May 24 is the 144th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (145th in leap years). There are 221 days remaining.
- 1153 - Malcolm IV becomes King of Scotland.
- 1218 - The Fifth Crusade leaves Acre for Egypt.
- 1430 - Joan of Arc is captured at Compičgne in Oise.
- 1487 - Imposter Lambert Simnel is crowned as "King Edward VI" at Dublin.
- 1626 - Peter Minuit buys Manhattan.
- 1668 - Glen Cove, New York is founded.
- 1689 - The Act of Toleration passes the English Parliament protecting Protestants (Roman Catholics are intentionally excluded).
- 1738 - The Methodist Church is established.
- 1787 - The United States Constitutional Convention is convened after a quorum of delegates arrives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- 1798 - Irish nationalists rebel against British occupation forces, believing that French troops were going to invade Ireland.
- 1822 - Battle of Pichincha : Simón Bolívar secures the independence of Quito.
- 1830 - Mary had a little lamb by Sarah Hale is published.
- 1844 - The first electric telegram is sent by Samuel F. B. Morse, from Baltimore, Maryland to Washington, D.C., saying "What hath God wrought?".
- 1846 - Mexican-American War: General Zachary Taylor captures Monterrey, Mexico.
- 1856 - John Brown and his men murder five slavery supporters at Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas
- 1861 - American Civil War: Union troops occupy Alexandria, Virginia.
- 1883 - The Brooklyn Bridge in New York is opened to traffic after 14 years of construction.
- 1895 - Henry Irving becomes the first personage from the theatre to be knighted.
- 1899 - The first public parking garage in the United States is opened in Boston, Massachusetts.
- 1900 - Boer War: The United Kingdom annexes the Orange Free State.
- 1915 - World War I: Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary.
- 1921 - Trial of Sacco and Vanzetti opens.
- 1929 - The Cocoanuts, the first film to star the Marx Brothers, opens.
- 1930 - Amy Johnson lands in Darwin, Northern Territory, becoming the first woman to fly from England to Australia (she left on May 5 for the 11,000 mile flight).
- 1940 - Igor Sikorsky performs the first successful single-rotor helicopter flight.
- 1941 - World War II: In the North Atlantic, the German Battleship Bismarck sinks the HMS Hood killing all but three crewmen on what was the pride of the Royal Navy.
- 1943 - Holocaust: Josef Mengele becomes chief medical officer in Auschwitz concentration camp.
- 1956 - In Lugano, Switzerland, Lys Assia wins the first Eurovision Song Contest for Switzerland singing "Refrain".
- 1958 - United Press International is formed through a merger of the United Press and the International News Service.
- 1961 - American civil rights movement: Freedom Riders are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for "disturbing the peace" after disembarking from their bus.
- 1962 - American astronaut Scott Carpenter orbits the Earth three times in the Aurora 7 space capsule.
- 1968 - Students set fire to the Paris bourse.
- 1968 - FLQ separatists bomb American consulate in Quebec City
- 1968 - The Gateway Arch, in St. Louis, Missouri, is dedicated.
- 1974 - After a nine-year run, the Dean Martin Show airs for the last time.
- 1976 - London to Washington, DC Concorde service begins.
- 1980 - The International Court of Justice calls for the release of United States embassy hostages in Tehran.
- 1981 - First International Women's Day for Disarmament
- 1988 - Section 28 is passed as law by Parliament in the United Kingdom.
- 1989 - Sonia Sutcliffe , wife of the Yorkshire Ripper, is awarded a six-figure sum in damages after winning a libel action against Private Eye.
- 1990 - A car carrying American Earth First! activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney explodes in Oakland, California, critically injuring both.
- 1991 - Israel conducts Operation Solomon, evacuating Ethopian Jews to Israel.
- 1992 - The last Thai dictator, General Suchinda Kraprayoon , resigns following pro-democracy protests.
- 1993 - Eritrea gains its independence from Ethiopia.
- 1993 - Microsoft unveils Windows NT.
- 2000 - Israeli troops withdraw from southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation.
- 2001 - Mountain climbing: 15-year-old Sherpa Temba Tsheri becomes the youngest person to climb to the top of Mount Everest.
- 2003 - In Riga, Latvia, Sertab Erener wins the forty-eighth Eurovision Song Contest for Turkey singing "Everyway [sic] That I Can".
