1503 – Christopher Columbus visits the Cayman Islands and names them Las Tortugas after the numerous turtles there.
1534 – Jacques Cartier visits Newfoundland.
1773 – The Parliament of Great Britain passes the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade.
1775 – American Revolutionary War: Representatives from the Thirteen Colonies begin the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
1775 – American Revolutionary War: A small Colonial militia led by Ethan Allen an Colonel Benedict Arnold captures Fort Ticonderoga.
1837 – Panic of 1837: New York City banks fail, and unemployment reaches record levels.
1872 – Victoria Woodhull becomes the first woman nominated for President of the United States. She ran under the banner of the Equal Rights Party.
1908 – Mother’s Day was observed for the first time in the United States.
1924 – J. Edgar Hoover is appointed first Director of the FBI. He remains in that post until his death in 1972.
1940 – Winston Churchill is appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain.
1940 – Nazi Germany invaded Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, swinging 89 army divisions around France’s so-called impregnable Maginot Line.
1954 – Bill Haley & His Comets release “Rock Around the Clock,” the first rock and roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts.
1984 – A federal judge in Utah found the U.S. government negligent in above-ground Nevada nuclear tests from 1951 to 1962 that exposed residents downwind to radiation.