From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- 1494 – Christopher Columbus first sights land that will be called Jamaica.
- 1808 – Peninsular War: The Madrid rebels who rose up on May 2 are fired upon near Príncipe Pío hill.
- 1915 – The poem In Flanders Fields is written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.
- 1938 - Hitler arrives in Rome to sign an alliance with Mussolini, the chance meeting between two fictional characters in Un Giornata Particolare takes place on May 8.
- 1938 - American cinema, United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. ruled in the United States.
- 1960 – The Off-Broadway musical comedy, The Fantasticks, opens in New York City's Greenwich Village, eventually becoming the longest-running musical of all time.
- 1968 - The First International Exhibition of Erotic Art opens in Lund, Sweden.
- 1978 – The first unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail (which would later become known as "spam") is sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative to every ARPANET address on the west coast of the United States.
- 2003 – New Hampshire's famous Old Man of the Mountain collapses.
- 1469 – Niccolò Machiavelli, Italian historian and political author (d. 1527)
- 1877 – Karl Abraham, German psychoanalyst (d. 1925)
- 1903 – Bing Crosby, American singer and actor (d. 1977)
- 1906 – Mary Astor, Academy Award-winning American actress (d. 1987)
- 1919 – Pete Seeger, American singer
- 1933 – James Brown, American singer and dancer (d. 2006)
- 1934 – Georges Moustaki, Egyptian born Greek-French singer and songwriter
- 1934 – Frankie Valli, American singer (The Four Seasons)
- 1940 – Konrad "Conny" Plank, German record producer and musician
- 1959 – David Ball, English musician (Soft Cell)
- 1965 – Rob Brydon, Welsh comedian
- 1481 – Mehmed II, Ottoman Sultan (b. 1432)
- 1616 – William Shakespeare, English writer and actor (b. 1564) (his death is commonly accepted to be on April 23, according to the Julian calendar)
- 1987 – Dalida, French singer (b. 1933)
- 1989 – Christine Jorgensen, American transsexual (b. 1926)
- 1991 – Jerzy Kosiński, Polish-born writer (b. 1933)
- 2006 – Karel Appel, Dutch painter (b. 1921)