May 4 is the 124th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (125th in leap years). There are 241 days remaining

  1. 1256 - Augustinian monastic order constituted at Lecceto Monastery when Pope Alexander IV issues a papal bull Licet ecclesiae catholicae
  2. 1415 - Religious reformers John Wycliffe and Jan Hus were condemned as heretics at the Council of Constance.
  3. 1471 - Wars of the Roses: The Battle of Tewkesbury – Edward IV defeats a Lancastrian Army and kills Edward, Prince of Wales.
  4. 1493 - Pope Alexander VI divides the New World between Spain and Portugal along the Demarcation Line.
  5. 1494 - Christopher Columbus lands in Jamaica.
  6. 1626 - Dutch explorer Peter Minuit arrives in New Netherland (present day Manhattan Island) aboard the See Meeuw.
  7. 1675 - King Charles II of England orders the construction of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.
  8. 1776 - Rhode Island becomes the first American colony to renounce allegiance to King George III.
  9. 1799 - Fourth Anglo-Mysore War: The Battle of Seringapatam – The siege of Seringapatam ends when the city is assaulted and the Tipu Sultan killed by the besieging British army, under the command of General George Harris.
  10. 1814 - Emperor Napoleon I of France arrives at Portoferraio on the island of Elba to begin his exile.
  11. 1855 - American adventurer William Walker departs from San Francisco with about 60 men to conquer Nicaragua.
  12. 1859 - Cornwall Railway opened across the Royal Albert Bridge linking the counties of Devon and Cornwall in England.
  13. 1863 - American Civil War: Battle of Chancellorsville – The battle ends with a Union retreat.
  14. 1865 - Abraham Lincoln buried in Springfield, Illinois, three weeks after his assassination.
  15. 1869 - The Naval Battle of Hakodate takes place in Japan.
  16. 1871 - The National Association, the first professional baseball league, opens its first season in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  17. 1886 - Haymarket Square Riot: A bomb is thrown at policemen trying to break up a labor rally in Chicago, Illinois, United States, killing eight and wounding 60. The police fire into the crowd.
  18. 1904 - Construction begins by the United States on the Panama Canal.
  19. 1910 - The Royal Canadian Navy is created.
  20. 1912 - Italy occupies the island of Rhodes.
  21. 1919 - May Fourth Movement: Student demonstrations take place in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, protesting the Treaty of Versailles, which transferred Chinese territory to Japan.
  22. 1924 - The 1924 Summer Olympics open in Paris, France.
  23. 1930 - British police arrest Mahatma Gandhi and place him in Yeravda Central Prison.
  24. 1932 - In Atlanta, Georgia, mobster Al Capone begins serving an eleven-year prison sentence for tax evasion.
  25. 1942 - World War II: Battle of the Coral Sea – The battle begins with an attack by aircraft from the United States aircraft carrier Yorktown on Japanese naval forces at Tulagi Island in the Solomon Islands. The Japanese forces had invaded Tulagi the day before.
  26. 1945 - World War II: Liberation of the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg by the British Army.
  27. 1945 - World War II: Surrender of the North Germany Army to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.
  28. 1946 - In San Francisco Bay, US Marines from the Treasure Island Marine Barracks stop a two-day riot at Alcatraz federal prison. Five people are killed in the riot.
  29. 1948 - Norman Mailer's first novel, The Naked and the Dead, is published.
  30. 1949 - The entire Torino football (soccer) team (except for one player who did not take the trip due to an injury) is killed in a plane crash at the Superga hill at the edge of Turin, Italy.
  31. 1953 - Ernest Hemingway is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea.
  32. 1961 - American civil rights movement: The "Freedom Riders" begin a bus trip through the South.
  33. 1964 - The long-running soap opera Another World, which would run until 1999, debuts on NBC.
  34. 1970 - Vietnam War: Kent State shootings – The Ohio National Guard, sent to Kent State University after the ROTC building was burnt down, opens fire on students protesting at the United States' invasion of Cambodia. Four students are killed, nine are wounded.
  35. 1972 - The Don't Make A Wave Committee, a fledgling environmental organization founded in Canada in 1971, officially changes its name to "Greenpeace Foundation".
  36. 1974 - An all-female Japanese team reaches the summit of Manaslu, becoming the first women to climb an 8,000-meter peak.
  37. 1979 - Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  38. 1980 - President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia dies in Ljubljana at the age of 87.
  39. 1981 - Donald Eugene Webb is placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.
  40. 1988 - The PEPCON disaster rocked Henderson, Nevada, as tons of space shuttle fuel detonated during a fire.
  41. 1989 - Iran-Contra Affair: Former White House aide Oliver North is convicted of three crimes and was acquitted of nine other charges. The convictions, however, are later overturned on appeal.
  42. 1990 - Latvia proclaims renewal of its independence after the Soviet occupation.
  43. 1994 - Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat sign a peace accord regarding Palestinian autonomy granting self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.
  44. 1996 - José María Aznar is appointed Prime Minister of Spain, thus ending 13 years of Socialist rule.
  45. 1998 - A federal judge in Sacramento, California, gives "Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski four life sentences plus 30 years after Kaczynski accepted a plea agreement sparing him from the death penalty.
  46. 2000 - Ken Livingstone becomes the first Mayor of London.
  47. 2002 - An EAS Airlines BAC 1-11-500 crashes in a suburb of Kano, Nigeria shortly after takeoff killing more than 148 people.
  48. 2003 - The Outbreak of 2003 begins. Ninety-four tornadoes begin the week-long outbreak.
  49. 2006 - Zacarias Moussaoui is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks. He is spared the death penalty.