May 26, 17: Germanicus returns to Rome as a conquering hero; he celebrates a triumph for his victories over the Cherusci, Chatti and other German tribes west of the Elbe. His psychotic son and future emperor Caligula parties with him.
May 26, 451: Armenian rebels are defeated by forces of the Sassanid Empire on the Avarayr Plain in Vaspurakan. Though the Armenians lose their fight for independence, they are granted the privilege of practicing their religion, Christianity, openly from here on.
May 26, 1232 - The Inquisition: Pope Gregory IX issues the bull Declinante jam mundi, bringing the Papal Inquisition to Spain.
May 26, 1637 - The American Holocaust - Mystic Point Massacre: A combined Protestant and Mohegan force under English Captain John Mason attacks a Pequot village in Connecticut, massacring approximately 500 Native Americans during the Pequot War.
May 26, 1647: Alse Young, a widow, is hanged for witchcraft in Hartford, Connecticut. Her daughter Alice is accused of the same offense 30 years later, in Massachusetts.
May 26, 1865 - The American Civil War: Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi division, is the last general of the Confederate Army to surrender, at Galveston, Texas.
May 26, 1868 - Impeachment of President Johnson: The impeachment trial of U.S. President Andrew Johnson ends with Johnson being found not guilty by one vote.
May 26, 1868: England’s last public execution occurs when Michael Barrett is hanged at Newgate. All subsequent hangings are held behind prison walls. Presiding over the event is executioner William Calcraft, who frequently supplements his income by selling the clothes and noose worn by the condemned. (rotten)
May 26, 1879: Russia and the UK sign the Treaty of Gandamak establishing an Afghan state.
May 26, 1896: Charles Dow publishes the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
May 26, 1897: Dracula, a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker is published.
May 26, 1938: The House Un-American Activities Committee was established to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities by people or organizations suspected of having communist or fascist ties.
May 26, 1940 - World War II - The Battle of Dunkirk: Allied forces begin a massive evacuation from Dunkirk, France.
May 26, 1960 - The Cold War: America’s UN Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge charges the Soviets with having bugged the Moscow embassy. He shows off a large wooden carving of the U.S. seal which had been hollowed out to conceal a sophisticated resonant cavity transmitter. Less than 30 years later a newly-rebuilt Moscow embassy is determined to be “structurally riddled with eavesdropping devices.”
May 26, 1972 - The Cold War: The U.S. and Soviet Union sign the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
May 26, 1978 - The Unabomber Strikes: A safety officer at Northwestern University opens a suspicious package which had been delivered to a professor. The object explodes in Terry Marker’s hands, making him the first victim of the Unabomber.
May 26, 1980: By orders of military dictator Chun Doo Hwan, and with the blessing of the Carter administration, the South Korean government massacres 2,000 pro-democracy protesters in Kwangju city.
May 26, 1994: "Price Is Right" host Bob Barker admits to having had an 18-month sexual relationship with former co-host Dian Parkinson. The onetime Playboy model was suing the game show’s host and its production company for sexual harassment. Barker denies that the sex had been anything but consensual, claiming that "she volunteered the hanky-panky." Parkinson later drops the suit. (rotten)
May 26, 1994: Dogged by rumors of pedophilia, Michael Jackson weds Lisa Marie Presley in the Dominican Republic. The couple keeps their marriage secret for six weeks, then files for divorce 18 months after that. (rotten)
May 26, 2004: Journalist Peter Hounam, who had revealed Israel’s secret nuclear program, is arrested in Jerusalem and denied access to a lawyer. He is released and expelled from the country the following day. (BBC)(BBC)
May 26, 2005: A coalition of citizen groups will ask United States Congress to file a formal “Resolution of Inquiry”, the first necessary legal step to determine whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses. The request, written by Boston constitutional attorney John C. Bonifaz, cites the Downing Street memo and issues surrounding the planning and execution of the Iraq war. (Raw Story)
May 26, 2010 - The Israel-Palestine conflict: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemns Iran, saying his people were “hijacked, at the hands of the Iranians;” referring to Hamas’s refusal to reconcile with Fatah on Iran’s command by announcing on that it would boycott the Palestinian municipal elections. (The Jerusalem Post)
May 26, 2010: Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva questions why American President Barack Obama ignored Iran’s nuclear agreement with Brazil and Turkey and presented new sanctions to the UN Security Council, saying this is “not the attitude that someone who won the Nobel Peace Prize has” and describing himself as “disappointed”. (Buenos Aires Herald)
May 26, 2012: China releases an annual report on human rights, criticizing the United States’ human rights record, citing the arrest of Occupy Wall Street protesters and Internet restrictions. (CNN)
May 25, 1085: Alfonso VI of Castile takes Toledo, Spain back from the Moors.
May 25, 1659: Richard Cromwell resigns as Lord Protector of England following the restoration of the Long Parliament, beginning a second brief period of the republican government called the Commonwealth of England.
