[Europe had its biggest day ever in terms of membership growth on this day in 2004 when ten nations joined its union under the terms of the Treaty of Accession, expanding the European family from 15 to 25 members.]
305 CE - Diocletian and Maximian retired from the office of Roman Emperor; Diocletian had served as Emperor in the East whereas Maximian had served in the West. They were succeeded by Galerius and Constantius Chlorus respectively.
880 CE - The Nea Ekklesia was inaugurated in Constantinople, setting the model for all later cross-in-square Orthodox churches.
1576 - Stephen Báthory, the reigning Prince of Transylvania, married Anna Jagiellon; together they became co-rulers of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, rendering the Union of Lublin obsolete.
1753 - Carl Linnaeus' book Species Plantarum was published, marking the formal start date of plant taxonomy adopted by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.
1776 - The Illuminati were established in Ingolstadt, a village in Upper Bavaria, by the Jesuit-trained Adam Weishaupt.
1786 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro opened at Vienna's Burgtheater.
1852 - The Philippine peso was introduced into circulation by what is now known as the Bank of the Philippine Islands; called the peso fuerte it replaced the real at a rate of 8 reales to the peso.
1925 - The All-China Federation of Trade Unions was officially founded; today it is the largest trade union in the world, with 134 million members.
1945 - A German newsreader officially announced that Adolf Hitler had 'fallen at his command post in the Reich Chancellery fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany' when in fact what he actually did is watch Eva Braun take cyanide and then shot himself in the head, choosing to die like a rat beneath the ruins of Berlin rather than take responsibility for having (whether directly or indirectly) caused the deaths of some 50 million people.
1946 - 800 Indigenous Australians began waging the 3-year-long Pilbara Strike against station owners in Western Australia's Pilbara region, who'd been using them as slave labour to tend sheep.
1960 - India created the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
1961 - The Prime Minister of Cuba, Fidel Castro, proclaimed Cuba a socialist nation and abolished elections.
1965 - The Battle of Dong-Yin - a naval conflict between Taiwan and China - took place around the island of Dongyin in China's Fukien Province; in the ensuing melee four Chinese gunboats of the People's Liberation Army Navy were sunk, although both sides later claimed victory.
1977 - 36 people were killed in Istanbul's Taksim Square during that year's Labour Day celebrations.
1987 - Pope John Paul II controversially beatified Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun who was gassed in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.
1994 - Brazilian race car driver Ayrton Senna died following a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix; at the same meet Austrian Roland Ratzenberger died and Senna's fellow countryman Rubens Barrichello was seriously injured.
1995 - Croatian forces launched Operation Flash during the Croatian War of Independence.
2000 - Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared the existence of 'a state of rebellion' hours after thousands of supporters of her arrested predecessor, Joseph Estrada, stormed the official residence of the President - Malacañang Palace - at the height of the EDSA III rebellion.
2004 - Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined the European Union - an event which was celebrated at Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of Irish President Mary McAleese, in Dublin.
share on: facebook