30 May 1431
Nineteen-year-old Joan of Arc was burned at the stake as a relapsed heretic in the old market place in Rouen. She had inspired the French victory at Orleans in 1429 but had been captured by the Burgundians in the following year and subsequently sold to the English. Pierre Cauchon, bishop of Beavais, who was an English supporter, presided over her trial. Joan had been instrumental in securing the coronation of Charles VII as king of France and, by securing her condemnation, the English were hoping to undermine Charles's legitimacy as monarch.
30 May 1640
Death of Flemish baroque painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens. He had been suffering from gout for several years.
30 May 1778
Francois-Marie Arouet (pen name Voltaire) dies in Paris aged 83. His remains are eventually buried in the grounds of an abbey in Champagne before being moved to the Pantheon in Paris.
30 May 1842
Queen Victoria survived an assassination attempt when John Francis attempted to shoot her while she was riding in her carriage along the Mall in London.
30 May 1879
Vanessa Bell, painter and member of the Bloomsbury Group, is born at Hyde Park Gate in London. She is the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen, the first editor of the Dictionary of National Biography.
30 May 1967
Biafra declares its independence from Nigeria.