A closer look at key historic events that took place on May 10:
In 1994, Nelson Mandela becomes President of South Africa
Mandela was inaugurated on May 10 as the country’s first black president following the first fully representative democratic election in South Africa’s history. The event marked the end of apartheid and the beginning of a new era of democracy and reconciliation in South Africa.

Former South African president Nelson Mandela during a press conference announcing the donation of ten limited-edition BMW three series cars donated to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August 2004 (reissued 17 July 2018). EPA/JON HRUSA

In 1994, American serial killer John Wayne Gacy is executed
Gacy, who was also known as the “Killer Clown”, as he was known for his performances as a clown at charitable events and children’s parties, was convicted of murdering at least 33 young men and boys in the Chicago area between 1972 and 1978. He was arrested in 1978 and later convicted of multiple counts of murder. He was executed by lethal injection on May 10 at the Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois.

Serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s release paperwork from Iowa. Gacy was convicted on sodomy charges in 1968 but was released on parole in 1970. Wikimedia Commons

In 1940, Germany invades Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands 
This invasion was part of the larger German military campaign in Western Europe, known as the Battle of France. The swift German advance through these three neutral countries eventually led to the fall of France in June 1940 and the occupation of much of Western Europe by Nazi Germany.

Air General Friedrich Christiansen (third from the left) arrives in The Hague at the Lange Poten street near the Plein square accompanied by a number of high ranking German officers. On the background spectators and photographers. Adolf Hitler appointed General Christiansen as Supreme Commander of the Nazi-German Armed Forces in the Netherlands. He remained at this post for the entire duration of the Second World War. Images from Fotodienst der NSB

In 1933, Nazis burn about 25,000 books

The book burnings were organized by the right-wing German Student Union and were supported by Nazi officials, aimed at destroying literature deemed subversive, Jewish, or “un-German” according to Nazi ideology. Among the burnt books were works by Albert Einstein, Bertolt Brecht, Sigmund Freud, and Franz Kafka.

Thousands of books smoulder in a huge bonfire as Germans give the Nazi salute during the wave of book-burnings. National Archives and Records Administration

In 1872, Victoria Woodhull is nominated for US President

Woodhull was nominated by the Equal Rights Party, with Frederick Douglass as Vice President. She was a prominent advocate for women’s suffrage and women’s rights, and her nomination marked a significant moment in the history of women’s involvement in American politics.

Portrait photograph of Victoria Claflin Woodhull. Wikimedia Commons

In 1774, Louis XVI becomes king of France

His wife, Marie-Antoinette, became queen consort. His reign was marked by significant political and social unrest, culminating in the French Revolution in 1789. He was ultimately overthrown and both himself and Marie-Antoinette were beheaded in 1793 during the Reign of Terror.

Antoine-François Callet Portrait Of King Louis Xvi In Full Coronation Regalia, 1750. Sotheby’s

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