Today in History …
by Robert Joseph Baker | May 23, 2016 12:00 am
Last Updated: May 14, 2016 at 9:56 pm
844 – Battle of Clavijo: The Apostle Saint James the Greater is said to have miraculously appeared to a force of outnumbered Asturians and aided them against the forces of the Emir of Cordoba.
1430 – Siege of Compiègne: Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to relieve Compiègne.
1498 – Girolamo Savonarola is burned at the stake in Florence, Italy.
1533 – The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void.
1568 – The Netherlands declare their independence from Spain.
1568 – Dutch rebels led by Louis of Nassau, defeat Jean de Ligne, Duke of Arenberg, and his loyalist troops in the Battle of Heiligerlee, opening the Eighty Years’ War.
1609 – Official ratification of the Second Charter of Virginia takes place.
1618 – The Second Defenestration of Prague precipitates the Thirty Years’ War.
1701 – After being convicted of piracy and of murdering William Moore, Captain William Kidd is hanged in London, England.
1706 – Battle of Ramillies: John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, defeats a French army under Marshal François de Neufville, duc de Villeroy.
1788 – South Carolina ratifies the United States Constitution as the eighth American state.
1793 – Battle of Famars during the Flanders Campaign of the War of the First Coalition.
1829 – Accordion patent granted to Cyrill Demian in Vienna, Austrian Empire.
1844 – Declaration of the Báb the evening before the 23rd: A merchant of Shiraz announces that he is a Prophet and founds a religious movement that would later be brutally crushed by the Persian government. He is considered to be a forerunner of the Bahá’í Faith, and Bahá’ís celebrate the day as a holy day.
1846 – Mexican–American War: President Mariano Paredes of Mexico unofficially declares war on the United States.
1873 – The Canadian Parliament establishes the North-West Mounted Police, the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
1900 – American Civil War: Sergeant William Harvey Carney is awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism in the Assault on the Battery Wagner in 1863.
1907 – The unicameral Parliament of Finland gathers for its first plenary session.
1911 – The New York Public Library is dedicated.
1915 – World War I: Italy joins the Allies after they declare war on Austria-Hungary.
1932 – In Brazil, four students are shot and killed during a manifestation against the Brazilian dictator Getúlio Vargas, which occurred in the city of São Paulo. Their names and surnames were used to form the MMDC, a revolutionary group that would act against the dictatorial government, especially in the Constitutionalist Revolution (“Revolução Constitucionalista”, in Portuguese), the major uprising in Brazil during the 20th century.
1934 – The American bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde are ambushed by police and killed in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
1934 – The Auto-Lite strike culminates in the “Battle of Toledo”, a five-day melée between 1,300 troops of the Ohio National Guard and 6,000 picketers.
1939 – The U.S. Navy submarine USS Squalus sinks off the coast of New Hampshire during a test dive, causing the death of 24 sailors and two civilian technicians. The remaining 32 sailors and one civilian naval architect are rescued the following day.
1945 – World War II: Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Schutzstaffel, commits suicide while in Allied custody.
1945 – World War II: The Flensburg Government under Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz is dissolved when its members are captured and arrested by British forces at Flensburg in Northern Germany.
1948 – Thomas C. Wasson, the US Consul-General, is assassinated in Jerusalem, Israel.
1949 – The Federal Republic of Germany is established and the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is proclaimed.
1951 – Tibetans sign the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet with China.
1958 – The satellite Explorer 1 ceases transmission.
1967 – Egypt closes the Straits of Tiran and blockades the port of Eilat at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping.
1970 – Robert Stephenson’s pioneering Britannia Tubular Bridge over the Menai Strait is catastrophically damaged by fire after standing for 120 years.
1992 – Italy’s most prominent anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife and three body guards are killed by the Corleonesi clan with a half-ton bomb near Capaci, Sicily. His friend and colleague Paolo Borsellino will be assassinated less than two months later, making 1992 a turning point in the history of Italian Mafia prosecutions.
1995 – The first version of the Java programming language is released.
1998 – The Good Friday Agreement is accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland with 75% voting yes.
2002 – The “55 parties” clause of the Kyoto Protocol is reached after its ratification by Iceland.
2004 – Part of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport’s Terminal 2E collapses, killing four people and injuring three others.
2006 – Alaskan stratovolcano Mount Cleveland erupts.
2008 – The International Court of Justice (ICJ) awards Middle Rocks to Malaysia and Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh) to Singapore, ending a 29-year territorial dispute between the two countries.
2009 – Former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun commits suicide, jumping from a 45-meter cliff in Bongha, Gimhae, South Korea.
2010 – Jamaican police begin a manhunt for drug lord Christopher Coke, after the United States requested his extradition, leading to three days of violence during which at least 73 bystanders are killed.
2012 – Adam Lambert became the first openly gay artist to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 Album Charts, with his album Trespassing.
2013 – The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River collapses in Mount Vernon, Washington.
2014 – Seven people, including the perpetrator, are killed and another 14 injured in a killing spree near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara.
2015 – At least 46 people are killed as a result of floods caused by a tornado in Texas and Oklahoma.
2015 – The Republic of Ireland votes to legalize same-sex marriage, becoming the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.