This Day in History

May 23


1430      Joan of Arc is captured by the forces of the Duke of Burgandy, an ally of the English   587
1498      Girolamo Savonarola is burned at the stake on the site where the Bonfire of the Vanities had been, age 45   519
1610      John Rolfe and other survivors of the wreck of the Sea Venture in present-day Bermuda, arrive in Jamestown   407
1701      William "Captain" Kidd hanged for piracy in Wapping, England, age around 56   316
1707      Swedish biologist Carl Linnaeus, who develops the plant and animal classification scheme, born   310
1754      English architect ohn Wood, the Elder, dies in Bath, age around 50   263
1785      Benjamin Franklin publishes his invention of bifocals   232
1788      South Carolina is the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution—nine are required   229
1793      Allied coalition forces defeat the French at the Battle of Famars in northern France   224
1829      Austrian organ and piano maker Cyrill Demian is issued a patent for the accordion   188
1857      French mathematician Augustin Louis Cauchy dies, age 67   160
1861      voters in Virginia ratify its declaration of succession from the Union   156
1863      William Harvey Carney becomes the first black to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor   154
1868      frontiersman Christopher Houston (Kit) Carson dies in Fort Lyon, Colorado, age 59   149
1873      the North West Mounted Police force (Mounties) formed in Canada   144
1887      first official train reaches Vancouver completing the Canadian Pacific's transcontinental line   130
1895      German mineralogist, physicist and mathematician Franz Ernst Neumann dies in Königsberg, age 96   122
1906      Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen dies in Oslo, age 78   111
1911      New York Public library dedicated by president William Taft and opened to the public   106
1916      Thomas Edison is issued patents for the Phonograph   101
1934      Bonnie (Elizabeth Parker), age 23, and Clyde (Chestnut Barrow), age 25, killed in a police ambush near Black Lake, Louisiana   83
1949      Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) established—reunification 41 years later   68
1953      KUHT, the first U.S. public television station, signs on the air from the campus of the University of Houston   64
1958      Explorer 1, U.S. first earth satellite, ceases transmission after two months   59
1960      French engineer and inventor of neon lighting Georges Claude dies, age 89   57
1995      programming language Java is released   22
2002      American golfer and holder of the PGA Tour wins record of 82 Samuel Jackson Snead dies, age 89   15
2002      Dodgers Shawn Green hits 4 home runs off the Brewers setting a MLB record of hitting for 19 total bases in a single game   15
2010      finale of the six-year Oceanic Air 815 account—in the end many viewers are still Lost   7
2011      deadliest single tornado since tornado records were kept tears through Joplin, Missouri—kills 153   6
2013      Japanese mountaineer Yuichiro Miura at 80 years age becomes the oldest person to summit Mount Everest   4
2014      22-year old man kills 6 and injures 14 others in Isla Vista, California, near the University of California, Santa Barbara, before killing himself   3
2015      John Nash, winner of mathematics Abel Prize and Nobel laureate, is killed in an auto accident, age 86   2
2015      Ireland becomes the first nation to approve same-sex marriages by popular vote   2
2016      CO2 levels in Antarctica reach 400 ppm   1

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

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