This is a list of the first man/woman/object etc., to do something or the first occurrence of an event.
Laws and Constitution
from Antiquity to the 17th Century
18th Century onwards
- *Unofficial: Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, United States (1919)
- *Official: Sükhbaataryn Yanjmaa, Mongolia (1953)
=Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada=
in the United States of America
- See main article List of firsts in the United States
Crime and Punishment
- First recorded victim of the punishment of hanging, drawing and quartering: Dafydd ap Gruffydd. October 3, 1283
- First person to be executed by the guillotine: Nicolas J. Pelletier, highwayman. April 25, 1792
- First death by electric chair: William Kemmler, 1890.
- First instance of a murder captured live on television: Jack Ruby killing Lee Harvey Oswald. November 24, 1963. (See Ruby-shooting-oswald.jpg).
- First commercial airliner to be hijacked : Miss Macao, owned by Cathay Pacific, on a flight from Macau to Hong Kong, 16 July, 1948
Society and economy
Travel and Exploration
- See also List of circumnavigations.
- First crossing of the Atlantic Ocean: Leif Ericson, around 1010
- First crossing of the Pacific Ocean: Ferdinand Magellan, 1520-21.
- First people to reach the South Pole: Roald Amundsen and his party - Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting. December 14, 1911
- First (and only, as of 2008) people to reach the deepest point on the surface of the earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean: Jacques Piccard and Lieutenant Don Walsh on the Bathyscaphe Trieste. January 23, 1960
- First people to scale K2, the world's second-highest peak: Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni of the party led by Ardito Desio and Mario Puchoz. July 29, 1954
- First mother and son to row any ocean: Janice Meek and Daniel Byles, (1998)
- First Shipwreck: see oldest shipwreck
- First person in flight: Bartolomeu de Gusmão in a balloon filled with heated air at the hall of the Casa da India in Lisbon. August 8, 1709. (However, this claim is not generally recognized by aviation historians outside the Portuguese speaking community, in particular the FAI.)
- First recorded manned flight: In a hot air balloon built by the Montgolfier brothers and piloted by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and Francois Laurent (the Marquis of d'Arlanders), from the Château de la Muette to the Butte-aux-Cailles, Paris. November 21 1783.
- First aviation disaster: When the town of Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland was seriously damaged when the crash of a balloon resulted in a fire that burned down about 100 houses. May 1785.
- First victims of an air crash: Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and Pierre Romain, when their Rozière balloon deflated and crashed to the ground near Wimereux in the Pas-de-Calais. 15 June 1785.
- First person to die in a crash of a powered airplane: Thomas Selfridge. September 17, 1908
- First people to reach the stratosphere: Auguste Piccard and Paul Kipfer in a balloon. May 27, 1931.
- First non-stop flight around the Earth: Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones, from Château d'Oex, Switzerland to Egypt, on board the balloon Breitling Orbiter 3. Between March 1, 1999 and March 20, 1999, taking a total time of 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes.
- First solo non-stop flight around the Earth: Steve Fossett — from Northam, Western Australia to Queensland, Australia, on a 10-story high balloon Spirit of Freedom. Between June 19, 2002 and July 3, 2002, taking a total time of 13 days, 8 hours, 33 minutes.
- First non-stop fixed-wing aircraft flight around the Earth: Steve Fossett — from Salina, Kansas eastbound and back, on a Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer. Between February 28, 2005 and March 3, 2005, taking a total time of 67 hours, 1 minute, 10 second.
- First non-stop trans-Atlantic flight: Alcock and Brown — St. John's, Newfoundland to a bog near Clifden, Ireland, 14-15 June, 1919
- First trans-Pacific solo flight in a balloon: Steve Fossett — from South Korea to Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada. February 21, 1995
- First gas balloon flight: Professor Jacques Charles and Nicholas Louis Robert, in a hydrogen-filled balloon, from Paris to Nesle December 1 1783.
- First flight in an engine-driven airship: Alberto Santos Dumont in a balloon powered by an internal combustion engine. 1898.
