May 23rd in History

This day in historyMay 23 is the 143rd day of the year (144th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 222 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 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.

Joan of arc miniature graded.jpgIn 1430,  Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to raise the Siege of Compiègne.

Girolamo Savonarola.jpgIn 1498,  Girolamo Savonarola is burned at the stake in Florence, Italy. He was an Italian Dominican friar and preacher active in Renaissance Florence. He was known for his prophecies of civic glory, the destruction of secular art and culture, and his calls for Christian renewal. He denounced clerical corruption, despotic rule and the exploitation of the poor. He prophesied the coming of a biblical flood and a new Cyrus from the north who would reform the Church. In September 1494, when Charles VIII of France invaded Italy and threatened Florence, such prophesies seemed on the verge of fulfillment. While Savonarola intervened with the French king, the Florentines expelled the ruling Medici and, at the friar’s urging, established a “popular” republic. Declaring that Florence would be the New Jerusalem, the world center of Christianity and “richer, more powerful, more glorious than ever”, he instituted an extreme puritanical campaign, enlisting the active help of Florentine youth.

In 1533,  The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void.

In 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.

In 1609,  Official ratification of the Second Virginia Charter takes place.

In 1618,  The Second Defenestration of Prague precipitates the Thirty Years’ War.

William Kidd.jpgIn 1701,  After being convicted of piracy and of murdering William Moore, Captain William Kidd is hanged in London, England. He was a Scottish sailor who was tried and executed for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean. Some modern historians deem his piratical reputation unjust, as there is evidence that Kidd acted only as a privateer. Kidd’s fame springs largely from the sensational circumstances of his questioning before the English Parliament and the ensuing trial. His actual depredations on the high seas, whether piratical or not, were both less destructive and less lucrative than those of many other contemporary pirates and privateers.

In 1706,  John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, defeats a French army under Marshal François de Neufville, duc de Villeroy in the Battle of Ramillies.

In 1783,  James Otis, Jr., American lawyer and politician (b. 1725) dies suddenly. He was a lawyer in colonial Massachusetts, a member of the Massachusetts provincial assembly, and an early advocate of the Patriot views against British policy that led to the American Revolution. His catchphrase “Taxation without representation is tyranny” became the basic Patriot position. Otis died suddenly in May 1783 at the age of 58 when, as he stood in the doorway of a friend’s house, he was struck by lightning. He is reported to have said to his sister, Mercy Otis Warren, “My dear sister, I hope, when God Almighty in his righteous providence shall take me out of time into eternity that it will be by a flash of lightning”.

In 1788,  South Carolina ratifies the United States Constitution as the eighth American state.

In 1793,  Battle of Famars during the Flanders Campaign of the War of the First Coalition.

In 1829,  Accordion patent granted to Cyrill Demian in Vienna, Austrian Empire.

In 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.

In 1846,  Mexican–American War: President Mariano Paredes of Mexico unofficially declares war on the United States.

Mountain man Kit Carson and his favorite horseIn 1868,  Kit Carson, American general (b. 1809) dies from an abdominal aortic aneurysm in the surgeon’s quarters of Fort Lyon, Colorado. His resting place is Taos, New Mexico. He was an American frontiersman. The few paying jobs he had during his lifetime included mountain man (fur trapper), wilderness guide, Indian agent, and American Army officer. Carson became a frontier legend in his own lifetime via biographies and news articles. Exaggerated versions of his exploits were the subject of dime novels.

Carson left home in rural present-day Missouri at age 16 to become a mountain man and trapper in the West. In the 1830s, he accompanied Ewing Young on an expedition to Mexican California and joined fur trapping expeditions into the Rocky Mountains. He lived among and married into the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes.

In the 1840s, he was hired as a guide by John C. Fremont. Fremont’s expedition covered much of California, Oregon, and the Great Basin area. Fremont mapped and wrote reports and commentaries on the Oregon Trail to assist and encourage westward-bound American pioneers. Carson achieved national fame through Fremont’s accounts of his expeditions.

Under Fremont’s command, Carson participated in the uprising against Mexican rule in California at the beginning of the Mexican-American War. Later in the war, Carson was a scout and courier, celebrated for his rescue mission after the Battle of San Pasqual and for his coast-to-coast journey from California to Washington, DC to deliver news of the conflict in California to the U.S. government. In the 1850s, he was appointed as the Indian agent to the Ute Indians and the Jicarilla Apaches.

During the American Civil War, Carson led a regiment of mostly Hispanic volunteers from New Mexico on the side of the Union at the Battle of Valverde in 1862. When the Confederate threat to New Mexico was eliminated, Carson led forces to suppress the Navajo, Mescalero Apache, and the Kiowa and Comanche Indians.

Carson was breveted a Brigadier General, and took command of Fort Garland, Colorado. He was there only briefly: poor health forced him to retire from military life. Carson was married three times and had ten children. The Carson home was in Taos, New Mexico.

In 1873,  The Canadian Parliament establishes the North-West Mounted Police, the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In 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.

In 1907,  The unicameral Parliament of Finland gathers for its first plenary session.

In 1911,  The New York Public Library is dedicated.

In 1915,  World War I: Italy joins the Allies, fulfilling its part of the Treaty of London.

In 1932,  In Brazil, four students are shot and killed during a manifestation against the Brazilian dictator Getúlio Vargas, which resulted in the outbreak of the Constitutionalist Revolution several weeks later.

Bonnieclyde f.jpgIn 1934,  The American bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde are ambushed by police and killed in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. They were American criminals who traveled the central United States with their gang during the Great Depression, robbing and killing people. At times, the gang included Clyde’s older brother Buck Barrow and his wife Blanche, Raymond Hamilton, W. D. Jones, Joe Palmer, Ralph Fults, and Henry Methvin. Their exploits captured the attention of the American public during the “Public Enemy Era“, between 1931 and 1935. Though known today for his dozen-or-so bank robberies, Barrow preferred to rob small stores or rural gas stations. The gang is believed to have killed at least nine police officers and several civilians. The couple were eventually ambushed and killed by law officers near the town of Sailes, in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.

In 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.

In 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.

In 1945,  World War II: Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Schutzstaffel, commits suicide while in Allied custody.

In 1945,  World War II: The Flensburg Government under Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz is dissolved when its members are captured and arrested by British forces.

In 1948,  Thomas C. Wasson, the US Consul-General, is assassinated in Jerusalem, Israel.

In 1949,  The Federal Republic of Germany is established and the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is proclaimed.

In 1951,  Tibetans sign the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet with China.

In 1958,  The satellite Explorer 1 ceases transmission.

In 1970,  Robert Stephenson‘s pioneering Britannia Tubular Bridge over the Menai Strait is catastrophically damaged by fire after standing for 120 years.

In 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.

In 1995,  The first version of the Java programming language is released.

In 1998,  The Good Friday Agreement is accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland with 75% voting yes.

In 2002,  The “55 parties” clause of the Kyoto Protocol is reached after its ratification by Iceland.

In 2004,  Part of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport‘s Terminal 2E collapses, killing four people and injuring three others.

In 2006,  Alaskan stratovolcano Mount Cleveland erupts.

In 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.

In 2008,  Congratulations to Tennessee taxpayers and lottery losers – you are now funding the education of underachieving college students on an unprecedented level because both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly approved a stop-gap reduction in the GPA required to maintain the benefits of the state’s lottery HOPE scholarship:

Among the nine scholarship programs, the most expensive of those, at $14. 1 million, extends the amount of time a HOPE scholar can keep their award with a cumulative 2.75 GPA from 48 hours to 72 hours of college work.

For that 2.75 student to continue receiving the grant at that time, however, the 2.75 student must make a 3.0 GPA in the semester in which he reaches 72 hours and each subsequent semester to retain the HOPE award.

A student failing to make a 3.0 GPA in those semesters would lose their scholarship but have one chance to earn it back.

As a student you can now complete over half your undergraduate education with a 2.75 GPA and get it funded, with the hopeless caveat that if you are at 2.75 in your 71st hour, you still have a snowball’s chance to reach a 3.0 in your 72nd hour.

In 2009,  Former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun commits suicide, jumping from a 45-meter cliff in Bongha, Gimhae, South Korea.

In 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 gunmen, policemen and bystanders are killed.

In 2012,  Adam Lambert became the first openly gay artist to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 Album Charts, with his album Trespassing.

In 2013,  The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River collapses in Mount Vernon, Washington.

In 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.

In 2015,  At least 46 people are killed as a result of floods caused by a tornado in Texas and Oklahoma.

In 2016,  Two suicide bombings, conducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, killed at least 45 potential army recruits in AdenYemen.

In 2016,  Eight bombings were carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Jableh and Tartus, coastline cities in Syria. One hundred eighty-four people were killed and at least 200 people injured.

In 2017,  Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao, following the Maute’s attack in Marawi.

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