American actor, director
French pianist, composer
American boxer, actor
Austrian/American chess player
German singer-songwriter, drummer
American jusrist, politician, 1st Chief Justice of the United States
American baseball player
American singer, guitarist
American general, politician, 14th Vice President of the United States
In 1527, Spanish conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez set sail from Spain with 600 men, hoping to establish a colony in Florida. However, the expedition was plagued by disease, hostile native tribes, and harsh weather conditions, and by 1536, only four men survived. Despite the tragic outcome, Narváez's expedition paved the way for future Spanish exploration and colonization of Florida.
On May 17, 1792, a group of 24 New York City merchants signed the Buttonwood Agreement under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street, creating what would eventually become the New York Stock Exchange. The agreement established guidelines for trading securities and laid the foundation for the modern stock market.
John Hawkins and Richard French were granted a patent for the reaping machine, a device used for harvesting crops such as wheat and barley. The reaping machine was an important innovation in agriculture, as it reduced the amount of manual labor required for harvesting and increased the efficiency of farming.
On the night of May 16-17, 1943, the Royal Air Force's 617 Squadron carried out a daring bombing raid on three German dams using "bouncing bombs" designed by inventor Barnes Wallis. The attack caused significant damage to the dams and disrupted German industrial production, but it came at a high cost: of the 19 aircraft that took part in the raid, eight were shot down, and 53 crew members were killed.
In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The decision paved the way for the desegregation of schools and other public institutions in the United States, although resistance to integration persisted for many years in some areas.
In 1970, West German Chancellor Willy Brandt signed the Treaty of Warsaw, in which Germany renounced all territorial claims east of the Oder-Neisse line and recognized the post-World War II borders of Poland. The treaty was ratified by the German parliament on May 17, 1972, and helped to normalize relations between West Germany and Poland.
The Senate Watergate Committee was established to investigate the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. The hearings, which began on May 17, 1973, revealed a web of political corruption and cover-ups that ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.
In 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, marking a significant victory for LGBTQ+.