- First flight across the English Channel: Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries, in a balloon. January 7 1785.
Geographic North Pole
- First to reach the Geographic North Pole (disputed): there are two claimants, Frederick Cook, accompanied by two Inuit men, Ahwelah and Etukishook, on April 21, 1908 and Robert Edwin Peary and his employee Matthew Henson and four Inuit men Ootah, Seegloo, Egingway, and Ooqueah on April 9, 1909. Neither claim is widely accepted today.
- First to fly over the North Pole (disputed): On May 9, 1926, Americans Richard E. Byrd and pilot Floyd Bennett claimed a successful flight over the North Pole in a Fokker F-VII Tri-motor called the Josephine Ford. This claim, widely accepted at first, has been credibly challenged since.
- First to fly over the North Pole (accepted): On May 12, three days after the Byrd flight, Norwegian Roald Amundsen and his American sponsor Lincoln Ellsworth flew over the Pole in the semi-rigid airship Norge, designed and piloted by Italian Umberto Nobile.
- First people to reach it: Aleksandr Kuznetsov (Soviet Union) and others, landed by plane, April 23, 1948 - a better claim than Lt. Col. Joseph O. Fletcher and Lt. William P. Benedict, who landed their plane on May 3, 1952
- First naval vessel to reach it: the USS Nautilus (SSN-571). August 3, 1958
- First to reach the North Pole by surface travel: team led by Sir Wally Herbert. 1968-69
- First (confirmed) surface conquest: Ralph Plaisted. April 19, 1968
- First confirmed expedition to reach the North Pole without resupply: Will Steger International Polar Expedition. May 1, 1986. Team members were: Paul Schurke, Brent Boddy, Richard Weber, Geoff Carroll, Ann Bancroft and a team of 21 dogs. Brent Boddy & Richard Weber became the first Canadians to reach the North Pole on foot while Ann Bancroft became the first woman to trek to the Pole.
- First surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean on skis: Polar Bridge expedition, 1988, the Soviet-Canadian transpolar ski expedition that crossed 1800 kilometres of Arctic Ocean from Northern Siberia to Ellesmere Island National Park Reserve in Canada, via the North Pole. First surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean on skis. Richard Weber (Canadian team leader) became the first person to reach the North Pole from both sides of the Arctic Ocean.
- First hot air balloon flight launched from the North Pole: Global Concern Expedition lead by Richard Weber. 1989
- First attempt to journey to the North Pole and return using only human resources: 1992 Weber Malakhov Expedition. Richard Weber and Mikhail (Misha) Malakhov departed from Ward Hunt on March 13. Eighty-five days later, on June 14, they reached 89 degrees 39. With only 39 kilometers short of the Pole, they had to make the decision to turn back if they wanted to have any hope of returning to Ward Hunt. On June 21, due to the lack of ice, they were picked up by an airplane and brought back to safety.
- First commercial North Pole Expedition: Weber Malakhov North Pole Dash.1993 Richard Weber and Dr. Mikhail (Misha) Malakhov pioneered the first commercial North Pole expedition. Today numerous companies take more than 100 people annually to the Pole.
- First confirmed journey to the North Pole and return using only human resources: 1995 Weber Malakhov Expedition. Richard Weber and Dr. Mikhail (Misha) Malakhov became the first to reach the North Pole and return to their starting point on land (Ward Hunt, Canada), with no outside help, no dogs, air planes, or re-supplies. They departed Ward Hunt on February 14 and reached the Pole eighty one days later, on May 12. On June 15, they were back at Ward Hunt establishing a record of 108 days for the longest unsupported polar journey. They are the only people to have reached the Pole four times.
- First time that an all women group has reached the pole from a Russian based departure: Women Quest 2001 guided by Josée Auclair. April 2001.
- First persons to reach the North Pole during the Arctic winter: Borge Ousland and Mike Horn. March 23, 2006
- First reigning monarch to reach it: Albert II, Prince of Monaco. Easter Sunday, 16 April, 2006
- First expedition to reach the North Pole on snowshoes exclusively: April 26, 2006 North Pole Classic. Richard Weber guided Conrad Dickinson to the North Pole with no re-supplies. This was Richard Weber’s fifth full North Pole expedition. He has trekked to the North Pole more than anyone in history.
