United States National Maritime Day (It is observed on May 22, the date in 1819 that the American steamship Savannah set sail from Savannah, Georgia on the first ever transoceanic voyage under steam power.)
World Goth Day (The Official World Goth Day site defines it as "a day where the goth scene gets to celebrate its own being, and an opportunity to make its presence known to the rest of the world.")
In 2018 - scientists from Purdue University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences report the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to develop a variety of rice producing 25-31% more grain than traditional breeding methods.
2015 – The Republic of Ireland becomes the first nation in the world to legalize gay marriage in a public referendum.
1987 – First ever Rugby World Cup kicks off with New Zealand playing Italy at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.
1906 – The Wright brothers are granted U.S. patent number 821,393 for their "Flying-Machine".
1864 – American Civil War: After ten weeks, the Union Army's Red River Campaign ends in failure.
1863 – American Civil War: Union forces begin the Siege of Port Hudson which lasts 48 days, the longest siege in U.S. military history.
1856 – Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina severely beats Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with a cane in the hall of the United States Senate for a speech Sumner had made regarding Southerners and slavery.
1849 – Future U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is issued a patent for an invention to lift boats, making him the only U.S. President to ever hold a patent.
1826 – HMS Beagle departs on its first voyage.
1819 – The SS Savannah leaves port at Savannah, Georgia, United States, on a voyage to become the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
1809 – On the second and last day of the Battle of Aspern-Essling (near Vienna, Austria), Napoleon I is repelled by an enemy army for the first time.
1807 – A grand jury indicts former Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr on a charge of treason.
1804 – The Lewis and Clark Expedition officially began as the Corps of Discovery departed from St. Charles, Missouri.
1570 – The first atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, is published with 70 maps.
1455 – Start of the Wars of the Roses: At the First Battle of St Albans, Richard, Duke of York, defeats and captures King Henry VI of England.
1999 – Camren Bicondova, American actress. Camren Renee Bicondova (born May 22, 1999) is an American actress and dancer best known for her portrayal of a young Selina Kyle/Catwoman on the Fox television series Gotham.
1984 – Dustin Moskovitz, American entrepreneur, co-founder of Facebook. In March 2011, Forbes reported Moskovitz to be the youngest self-made billionaire in history, on the basis of his 2.34% share in Facebook.
1983 – Natasha Kai, American soccer player and Olympic medalist. In 2011, Kai was also part of the first US women's rugby union sevens team to play in the IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup held in Dubai.
1982 – Apolo Ohno, American speed skater. Apolo Anton Ohno (/əˈpɒloʊ ˈæntɒn ˈoʊnoʊ/; born May 22, 1982) is an American retired short track speed skating competitor and an eight-time medalist (two gold, two silver, four bronze) in the Winter Olympics.
1981 – Daniel Bryan, American wrestler. Bryan Lloyd Danielson (born May 22, 1981) is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Daniel Bryan.
1980 – Nazanin Boniadi, Iranian-American actress. Nazanin Boniadi (/ˈnɑːzəniːn ˈboʊnjɑːdi/; Persian: نازنین بنیادی ; (born 22 May 1980) is an Iranian-British actress and human rights defender.
1979 – Maggie Q, American actress. Margaret Denise Quigley (born May 22, 1979), professionally known as Maggie Q, is an American actress, model and animal rights activist.
1978 – Ginnifer Goodwin, American actress. She is known for her starring role as Margene Heffman in the HBO drama series Big Love (2006–2011) and Snow White / Mary Margaret Blanchard in the ABC fantasy series Once Upon a Time (2011–2018).
1972 – Max Brooks, American author and screenwriter. Much of Brooks's writing focuses on zombie stories.
1969 – Cathy McMorris Rodgers, American lawyer and politician. A Republican, McMorris Rodgers previously served in the Washington House of Representatives.
