Today in History

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Today is Wednesday, May 23, the 143rd day of 2018. There are 222 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 23, 1618, the Defenestration of Prague took place as Bohemian Protestants angry over what they saw as a threat to their religious freedom threw two Catholic imperial regents and their secretary out an upper-story palace window; the men survived the incident, which helped trigger the Thirty Years’ War.

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On this date:

In 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians, who sold her to the English.

In 1533, the marriage of England’s King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer.

In 1788, South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the United States Constitution.

In 1814, a third version of Beethoven’s only opera, “Fidelio,” had its world premiere in Vienna.

In 1915, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary during World War I.

In 1934, bank robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were shot to death in a police ambush in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.

In 1939, the Navy submarine USS Squalus sank during a test dive off the New England coast. Thirty-two crew members and one civilian were rescued, but 26 others died; the sub was salvaged and re-commissioned the USS Sailfish.

In 1945, Nazi official Heinrich Himmler committed suicide by biting into a cyanide capsule while in British custody in Luneburg, Germany.

In 1967, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, an action which helped precipitate war between Israel and its Arab neighbors the following month.

In 1977, Moluccan extremists seized a train and a primary school in the Netherlands; the hostage drama ended June 11 as Dutch marines stormed the train, resulting in the deaths of six out of nine hijackers and two hostages, while the school siege ended peacefully.

In 1984, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop issued a report saying there was “very solid” evidence linking cigarette smoke to lung disease in non-smokers.

In 1993, a jury in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, acquitted Rodney Peairs of manslaughter in the shooting death of Yoshi Hattori, a Japanese exchange student he’d mistaken for an intruder. (Peairs was later found liable in a civil suit brought by Hattori’s parents.)

Ten years ago: Hillary Rodham Clinton quickly apologized after citing the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy as a reason to remain in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination despite increasingly long odds. Televangelist John Hagee (HAY’-gee) parted ways with John McCain following a storm over his endorsement of the Republican presidential candidate. (McCain rejected Hagee’s endorsement a day earlier after an audio recording from the late 1990s surfaced in which the preacher suggested that God had sent Adolf Hitler to help Jews reach the Promised Land.)

Five years ago: President Barack Obama, in a speech to the National Defense University, defended America’s controversial drone attacks as legal, effective and a necessary linchpin in an evolving U.S. counterterrorism policy, but acknowledged the targeted strikes were no “cure-all” and said he was haunted by the civilians who were unintentionally killed. The Boy Scouts of America threw open its ranks to gay Scouts but not to gay Scout leaders. LeBron James was a unanimous pick for the All-NBA team and Kobe Bryant earned his record-tying 11th first-team selection.

One year ago: President Donald Trump made a personal appeal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians as he closed a four-day swing through the Middle East. Roger Moore, the suavely insouciant star of seven James Bond films, died in Switzerland at age 89. NFL owners meeting in Chicago cut the overtime period from 15 to 10 minutes during the regular season, but also gave players plenty of leeway to celebrate after a touchdown.

Today’s Birthdays: Bluegrass singer Mac Wiseman is 93. Actress Barbara Barrie is 87. Actress Joan Collins is 85. Actor Charles Kimbrough is 82. International Tennis Hall of Famer John Newcombe is 74. Actress Lauren Chapin is 73. Country singer Misty Morgan is 73. Country singer Judy Rodman is 67. Chess grandmaster Anatoly Karpov is 67. Boxing Hall of Famer Marvelous Marvin Hagler is 64. Singer Luka Bloom is 63. Baseball manager Buck Showalter is 62. Actor-comedian-game show host Drew Carey is 60. Actress Lea DeLaria is 60. Country singer Shelly West is 60. Author Mitch Albom (“Tuesdays with Morrie”) is 60. Actor Linden Ashby is 58. Actress-model Karen Duffy is 57. Actress Melissa McBride is 53. Rock musician Phil Selway (Radiohead) is 51. Actress Laurel Holloman is 50. Rock musician Matt Flynn (Maroon 5) is 48. Singer Lorenzo is 46. Country singer Brian McComas is 46. Actor John Pollono is 46. Singer Maxwell is 45. Singer Jewel is 44. Game show contestant Ken Jennings is 44. Actor LaMonica Garrett is 43. Actor D.J. Cotrona is 38. Actor Lane Garrison is 38. Actor-comedian Tim Robinson is 37. Actor Adam Wylie is 34. Movie writer-director Ryan Coogler is 32. Golfer Morgan Pressel is 30. Actor Alberto Frezza (TV: “Station 19”) is 29. Folk/pop singer/songwriter Sarah Jarosz (juh-ROHZ’) is 27.