- On 21 February 2007 HRH Prince Edward announced the first British Army Expedition the Geographic North Pole, to be led by Captain Andrew Cooney (the youngest person to walk to the South Pole) www.northpole08.com.
- First to dive to geographic North Pole sea bottom: Arktika 2007 expedition on August 2, 2007, by two MIR submarines. Crew members were: Arthur Chilingarov, Anatoly Sagalevich and Vladimir Gruzdev on MIR-1; Yevgeny Chernyaev, Mike McDowell and Frederik Paulsen on MIR-2.
- First American morning news show to reach the North Pole: Today show reached by Matt Lauer
Magnetic North Pole
Beyond the Earth
Science, Discoveries, Inventions, and Innovations
- First woman officially recognized for a scientific position: Caroline Herschel, as astronomer Sir William Herschel's assistant, 1787
- First comet discovered by a woman: Discovered by Caroline Herschel, August 1, 1786
- First permanent photograph: View from the Window at Le Gras, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.jpg, taken by Nicéphore Niépce, June or July, 1826 or 1827.
- First permanent color photograph: Tartan Ribbon.jpg, taken by James Clerk Maxwell, 1861.
- First successful creation of soda water: by Joseph Priestley, 1796
- First skyscraper - Woolworth Building, New York City, 57 floors high (792 feet or 241 meters), opened on April 24, 1913.
- First steerable balloon (also known as a dirigible): By Henri Giffard, 1852.
- First tethered balloon for passengers: developed by Henri Giffard in the Tuileries Garden in Paris. 1878.
- First man-made object to reach the stratosphere: Shell fired from the Paris Gun, used during World War I.
- First picture taken of the earth's curvature: By Alexander Dahl travelling in an open hydrogen gas balloon. August 31, 1933.
- First sound recording: A part of Au Clair de la Lune, recorded by Leon Scott in 1860. Note that there was neither any contemporary technology nor intention to play the recorded sound.
- First playback of recorded sound: Mary had a little lamb, by Thomas Edison in 1877.
- First homo sapiens: the Omo Remains include Omo I, the earliest known fossils of Homo sapiens (idaltu), dated to around 190,000 years ago. This is considerably older than the 160,000-year-old Herto remains, which had been thought to be the earliest humans, and suggests that, if humans did originate in Africa as is currently thought, they did not expand from there for much longer than previously thought.
- First European child born in the New World: Snorri Þorfinnsson
- First observed transit of a planet across the sun, Mercury, by Pierre Gassendi in 1631.
- First international scientific collaboration: Observation of the transit of Venus 1761 and 1769
- First confirmation of extrasolar planets: Three bodies orbiting PSR B1257+12 by Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail in 1992.
- First confirmation of an active volcanic eruption occurring on a seamount: by scientists at the University of Hawai‘i on Lo‘ihi in 1996
- First vaccination: smallpox, Edward Jenner, 1796
- First whole-body scanner and x-ray machine: Dayton Miller (Case School of Applied Science), Cleveland, Ohio, 1896
- First blood transfusion: conducted by Dr. George Crile, Cleveland, Ohio (1905)
- First "test-tube baby": Louise Brown, born July 25, 1978 in England.
- First official recognition of AIDS: Centers for Disease Control issued a report describing five cases in Los Angeles. June 5, 1981
- First person to be convicted by the process of DNA fingerprinting: Colin Pitchfork. 1988
- First person to be exonerate by the process of DNA fingerprinting: Richard Buckland. 1988
- First animal cloned from a somatic cell: Dolly, a sheep born on July 5, 1996.
- First face transplant: Isabelle Dinoire, November 5, 2005.
- First person to have both a mother and father who have travelled into space: Elena Andrianovna, daughter of Valentina Tereshkova and Andriyan Nikolayev.
