Skip to content
Join our Newsletter


Today in History for May 23: In 1275, King Edward I of England ordered the cessation of the persecution of French Jews. In 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians, who sold her to the English.

Today in History for May 23:

In 1275, King Edward I of England ordered the cessation of the persecution of French Jews.

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.

In 1541, French explorer Jacques Cartier sailed from St-Malo on his third voyage to Canada.

In 1633, by French government edict, only Roman Catholic settlers were permitted permanent residence within New France, present-day Canada, thus ending 30 years of attempted colonization by Huguenots or Protestants.

In 1633, Samuel de Champlain was appointed governor of New France.

In 1701, Captain William Kidd, a Scottish sailor, was hanged in London after he was convicted of piracy and murder.

In 1785, in a letter to a friend, American inventor-statesman Benjamin Franklin revealed his latest invention -- bi-focals.

In 1844, in Shiraz, Persia (present-day Iran), a young man known as the Bab announced the imminent appearance of the Messenger of God, Baha'u'llah, awaited by all the peoples of the world. The title Bab means "the Gate." Although himself the bearer of an independent revelation from God, the Bab declared that his purpose was to prepare mankind for this advent. Baha'u'llah was the founder of the Baha'i World faith. A festival is held each year to mark the declaration of Bab.

In 1873, Rabbi Leo Baeck, former president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, was born in Lissa, Poland. His most famous book, "The Essence of Judaism," published in 1905, is still considered a classic of modern Judaism. When the Nazis came to power, Baeck was given numerous opportunities to escape, but he refused to leave his people, Finally, in 1943 he was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp where he worked tirelessly to teach, counsel, support and inspire his fellow inmates. Baeck survived the Holocaust.

In 1873, Canada's North West Mounted Police force was established by an act of Parliament. The force merged with the Dominion Police in 1920 to form the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In 1887, the first CPR intercontinental passenger train arrived at the new west coast terminal of Vancouver.

In 1903, American Congregational missionary Henry Blodget died at age 78. He served 40 years in China (1854-94), and helped translate the New Testament into the colloquial Mandarin language of Beijing.

In 1915, Germany declared war on Italy during the First World War.

In 1929, the first non-stop Winnipeg-to-Edmonton flight was made in six hours and 48 minutes.

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

In 1943, William Aberhart, the inaugural leader of Alberta's Social Credit party, died in Vancouver. He had led the Socreds to power in 1935. He was born Dec. 30, 1878, on a farm near Kippen in Hibbert Township, Perth County, Ont.

In 1945, Nazi S.S. chief Heinrich Himmler committed suicide at Luneburg, Germany -- three days after his capture by the British.

In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was established.

In 1956, the Presbyterian Church in the United States began accepting women ministers.

In 1960, former Nazi SS officer Adolf Eichmann was captured by Israeli agents in Argentina. He was later flown to Israel, where he was convicted of war crimes and executed.

In 1974, New Brunswick became the first province to draft statutes in both English and French.

In 1975, in what's believed to have been the first operation of its kind, British doctors kept a critically ill baby alive for 16 hours by linking his heart and kidneys to those of a living baboon.

In 1977, South Moluccan terrorists seized hundreds of hostages in a train and a school in northern Holland. The siege ended nearly three weeks later in a military attack that took the lives of six terrorists and two hostages.

In 1983, Canada's first heart-lung transplant was performed in London, Ont. John Adams of Thunder Bay, Ont., received a heart and two lungs from an American donor.

In 1986, the U.S. imposed a 35 per cent tariff on imported Canadian cedar shakes and shingles.

In 1992, the United States and four former Soviet republics agreed in Lisbon to implement the START missile-reduction treaty. The treaty had been reached by the Soviet Union prior to its dissolution.

In 1997, one of Canada's most famous tourist attractions was damaged by fire. The Anne of Green Gables house -- a Victorian farmhouse that inspired the beloved novels of Lucy Maud Montgomery -- sustained extensive inside damage. It re-opened on Canada Day after a quick restoration.

In 1999, pro wrestler Owen Hart, also known as "The Blue Blazer," died when he fell 25 metres from a cable as he was being lowered into the ring at a World Wrestling Federation show in Kansas City.

In 2002, a report into the Walkerton water tragedy urged Ontario to spend $280 million to improve the safety of drinking water.

In 2002, Sam Snead, the golfing great known as "Slammin' Sammy" who won seven majors and a record 81 PGA Tour events, died at age 89.

In 2004, Pakistan was readmitted to the Commonwealth following a five-year suspension over a coup that brought General Pervez Musharraf to power.

In 2005, the American combat unit at Fort Campbell, Ky., added the names of four Canadians killed by U.S. friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2002 to a wall honouring soldiers who died in the war.

In 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada ordered the federal government to hand over interrogation documents to terrorism suspect Omar Khadr from sessions Canadian agents held with him in 2003.

In 2008, the B.C. legislature unanimously passed a motion apologizing for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident in which 376 Indian immigrants were forced to return to India after spending two months on their ship anchored at Vancouver harbour. Immigration regulations required migrants to arrive in Canada directly from their country of origin.

In 2009, former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun, embroiled in a broadening corruption scandal, died after jumping from a mountain cliff behind his rural southern home. He was 62.

In 2012, more than 15 months after autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak's ouster, Egyptians streamed to polling stations to freely choose a president for the first time in generations. (Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood group was declared the winner on June 24.)

In 2013, survivors of abuse at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's, N.L., reached a $16.5-million settlement with the Christian Brothers of Ireland. The orphanage was shut down in 1990.

In 2013, The Boy Scouts of America voted to allow openly gay boys into the youth organization but gay adults would remain barred from serving as Scout leaders.

In 2016, Canada successfully defended its world men's hockey championship title with a 2-0 win over Finland in the tournament final.

In 2018, the federal government blocked the proposed 1.5-billion dollar takeover of Canadian construction company Aecon Group Inc. by Chinese state-owned CCCC International Holding Ltd. for reasons of national security.

In 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau exonerated a Saskatchewan chief of treason more than 130 years after his conviction. The exoneration of Chief Poundmaker was announced at the reserve that bears his name — Poundmaker Cree Nation — about 200 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon. Trudeau said the government must acknowledge wrongs of the past. Poundmaker is considered an important political leader who spoke out against Treaty 6 and stood up for his people at the time of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion. He was labelled a traitor even though he was known as a peacemaker and stopped First Nations fighters from going after retreating federal forces that had attacked them. Poundmaker was tried for treason in Regina and imprisoned at Stony Mountain penitentiary in Manitoba before he was released because of poor health. He died in 1886.

In 2021, the beloved children's author and illustrator who wrote the classic "The Very Hungry Caterpillar'' died. Eric Carle was 91. He introduced universal themes in simple words and bright colours in books such as "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?'' "Do You Want to Be My Friend?'' and "From Head to Toe.''

In 2022, the Russian soldier who pleaded guilty to killing a Ukrainian civilian was sentenced to life in prison. The sentencing came as the Kremlin mulled holding trials of its own, particularly against the captured Ukrainian fighters who held out at Mariupol's steel plant.

In 2023, the RCMP turned 150 years old. The federal police service marked the occasion with events countrywide.

In 2023, the federal government's special rapporteur, former governor general David Johnston, said a formal inquiry into foreign interference was not needed. Johnston said he would hold his own public hearings about the issue sometime that year, as an inquiry could not be undertaken in public because of the sensitivity of the intelligence involved.


The Canadian Press