#TodayInHistory – April 23
April 23 – Some important events on this day
215 BC 👉🏼 A temple, built on the Capitoline Hill, is dedicated to Venus Erycina to commemorate the Roman defeat at Lake Trasimene
1014 👉🏼 King Brian Boru of Ireland defeats Viking forces at Battle of Clontarf, freeing Ireland from foreign control
1516 👉🏼 Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria endorses “The German Beer Purity Law” (Reinheitsgebot) and adds to it standards for the sale of beer.
Translation of Reinheitsgebot from the “History of German Brewing” by Karl J. Eden:
“We hereby proclaim and decree, by Authority of our Province, that henceforth in the Duchy of Bavaria, in the country as well as in the cities and marketplaces, the following rules apply to the sale of beer:
From Michaelmas to Georgi, the price for one Mass [Bavarian Liter 1,069] or one Kopf [bowl-shaped container for fluids, not quite one Mass], is not to exceed one Pfennig Munich value, and From Georgi to Michaelmas, the Mass shall not be sold for more than two Pfennig of the same value, the Kopf not more than three Heller [Heller usually one-half Pfennig].
If this not be adhered to, the punishment stated below shall be administered. Should any person brew, or otherwise have, other beer than March beer, it is not to be sold any higher than one Pfennig per Mass. Furthermore, we wish to emphasize that in future in all cities, markets and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities’ confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail. Should, however, an innkeeper in the country, city or markets buy two or three pails of beer (containing 60 Mass) and sell it again to the common peasantry, he alone shall be permitted to charge one Heller more for the Mass of the Kopf, than mentioned above. Furthermore, should there arise a scarcity and subsequent price increase of the barley (also considering that the times of harvest differ, due to location), WE, the Bavarian Duchy, shall have the right to order curtailments for the good of all concerned.”
1564 👉🏼 According to tradition, the great English dramatist and poet William Shakespeare is born in Stratford-upon-Avon on this day. It is impossible to be certain the exact day on which he was born, but church records show that he was baptized on April 26, and three days was a customary amount of time to wait before baptizing a newborn 👶🏻
1597 👉🏼 William Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” is first performed, with Queen Elizabeth I of England in attendance
1851 👉🏼 Canada issues its 1st postage stamps 🇨🇦
1861 👉🏼 Robert E. Lee named commander of Virginia Confederate forces (US Civil War)
1878 👉🏼 1st Dutch test drive of steam tram 🚋
1891 👉🏼Jews are expelled from Moscow, Russia
1920 👉🏼 Turkish Grand National Assembly, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk denounces the government of Sultan Mehmed VI and announces a temporary constitution.
The collapse and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire was a long and bitter affair, comprising revolutions, a disastrous world war and infighting.
Mehmed VI became the sultan just prior to the end of World War I and while the Ottomans were in the middle of exterminating the Armenian population. He would not last long. Months after his reign was proclaimed, Allied forces occupied Constantinople at the end of the war, and this awoke a Turkish national uprising led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
On 1 November 1922 the sultanate was abolished and Mehmed was expelled from the country – he is photographed above leaving his palace through the back door – where he would begin an exile in Italy that lasted until his death in 1926. Ataturk took over and formed the modern Turkish republic.
1968 👉🏼 1st decimal coins issued in Britain (5 & 10 new pence, replacing shilling and two-shilling pieces)
1984 👉🏼 AIDS-virus identified as HTLV-III (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
1989 👉🏼 Wine merchant William Sokolin breaks a bottle of 1787 Château Margaux, possibly belonging to Thomas Jefferson, worth $500,000 at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York
2003 👉🏼 Beijing closes all schools for two weeks because of the SARS virus.
In November 2002, a mysterious and unknown disease causing severe respiratory problems was discovered in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, near Hong Kong. A farmer in this district was likely the patient zero of this outbreak, and the disease (later named SARS, meaning severe acute respiratory syndrome) likely made the jump to humans from infected masked palm civets sold at animal markets.
In the early stages of the outbreak, the Chinese government was criticized for the secrecy around the disease. It did not report the outbreak to the World Health Organization until February 2003, did not report information to Chinese citizens outside the original province and did not allow the WHO team in Beijing into Guangdong until late in the epidemic.
The global spread of SARS began with the super-spreader, Zhou Zhoufen, a fishmonger who infected 30 medical staff at a hospital. From there the virus spread around the world. One of the worst outbreaks occurred in Canada, where 251 people were infected.
The SARS virus was particularly deadly, with a fatality rate of around 9% (compared to 0.1% for a deadly seasonal flu), but did not spread as easily as other coronaviruses, like the 2019-2020 pandemic virus. In the end, the disease was contained by the middle of 2004, and no cases have been reported since then.
2009 👉🏼 Gamma ray burst (GRB) 090423 is observed for 10 seconds, the most distant object of any kind and also the oldest known object in the universe