#TodayInHistory – May 15
May 15 – Some important events on this day
1252 👉🏼 Pope Innocent IV issues the papal bull ad exstirpanda, which authorizes, but also limits, the torture of heretics in the Medieval Inquisition
1492 👉🏼 Cheese & Bread rebellion: German mercenaries kill 232 residents of Alkmaar, Netherlands 🇳🇱
1536 👉🏼 Anne Boleyn and her brother George, Lord Rochford, accused of adultery and incest.
Anne Boleyn was the second wife of Henry VIII, who famously had six in total, and was perhaps the most famous. In 1523 Anne was to marry Henry Percy, the son of the Earl of Northumberland, but this was broken off. She was, at this time, a maid to the court of Henry VIII’s wife Catherine of Aragon, and the king began courting her in early 1526.
Henry’s interest in his wife’s maid of honor was a turning point in English history. When the Catholic Church refused to accept his annulment to Catherine of Aragon, and his marriage to Anne on 25 January 1533, Henry broke off relations with the Pope and established an independent Church of England.
The happy marriage was not to last, however. Anne gave birth to a daughter, the future Elizabeth I, and Henry was disappointed when she had three miscarriages and no son. A mere three years later he was courting the love of Jane Seymour.
In May 1536 Anne was arrested and imprisoned on charges of high treason, and found guilty in a trial by jury that contained her former fiance and her own uncle. She was beheaded four days later at the Tower of London, and Henry VIII was betrothed to Jayne Seymour one day later.
1618 👉🏼 German astronomer Johannes Kepler discovers the third of his three planetary laws his “harmonics law”
1625 👉🏼 16 rebellious farmers hanged in Vocklamarkt, Upper-Austria
1672 👉🏼 1st copyright law enacted by Massachusetts ©
1718 👉🏼 James Puckle, a London lawyer, patents world’s 1st machine gun
1863 👉🏼 Salon des Refusés opens in Paris, exhibition of works rejected by official Salon, features Paul Cézanne, Camille Pissarro, Henri Fantin-Latour, James Whistler, and Édouard Manet 🖼
1869 👉🏼 National Woman Suffrage Association forms in New York, founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
1897 👉🏼 The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee is founded in Berlin by Magnus Hirschfeld, the first-ever LGBT rights organization.
Magnus Hirschfeld was a physician and one of the founding figures of the modern gay rights movement, but also the man who coined the term “transvestite”. As a gay man his cause was personal, and he was also greatly affected by the trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895.
In 1897 he set up, with others, the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee in Berlin with the aim of abolishing Paragraph 175 in the German Criminal Code that allowed for males engaging in homosexual acts to be imprisoned and their civil rights revoked.
In 1919 he founded the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin, with the aim of conducting research into sexual science and providing medical care, especially for trans-gendered people. Some of the first gender re-assignment surgery took place at the Institute, for Dora Richter in 1919 and later Lili Elbe .
The Institute was destroyed by the Nazi’s in 1933 and Hirschfeld forced to flee.
1905 👉🏼 Las Vegas founded in Nevada
1928 👉🏼 Mickey Mouse makes his 1st ever appearance in silent film “Plane Crazy”
1940 👉🏼 Richard and Maurice McDonald open the 1st McDonald’s restaurant in San Bernardino, California
1941 👉🏼 Nazi occupiers in Netherlands forbid Jewish music 🎼
1951 👉🏼 AT&T becomes the 1st US corporation to have a million stockholders after young car salesman Brady Denton purchases 7 shares worth $1,078
1988 👉🏼 USSR begins withdrawing its 115,000 troops from Afghanistan 🇦🇫
1957 👉🏼 Operation Grapple: Britain tests its first hydrogen bomb near Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.
By 1957, in the early and dangerous days of the Cold War, the only two powers who had acquired thermonuclear weapons were the Soviet Union and the United States. The UK was a nuclear power, having detonated an atomic bomb in 1952, but it was behind the others powers in technology. All changed in 1957, when the UK conducted nine nuclear tests under the name Operation Grapple, and joined the thermonuclear (or hydrogen) club as the third member.
Britain’s attempts to acquire nuclear weapons began during the Second World War, when many British scientists contributed to the Manhattan Project, which developed the first nuclear weapons for the United States. Resuming its own atomic program after the war, the UK moved slower than the other powers, partly because the ‘Special Relationship’ between the UK and the US did not originally extend to the nuclear sphere.
The first test of their own hydrogen bomb was initially hailed as a great success but was in fact a technical failure as the explosion was well below its designed capability. Nevertheless the UK continued with its research and conducted the last test in 1958, confirming its status as a hydrogen power.
Several countries have since also developed weapons of mass destruction, while the UK is estimated to have around 215 nuclear warheads.
2010 👉🏼 Jessica Watson at age 16 becomes the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world.