1279 BC – Ramesses II (The Great) (19th dynasty) becomes pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
455 – Emperor Petronius Maximus is stoned to death by an angry mob while fleeing Rome.
526 – A devastating earthquake strikes Antioch killing 250,000.
1223 – Mongol invasion of the Cumans: Battle of the Kalka River: Mongol armies of Genghis Khan led by Subutai defeat Kievan Rus' and Cumans.
1578 – Martin Frobisher sails from Harwich in England to Frobisher Bay in Canada, eventually to mine fool's gold, used to pave streets in London.
1578 – King Henry III lays the first stone of the Pont Neuf (New Bridge), the oldest bridge of Paris, France.
1669 – Citing poor eyesight, Samuel Pepys records the last event in his diary.
1775 – American Revolution: The Mecklenburg Resolves are allegedly adopted in the Province of North Carolina.
1790 – Manuel Quimper explores the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
1790 – The United States enacts its first copyright statute, the Copyright Act of 1790.
1795 – French Revolution: The Revolutionary Tribunal is suppressed.
1805 – French and Spanish forces begin the assault against British forces occupying Diamond Rock.
1813 – In Australia, William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth reach Mount Blaxland, effectively marking the end of a route across the Blue Mountains.
1854 – The civil death procedure is abolished in France.
1859 – The clock tower at the Houses of Parliament, which houses Big Ben, starts keeping time.
1862 – American Civil War Peninsula Campaign: Battle of Seven Pines or (Battle of Fair Oaks): Confederate forces under Joseph E. Johnston & G.W. Smith engage Union forces under George B. McClellan outside Richmond, Virginia.
1864 – American Civil War Overland Campaign: Battle of Cold Harbor: The Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee engages the Army of the Potomac under Ulysses S. Grant and George Meade.
1866 – In the Fenian Invasion of Canada, John O'Neill leads 850 Fenian raiders across the Niagara River at Buffalo, New York/Fort Erie, Ontario, as part of an effort to free Ireland from the United Kingdom. Canadian militia and British regulars repulse the invaders in over the next three days, at a cost of nine dead and 38 wounded to the Fenian's 19 dead and about 17 wounded.
1879 – Gilmores Garden in New York City, is renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt and is opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.
1884 – The arrival at Plymouth of Tāwhiao, King of Maoris, to claim the protection of Queen Victoria
1889 – Johnstown Flood: Over 2,200 people die after a dam fails and sends a 60-foot (18-meter) wall of water over the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
1902 – Second Boer War: The Treaty of Vereeniging ends the war and ensures British control of South Africa.
1909 – The National Negro Committee, forerunner to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, convenes for the first time.
1910 – The creation of the Union of South Africa.
1911 – The hull of the ocean liner RMS Titanic is launched.
1911 – The President of Mexico Porfirio Díaz flees the country during the Mexican Revolution.
1916 – World War I: Battle of Jutland: The British Grand Fleet under the command of John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe and David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty engage the Imperial German Navy under the command of Reinhard Scheer and Franz von Hipper in the largest naval battle of the war, which proves indecisive.
1921 – Tulsa race riot: civil unrest in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The official death toll is 39, but recent investigations suggest the actual toll may be much higher.
1924 – The Soviet Union signs an agreement with the Beijing government, referring to Outer Mongolia as an "integral part of the Republic of China", whose "sovereignty" therein the Soviet Union promises to respect.
1927 – The last Ford Model T rolls off the assembly line after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles.
1929 – The first talking Mickey Mouse cartoon, "The Karnival Kid", is released.
1935 – A 7.7 Mw earthquake destroys Quetta in modern-day Pakistan killing 40,000.
1941 – A Luftwaffe air raid on Dublin, Ireland, claims 38 lives.
1941 – Anglo-Iraqi War: The United Kingdom completes the re-occupation of Iraq and returns 'Abd al-Ilah to power as regent for Faisal II.
1942 – World War II: Imperial Japanese Navy midget submarines begin a series of attacks on Sydney, Australia.
1961 – The Union of South Africa becomes the Republic of South Africa.
1961 – In Moscow City Court, the Rokotov–Faibishenko show trial begins, despite the Khrushchev Thaw to reverse Stalinist elements in Soviet society.
1962 – The West Indies Federation dissolves.
1970 – The 7.9 Mw Ancash earthquake shakes Peru with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe) and a landslide buries the town of Yungay, Peru. Between 66,794–70,000 were killed and 50,000 were injured.
1971 – In accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1968, observation of Memorial Day occurs on the last Monday in May for the first time, rather than on the traditional Memorial Day of May 30.
1973 – The United States Senate votes to cut off funding for the bombing of Khmer Rouge targets within Cambodia, hastening the end of the Cambodian Civil War.
1977 – The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System is completed.
1981 – The burning of Jaffna library in Sri Lanka. It is one of the violent examples of ethnic biblioclasm of the twentieth century.
1985 – United States–Canada tornado outbreak: Forty-one tornadoes hit Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, leaving 76 dead.
1989 – A group of six members of the guerrilla group Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) of Peru, shoot dead eight transsexuals, in the city of Tarapoto.
1991 – Bicesse Accords in Angola lay out a transition to multi-party democracy under the supervision of the United Nations' UNAVEM II mission.
2005 – Vanity Fair reveals that Mark Felt was Deep Throat.
2010 – In international waters, armed Shayetet 13 commandos, intending to force the flotilla to anchor at the Ashdod port, boarded ships trying to break the ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip, resulting in nine civilian deaths.
2013 – The asteroid 1998 QE2 and its moon make their closest approach to Earth for the next two centuries.