May 25, 1895 - Imprisonment of Oscar Wilde: British playwright and novelist Oscar Wilde is convicted of “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons,” to wit: fucking some rent boys. For his crime, Wilde is sentenced to two years of hard labor in Reading jail. (rotten)
May 25, 1925 - The Scopes Trial: John T. Scopes is indicted for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in Tennessee.
May 25, 1961 - The Space Race - The Apollo program: U.S. President John Kennedy announces before a special joint session of the Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a “man on the Moon” before the end of the decade.
May 25, 1977: Star Wars is released in theaters.
May 25, 1977: The Chinese government removes a decade old ban on William Shakespeare’s work, effectively ending the Cultural Revolution started in 1966.
May 25, 1979 - Crash of Flight 191: Immediately after Flight 191 takes off from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, engine number one tears loose from its wing and falls off. A few seconds later, the DC-10 rolls onto its left side and impacts the ground. All 271 aboard the plane are killed in the explosion, along with two bystanders.
May 25, 1980: Televangelist Oral Roberts senses an “overwhelming holy presence” and hallucinates a 900-foot-tall Jesus Christ. The deity reaches down and picks up a 60-story hospital, bragging to the Oklahoman preacher: “See how easy it is for Me to lift it!” (rotten)
May 25, 1982 - The Falklands War: The UK’s HMS Coventry is sunk by an Argentine Air Force A-4 Skyhawk.
May 25, 1996: The body of Bradley Nowell is discovered in his room at San Francisco’s Ocean View Motel. Nowell, lead singer for radio trio Sublime, was killed by an accidental smack overdose.
May 25, 1999 - The Cox Report: The U.S. House of Representatives releases the Cox Report which details the People’s Republic of China's nuclear espionage against the U.S. over the prior two decades.
May 25, 2003 - The Israel-Palestine conflict: Israeli PM Ariel Sharon wins cabinet approval for a peace plan that includes the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005.
May 25, 2003 - The Israel-Palestine conflict: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issues an ultimatum to Hamas, giving them ten days to recognise Israel or have the question put to the people in the form of a plebiscite. (CNN)
May 25. 2010 - P, P, P, Pac Power!: A study indicates that the Pac-Man game Google put on its home page recently led to the loss of almost five million man-hours (or 550 years) of work time. (BBC)(CBC News)(Daily Mail)
May 24, 1218 - The Crusades - Fifth Crusade sets out for Egypt: The Fifth Crusade, an attempt by Catholic Europeans to reacquire Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land by first conquering the powerful Ayyubid state in Egypt leaves Acre for Egypt.
May 24, 1610: Buggery is criminalized for the first time in North America, when the Virginia colony declares that “[n]o man shal commit the horrible, and detestable sinnes of Sodomie upon pain of death.” (rotten)
May 24, 1856 - The Pottawatomie Massacre: A small gang led by abolitionist John Brown murders five pro-slavery homesteaders in Franklin County, Kansas, hacking them to pieces with swords. The event comes to be known as the Pottawatomie Massacre.
May 24, 1883: After 14 years of construction the Brooklyn Bridge is open to traffic.
May 24, 1920: Senile French President Paul Deschanel falls off a train bound for Montbrison, and is later discovered wandering along the track in his pajamas. (rotten)
May 24, 1943 - The Holocaust: Josef Mengele becomes chief medical officer of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
May 24, 1964: All hell breaks loose in the closing minutes of a match between Peru and Argentina, after a referee disallows a goal. 318 people are killed and 500 injured in Lima, Peru, making it the worst soccer riot in history
May 24, 1994: Four men convicted of bombing the World Trade Center in New York in 1993 are each sentenced to 240 years in prison.
May 24, 2010 - Australia-Israel relations: Australia expels an Israeli diplomat after a probe reveals Israel was behind the forging of four Australian passports linked to the assassination of a Hamas operative in Dubai. (BBC)
May 23. 1430 - Capture of Joan of Arc at the Siege of Compiègne: Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to relieve Compiègne.
May 23, 1498 - Church executes friar Savonarola: Religious fundamentalist Girolamo Savonarola is executed in Florence, Italy on the orders of Pope Alexander VI for his many heresies. The Catholic Church had already excommunicated the Dominican friar the year before, but Savonarola continued to preach for radical reforms. Among other things, he held “bonfires of the vanities” for his parishioners’ worldly possessions, because they competed with the word of God for attention. Brother Savonarola is hanged along with two accomplices and their bodies burned.
May 23, 1533 - The English reformation: The Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer (pictured) annulled Henry VIII’s marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, beginning of a chain of events that would culminate in the English Reformation.
May 23, 1618 - The “Defenestration of Prague”: Three men representing tsoon-to-be Emperor Ferdinand II are thrown from a window in the Hradshin Palace by Protestant noblemen. Luckily for the imperial emissaries, they land on a large pile of trash and survive. But when the Catholic Ferdinand assumes the throne the following year, all hell breaks loose in Europe, starting with Bohemia. Thus begins the horrific religious conflict that comes to be known as the Thirty Years War. It is generally agreed that the war sets back the European continent a full century.
May 23, 1701: Pirate Captain William Kidd is hanged in London. After the first attempt fails when the rope snaps, Kidd is brought right back to the gallows and the process repeated. After death, the body is slathered in tar, chained up, and suspended over the Thames where it remains for years as an example to others considering a life of piracy.
May 23, 1934 - Death of Bonnie & Clyde: A group of FBI agents and police officers from two states ambush Bonnie and Clyde on a highway near Gibsland, Louisiana. The men open fire as the bank robbers drive past the concealed posse, unloading hundreds of rounds into the car.
May 23, 1945 - Suicide of Himmler: Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, commits suicide while in Allied custody.
May 23, 1960 - The capture of Eichmann: Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion reveals that Mossad agents have captured fugitive war criminal Adolf Eichmann and smuggled him out of Argentina. Ben-Gurion announces: “Eichmann is already in this country under arrest and will shortly be brought to trial.”
May 23, 1984: Candy heiress Helen Brach is declared legally dead, seven years after disappearing mysteriously in February 1977.
May 23, 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 2 months later, making 1992 a turning point in the history of Italian Mafia prosecutions.
May 23, 1995: The first version of the Java programming language is released.
May 23, 2004 - The Israel-Palestine conflict: Israeli Justice Minister, and Holocaust survivor, Tommy Lapid causes some controversy when he says that an image of an old Arab woman rummaging through rubble in Rafah reminded him of his grandmother, a Holocaust victim. (BBC)
May 23, 2005 - The Israel-Palestine conflict: Channel 10, an Israeli television station, broadcasts footage of what it claims is Israeli Defence Forces using a Palestinian youth as a human shield against rock-throwers in the West Bank. The IDF denies the allegation. (Haaretz)
May 23, 2006: Scientists led by Dr. Anthony Atala (Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University) announce they can grow artificial, fully-functional bunny penises in a lab.
May 23, 2011: The Church of Scotland votes to allow gay men and lesbians to become ministers. (The Guardian)
May 22, 334 BCE - Alexander the Great defeats the Persians: The Macedonian army of Alexander the Great defeats Darius III of Persia in the Battle of the Granicus.
May 22, 337 - Death of Constantine: Emperor Constantine dies. Although quite dead, his embalmed corpse continues to act as head of state, receiving state dignitaries and daily reports from ministers as if nothing had changed. Constantine’s macabre “Skeletor-like” leadership continues through the winter.
May 22, 1176 - The Crusades: The mysterious group the Hashshashin attempt to assassinate Saladin near Aleppo.
May 22, 1945 - Operation Paperclip: U.S. Army Major Robert B. Staver recommends that the U.S. evacuate German scientists and engineers involved in the Nazi space program at Peenemündeto help in the development of rocket technology.
May 22, 1947 - The Cold War - The Truman Doctrine: in an effort to fight the spread of Communism, U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs an act into law that will (later to be called the Truman Doctrine) which grants $400 million in military and economic aid to Turkey and Greece, each battling an internal Communist movement.
May 22, 1949: Former Secretary of Defense James Forrestal falls out of a 16th floor window at Bethesda Naval Hospital with a bathrobe cord knotted tightly around his neck. The death is ruled a “suicide,” and Forrestal is buried in Arlington Cemetery.
May 22, 1954: 400 people attend the Bar Mitzvah for Bob Dylan (Robert Allen Zimmerman) in Hibbing, Minnesota. He later converts to Christianity in 1979.
May 22, 1957: A B-36 bomber accidentally drops a 10 megaton hydrogen bomb over an uninhabited area near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The conventional charges detonate on impact, leaving a radioactive crater 12 feet deep and 25 feet wide.
May 22, 1967: 322 Belgians are killed when fire sweeps through the second-largest department store in Brussels. Many of the victims leap to their deaths, although most who landed on parked cars survive. The store, L’Innovation, had been having a sale on American goods.
May 22, 1968 - The Cold War - Sinking of the USS Scorpion: The nuclear submarine USS Scorpion sinks to the bottom with all 99 aboard perishing, after it is reassigned to a spy mission and begins to head towards the Canary Islands. Navy Warrant Officer John Walker (an embedded Soviet spy) had certainly reported enough to the KGB to allow them to read the Scorpion’s encrypted transmissions. For reasons yet unknown, naval officials of both the U.S. and Soviet Union agree not to discuss the circumstances of this incident - or the sinking of a Soviet sub the same year.
May 22, 1980: Pac-Man debuts in Japanese arcades.
May 22, 1981 - The Yorkshire Ripper convicted: Peter Sutcliffe is convicted of murdering 13 women in the Yorkshire Ripper trial. In the words of the presiding judge: “It is difficult to find words that are adequate in my judgment to describe the brutality and gravity of these offenses and I say at once I am not going to pause to seek those words. I am prepared to let the catalog of crimes speak for itself.”
May 22, 2002: In Washington, D.C., the remains of the missing Chandra Levy are found in Rock Creek Park.
May 22, 2005: Laura Bush, the First Lady of the U.S., is heckled by both Israeli and Palestinian protesters as she visited the Wailing Wall and the outside of the Dome on the Rock. (Haaretz)(BBC)