Born on May 15

1397 Sejong the Great the fourth king of Joseon. Born with family name Yi , given name Do , family origin Jeonju , sobriquet Wonjeong. Posthumous name is Sejong. Posthumous title, abbreviated, is JangHun Great King , and official title is Sejong Jangheon Yeongmun Yemu Inseong Myeonghyo Daewang. He was the third son between King Taejong and Queen-Consort Min. He was designated as heir-apparent, Grand Prince, after his older brother Jae was stripped of his title. He ascended to the throne in 1418. During the first four years of his reign, Taejong governed as regent, and this was when his father-in-law, Shim Ohn, and his close associates were executed
1567 Claudio Monteverdi an Italian composer, gambist, singer and Roman Catholic priest.
1608 René Goupil S.J. was a French Jesuit lay missionary, who became a lay brother of the Society of Jesus shortly before his death. He was the first of the North American Martyrs of the Roman Catholic Church to receive the crown of martyrdom and the first canonized Catholic martyr in North America
1628 Carlo Cignani an Italian painter of the Bolognese and of the Forlivese school, active in the Baroque period.
1628 Dominique Bouhours a French Jesuit priest, essayist, grammarian, and neo-classical critic. He was born and died in Paris
1632 Adolf William Duke of Saxe-Eisenach a duke of Saxe-Eisenach.
1645 George Jeffreys 1st Baron Jeffreys a Welsh judge. He became notable during the reign of King James II, rising to the position of Lord Chancellor. His conduct as a judge was to enforce royal policy, resulting in a historical reputation for severity and bias
1683 Christian Ludwig II Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin from 1747 to 1756.
1689 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu an English aristocrat and writer. Lady Mary is today chiefly remembered for her letters, particularly her letters from Turkey, as wife to the British ambassador, which have been described by Billie Melman as “the very first example of a secular work by a woman about the Muslim Orient”
1713 Edward Wortley Montagu an English author and traveller.
1720 Maximilian Hell a Hungarian astronomer and an ordained Jesuit priest from the Kingdom of Hungary.
1721 Dmitry Mikhailovich Golitsyn a Russian diplomat from the Golitsyns family. From 1761 to 1792 he was Russian ambassador to Austria
1749 Levi Lincoln Sr. an American revolutionary, lawyer, and statesman from Massachusetts. A Democratic-Republican, he most notably served as Thomas Jefferson's first Attorney General, and played a significant role in the events that led to the celebrated Marbury Madison court case. He served two terms as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, acting as Governor for the remainder of Governor James Sullivan's term after his death in December 1808. Lincoln was unsuccessful in his bid to be elected governor in his own right in 1809
1750 Victor Scipion Charles Auguste de La Garde de Chambonas a mayor of Sens, brigadier general, and French foreign minister, at the beginning of the French Revolution.
1750 Christian Jensen Lofthuus a prominent farmer from Risør, Norway. Between 1786-87, he led a large peasant revolt in Norway which became known as the Lofthusreisingen
1757 John Hely-Hutchinson 2nd Earl of Donoughmore an Anglo-Irish politician, hereditary peer and soldier.
1759 Maria Theresia von Paradis an Austrian music performer and composer who lost her sight at an early age, and for whom Mozart may have written his Piano Concerto 18 in B flat major.
1764 Johann Nepomuk Kalcher a German organist and composer. Instructor of Carl Maria von Weber and student of Joseph Graetz
1767 Ezekiel Hart an entrepreneur and politician in British North America. He is said to be the first Jew to be elected to public office in the British Empire, but this assertion is made questionable by the election of the Jewish Francis Salvador to the South Carolina General Assembly in 1774
1773 Klemens von Metternich a politician and statesman of Rhenish extraction and one of the most important diplomats of his era, serving as the Austrian Empire's Foreign Minister from 1809 and Chancellor from 1821 until the liberal revolutions of 1848 forced his resignation. One of his first tasks was to engineer a détente with France that included the marriage of Napoleon to the Austrian archduchess Marie Louise. Soon after, however, he engineered Austria's entry into the War of the Sixth Coalition on the Allied side, signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau that sent Napoleon into exile and led the Austrian delegation at the Congress of Vienna which divided post-Napoleonic Europe between the major powers. In recognition of his service to the Austrian Empire he was raised to the title of Prince in October 1813. Under his guidance, the "Metternich system" of international congresses continued for another decade as Austria aligned herself with Russia and, to a lesser extent, Prussia. This marked the high point of Austria's diplomatic importance, and thereafter Metternich slowly slipped back into the periphery of international diplomacy. At home, Metternich also held the post of Chancellor of State from 1821 until 1848, under both Francis I and his son Ferdinand After a brief period of exile in London, Brighton and Brussels that lasted until 1851, he returned once more to the Viennese court, this time to offer only advice to Ferdinand's successor, Franz Josef. Having outlived his generation of politicians, Metternich died at the age of 86 in 1859
1778 Aleksander Stanisław Potocki a Polish noble, landowner and politician. He was the senator-castellan of the Polish Kingdom in 1824 and chamberlain of Napoleon He was awarded Order of the White Eagle on 24 May 1829
1786 Dimitris Plapoutas a Greek general who fought during the Greek War of Independence against the rule of the Ottoman Empire.
