May 16th in History

This day in historyMay 16 is the 136th day of the year (137th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 229 days remaining until the end of the year.




In 218,  Julia Maesa, aunt of the assassinated Caracalla, is banished to her home in Syria by the self-proclaimed emperor Macrinus and declares her 14-year old grandson Elagabalus, emperor of Rome.

In 946,  Emperor Suzaku abdicates the throne in favor of his brother Murakami who becomes the 62nd emperor of Japan.

In 1204,  Baldwin IX, Count of Flanders is crowned as the first Emperor of the Latin Empire.

In 1527,  The Florentines drive out the Medici for a second time and Florence re-establishes itself as a republic.

In 1532,  Sir Thomas More resigns as Lord Chancellor of England.

In 1568,  Mary, Queen of Scots, flees to England.

An etching of a man leaning down to reach another man who has fallen through broken ice. Several bystanders are in the background, as well as a church.In 1569,  Dirk Willems, Dutch Anabaptist dies for his faith. He (also spelled Durk Willems) was a Dutch martyred Anabaptist who is most famous for turning around to rescue his pursuer, who had fallen through thin ice while chasing Willems after his escape from prison, to then be tortured and killed for his faith. Willems was born in Asperen, Gelderland, Netherlands, and was baptized as a young man, thus rejecting the infant baptism practiced at that time by both Catholics and established Protestants in the Netherlands. This action, plus his continued devotion to his new faith and the baptism of several other people in his home, led to his condemnation by the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands and subsequent arrest. Willems was held in a residential palace turned into a prison, from which he escaped using a rope made out of knotted rags. Using this, he was able to climb out of the prison onto the frozen moat. A guard noticed his escape and gave chase. Willems was able to traverse the thin ice of a frozen pond, the Hondegat, because of his lighter weight after subsisting on prison rations. However the pursuing guard broke through the ice yelling for help as he struggled in the icy water. Willems turned back to save the life of his pursuer, thus being recaptured and held until he was burned at the stake near his hometown on 16 May 1569. Today, he is one of the most celebrated martyrs among Anabaptists, which includes Mennonites and Amish, as well as becoming a folk hero amongst modern residents of Asperen. A historical drama based on his life—Dirk’s Exodus—was written in 1990 by James C. Juhnke.

In 1584,  Santiago de Vera becomes sixth Governor-General of the Spanish colony of the Philippines.

In 1631, Leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Company give all adult males who joined the Congregational Church the right to vote. John Winthrop is elected governor of Massachusetts in the first accredited election in the colonies.

In 1652, The Rhode Island Colony enacts the first American law declaring slavery illegal.

In 1770,  A 14-year old Marie Antoinette marries 15-year-old Louis-Auguste who later becomes king of France.

In 1771,  The Battle of Alamance, a pre-American Revolutionary War battle between local militia and a group of rebels called The “Regulators“, occurs in present-day Alamance County, North Carolina.

In 1811,  Peninsular War: The allies Spain, Portugal and United Kingdom, defeat the French at the Battle of Albuera. The Battle of Albuera (16 May 1811) was fought during the Peninsular War. A mixed British, Spanish and Portuguese corps engaged elements of the French Armée du Midi (Army of the South) at the small Spanish village of La Albuera, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of the frontier fortress town of Badajoz, Spain. Since October 1810, Marshal Masséna‘s French Army of Portugal had been tied down in an increasingly hopeless stand-off against Wellington‘s Allied forces. Acting on Napoleon‘s orders, in early 1811 Marshal Soult led a French expedition from Andalusia into Extremadura in a bid to draw Allied forces away from the battle lines and ease Masséna’s plight. In April 1811, following news of Masséna’s complete withdrawal from Portugal, Wellington sent the powerful Anglo-Portuguese Army commanded by Sir William Beresford to retake the border town. Meeting at Albuera, both sides suffered heavily, and the French finally withdrew on 18 May.

