On This Day in History: May 19

On this day in 1935, Lawrence of Arabia dies.

T.E. Lawrence, known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia, dies as a retired Royal Air Force mechanic living under an assumed name. The legendary war hero, author, and archaeological scholar succumbed to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident six days before.

His exploits in the Arabian Peninsula during World War I were legendary. His book, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, became a handbook for modern day guerrilla warfare and the Middle East. There are some people who should have read this before engaging militarily in the Middle East. There is much about the people of the region that Westerners do not understand, to their downfall in the region.

Everyone is familiar with the 1962 Academy Award winning movie starring Peter O’Toole which glorified his exploits. It opens with the motorcycle accident that ended his life. This is the BBC series that gives a far better picture of the man he was and what drove him.

1499 – Catherine of Aragon, is married by proxy to Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales. Catherine is 13 and Arthur is 12.

1535 – French explorer Jacques Cartier sets sail on his second voyage to North America with three ships, 110 men, and Chief Donnacona’s two sons (whom Cartier had kidnapped during his first voyage).

1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England, is beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest.

1568 – Queen Elizabeth I of England orders the arrest of Mary, Queen of Scots.

1588Spanish Armada sets sail

1643 – Thirty Years’ War: French forces under the duc d’Enghien decisively defeat Spanish forces at the Battle of Rocroi, marking the symbolic end of Spain as a dominant land power.

1649 – An Act of Parliament declaring England a Commonwealth is passed by the Long Parliament. England would be a republic for the next eleven years.

1749 – King George II of Great Britain grants the Ohio Company a charter of land around the forks of the Ohio River.

1780 – New England’s Dark Day: A combination of thick smoke and heavy cloud cover causes complete darkness to fall on Eastern Canada and the New England area of the United States at 10:30 A.M.

1795Josiah Bartlett, a New Hampshire Patriot and signatory of the Declaration of Independence who also served as the state s governor and Supreme Court chief justice, dies. Over 200 years later, writer Aaron Sorkin resurrected the name Josiah Bartlet [sic as a former New Hampshire governor and current Democratic president of the United States, played by Martin Sheen, in an award-winning television series, The West Wing.

1802 – Napoleon Bonaparte founds the Légion d’Honneur.

1828 – U.S. President John Quincy Adams signs the Tariff of 1828 into law, protecting wool manufacturers in the United States.

1848 – Mexican-American War: Mexico ratifies the Treaty of Guadalupe

Hidalgo thus ending the war and ceding California, Nevada, Utah and parts of four other modern-day U.S. states to the United States for $15 million USD.

1864 – Author Nathaniel Hawthorne dies in New Hampshire

1864American Civil War: the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House ends.

1864Lincoln proposes equal treatment of soldiers? dependents: President Abraham Lincoln writes to anti-slavery Congressional leader Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts on this day in 1864, proposing that widows and children of soldiers should be given equal treatment regardless of race.

1897Oscar Wilde is released from Reading Gaol.

1916Britain and France conclude Sykes-Picot agreement: Representatives of Great Britain and France secretly reach an accord, known as the Sykes-Picot agreement, by which most of the Arab lands under the rule of the Ottoman Empire are to be divided into British and French spheres of influence with the conclusion of World War I. (The beginning of all the problems that exist today).

1919 – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk lands at Samsun on the Anatolian Black Sea coast, initiating what is later termed the Turkish War of Independence. The anniversary of this event is also regarded as a date of remembrance for Pontic Greeks on the Greek genocide.

1921 – The U.S. Congress passes the Emergency Quota Act establishing national quotas on immigration.

1922 – The Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union is established.

1943World War II: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set Monday, May 1, 1944 as the date for the cross-English Channel landing (D-Day). It would later be delayed over a month due to bad weather.

1950 – A barge containing munitions destined for Pakistan explodes in the harbor at South Amboy, New Jersey, devastating the city.

1961 – Venera program: Venera 1 becomes the first man-made object to fly-by another planet by passing Venus (the probe had lost contact with Earth a month earlier and did not send back any data).

1962 – A birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy takes place at Madison Square Garden, New York City. The highlight is Marilyn Monroe’s rendition of Happy Birthday.

1964U.S. Air Force begins Operation Yankee Team

1967Soviets ratify treaty banning nuclear weapons from outer space

1971 – Mars probe program: Mars 2 is launched by the Soviet Union.

1972South Vietnamese fight to open road to An Loc

1991 – Croatians vote for independence at their independence referendum.


1909 – Nicholas Winton, British Humanitarian

1921 – Yuri Kochiyama, American civil rights activist

1934 – Jim Lehrer, American television journalist

1935 – David Hartman, American actor and television personality

1939 – James Fox, English actor

1939 – Nancy Kwan, Hong Kong actress

1941 – Bobby Burgess, dancer, singer and original Mouseketeer

1941 – Nora Ephron, American screenwriter

1944 – Peter Mayhew, British-American actor

1945 – Pete Townshend, English musician (The Who)

1948 – Grace Jones, Jamaican singer and actress

1956 – Steven Ford, American actor


  1. dharmasyd

    …May 19, 1925.

  2. taoskier

  3. TMC

    I missed that one.

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