1788 James Gadsden an American diplomat, soldier and businessman and namesake of the Gadsden Purchase, in which the United States purchased from Mexico the land that became the southern portion of Arizona and New Mexico. James Gadsden served as Adjutant General of the S. Army from August 13, 1821 – March 22, 1822, and held the rank of colonel in the US Army. He was commonly known as General Gadsden but was only a two-star general
1792 James Mayer de Rothschild a German-French banker and the original founder of the French branch of the Rothschild family.
1793 Friedrich Wilhelm Rembert von Berg a Russian Field Marshal, and the Governor-General of Finland from 1855 to 1861.
1801 Joseph Ludwig Raabe a Swiss mathematician.
1802 Isaac R. Trimble a United States Army officer, a civil engineer, a prominent railroad construction superintendent and executive, and a Confederate general in the American Civil War, most famous for his leadership role in the assault known as Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg.
1807 Carl Wilhelm Böttiger a Swedish writer.
1808 Michael William Balfe an Irish composer, best-remembered for his opera The Bohemian Girl.
1813 Stephen Heller a Hungarian pianist, teacher and composer whose career spanned the period from Schumann to Bizet, and was an influence for later Romantic composers.
1814 Antoine Chintreuil a French landscape painter.
1816 Jean-Joseph Farre a French general and statesman.
1817 Debendranath Tagore a Hindu philosopher and religious reformer, active in the Brahmo Samaj , which aimed to reform the Hindu religion and way of life. He was one of the founders in 1848 of the Brahmo religion, which today is synonymous with Brahmoism
1819 Thomas Leonidas Crittenden a lawyer, politician, and Union general during the American Civil War.
1821 Henri de Lacaze-Duthiers a French biologist, anatomist and zoologist born in Montpezat in the department of Lot-et-Garonne. He was a leading authority in regards to mollusks
1822 Leopold Kompert a Bohemian Jewish writer. He was born in Mnichovo Hradiště , Bohemia, and died in Vienna
1822 Juan Count of Montizón the Carlist claimant to the throne of Spain from 1860 to 1868, and the Legitimist claimant to the throne of France from 1883 to 1887.
1822 Johannes von Hanstein a German botanist who was a native of Potsdam.
1823 Youssef Bey Karam a Lebanese Maronite notable who fought in the 1860 civil war and led a rebellion in 1866-1867 against the Ottoman Empire rule in Mount Lebanon. His proclamations have been interpreted as an early expression of Lebanese nationalism
1826 Henri Mouhot a French naturalist and explorer of the mid-19th century. He was born in Montbéliard, Doubs, France - near the Swiss border, but spent his childhood in Russia and possibly, parts of Asia. He died near Naphan, Laos. He is remembered mostly in connection to Angkor. Mouhot's tomb is located just outside of Ban Phanom, to the east of Luang Prabang
1827 Knud Bergslien a Norwegian painter, art teacher and master artist. In his art, he frequently portrayed the lives of the Norwegian people, their history and heroes of the past. Bergslien is most associated with his historical paintings, especially Skiing Birchlegs Crossing the Mountain with the Royal Child
1829 Thornsbury Bailey Brown None
1831 Edward Harland a British shipbuilder and politician. Born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, he was educated at Edinburgh Academy. In 1846, aged 15, he took an apprenticeship at the engineering works of Robert Stephenson and Company in Newcastle upon Tyne. Afterwards he was employed in jobs in Glasgow and again in Newcastle, before moving to Belfast in 1854 to manage Robert Hickson's shipyard at Queen's Island. Four years later he bought the yard and renamed the business Edward James Harland and Company. In 1861 he formed a business partnership with Gustav Wilhelm Wolff, his former personal assistant, creating Harland and Wolff. Later, Harland recruited William James Pirrie as another partner. Edward Harland, Gustav Wolff and William James Pirrie maintained a successful business, receiving regular orders from the White Star Line, before Harland's retirement in 1889, leaving Wolff and Pirrie to manage the shipyard
1834 Valery Jacobi a Russian painter and an older brother of Pavel Jacobi , a notable revolutionary and ethnographer.
1835 Émile Léonard Mathieu a French mathematician. He is most famous for his work in group theory and mathematical physics. He has given his name to the Mathieu functions, Mathieu groups and Mathieu transformation. He authored a treatise of mathematical physics in 6 volumes. Volume 1 is an exposition of the techniques to solve the differential equations of mathematical physics, and contains an account of the applications of Mathieu functions to electrostatics. Volume 2 deals with capillarity. Volumes 3 and 4 with electrostatics and magnetostatics. Volume 5 deals with electrodynamics, and volume 6 with elasticity. The asteroid 27947 Emilemathieu was named in his honour
1835 Tirésias Simon Sam the President of Haiti from 31 March 1896 to 12 May 1902. He resigned the presidency just before completing his six-year term. A likeness of Simon Sam has been featured on several Haitian postage stamps
1835 Henrik Mohn a Norwegian astronomer and meteorologist. Although he enrolled in theology studies after finishing school, he is credited with founding meteorological research in Norway, being a professor at the Royal Frederick University and director of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute from 1866 to 1913
1838 Sophie Stehle a German operatic soprano.
1838 Nicolae Grigorescu one of the founders of modern Romanian painting.
1840 George Ernest Shelley an English geologist and ornithologist. He was a nephew of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley