May 22nd in History

This day in history

May 22 is the 142nd day of the year (143rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 223 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 334 BC,  The Macedonian army of Alexander the Great defeats Darius III of Persia in the Battle of the Granicus.

In 12 B.C.,  A daytime meteor shower, possibly Zeta Perseid observed in China.

In 853,  A Byzantine fleet sacks and destroys undefended Damietta in Egypt.

In 1176,  The Hashshashin (Assassins) attempt to murder Saladin near Aleppo.

In 1200,  King John of England and King Philip II of France sign the Treaty of Le Goulet.

In 1246,  Henry Raspe is elected antiking of the Kingdom of Germany, in opposition to Conrad IV.

In 1254,  Serbian King Stefan Uroš I and the Republic of Venice sign a peace treaty.

In 1377,  Pope Gregory XI issues five papal bulls to denounce the doctrines of English theologian John Wycliffe.

In 1455,  Start of the Wars of the Roses: At the First Battle of St Albans, Richard, Duke of York, defeats and captures King Henry VI of England.

St Etheldreda, Ely Place, London EC1 - Nave statue - - 1613379.jpgIn 1538,  John Forest, English friar and martyr (b. 1471) was the only Catholic martyr to be burned at the stake.

Born in the Oxford area in 1471, John Forest became a Franciscan Friar Minor of the Regular Observance in 1491 in Greenwich. He went on to study theology at the University of Oxford, later becoming confessor to Queen Catherine of Aragon, first wife to King Henry VIII. (The Greenwich friary was attached to the Royal Palace at Greenwich.)

The Crown was eager to gain the sanction of learned men and of those esteemed highly to his plans re the Church. Wealth and honours were offered to those who complied. Those who resisted were threatened. From 1531 the Friars Minor had gained the enmity of the King by opposing his divorce and his movements toward Protestantism.

Thomas Cranmer and Hugh Latimer acted as a team on Cromwell’s behalf in the proceedings which led to the friar’s destruction. In accordance with the custom of the time, Bishop Latimer was selected to preach a final sermon at the place of execution urging recantation, but in the end Forest was burnt to death at Smithfield, London on 22 May 1538.

In 1570, The first modern atlas, containing 70 maps, was published in Belgium by Abraham Ortelius, a Flemish cartographer and map seller.

In 1611King James I created the hereditary Order of Baronets in England on 22 May 1611, for the settlement of Ireland. He offered the dignity to 200 gentlemen of good birth, with a clear estate of 1,000 a year, on condition that each one should pay a sum equivalent to three years’ pay to 30 soldiers at 8d per day per man (total – £1,095) into the King’s Exchequer.

In 1629,  Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II and Danish King Christian IV sign the Treaty of Lübeck to end the Danish intervention in the Thirty Years’ War.

In 1761, The first life insurance policy in the United States was issued, in Philadelphia.

In 1762,  Sweden and Prussia sign the Treaty of Hamburg.

Trevi Fountain

In 1762Trevi Fountain in Rome is officially completed and inaugurated by Pope Clemens XIII.

In 1807,  A grand jury indicts former Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr on a charge of treason in Richmond, Virginia, but was acquitted in August.

In 1807,  Philadelphian pharmacist Townsend Speakman sold fruit juice and carbonated water, inventing the first soft drink.

Martha Washington.jpgIn 1802,  Martha Washington, American wife of George Washington, 1st First Lady of the United States (b. 1731) dies. She was the wife of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington is considered to be the first First Lady of the United States. During her lifetime she was often referred to as “Lady Washington”.

Widowed at 25, she had four children with her first husband Daniel Parke Custis. Two of her children by Custis survived to young adulthood. She brought great wealth to her marriage to Washington, which enabled him to buy land and many slaves to add to his personal estate. She also brought nearly 100 dower slaves for her use during her lifetime; they and their descendants reverted to her first husband’s estate at her death and were inherited by his heirs. She and Washington did not have children together but they did rear her two children by Daniel Parke Custis, including son John “Jacky” Parke Custis, as well as helping both of their extended afterlife.

In 1807,  Most of the English town of Chudleigh is destroyed by fire.

In 1807, Townsend Speakman begins making and selling fruit-flavored carbonated drinks – in Philadelphia.

In 1809,  On the second and last day of the Battle of Aspern-Essling (near Vienna, Austria), Napoleon I is repelled by an enemy army for the first time.

In 1812,  Action of 22 May 1812: A small French two-frigate squadron comprising Ariane and Andromaque, returning from a commerce raiding campaign in the Atlantic, meets the 74-gun HMS Northumberland while trying the slip to Lorient through the British blockade.

In 1816,  A mob in Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England, riots over high unemployment and rising grain costs; the rioting spreads to Ely the next day.

In 1819,  The SS Savannah leaves port at Savannah, Georgia, United States, on a voyage to become the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The ship arrived at Liverpool, England, on June 20.

In 1826,  HMS Beagle departs on its first voyage.

In 1840,  The transportation of British convicts to the New South Wales colony is abolished.

In 1843, The first wagon train left Independence, Missouri, for the Oregon Trail. About 1000 colonists were part of the wagon train.

In 1848,  Slavery is abolished in Martinique.

In 1849,  Future U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is issued a patent for an invention to lift boats over obstacles in a river, making him the only U.S. President to ever hold a patent.

In 1856,  Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beats Senator Charles Sumner with a cane in the hall of the United States Senate for a speech Sumner had made attacking Southerners who sympathized with the pro-slavery violence in Kansas (“Bleeding Kansas“).

In 1863,  American Civil War: Siege of Port Hudson: Union forces begin to lay siege to the Confederate-controlled Port Hudson, Louisiana.

In 1864,  American Civil War: After ten weeks, the Union Army‘s Red River Campaign ends with the Union unable to achieve any of its objectives.

In 1871,  The U.S. Army issues an order for abandonment of Fort Kearny in Nebraska.

In 1872,  Reconstruction: U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signs the Amnesty Act into law restoring full civil and political rights to all but about 500 Confederate sympathizers.

In 1885,  Prior to burial in the Panthéon, the body of Victor Hugo was exposed under the Arc de Triomphe during the night.

In 1897,  The Blackwall Tunnel under the River Thames is officially opened

In 1899, Plain Dealer reporter Charles Shanks first uses the French word “automobile” in a series of articles he writes about a road trip with car magnate Alexander Winton from Cleveland to N.Y. (the word thereafter becomes accepted in U.S.).

In 1900, The Associated Press was incorporated in New York as a non-profit news cooperative. It was founded in 1848.

In 1903,  Launch of the White Star Liner, SS Ionic.

In 1906,  The Wright brothers are granted U.S. patent number 821,393 for their “Flying-Machine“.

In 1915,  Lassen Peak erupts with a powerful force, and is the only mountain other than Mount St. Helens to erupt in the contiguous US during the 20th century.

In 1915,  Three trains collide in the Quintinshill rail disaster near Gretna Green, Scotland, killing 227 people and injuring 246; the accident is found to be the result of non-standard operating practices during a shift change at a busy junction.

In 1926,  Chiang Kai-shek replaces communists in Kuomintang, China.

In 1928, US Congress accept Jones-White Merchant Naval Act.

In 1931, The first sale of canned rattlesnake meat occurs in Arcadia, Florida.

In 1939,  World War II: Germany and Italy sign the Pact of Steel.

In 1942,  Mexico enters World War II on the side of the Allies.

In 1942,  The Steel Workers Organizing Committee disbands, and a new trade union, the United Steelworkers, is formed.

In 1942,  World War II: Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox enlists in the United States Marine Corps as a flight instructor.

In 1943,  Joseph Stalin disbands Comintern in a gesture to the West.

In 1945,  Operation Paperclip: United States Army Major Robert B. Staver recommends that the U.S. evacuate German scientists and engineers to help in the development of rocket technology.

In 1947,  Cold War: In an effort to fight the spread of Communism, the U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs an act into law that will later be called the Truman Doctrine. The act grants $400 million in military and economic aid to Turkey and Greece, each battling an internal Communist movement.

In 1953, President Eisenhower signs the Offshore Oil Bill, surrendering $80 billion of Federal offshore oil and gas reserves to the oil corporations.

In 1958,  Sri Lankan riots of 1958: This riot is a watershed event in the race relationship of the various ethnic communities of Sri Lanka. The total number of deaths is estimated to be 300, mostly Sri Lankan Tamils.

In 1960,  An earthquake measuring 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale, now known as the Great Chilean Earthquake, hits southern Chile. It is the most powerful earthquake ever recorded.

In 1961,  An earthquake rocks New South Wales.

In 1961, The Top Of The Needle restaurant in the Space Needle in Seattle opened as the first revolving restaurant.

In 1962,  Continental Airlines Flight 11 crashes after bombs explode on board.

In 1963,  An assassination attempt of Greek left-wing politician Grigoris Lambrakis, who will die five days later.

In 1964,  The U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces the goals of his Great Society social reforms to bring an “end to poverty and racial injustice” in America.

In 1967,  The L’Innovation department store in the center of Brussels, Belgium, burns down. It is the most devastating fire in Belgian history, resulting in 323 dead and missing and 150 injured.

In 1967,  Vietnam War: Vinh Xuan massacre.

In 1968,  The nuclear-powered submarine the USS Scorpion sinks with 99 men aboard 400 miles southwest of the Azores.

In 1969,  Apollo 10 ‘s lunar module flies within 8.4 nautical miles (16 km) of the moon‘s surface.

In 1972,  Ceylon adopts a new constitution, thus becoming a Republic, changes its name to Sri Lanka, and joins the Commonwealth of Nations.

In 1972, President Nixon became the first to visit Russia. His talks in Moscow with the Russian leaders led to the S.A.L.T. agreement in 1977.

In 1973, Nixon admits White House role in the Watergate cover-up, citing national security.

In 1977, Final European scheduled run of the Orient Express (94 years).

In 1979, Canadians went to the polls in parliamentary elections that put the Progressive Conservatives in power, ending the 11-year tenure of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

In 1980,  Namco releases the highly influential arcade game Pac-Man.

In 1984, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law firms may not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion or national origin in promoting young lawyers to the status of partner.

In 1986, The House of Representatives approved legislation calling for major import restraints, despite President Reagan’s warning that burgeoning protectionism would launch new trade wars. (The bill, however, never got out of committee in the Senate.).

In 1987,  Hashimpura massacre in Meerut, India.

In 1987,  First ever Rugby World Cup kicks off with New Zealand playing Italy at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.

In 1988, Janos Kadar (YAH’-nohsh KAH’-dahr) — installed by the Soviet Union as head of Hungary’s Communist Party in 1956 — was replaced by Prime Minister Karoly Grosz.

In 1989, More than 100 top Chinese military leaders vowed to refrain from entering Beijing to suppress pro-democracy demonstrations.

In 1989, Soviet authorities announced curbs on the number of staff at the British embassy and other institutions in Moscow, from 375 to 205.

In 1990,  North and South Yemen are unified to create the Republic of Yemen.

In 1990,  Microsoft releases the Windows 3.0 operating system. It still had bugs.

In 1990, After years of conflict, pro-Western North Yemen and pro-Soviet South Yemen merged to form a single nation, the Republic of Yemen.

In 1991, Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born wife of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was designated to lead his Congress Party through national elections, one day after his assassination. (However, Mrs. Gandhi turned down the position.)

In 1992,  After 30 years, 66-year-old Johnny Carson hosts The Tonight Show for the last time.

In 1992,  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia join the United Nations.

In 1993, Shark Encounter opens at Sea World of Ohio.

In 1994, A worldwide trade embargo against Haiti went into effect to punish Haiti’s military rulers for not reinstating the country’s ousted elected leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

In 1995, The Supreme Court ruled, 5-to-4, that states cannot limit service in Congress without amending the Constitution.

In 1996, Japan settled lawsuits which bought to an end the mercury poisoning case called Minamata, named after the village where hundreds died between 1953-60 by eating mercury-tainted seafood.

In 1997,  Kelly Flinn, the US Air Force‘s first female bomber pilot certified for combat, accepts a general discharge in order to avoid a court-martial.

In 1997,  the defense began presenting its case in the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh.

In 1998,  Lewinsky scandal: A federal judge rules that United States Secret Service agents can be compelled to testify before a grand jury concerning the scandal, involving President Bill Clinton.

In 2000, A committee of the Arkansas Supreme Court recommended that President Clinton be disbarred for giving false testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. (Clinton later agreed to give up his Arkansas law license for five years.)

In 2002,  In Washington, D.C., the remains of the missing Chandra Levy are found in Rock Creek Park.

In 2002,  American civil rights movement: A jury in Birmingham, Alabama, convicts former Ku Klux Klan member Bobby Frank Cherry of the 1963 murders of four girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.

In 2003,  In Fort Worth, Texas, Annika Sörenstam becomes the first woman to play the PGA Tour in 58 years.

In 2004,  The U.S. town of Hallam, Nebraska is wiped out by a powerful F4 tornado (part of the May 2004 tornado outbreak sequence) which kills one resident, and becomes the widest tornado on record at 2.5 miles (4.0 km) wide; a record that wouldn’t be broken until a the El Reno tornado on May 31, 2013.

In 2005,  A Presidential election is held in Mongolia; the result is a victory for Nambaryn Enkhbayar of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP).

In 2008,  The Late-May 2008 tornado outbreak sequence unleashes 235 tornadoes, including an EF4 and an EF5 tornado, between May 22 and May 31, 2008. The tornadoes strike 19 states and one Canadian province.

In 2009,  The Credit CARD Act of 2009 was signed into U.S. law by the President, Barack Obama.

In 2010,  An Air India Express Boeing 737 goes over a cliff and crashes upon landing at Mangalore, India, killing 158 of the 166 people on board. It is the worst crash involving a Boeing 737.

In 2011,  An EF5 tornado strikes Joplin, Missouri, killing 162 people and wreaking $2.8 billion worth in damage—the costliest and seventh-deadliest single tornado in U.S. history.

Tokyo Skytree

In  2012,  Tokyo Skytree is opened to public. It is the tallest tower in world (634 m), and the second tallest man-made structure on Earth, after Burj Khalifa (829.8 m).

In 2014,  General Prayut Chan-o-cha of the Royal Thai Armed Forces announces a military coup d’état, following six months of political turmoil.

In 2014,  An explosion occurs in the city of Ürümqi, the capital of China’s far-western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, resulting in at least 43 deaths and 91 injuries.

In 2015,  The Republic of Ireland becomes the first nation in the world to legalize gay marriage in a public referendum. Bad move for one of my native countries.

In 2017,  Twenty-two people are killed at an Ariana Grande concert in the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing.

In 2017,  United States President Donald Trump visits the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and becomes the first sitting U.S. President to visit the Western Wall.

In 2018, Boy Scouts to make condoms ‘readily and easily accessible’ at upcoming global gathering

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