In 1812,  Russian Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov signs the Treaty of Bucharest, ending the Russo-Turkish War. Bessarabia is annexed by Imperial Russia.

In 1822,  Greek War of Independence: The Turks capture the Greek town of Souli.

Fourier2.jpgIn 1830,  Joseph Fourier, French mathematician and physicist (b. 1768) dies after a fall which could have been caused by a heart attack. He was a French mathematician and physicist born in Auxerre and best known for initiating the investigation of Fourier series and their applications to problems of heat transfer and vibrations. The Fourier transform and Fourier’s Law are also named in his honour. Fourier is also generally credited with the discovery of the greenhouse effect.

In 1834,  The Battle of Asseiceira is fought, the last and decisive engagement of the Liberal Wars in Portugal.

In 1843,  The first major wagon train heading for the Pacific Northwest sets out on the Oregon Trail with one thousand pioneers from Elm Grove, Missouri.

In 1852, The state of Massachusetts passed a law requiring all school age children to attend school.

In 1861, The Tennessee Volunteers mustered in at Camp Beauregard, the old fairgrounds, located in the triangle between Hollywood Drive and North Fairground Streets.

In 1866,  The U.S. Congress eliminates the half dime coin and replaces it with the five cent piece, or nickel.

In 1868,  United States President Andrew Johnson is acquitted in his impeachment trial by one vote in the United States Senate.

In 1874,  A flood on the Mill River in Massachusetts destroys much of four villages and kills 139 people.

In 1877,  May 1877 political crisis in France.

In 1888,  Nikola Tesla delivers a lecture describing the equipment which will allow efficient generation and use of alternating currents to transmit electric power over long distances.

In 1891,  The International Electrotechnical Exhibition opens in Frankfurt, Germany, and will feature the world’s first long distance transmission of high-power, three-phase electrical current (the most common form today).

In 1896, The U.S. Supreme Court endorsed racial segregation with its “Plessy vs. Ferguson” decision, which sanctioned “separate but equal” public facilities for whites and for blacks. This ruling was overturned 58 years later in the case of “Brown versus Board of Education.”

In 1914,  The first ever National Challenge Cup final is played. Brooklyn Field Club defeats Brooklyn Celtic 2-1.

In 1918,  The Sedition Act of 1918 is passed by the U.S. Congress, making criticism of the government during wartime an imprisonable offense. It will be repealed less than two years later.

In 1919,  A naval Curtiss aircraft NC-4 commanded by Albert Cushing Read leaves Trepassey, Newfoundland, for Lisbon via the Azores on the first transatlantic flight.

In 1920,  In Rome, Pope Benedict XV canonizes Joan of Arc.

In 1929,  In Hollywood, the first Academy Awards are awarded.

In 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority was created by the Act President FDR signed for the purpose of flood control and rural electrification.

In 1934, TWA begins commercial service of the DC-2.

In 1934, Congress approved the so-called “Lindbergh Act,” which called for the death penalty in cases of interstate kidnapping.

In 1943,  The Holocaust: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ends.

Alfred Erich Hoche sometime before 1923

In 1943,  Alfred Hoche, German psychiatrist (b. 1865) dies. He was a German psychiatrist well known for his writings about eugenics and euthanasia. Hoche studied in Berlin and Heidelberg and became a psychiatrist in 1890. He moved to Strasbourg in 1891. From 1902 he was a professor at Freiburg im Breisgau and was a director of the psychiatric clinic there. He was a major opponent of the psychoanalysis theories of Sigmund Freud. Hoche’s body of work on the classification system of mental illness had great influence. He also published poetry under the pseudonym Alfred Erich. Hoche argued that the state can be seen “as an organism, as a human body which – as every doctor knows – in the interests of the survival of the whole, gives up or discards parts which have become valueless or damaging”. In the case of the mentally ill these were those who were valueless and were to be discarded. Hoche believed his ideas would be widely accepted only after, “a change in consciousness, a realisation of the unimportance of a single person’s existence compared to that of the entirety… the absolute duty of bringing together all available energy and the feeling of belonging to a greater undertaking”. Arguably this was to take place much faster than even Hoche had expected, a little more than a decade later, his ideas became part of German (Nazi) law. In According to Michael Burleigh’s book “Death and Deliverance” he was married to a Jewish woman and left his post at Freiburg after National Socialists came to power. He was privately critical of Nazi euthanasia program after it claimed one of his relatives despite its rationale being based on his own ideas.

