356 – Emperor Constantius II shuts all heathen temples
1600 – The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina explodes in the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America.
1619 – Trial against Johan van Oldenbarnevelt begins in The Hague.
He was a Dutch statesman who played an important role in the struggle for independence from Spain. The States-General of the Republic saw it as a declaration of sovereign independence on the part of Holland and decided to take action.
The trial did not go well, as it is said, nearly all of those on the ad hoc judicial commission were personal enemies. On 20 February 1619, Van Oldenbarnevelt was Arraigned before the special court on this day in history, the trial ended on May 12. It is said that during the trial, he was neither allowed to consult papers nor put his defense in writing.
On Sunday, May 12, 1619, a death sentence was pronounced on Van Oldenbarnevelt and the old statesman, at the age of seventy-one, lost his head the very next day in the Binnenhof at the Hague. His last words to the executioner were purportedly: “Make it short, make it short.”
1736 – George Frideric Handel’s “Alexander’s Feast,” premieres
1807 – Vice President Aaron Burr arrested in Alabama for treason; later found innocent.
1831 – First practical US coal-burning locomotive makes trial run, Pennsylvania
1856 – Tin-type camera patented by Hamilton Smith, Gambier, Ohio
1878 – Thomas Alva Edison patents gramophone (phonograph)
1881 – Kansas becomes first state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages
1913 – First prize inserted into a Cracker Jack box
1963 – USSR informs JFK it is withdrawing several thousand troops from Cuba
1964 – UK flies a half a ton of The Beatles wigs to the US
1987 – Anti-smoking ad airs for first time on TV, featuring Yul Brynner
2002 – NASA’s Mars Odyssey space probe begins to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system.
1473 – Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish mathematician and astronomer (d. 1543)
1917 – Carson McCullers, US, novelist (Heart Is a Lonely Hunter)
1943 – “Mama” Cass Elliot, singer (Mamas and Papas)
1997 – Deng Xiaoping, head (Chinese Communist Party), dies at 92
This list is compiled from many internet and other sources of information including wikipedia, the New York Times, a multitude of websites and old books.
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