[I know, I know - I published this picture only recently - but given the type of person I am it's practically porno to me... For Girolamo Savonarola's defiance of God in his judgemental approach to the glories of the Renaissance, for his slavering homophobia and misogyny, for conducting of the Bonfire of the Vanities and for generally being an all-around creep who proved the maxim that 'Hell is other people' I hope he's burning still.]
1430 - Joan of Arc was captured by a Burgundian soldier named Lionel (who was known as the Bastard of Vendôme) while leading an army to relieve the Siege of Compiègne; she was in turn released into the custody of the Count of Ligny and thence to Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, who imprisoned her at the Chateau de Beauvoir near Paris before turning her over to the English at Rouen.
1498 - Girolamo Savonarola was burned at the stake in Firenze's Piazza della Signoria on the orders of Pope Alexander VI.
1533 - The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void by Thomas Cranmer.
1568 - Dutch rebels led by Louis of Nassau, brother of William I of Orange, defeated Jean de Ligne, Duke of Aremberg, and his loyalist troops during the Battle of Heiligerlee, opening the Eighty Years' War.
1618 - During the Second Defenestration of Prague, Vilem Slavata of Chlum and Jaroslav Borzita of Martinice (governors of Bohemia duly appointed by Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II) along with their scribe Philip Fabricius were tried and found guilty of violating the Letter of Majesty only to be thrown from a high window at Prague Castle; even though all three survived their fall, landing in a dry moat filled with manure - which Catholics claimed was due to divine intervention but which Protestants called horse-shit - the action precipitated the Thirty Years' War.
1701 - Having been convicted of piracy and of murdering one of his crewmen, gunner William Moore, Captain William Kidd was hanged at London's Execution Dock.
1706 - At the Battle of Ramillies a French army under Marshal François de Neufville, duc de Villeroi, was defeated by John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.
1813 - South American independence leader Simón Bolívar entered Mérida, leading the invasion of Venezuela, at which time he was proclaimed El Libertador, or 'The Liberator'.
1873 - The Parliament of Canada established the North West Mounted Police, the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
1900 - Slave-born Sergeant William Harvey Carney became the first African-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for his heroism at the Assault on the Battery Wagner during the War Between the States.
1923 - Belgium's SABENA airline was launched.
1934 - The Auto-Lite Strike culminated in the so-called 'Battle of Toledo' - a five-day melee between 1,300 troops of the Ohio National Guard and 6,000 picketers with the American Federation of Labor - in which two strikers died and more than 200 were left injured.
1939 - The US Navy submarine USS Squalus sank off the coast of New Hampshire during a test dive, causing the death of 26 sailors; the remaining 32 crewmen and one passenger were rescued the following day.
1945 - Heinrich Himmler, formerly head of the SS, committed suicide while in Allied custody, as the so-called Flensburg government under Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz was dissolved when its members were captured and arrested by British forces at Flensburg in Northern Germany.
1949 - The Federal Republic of Germany was established, and the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany was proclaimed.
1960 - Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion announced that Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann had been captured.
1970 - An outbreak of fire occurred on the Britannia Bridge over the Menai Straits in north Wales, contributing to its partial destruction and amounting to approximately £1,000,000 worth of fire damage.
1995 - What remained of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building following the Oklahoma City bombing was imploded.
1998 - The Good Friday Agreement was accepted by voters in Ireland and Ulster, who each got their own referendum on the matter.
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