In 1946,  Bruno Tesch, German chemist and businessman (b. 1890) was executed. He was a German chemist and entrepreneur. Together with Gerhard Peters and Walter Heerdt, he invented the insecticide Zyklon B, infamous for having been used by Nazi Germany to exterminate approximately a million of the victims of the Holocaust. He was the owner of Tesch & Stabenow (called Testa), a pest control company he co-founded in 1924 with Paul Stabenow in Hamburg, Germany, which was a major supplier of Zyklon B to the Nazi concentration camps. Following the end of World War II, he was arrested by the British as a war criminal, tried, and executed.

In 1951,  The first regularly scheduled transatlantic flights begin between Idlewild Airport (now John F Kennedy International Airport) in New York City and Heathrow Airport in London, operated by El Al Israel Airlines.

In 1953,  American journalist William N. Oatis is released after serving 22 months of a ten-year prison sentence for espionage in Czechoslovakia.

Eliotness.jpgIn 1957,  Eliot Ness, American federal agent (b. 1903) dies at his home in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, of a massive heart attack on May 16, 1957; he was 54. His ashes were scattered in one of the small ponds on the grounds of Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland. He was survived by his widow, Elisabeth Andersen Seaver, and adopted son, Robert. He was an American Prohibition agent, famous for his efforts to enforce Prohibition in Chicago, Illinois, bringing down Al Capone, and the leader of a famous team of law enforcement agents nicknamed The Untouchables. His co-authorship of a popular autobiography, The Untouchables, which was released shortly after his death, launched several television and motion picture portrayals that established Ness’s posthumous fame as an incorruptible crime fighter.

In 1959, COVER OF “LIFE” Teamsters President JIMMY HOFFA

In 1960,  Theodore Maiman operates the first optical laser (a ruby laser), at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California.

In 1961,  Park Chung-hee leads a coup d’état to overthrow the Second Republic of South Korea.

In 1966,  The Communist Party of China issues the “May 16 Notice“, marking the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

In 1967, Tennessee Gov. Buford Ellington repeals the “Butler Act (Scopes Monkey Trial), upheld in the Scopes Trial in 1925. In 1968, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Epperson v. Arkansas 393 U.S. 97 (1968) that such bans contravene the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because their primary purpose is religious.

In 1969,  Venera program: Venera 5, a Soviet space probe, lands on Venus.

In 1974,  Josip Broz Tito is re-elected president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This time he is elected for life.

In 1975,  India annexes Sikkim after the mountain state holds a referendum in which the popular vote is in favor of merging with India.

In 1975,  Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

In 1980, in the South Korean city of Kwangju, townspeople and students began a nine-day uprising that was finally put down by troops.

Irwin Shaw.jpg

Irwin Shaw

In 1984,  Irwin Shaw, American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short story writer (b. 1913) dies in Davos, Switzerland on May 16, 1984, aged 71, after undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. He was an American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short-story author whose written works have sold more than 14 million copies. He is best known for two of his novels: The Young Lions (1948), about the fate of three soldiers during World War II, made into a film of the same name starring Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift, and Rich Man, Poor Man (1970), about the fate of three siblings after World War II, that was made into a popular miniseries starring Nick Nolte. Though Shaw’s work received widespread critical acclaim, the success of his commercial fiction ultimately diminished his literary reputation.

