Today in History


Today is Tuesday, May 23, the 143rd day of 2023. There are 222 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 23, 1984, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop issued a report saying there was “very solid” evidence linking cigarette smoke to lung disease in non-smokers.

On this date:

In 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians, who sold her to the English.

In 1533, the marriage of England’s King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer.

In 1915, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary during World War I.

In 1934, bank robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were shot to death in a police ambush in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.

In 1937, industrialist and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil Co. and the Rockefeller Foundation, died in Ormond Beach, Florida, at age 97.

In 1939, the Navy submarine USS Squalus sank during a test dive off the New England coast. Thirty-two crew members and one civilian were rescued, but 26 others died; the sub was salvaged and recommissioned the USS Sailfish.

In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces bogged down in Anzio began a major breakout offensive.

In 1945, Nazi official Heinrich Himmler committed suicide by biting into a cyanide capsule while in British custody in Luneburg, Germany.

In 1967, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, an action that helped precipitate war between Israel and its Arab neighbors the following month.

In 1975, comedian Jackie “Moms” Mabley, 81, died in White Plains, New York.

In 2007, President George W. Bush, speaking at the U.S. Coast Guard commencement, portrayed the Iraq war as a battle between the U.S. and al-Qaida and said Osama bin Laden was setting up a terrorist cell in Iraq to strike targets in America.

In 2016, Prosecutors failed for the second time in their bid to hold Baltimore police accountable for the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, as an officer was acquitted in the racially charged case that triggered riots a year earlier.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama, in a speech to the National Defense University, defended America’s controversial drone attacks as legal, effective and a necessary linchpin in an evolving U.S. counterterrorism policy, but acknowledged the targeted strikes were no “cure-all” and said he was haunted by the civilians who were unintentionally killed. The Boy Scouts of America threw open its ranks to gay Scouts but not to gay Scout leaders. LeBron James was a unanimous pick for the All-NBA team and Kobe Bryant earned his record-tying 11th first-team selection.

Five years ago: NFL owners approved a new policy allowing players to protest during the national anthem by staying in the locker room, but forbidding players from sitting or taking a knee if they’re on the field. A federal judge ruled that President Donald Trump violates the First Amendment when he blocks critics on Twitter because of their political views. For the first time in the 36 seasons of TV’s “Survivor,” the season finale ended in a deadlock, and a tiebreaker was needed to crown Wendell Holland as the champ.

One year ago: President Joe Biden said the U.S. would intervene militarily if China were to invade Taiwan. It was one of the most forceful presidential statements in support of Taiwan’s self-governing in decades. Biden also launched a trade deal with 12 Indo-Pacific nations aimed at strengthening their economies as he warned Americans worried about high inflation that it is “going to be a haul” before they feel relief. A Russian soldier who pleaded guilty to killing a civilian was sentenced by a Ukrainian court to life in prison. A Kremlin diplomat resigned, saying he had never been “so ashamed of my country.”

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Barbara Barrie is 92. Actor Joan Collins is 90. International Tennis Hall of Famer John Newcombe is 79. Actor Lauren Chapin is 78. Country singer Judy Rodman is 72. Chess grandmaster Anatoly Karpov is 72. Singer Luka Bloom is 68. New York Mets manager Buck Showalter is 67. Actor-comedian-game show host Drew Carey is 65. Actor Lea DeLaria is 65. Country singer Shelly West is 65. Author Mitch Albom is 65. Actor Linden Ashby is 63. Actor-model Karen Duffy is 62. Actor Melissa McBride is 58. Rock musician Phil Selway (Radiohead) is 56. Actor Laurel Holloman is 55. Rock musician Matt Flynn (Maroon 5) is 53. Country singer Brian McComas is 51. Actor John Pollono is 51. Singer Maxwell is 50. Singer Jewel is 49. “Jeopardy!” contestant and host Ken Jennings is 49. Actor LaMonica Garrett is 48. Actor D.J. Cotrona is 43. Actor Lane Garrison is 43. Actor-comedian Tim Robinson is 42. Actor Adam Wylie is 39. Movie writer-director Ryan Coogler is 37. Golfer Morgan Pressel is 35. Actor Alberto Frezza is 34. Folk/pop singer/songwriter Sarah Jarosz (juh-ROHZ’) is 32.

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