Wednesday, May 25, 2005
735: St. Bede the Venerable dies in his monk's cell at Jarrow, Northumberland. He's known as the father of English history for his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, but he also invented the footnote.
1085: Alfonso VI of Leon and Castile retakes Toledo, the old capital of Christian Visigothic Spain, from the Moors who have held it for 200 years.
1659: Richard Cromwell, who never wanted the job, resigns as Lord Protector of England, leaving the way clear for the eventual restoration of Charles II.
1879: William Maxwell Aitken, the archetype of the untutored British press lord and 1st Baron Beaverbrook, is born at Maple, Ontario.
1885: Igor Sikorsky is born at Kiev in the Russian Empire. Emigrating to the U.S. after the Bolshevik Revolution, he'll design the first practical helicopter and found what is now the Sikorsky Aircraft division of United Technologies.
1895: The first republic in Asia is born, as the Republic of Taiwan is proclaimed. It is quickly subdued by the Japanese.
1914: The British Parliament passes the Government of Ireland Act, providing for eventual Irish home rule. World War I and the Easter Rising in 1916 will intervene to make it a dead letter before it can go into effect.
1925: John T. Scopes is indicted by his friends in the District Attorney's office in a bid to bring some publicity to Dayton, Tennessee. One curious aspect of the subsequent Monkey Trial is that there was a section on evolution in the required text approved by the State Board of Education.
1963: The Organization of African Unity is founded to promote the unity and solidarity of African states.
1968: Vice President Humphrey, campaigning for President, dedicates the new Gateway Arch in St. Louis, which some describe as the world's largest croquet wicket.
1981: Dubious about the success of an oddball film with a cast of unknowns, Twentieth Century-Fox opens its new film Star Wars in only 37 theaters.