In 1983,  Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement rebels against the Sudanese government.

In 1986,  The Seville Statement on Violence is adopted by an international meeting of scientists, convened by the Spanish National Commission for UNESCO, in Seville, Spain.

In 1988,  A report by United States’ Surgeon General C. Everett Koop states that the addictive properties of nicotine are similar to those of heroin and cocaine.

In 1990, In the face of heated student protests, the trustees of all-women Mills College in Oakland, California, voted to rescind their earlier decision to admit men. Holy Smoke…. where is the discrimination warriors!

Sammy Davis Jnr Allan Warren.jpgIn 1990,  Sammy Davis, Jr., American singer, dancer, and actor (b. 1925) dies of complications from throat cancer. was an American entertainer. Primarily a dancer and singer, he was also an actor of stage and screen, musician, and impressionist, noted for his impersonations of actors and other celebrities. At the age of three Davis began his career in vaudeville with his father and Will Mastin as the Will Mastin Trio, which toured nationally. After military service Davis returned to the trio. Davis became an overnight sensation following a nightclub performance at Ciro’s after the 1951 Academy Awards. With the trio, he became a recording artist. In 1954, he lost his left eye in an automobile accident, and several years later, he converted to Judaism. Davis’ film career began as a child in 1933. In 1960, he appeared in the first Rat Pack film, Ocean’s 11. After a starring role on Broadway in 1956’s Mr Wonderful, Davis returned to the stage in 1964’s Golden Boy, and in 1966 had his own TV variety show, The Sammy Davis Jr. Show. Davis’ career slowed in the late 1960s, but he had a hit record with “The Candy Man” in 1972 and became a star in Las Vegas, earning him the nickname “Mister Show Business”. As an African-American, Davis was the victim of racism throughout his life and was a large financial supporter of the Civil Rights movement. Davis had a complex relationship with the African-American community, and drew criticism after physically embracing President Richard M. Nixon in 1972. One day on a golf course with Jack Benny, he was asked what his handicap was. “Handicap?” he asked. “Talk about handicap — I’m a one-eyed Negro Jew.” This was to become a signature comment, recounted in his autobiography, and in countless articles.

In 1991,  Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom addresses a joint session of the United States Congress. She is the first British monarch to address the U.S. Congress.

In 1997,  Mobutu Sese Seko, the President of Zaire, flees the country.

In 1998, The Justice Department filed a lawsuit accusing Microsoft of anti-competitive practices. Attorney General Janet Reno says Microsoft used what she calls its “monopoly power” to get a “chokehold” on Internet browser software. She says in doing so, Microsoft stifled competition, and restricted the choices available to consumers.

In 2003,  In Casablanca, Morocco, 33 civilians are killed and more than 100 people are injured in the Casablanca terrorist attacks.

In 2005,  Kuwait permits women’s suffrage in a 35-23 National Assembly vote.

In 2007,  Nicolas Sarkozy takes office as President of France.

In 2011,  STS-134 (ISS assembly flight ULF6), launched from the Kennedy Space Center on the 25th and final flight for Space Shuttle Endeavour.

In 2014,  Twelve people are killed in two explosions in the Gikomba market area of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

In 2015,  A passenger train collides with a tractor and trailer on a level crossing at Ibbenbüren, Germany. Two people are killed and 40 are injured.

In 2016, Bernie Sanders beats Hillary Clinton in West Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary. He had 51 percent of the vote, compared to Clinton’s 36 percent, with 97 percent of precincts reporting. Sanders’ latest win did little to erode Clinton’s significant delegate lead, but he said it helped justify staying in the race “until the last vote is cast.” Clinton won Nebraska’s primary, but no delegates were at stake as they were already divvied up in the state’s caucuses in March, which Sanders won.

In 2017,  United States President Donald J. Trump welcomed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to the White House. The two leaders delivered a joint statement in the Roosevelt Room.

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