What Happened on May 24?

  • The Brooklyn Bridge opened for traffic. (1883) The bridge had taken over 14 years to complete, and over 450,000 people walked over it within the 24 hours after it opened. The first person to cross was the designer's wife, carrying a rooster as a sign of victory.

  • Samuel Morse demonstrated the telegraph. (1844) Morse sent a message from Washington D.C. to Maryland in a demonstration attended by members of Congress. The message, "What hath God wrought?" was the first message sent on a commercial telegraph line.

  • Peter Minuit bought Manhattan. (1626) Minuit, a member of the Dutch West India Company, bought the territory from Native Americans with goods worth about $75 modern US Dollars (USD). He was forced to return to Europe soon after, and died before he could get back to the Americas.

  • Mobile phones were banned in North Korea. (2004) Cellphones had only been in use in North Korea for two years before they were banned. The government opened its own mobile phone service in 2008 which became moderately popular, despite a steady influx of black market cellphones from China.

  • Mary Had a Little Lamb was published. (1830) The now-famous children's nursery rhyme was originally published as a poem by Sarah Josepha Hale. The poem is reportedly inspired by an actual event.

  • Temba Tsheri became the youngest person to climb Mount Everest. (2001) The Nepalese Tsheri summited the mountain when he was just 15 years old, though he had tried to climb it several times before and lost five fingers in the attempt. His record was broken in 2010 by the 13-year-old Jordan Romero.

  • The British Parliament passed the Act of Toleration. (1689) The act was some of the earliest legislation on religious freedom, and allowed freedom of worship for all Christians in England except Catholics.

  • The first Major League Baseball (MLB) night game took place. (1935) The Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the first night game, made possible by the newly installed electric lights in the baseball field. The game was a huge media event, and President Roosevelt even symbolically switched on the lights to start the game.

  • Queen Victoria was born. (1819) Victoria was a cultural icon in Britain and many of its overseas territories, and also one of the longest reigning monarchs in history. She gained the nickname of "Grandmother of Europe" because of her many children and their marriages to various European aristocracy.

  • The Sixth Buddhist Council concluded. (1956) The council lasted two years, and ended on the 2,500 anniversary of the first Buddha's ascension to nirvana.

Discussion Comments


Did Samuel Morse also invent morse code? Considering how his last name is related to that term, I think that would definitely make a lot of sense.


Wow, I didn't know that Mary Had a Little Lamb was published so long ago. This is an interesting tidbit, mainly because it shows how a lot of the famous songs and nursery rhymes originated a lot longer ago than most people think. On another note, it also makes me wonder how long ago some of the other famous songs originated.


In relation to the fourth bullet point, why were mobile phones banned in North Korea? I'm assuming that the reason is because it's a dictatorship, and they don't want people trying to communicate with others outside of the area. If that really is the case, then how do people in North Korea get in touch with others?

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