1966 – Johnny Gill, American singer-songwriter and producer. Gill has released eight solo albums, three albums with New Edition, two albums with LSG, and one collaborative album with Stacy Lattisaw.
1965 – Jay Carney, American journalist, 29th White House Press Secretary. For the first two years of Obama’s presidency, Carney was director of communications for Vice President Joe Biden.
1962 – Brian Pillman, American football player and wrestler (d. 1997), was an American professional wrestler and professional football player best known for his appearances in Stampede Wrestling in the 1980s and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in the 1990s.
1957 – Lisa Murkowski, American lawyer and politician. Lisa Ann Murkowski (/mɜːrˈkaʊskiː/; born May 22, 1957) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Alaska, having held that seat since 2002.
1954 – Shuji Nakamura, Japanese-American physicist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate. Shuji Nakamura (中村 修二, Nakamura Shūji, born May 22, 1954) FREng is a Japanese-born American electronic engineer and inventor specializing in the field of semiconductor technology, professor at the Materials Department of the College of Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and is regarded as the inventor of the blue LED, a major breakthrough in lighting technology.
1942 – Ted Kaczynski, American academic and mathematician turned anarchist and serial murderer (Unabomber). Theodore John Kaczynski (/kəˈzɪnski/; born May 22, 1942), also known as the Unabomber (/ˈjuːnəbɒmər/), is an American domestic terrorist, anarchist, and former mathematics professor.
1940 – Bernard Shaw, American journalist, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist. His influence on Western theatre, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond.
1940 – Kieth Merrill, American filmmaker. Merrill (born May 22, 1940) is an American filmmaker who has worked as a writer, director, and producer in the film industry since 1967.
1940 – Mick Tingelhoff, American Pro Football Hall of Famer. Henry Michael "Mick" Tingelhoff (born May 22, 1940) is a former American football center who played for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL) from 1962 to 1978.
1939 – Paul Winfield, American actor (d. 2004), was an American television, film and stage actor. He was known for his portrayal of a Louisiana sharecropper who struggles to support his family during the Great Depression in the landmark film Sounder (1972), which earned him an Academy Award nomination.
1938 – Richard Benjamin, American actor and director. Richard Samuel Benjamin (born May 22, 1938) is an American actor and film director.
1938 – Susan Strasberg, American actress (d. 1999), was an American stage, film, and television actress, the daughter of the drama coach Lee Strasberg. She was nominated for a Tony Award when she was 18 years old.
1936 – George H. Heilmeier, American engineer (d. 2014), was an American engineer, manager, and a pioneering contributor to liquid crystal displays (LCDs), for which he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Heilmeier's work is an IEEE Milestone.
1934 – Peter Nero, American pianist and conductor. He directed the Philly Pops from 1979 to 2013, and has earned two Grammy Awards.
1930 – Harvey Milk, American lieutenant and politician (d. 1978), was an American politician and the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Although he was the most pro-LGBT politician in the United States at the time, politics and activism were not his early interests; he was neither open about his sexuality nor civically active until he was 40, after his experiences in the counterculture movement of the 1960s.
1930 – Marisol Escobar, French-American sculptor (d. 2016), was a French sculptor of Venezuelan heritage who worked in New York City.
1928 – T. Boone Pickens, American businessman, was an American business magnate and financier. Pickens chaired the hedge fund BP Capital Management.
1927 – George Andrew Olah, Hungarian-American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2017). His research involved the generation and reactivity of carbocations via superacids.
1927 – Michael Constantine, American actor. Michael Constantine (born May 22, 1927) is an American actor of Greek descent.
1927 – Peter Matthiessen, American novelist, short story writer, editor, co-founded The Paris Review (d. 2014), was an American novelist, naturalist, wilderness writer, zen teacher and CIA officer. A co-founder of the literary magazine The Paris Review, he was the only writer to have won the National Book Award in both fiction and nonfiction.