- First heart defibrillation: conducted by Dr. Claude Beck, Cleveland, Ohio (1947)
- First artificial pacemaker implant into a human: By a Swedish team using a pacemaker designed by Rune Elmqvist working under the direction of Åke Senning, 1958. The patient was Arne Larsson.
- First coronary artery bypass surgery: conducted by Dr. Rene Favaloro, Cleveland, Ohio (1967)
- First heart transplant: First attempted by James Hardy, but the lack of a human donor forced him to transplant a chimpanzee heart instead, which failed shortly after. The first successful transplant was performed by Christiaan Barnard on December 3, 1967.
- First artificial pacemaker implant into an infant: Into Jason A. Haines when he was 16 hours old, July 26, 1974.
Information and Communications Technology
Computers, the Internet, and the World Wide Web
- First case of an algorithm written for a computer: Ada Byron's notes on the analytical engine written in 1842
- First programmer: Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)
- First programmable digital computer: Z3, 1941
- First programmable electronic computer: Colossus, 1943
- First all electronic computer system that worked and continued to work for a decade ENIAC Unveiled 1946
- First e-mail: started around 1965
- First e-mail spam: sent using CTSS MAIL about 1971, at a time of campus unrest and anti-war rallies in the USA
- First video game console: Magnavox Odyssey, 1975
- First reigning monarch to e-mail: sent by Queen Elizabeth II from a British army base in 1976
- First e-commerce business Boston Computer Exchange uploads database of computers for sale to Delphi online service March 4, 1983
- First e-mail correspondence between heads of government: Carl Bildt (Sweden) and Bill Clinton (United States) in 1992
- First book about the web: Whole Internet User's Guide and Catalog (1992) by Ed Krol, had a whole chapter devoted to the web
- First web portal to do advertising: Global Network Navigator founded by Tim O'Reilly and Dale Dougherty, 1993
- First advertisement on the internet: by Heller, Ehrman, White and McAuliffe on the Global Network Navigator website, 1993
- First usage of a webcam: Trojan room coffee pot, 1991
- First photographic image on the Web: Les Horribles Cernettes, 1992
- First electronic payment over the Internet: PaySafe, 1992
- First instant messaging service: ICQ released in November, 1996
- First person to drive an automobile across the US in winter and from New York City to Paris France winning The Great Auto Race 22,000 mile course in 169 days/13,341 miles driven: George Schuster, (1908)
- First human to run a mile under 4 minutes: Roger Bannister, (1954)
- First person to swim the English Channel: Matthew Webb, (1875)
- First woman to swim the English Channel: Gertrude Ederle, (1926)
- First person to complete a long distance swim in all 5 oceans of the world: Lewis Gordon Pugh, (2005/2006)
- First free diver to descend 100 metres (330 ft) in water: Jacques Mayol, November 23, 1976
- First Olympian disqualified for drug use: Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall at the 1968 Summer Olympics
- First bungee jump: by four members of the Dangerous Sports Club led by David Kirke, from the 250ft Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. 1 April, 1979
- First woman to bicycle around the world: Annie Londonderry, (1895)
- First auto race in the United States: Held on the grounds of Belcourt Castle, Newport, Rhode Island, 1899
- First black person to coach a professional ice hockey team: John Paris Jr. of the International Hockey League's Atlanta Knights (1994).
- First football player to be knighted: Sir Stanley Matthews, (1965)
- First football player to take a penalty shootout: George Best, in the semi-finals of the Watney Cup, England (1970)
- First football player to miss a penalty shootout: Dennis Law, in the semi-finals of the Watney Cup, England (1970)
- First major football tournament to be settled by a penalty shootout - UEFA European Football Championship 1976, Czechoslovakia vs. West Germany (a penalty score of 5-3 respectively)
- First football World Cup match to be decided by a penalty shootout: the 1982 semi-finals between West Germany and France (a penalty score of 5-4 respectively)
- First football World Cup final match to be decided by a penalty shootout: 1994 final between Brazil and Italy, at Pasadena, California (a penalty score of 3-2 respectively).