May 19, 1535 – French explorer Jacques Cartier set 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.
May 19, 1776 – During the American Revolutionary War, a Continental Army garrison surrendered in the Battle of The Cedars.
May 19, 1778 - In Pennsylvania, the Marquis de Lafayette learned of a British plan to surprise, surround and capture Continentals defending Valley Forge. The attempt made the next day was unsuccessful.
May 19, 1780 – In what’s called “New England's Dark Day,” a combination of thick smoke and heavy cloud cover caused complete darkness to fall on Eastern Canada and the New England area of the United States at 10:30 a.m. Scientists later suggested it was due to a massive wildfire in Canada.
May 19, 1795 – New Hampshire patriot Josiah Bartlett died at the age of 65 in Kingston, N.H. He signed the Declaration of Independence, served as a governor and a Supreme Court chief justice in New Hampshire.
May 19, 1795 - American merchant Johns Hopkins was born on a tobacco plantation in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
May 19, 1796 - The first U.S. game law was approved and called for penalties for hunting or destroying game within Indian territory.
May 19–20, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette stayed in Cincinnati, Ohio.
May 19, 1845 – Captain Sir John Franklin and his ill-fated Arctic expedition departed from Greenhithe, England.
May 19, 1848 – During the Mexican–American War, Mexico ratified 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.
May 19, 1856 - Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner began a two-day speech on the Senate floor over the controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. On May 22, Southern Congressman Preston Brooks savagely beat Sumner for comments made about South Carolina Senator Andrew D. Butler, Brook's cousin.
May 19, 1858 - A pro-slavery band led by Charles Hameton executed unarmed Free State men near Marais des Cygnes on the Kansas-Missouri border.
May 19, 1864 – The Battle of Spotsylvania, Va. ended after 12 days of fighting. The battled resulted in 18,000 Union casualties and 12,000 Confederates casualties.
May 19, 1864 - Author Nathaniel Hawthorne died in his sleep at the age of 59 in Plymouth, New Hampshire.
May 19, 1897 – Oscar Wilde was released from Reading Gaol.
May 19, 1910 - Cy Young of the Cleveland Indians got his 500th pitching win.
May 19, 1912 - American League president Ban Johnson told the Detroit Tigers that if they continued to protest Ty Cobb’s suspension they would be banned from baseball.
May 19, 1914 – The Wilcox Mineral Springs at Schuster, Ala. opened for the Summer Season with John H. McWilliams as proprietor.
May 19, 1918 - The Washington Senators played their first Sunday game and beat Cleveland, 1-0, in 18 innings.
May 19, 1925 – Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Neb.
May 19, 1935 - The National Football League (NFL) adopted an annual college draft to begin in 1936.
May 19, 1935 - T.E. Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia," died at the age of 46 from injuries in a motorcycle crash in Bovington Camp, Dorset, England.
May 19, 1942 - Paul Waner of the Atlanta Braves became the third National League player to get 3,000 hits.
May 19, 1962 – A birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy took place at Madison Square Garden, New York City. The highlight is Marilyn Monroe's sultry rendition of "Happy Birthday."
May 19, 1962 - Stan Musial set the National League hit record when he got his 3,431st hit.
May 19, 1963 - Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" was issued to the public in a press release. Begun April 16 from the Birmingham City Jail, where King was under arrest for participation in civil rights demonstrations, the letter was addressed to eight local clergymen who had recently urged civil rights leaders to use the courts and local negotiations instead of mass demonstrations to promote their cause in Birmingham. King's letter, which soon became a classic text of the civil rights movement, rejected the clergymen's plea.
May 19, 1963 – The New York Post Sunday Magazine published Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
May 19, 1970 – Army Spc. Frank Deamon Salter was killed in action in Vietnam.
May 19, 1974 - Erno Rubik invented the puzzle what would later become known as the Rubik's Cube.
May 19, 1988 - The Boston Red Sox retired Bobby Doerr's No. 1 jersey
May 19, 1993 – Two people were killed on Interstate Highway 65 when the Conecuh County Road 22 overpass collapsed and fell across the southbound lane of the interstate. In July 1993, two lawsuits were filed in Conecuh County Circuit Court by the families of the two people killed in the tragic accident.
May 19, 1994 – The Pickens County Courthouse in Carrollton, Ala. was added to the National Register of Historic Places (13 Alabama Ghosts)
May 19, 1999 – Hope Well Church at Furman in Wilcox County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
May 19, 1999 – The Stanley School near Florala in Covington County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
May 19, 1999 - "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" was released in the U.S., and it set a new record for opening day sales at $28.5 million.
May 19, 2002 – The last episode of “The X-Files” aired on Fox.
May 19, 2002 - Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees got his 287th win and tied for 22nd place on the all-time victory list.
May 19, 2005 - "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" brought in $50.0 million in its opening day.