1922 – Quinn Martin, American screenwriter and producer (d. 1987), was an American television producer. He had at least one television series running in prime time every year for 21 straight years (from 1959 to 1980).
1921 – George S. Hammond, American scientist (d. 2005), was an American scientist and theoretical chemist who developed "Hammond's postulate", and fathered organic photochemistry,–the general theory of the geometric structure of the transition state in an organic chemical reaction. Hammond's research is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science.
1920 – Thomas Gold, Austrian-American astrophysicist and academic (d. 2004). Thomas Gold (also known as Tommy Gold), (May 22, 1920, - June 22, 2004) was an Austrian-born astrophysicist, a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, a member of the U.S.
1917 – George Aratani, American businessman and philanthropist (d. 2013), was a Japanese American entrepreneur, philanthropist and the founder of Mikasa china and owner of the Kenwood Electronics corporation.
1914 – Sun Ra, American pianist, composer, bandleader, poet (d. 1993), was an American jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, and poet known for his experimental music, "cosmic" philosophy, prolific output, and theatrical performances. For much of his career, Ra led "The Arkestra", an ensemble with an ever-changing name and flexible line-up.
1912 – Herbert C. Brown, English-American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2004), was an American chemist and recipient of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work with organoboranes.
1908 – Horton Smith, American golfer and captain (d. 1963), was an American professional golfer, best known as the winner of the first and third Masters Tournaments.
1905 – Bodo von Borries, German physicist and academic, co-invented the electron microscope (d. 1956). He was the co-inventor of the electron microscope.
1904 – Uno Lamm, Swedish electrical engineer and inventor (d. 1989). He was sometimes called "The Father of High Voltage Direct Current" power transmission.
1902 – Al Simmons, American baseball player and coach (d. 1956), was an American professional baseball player. Nicknamed "Bucketfoot Al", he played for two decades in Major League Baseball (MLB) as an outfielder and had his best years with Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics during the late 1920s and early 1930s, winning two World Series with Philadelphia.
1901 – Maurice J. Tobin, American politician, 6th United States Secretary of Labor (d. 1953), was a Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, the Governor of Massachusetts, and United States Secretary of Labor. He was a Democrat and a liberal who supported the New Deal and Fair Deal programs, and was outspoken in his support for labor unions.
1844 – Mary Cassatt, American painter and educator (d. 1926), was an American painter and printmaker. She was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (now part of Pittsburgh's North Side), but lived much of her adult life in France, where she first befriended Edgar Degas and later exhibited among the Impressionists.
1820 – Worthington Whittredge, American painter (d. 1910), was an American artist of the Hudson River School. Whittredge was a highly regarded artist of his time, and was friends with several leading Hudson River School artists including Albert Bierstadt and Sanford Robinson Gifford.
1783 – William Sturgeon, English physicist and inventor, invented the electromagnet and electric motor (d. 1850), was an English physicist and inventor who made the first electromagnets, and invented the first practical English electric motor.
2017 – Nicky Hayden, American professional motorcycle racer (b. 1981)
2015 – Marques Haynes, American basketball player and coach (b. 1926)
2012 – Wesley A. Brown, American lieutenant and engineer (b. 1927)
2010 – Martin Gardner, American mathematician, cryptographer, and author (b. 1914)
2008 – Robert Asprin, American soldier and author (b. 1946)
2005 – Thurl Ravenscroft, American voice actor and singer (b. 1914)
2004 – Richard Biggs, American actor (b. 1960)
1998 – John Derek, American actor, director, and photographer (b. 1926)
1997 – Alfred Hershey, American biochemist and geneticist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1908)
1993 – Mieczysław Horszowski, Polish-American pianist and composer (b. 1892)
1992 – Zellig Harris, American linguist and academic (b. 1909)
1990 – Rocky Graziano, American boxer (b. 1922)
1985 – Wolfgang Reitherman, German-American animator, director, and producer (b. 1909)
1975 – Lefty Grove, American baseball player (b. 1900)