- 1544 - William Gilbert (d. 1603)
- 1616 - John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale, (d. 1682)
- 1619 - (baptised) Philips Wouwerman , Dutch Baroque painter (d. 1668)
- 1743 - Jean-Paul Marat, French revolutionary (d. 1793)
- 1794 - William Whewell, philosopher (d. 1866)
- 1810 - Abraham Geiger, rabbi and scholar (d. 1874)
- 1811 - Charles Clark, Governor of Mississippi
- 1816 - Emanuel Leutze, painter of Washington Crossing the Delaware (d. 1868)
- 1819 - Queen Victoria (d. 1901)
- 1831 - Richard Hoffman , pianist
- 1836 - Joseph Rowntree, British social reformer (d. 1925)
- 1855 - Arthur Wing Pinero, playwright (d. 1934)
- 1858 - Johan C Braakensiek , political cartoonist
- 1863 - George Grey Barnard, American sculptor (d. 1938)
- 1865 - Zo d'Axa , French anarchist, satirist and traveller
- 1866 - Armando Frid (d. 1990)
- 1870 - Jan Christian Smuts (d. 1950)
- 1870 - Benjamin Cardozo, US jurist (d. 1938)
- 1878 - Lillian Moller Gilbreth, mother of modern management (d. 1972)
- 1886 - Paul Paray, conductor, composer (d. 1979)
- 1891 - William F. Albright, American archeologist and Biblical scholar (d. 1971)
- 1899 - Suzanne Lenglen, French tennis player
- 1899 - Henri Michaux, French poet
- 1991 - Jack Ostrand, Duke of Wellington
- 1905 - Zdenek Blazek , composer (d. 1988)
- 1909 - Wilbur Mills, United States politician (d. 1992)
- 1910 - Nils-Eric Fougstedt (d. 1961)
- 1912 - Joan Hammond , soprano
- 1913 - Willi Daume , German Olympic organizer (d. 1996)
- 1914 - Lilli Palmer, actress (d. 1986)
- 1917 - John Robert Russell , Duke of Bedford (d. 2002)
- 1922 or 1923 - Siobhan McKenna, actress (d. 1986)
- 1925 - Mai Zetterling, entertainer (d. 1994)
- 1926 - Stanley Baxter, actor
- 1928 - William Trevor, writer
- 1930 - Hans-Martin Linde, conductor
- 1934 - Jane Byrne, former mayor of Chicago
- 1935 - Joan Micklin Silver , director, writer
- 1936 - Harold Budd, musician
- 1938 - Tommy Chong, actor, comedian
- 1940 - Joseph Brodsky, poet
- 1941 - Bob Dylan (aka Robert Allen Zimmerman), singer and songwriter
- 1942 - Derek Quinn , musician
- 1943 - Gary Burghoff, actor
- 1944 - Arthur Brown, musician
- 1944 - Patti LaBelle, singer
- 1945 - Priscilla Presley, actress
- 1946 - Irena Kirszenstein-Szewinska , Russian-born Polish athlete
- 1949 - Jim Broadbent, actor
- 1953 - Alfred Molina, actor
- 1955 - Rosanne Cash, singer
- 1960 - Kristin Scott Thomas, actress
- 1962 - Bev Lidyoff , volleyball player
- 1963 - Joe Dumars, basketball star
- 1965 - John C. Reilly, actor
- 1966 - Eric Cantona, French footballer
- 1967 - Heavy D, rap musician, actor
- 1972 - Greg Berlanti, American television writer and producer
- 1973 - Dermot O'Leary, TV presenter
- 1974 - Ruslana, Famous Ukrainian Singer and winner 49th Eurovision Song Contest 2004
- 1979 - Tracy McGrady, basketball player
- 1983 - Nathan Braun, poet, writer and musician
- 1988 - Billy Gilman, singer
- 592 - St. Simon Stylites the Younger
- 1153 - King David I of Scotland (b. 1084)
- 1543 - Nicolas Copernicus, astronomer (b. 1473)
- 1612 - Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, 1st Viscount Cranborne (b. 1563)
- 1879 - William Lloyd Garrison, abolitionist, writer, publisher (b. 1805)
- 1881 - Samuel Palmer, English artist (b. 1805)
- 1883 - Abdel Kadir, Algerian leader (b. 1808)
- 1903 - Marcel Renault , automobile racer
- 1933 - Percy C. Mather, pioneer missionary to Eastern Turkestan
- 1937 - Edward Dunne , mayor of Chicago (b. 1853)
- 1947 - C. F. Ramuz, Swiss writer (b. 1878)
- 1950 - Archibald Wavell, general (b. 1883)
- 1959 - John Foster Dulles, United States Secretary of State (b. 1888)
- 1963 - Elmore James, blues musician (b. 1918)
- 1969 - Willy Ley, rocket scientist (b. 1906)
- 1974 - Duke Ellington, composer, musician (b. 1899)
- 1981 - George Jessel, vaudevillian (b. 1898)
- 1991 - Wilhelm Kempff, German conductor (b. 1895)
- 1995 - Harold Wilson, British statesman and prime minister (b. 1916)
- 1997 - Edward Mulhare, actor (b. 1923)
- 2003 - Lady Rachel Kempson, actress (b. 1910)
- 2004 - Henry Ries, American photographer (b. 1917)
Holidays and observances
May 23 - May 25 - April 24 - June 24 - listing of all days
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