February 5 – Some important events on this day
146 BCE 👉🏼 Punic Wars, between Rome and Carthage, come to an end
1576 👉🏼 Henry of Navarre (later Henry IV of France) abjures Catholicism at Tours.
1597 👉🏼 A group of early Japanese Christians, known as the 26 Martyrs, are killed by the new government of Japan for being seen as a threat to Japanese society.
By 1597, Christianity in Japan was a relatively small but growing religion, with estimates of around 300,000 Catholics in the country. However this was met with various political and social complications, as the shogunate was worried about colonialism from Christian European powers and the increasing influence of Catholic priests.
By the late 16th century the Japanese government began persecuting Christians in Japan and banned the religion. The story of the 26 Martyrs, crucified in Nagasaki in 1597, began with the shipwreck of a Spanish ship, San Felipe, on the Japanese island of Shikoku on October 19, 1596.
The Japanese daimyo (local ruler) seized the treasures of the ship. In the ensuing fiasco, the captain of the ship suggested it was the policy of the Spanish empire to infiltrate countries with Christian missionaries before taking over. This exchange was reported to the Japanese shogun, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who reacted with fury as it confirmed his suspicions that Christians were a fifth column in Japan.
Hideyoshi ordered missionaries in Japan to be executed. 26 Catholics – six Franciscan friars, seventeen Japanese Franciscan tertiaries, and three Japanese Jesuits – were taken from Kyoto to Nagasaki and executed on this day.
Though Christianity remained an underground religion for many years in Japan, and there were other executions, the first 26 were revered in the Catholic Church. They were eventually canonized in 1862 by Pope Pius IX.
1885 👉🏼 News of the fall of Khartoum reaches London
1885 👉🏼 King Leopold II of Belgium establishes the Congo as a personal colonial possession
1887 👉🏼 Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Otello” premieres at La Scala in Italy, Verdi’s first new opera for over 15 years
1924 👉🏼 1st Winter Olympic Games close at Chamonix, France
1924 👉🏼 The Royal Greenwich Observatory begin broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the “BBC pips”.
1969 👉🏼 US population reaches 200 million
1981 👉🏼 Largest Jell-O made (9,246 gallons of watermelon-flavor) in Brisbane
2019 👉🏼 Pope Francis admits for the first time that clerics have sexually abused nuns