A seventeenth-century Frenchman who was trying to invent a steam engine was sent to a madhouse by Cardinal Richelieu.
Fact of the Day
Quote of the Day
"In this country, it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others. "
~ Voltaire on Admiral Byng's execution
On This Day
878 The Anglo-Saxon King Alfred defeats the invading Danes at Edington, Wiltshire.
1430 Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians during a skirmish outside the town of Compiègne . She was sold to the English for a hefty sum and and later put on trial and executed.
1533 Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer declared Henry VIII's marriage to his first wife Catherine of Aragon illegal, due to consanguinity.
1701 Captain William Kidd was hanged for piracy and murder. He had been royally stitched: he had gained permission and a commission from William III and the Whig government to be a privateer, but was not able to present his case properly at court. His former backers refused to help him, and literally left him hanging.
1934 The famous bank robbers Bonnie (Parker) and Clyde (Barrow) were shot and killed by Texas rangers during an ambush.
1937 Just under 4,000 mainly Basque children arrived by ship in Southampton, refugees from the Spanish Civil War. Most were repatriated relatively quickly, although some chose to stay in Britain.
1945 Heinrich Himmler, one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and one of the most responsible for the Holocaust, committed suicide by biting on a cyanide capsule after he had been captured by the Allies.
1949 The democratic Federal Republic of West Germany was officially established from the three Western Allied zones of occupation.