May 5, 1494 – During his second trip to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Jamaica and claimed it for Spain. He named the island Santa Gloria.
May 5, 1776 - In North Carolina, British Lieutenant General Henry Clinton issued a proclamation denouncing the Patriots’ “wicked rebellion” and recommended that the inhabitants of North Carolina return their allegiance to the king. He offered full pardon to all persons, except Continental Army Brigadier General Robert Howe and North Carolina Patriot Cornelius Harnett.
May 5, 1799 – U.S. Army Lieutenant John McClary (McLeary) and soldiers of the 2nd U.S. Infantry, after marching from Natchez, take possession of Fort St. Stephens from the Spanish and the United States flag is raised for the first time on soil that would eventually belong to Alabama.
May 5, 1813 - Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard was born in Copenhagen.
May 5, 1819 – William Cato (William Barrett Travis’ father-in-law) settled near the present day city limits of Monroeville. He was born in Downing Creek, N.C. in 1780. He was the head of several families that moved from Claiborne to the area that became known as Centerville and, later, Monroeville. His settlement predated the establishment of the Walker’s Tavern. Cato married Sarah Massey and they had one daughter, Rosanna Elizabeth Cato, 1812-1848, the wife of William Barrett Travis.
May 5, 1822 – Butler County, Ala. commissioners appointed this day as the day for laying out the town of Buttsville (present-day Greenville) and locating the courthouse.
May 5, 1843 – Richard Francis Burton passed the regimental exam for Hindustani.
May 5, 1859 – St. James Episcopal Church of Claiborne, Ala., now located on Whetstone Street in Monroeville, was organized and admitted to the Diocesan Convention. The church’s first place of worship was the lower floor of Claiborne’s Masonic Hall.
May 5, 1862 - Mexican forces defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla. In a David-and-Goliath confrontation, the 8,000-strong, well-armed French army was routed by 4,000 ill-equipped Mexican soldiers, and though it wasn't a decisive battle in the course of the war, it became a symbol of Mexican pride.
May 5, 1864 – After remaining a private in Co. D for most of the Civil War, Lewis Lavon Peacock, was promoted to Fourth Corporal "no doubt for service in the Bermuda Hundred campaign, where the 59th so distinguished itself."
May 5, 1864 – During the Civil War, the Battle of the Wilderness began in Spotsylvania County.
May 5, 1864 – Journalist Nellie Bly was born in Armstrong County, Pa.
May 5, 1865 - The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery in the U.S.
May 5, 1865 – In North Bend, Ohio (a suburb of Cincinnati), the first train robbery in the United States took place.
May 5, 1865 – During the Civil War, an eight-day Federal operation between Pulaski, Tenn. and New Market, Ala. began.
May 5, 1866 – Memorial Day was first celebrated in United States at Waterloo, New York.
May 5, 1884 – Pro Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Chief Bender was born in Crow Wing County, Minnesota. He went on to play for the Philadelphia Athletics, the Baltimore Terrapins, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago White Sox. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953.
May 5, 1904 – Pitching against the Philadelphia Athletics at the Huntington Avenue Grounds, Cy Young of the Boston Americans threw the first perfect game in the modern era of baseball. It was the third perfect game of the Major Leagues overall.
May 5, 1910 - An explosion at Palos Coal Mine No. 3 in Jefferson County, Ala. killed 84 miners. At the time it was the second-worst mine disaster in Alabama history, and it followed on the heels of a mine explosion at nearby Mulga that killed 40 miners. The Palos tragedy also marked the first time that the Red Cross led a disaster relief effort in Alabama.
May 5, 1913 - A movie version of Alabama author Mary McNeil Fenollosa's book “The One Hundred Dollar Elopement” was released.
May 5, 1914 – Early that mornng, the Negro Baptist Church near the orphanage in Evergreen, Ala. burned down. The first was discovered around 4 a.m. and was a total loss. Arson was suspected as the cause.
May 5, 1918 – The cornerstone for the new industrial school for Negroes at Evergreen, Ala. was scheduled to be laid during a ceremony that was to include an address by Major R.R. Moton, who was head of the Tuskegee Institute. Morton was the successor to Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee.
May 5, 1945 - A Japanese balloon bomb exploded on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon, killing the pregnant wife of a minister and five children.
May 5, 1947 - Alabama journalist Eddy Gilmore of The Associated Press was awarded the Pulitizer Prize for Telegraphic Reporting (International) for his correspondence from Moscow in 1946.
May 5, 1958 - Alabama author James Agee was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his book “A Death in the Family.”
May 5, 1962 – Senegalese explorer, author, and director Nicolas Vanier was born in Senegal.
May 5, 1978 - Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds registered his 3,000th Major League hit.
May 5, 2000 - The Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer was given to Alabama author Helen Norris at the Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville, Ala.
May 5, 2000 - An unusual planetary alignment occurred on this day with Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn more or less positioned in a line with the Sun. Though some predicted it, this event did not herald the end of the world.
May 5, 2006 - The Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer was given to Alabama author Wayne Greenhaw at the Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville, Ala.