19 May 1879

Nancy Witcher Langhorne is born. In 1919, as Viscountess Astor, she will become the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons.


19 May 1897

Oscar Wilde is released from Reading Gaol.

19 May 1928

195 men are killed when an accumulation of firedamp (gas that consists chiefly of methane) explodes in a coal mine in Mather, Pennsylvania.

19 May 1890

Birth of Vietnamese communist revolutionary and statesman Ho Chi Minh. In 1976, the former South Vietnamese capital of Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in his honour.


19 May 1991

Helen Sharman, a 27-year-old former chemist for the Mars confectioners, became the first Briton in space, visiting the Soviet Mir space station aboard Soyuz TM-12. She was chosen from among 13,000 applicants after answering a radio advertisement.

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