Friday, April 16, 2010

POPnews - April 16th

[When I first heard that the Catholic Church subjected Martin Luther to the Diet of Worms I can remember thinking 'What is this, the Inquisition or I'm A Protestant Heretic... Get Me Out Of Here!?' Of course I was much much younger then; it must have been four or five years ago now. Ah, youth...]

73 CE - The Jewish-held fortress of Masada fell to the Romans after several months of siege, ending the First Jewish-Roman War with the mass suicide of Sicarii fugitives who'd been barricaded inside; in April 1981 a miniseries starring Peter O'Toole dramatized these events, based on the book The Antagonists by Ernest Gann.

- The Serbian Empire was proclaimed in Skopje by Stefan Uros IV Dusan, known as Dusan Silni or Dusan the Mighty; in time it would end up occupying much of the Balkans.

1521 - Martin Luther made an appearance before the Diet of Worms to have his religious convictions examined by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V; following his five-day examination Luther was offered exile at Wartburg Castle by Frederick III, Elector of Saxony.

1582 - Spanish conquistador Hernando de Lerma founded the settlement of Salta in Argentina.

1746 - At the Battle of Culloden - the last military battle on British soil - Scotland's French-supported Jacobites attempted to put the Catholic James Francis Edward Stuart (known as the Old Pretender) on the Protestant throne of England, then occupied by George II. They were soundly defeated by the King's forces, led by his son the Duke of Cumberland.

1780 - The University of Münster was founded in North Rhine-Westphalia.

1858 - The Wernerian Natural History Society, a Scottish learned society and offshoot of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, closed down; its first meeting had been held in March 1808.

1912 - American aviatrix Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly an airplane across the English Channel.

1919 - Mahatma Gandhi organized a day of prayer and fasting in Amritsar in response to British attacks on Indian protestors at the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre three days earlier.

1925 - During an assault by the Bulgarian Communist Party on Sofia's St. Nedelya Church, 150 were killed and 500 wounded.

1943 - Dr. Albert Hofmann discovered the psychedelic effects of LSD.

1945 - The US Army liberated Nazi Germany's maximum security prisoner of war camp Oflag IV-C (better known as Colditz Castle).

1947 - An explosion on board a freighter in port caused the city of Texas City to catch fire, killing almost 600.

1963 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail while incarcerated in Alabama for protesting against segregation.

1964 - Following a trial at the Buckinghamshire Assizes in Aylesbury for the 12 men of a fifteen member gang apprehended for committing the Great Train Robbery in August 1963 Mr. Justice Edmund Davies sentenced those convicted - including mastermind Bruce Reynolds and the soon-to-be celebrated Ronnie Biggs - to a total of 307 years.

1972 - Apollo 16 was launched toward the Moon from Florida's Cape Canaveral.

1987 - British Conservative MP Harvey Proctor appeared at London's Bow Street Magistrates' Court charged with gross indecency; formerly known for his extreme right-wing views, he is now remembered for the fondness with which he spanked and caned rent-boys.

2003 - The Treaty of Accession was signed in Athens, admitting 10 new member states to the European Union.

2007 - At the Virginia Tech massacre - the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history - a gunman named Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and injured 23 others before committing suicide.

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