A series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693, caused by mass hysteria. The trials resulted in the executions of twenty people, while five others (including two infant children) died in prison.
Salem Witch Trials
Fact of the Day
The artillery used by the British in the run-up to the Somme offensive in 1916 was so loud it could be heard in England.
Quote of the Day
"Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper. "
~ Thomas Jefferson
On This Day
870 Louis the German and his half-brother Charles the Bald (grandsons of Charlemagne) divided Middle Francia between them, following the death of their nephew Lothair II, at the Treaty of Meerssen. It split Charlemagne's old kingdom into two parts that would eventually become France and Germany.
1503 James IV's marriage to Henry Tudor's daughter, Margaret Tudor, was confirmed at Holyrood Abbey. Their union would eventually lead to the placement of James VI on the English throne as James I.
1523 Jean Vallière became the first 'Protestant' to be burnt in France. However, as he believed Joseph, rather than God, to be Jesus' father, he would also have been considered a heretic by Luther.
1570 Catholic martyr John Fenton was hanged, drawn and quartered for advertising the papal bull that excommunicated Elizabeth I and exhorted good English Catholics to disobey her.
1827 Tory prime minister George Canning died suddenly of pneumonia just five months after taking office. He still holds the record for the shortest-serving prime minister.
1899 The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent to Albert T. Marshall of Massachusetts for his household refrigeration device.
1918 The Battles of Amiens started the final phase of the Allied First World War offensive known as the Hundred Days. The Allies advanced over seven miles on the first day in what General Ludendorff described as 'the black day of the German army'.
1942 Controversially, six German saboteurs, who had previously lived in the USA, were electrocuted in Washington DC. They had been tried by a military tribunal that went against American legal precedent, and as such set another precedent that has since been used to justify other legally-questionable activities, such as the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
1963 Fifteen robbers stole £2.6 million (£50 million today) from a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London in what became known as the 'Great Train Robbery'.