumed from several mass graves made by Los Zetas.