World Facts

What Happened On May 1st In...?

Normans began to invade Ireland, Great Britain was formed, and Kim Il-Sung's regime took power in North Korea.

May 1st is widely observed as the International Labor Day that is celebrated year after year since its establishment by the Labor Union movement. Apart from this event, there are some historical events throughout the centuries that have occurred on this day and have had an impact on the society and sometimes even in the modern times regarding social, political, scientific and health issues.

Norman Invasion of Ireland

The Norman and English mercenaries invaded Ireland at Leinster’s Bannow Bay on May 1, 1169 AD, under the leadership of Diarmait, Robert Fitzstephen, and Maurice de Prendergast. The invasion occurred as a result of Diarmait Mac Murchada who sought the help of King Henry II of England to regain his kingdom after he was ousted.

Formation of Great Britain

The kingdoms of Scotland and England, under the Acts of Union (which consisted of the Union with Scotland Act of 1706 and the Union with England Act of 1707) were united into one kingdom under the name of Great Britain on May 1, 1707. The union formed after the two acts were passed, and has remained significant to this very day as the two kingdoms remain united.

Carl Linnaeus Publishes Species Plantarum

On May 1, 1753, Carl Linnaeus published his landmark botanical taxonomy book Species Plantarum, which applied binomial names and marked the beginning of assigning two names to plants, a system which is still in use today. The book was published in Stockholm in two volumes, with the first being published in 1753.

Establishment of the Kingdom of Hawaii

Kamehameha I was a Hawaiian king who conquered the Hawaiian Islands. He officially established the Unified Kingdom of Hawaii on May 1, 1785 after victories in wars against rival Hawaiian leaders.

Battle of Chancellorsville

The Battle of Chancellorsville began on May 1, 1863, resulting in the successful seizure of the Confederate capital of Richmond in Virginia following four unsuccessful attempts to do so since 1861. Under the leadership of Major General Joseph Hooker, the Union forces attacked Lee’s Confederate Army from both sides leading to a victory.

Dwarf Planet Pluto Receives a Name

The name for the dwarf planet Pluto was suggested by Venetia Burney. The name came from the Greek god of the underworld who was capable of making himself invincible. After the suggestion was forwarded to the astronomers, the name was accepted and officially adopted on May 1, 1930.

Beginning of Communist Rule in North Korea

The leading Korean, formerly exiled, communist Kim II-sung became the leader of the North Korean Provisional People's government in February of 1948. He later established the North Korean communist government still in power today on May 1, 1948, marking the beginning of communist dominance in North Korea, and the dictatorship which lasted during and after his reign.

Jonas Salk's Polio Vaccine Made Available to the Public

Jonas Salk studied flu viruses at the University of Michigan together with Thomas Francis from 1941 onward, and he introduced the Salk vaccine which would come to be widely used to combat polio. The vaccine was released on May 1, 1956, at a time when polio was the most feared and devastating epidemic, having killed a large number of people and paralyzing others, with children being the most susceptible victims.

1960 U-2 Spy Plane Incident

On May 1, 1960, an American U-2 spy plane was shot down while flying over Soviet airspace during the Cold War. Francis Gary Powers, the CIA pilot was conducting an aerial photography reconnaissance when the plane was shot. The Soviet Union had discovered the spying activities by the United States' government and intercepted the plane in the Kosulino area.

​Expansion of the European Union in 2004

On May 1, 2004, the European Union registered its largest single expansion after ten countries, among them Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia, joined the union. Most of the countries that joined the union on that day were former single-party socialist states.

Notable Events Occurring on May 1st Through HistoryYear
Normans begin their invasion of Ireland at Bannow Bay in Leinster.1169
The kingdoms of England and Scotland are combined under the Act of Union to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.1707
Swedish zoologist and botanist Carl Linnaeus published his landmark taxonomic work Species Plantarum.1753
Kamehameha I establishes a unified Kingdom of Hawaii after defeating a major rival in battle.1785
The Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia commences in the American Civil War.1863
Recently discovered Pluto is named in honor of the Greek mythological ruler of the underworld.1930
Kim Il-sung and his communist regime ascend to power in North Korea.
Jonas Salk's polio vaccine becomes available to the general public.1956
U.S. pilot Francis Powers is shot down in his U-2 spy plane while passing over the Soviet Union.1960
Ten new members states, largely former socialist controlled nations, join the European Union.2004

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