#TodayInHistory – May 22
May 22 – Some important events on this day
334 BC 👉🏼 The Macedonian army of Alexander the Great defeats Darius III of Persia in the Battle of the Granicus.
Alexander the Great was one of the most successful conquerors in human history, who took his Macedonian Empire from the shores of Greece to the borders of India. Part of this conquest included the destruction and subjugation of the Persian Empire, the great arch-nemesis of the Greek states. As he was expanding eastward, Alexander would have three major battles with the Persians, and the first was at the crossing of the Granicus River in 334 BC.
The Greeks lost around 300 to 400 men and the Persians up to 4,000, mostly as they retreated from the battle. Many Greek mercenaries who fought for the Persians were captured and enslaved, sent to till the oil of Macedon as punishment for perceived treason. Alexander would remain undefeated in battle until his death in 323 BC, by which time he had constructed one of the largest empires in Ancient history and forged a reputation for being one of the most successful military commanders ever.
1370 👉🏼 Jews are expelled and massacred in Brussels, Belgium 🇧🇪
1570 👉🏼 1st atlas “Theatrum Orbis Terrarum” (Theatre of the World), published by Abraham Ortelius in Antwerp with 70 maps 🗺
1761 👉🏼 1st life insurance policy in North America issued in Philadelphia
1803 👉🏼 1st US public library opens in Connecticut 📚
1843 👉🏼 1st wagon train with 700 – 1000 migrants, departs Independence, Missouri for Oregon 🚂
1915 👉🏼 Local train collides with troop train killing 226 in Gretna, Scotland
1919 👉🏼 A. E. Douglass establishes the relative dates of two archaeological sites using ancient wood samples, marking a major step forward in the dating of archaeological sites. Archaeologist and astronomer Andrew Ellicott Douglass discovered a correlation between tree rings and sunspot cycles leading to the establishment of dendrochronology which is the dating of past events by counting and analyzing tree rings.
He also helped found Lowell Observatory in 1894.
1933 👉🏼 First modern sighting of the Loch Ness Monster by Aldie and John Mackay saw “something resembling a whale” 🐳
1939 👉🏼 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini sign “Pact of Steel” in Berlin, Germany.
On this day Italy and Germany agree to a military and political alliance, giving birth formally to the Axis powers, which will ultimately include Japan.
Mussolini coined the nickname “Pact of Steel” after reconsidering his first choice, “Pact of Blood,” to describe this historic agreement with Germany. The Duce saw this partnership as not only a defensive alliance, protection from the Western democracies, with whom he anticipated war, but also a source of backing for his Balkan adventures. Both sides were fearful and distrustful of the other, and only sketchily shared their prospective plans. The result was both Italy and Germany, rather than acting in unison, would often “react” to the precipitate military action of the other.
1946 👉🏼 First US rocket (WAC Corporal) to reach edge of space fired from White Sands Missile Range New Mexico
1960 👉🏼 Tsunami strikes Hilo, Hawaii at 01:04 AM, severely damaging virtually all coastal towns between the 37th and 44th parallels
1977 👉🏼 Final European scheduled run of the Orient Express (after 94 years).
The Orient Express was a by-word for luxurious train travel and had its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. The service was created by Belgian Georges Nagelmackers who set up Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, a luxury travel service that included trains. Their most famous was the Orient Express itself.
In 1883 the route began in Paris and ended in Istanbul, passing through Vienna and Munich. Over the years the route changed many times and was famed for the luxury of its sleeping and dinning cars.
From the 1960s its service was gradually reduced and finished completely in 1977. The railway journey features often in literature and film.
A curiosity? One of its most famous in the Agatha Christie novel “Murder on the Orient Express” was not actually set on the original Orient Express but a parallel service called the Simplon Orient Express.
2004 👉🏼 The U.S. town of Hallam, Nebraska, is wiped out by a powerful F4 tornado that broke a width record at an astounding 2.5 miles wide. It also kills one local resident.
2014 👉🏼 Royal Thai Armed Forces, led by General Prayut Chan-o-cha stage a coup in Thailand, suspending the kingdom’s constitution and taking control of the government, the 12th since the country’s first coup in 1932
2015 👉🏼 Ireland becomes 1st country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. On May 23 Ireland legalizes same-sex marriage.