Sunday, May 29, 2005
1453: The last remnant of the Roman Empire is extinguished as Constantinople falls to the Muslims. Every Christian church in the city is either destroyed or turned into a mosque except St. Irene, which becomes an Ottoman arsenal.
1660: Charles II becomes King of England, ending the English experiment with a republican government.
1677: The Treaty of Middle Plantation is signed, which provides that the Powhatan Indians in Virginia will be subjects of the King of England, but stipulates that no Englishman may settle within three miles of a Powhatan village.
1736: Lawyer and land speculator Patrick Henry is born at Hanover County, Virginia. One of his ventures, as President of the Virginia Yazoo Co., will ultimately lead to an important Supreme Court Contract Clause case, Fletcher v. Peck.
1790: Rhode Island becomes the last of the original 13 colonies to accept the new U.S. Constitution.
1848: Wisconsin is admitted to the Union as the 30th state.
1864: His Imperial Highness Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, Archduke of Austria, Prince of Hungary and Bohemia, reluctantly lands at Veracruz to take the throne of the new Mexican Empire. The empire will last only three years.
1866: Ex-lawyer Winfield Scott dies at West Point, New York. His campaign during the Mexican War is still probably the greatest military achievement in U.S. history.
1874: Poet, essayist, apologist, public debater, and detective writer Gilbert Keith Chesterton is born at London. "No sceptical philosopher," he will note, "can ask any questions that may not equally be asked by a tired child on a hot afternoon."
1886: The first ad for the new, non-alcoholic Coca-Cola appears in the Atlanta Journal.
1914: Everyone remembers the RMS Titanic, but hardly anyone recalls the Canadian Pacific's liner RMS Empress of Ireland, which two years later sinks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, twenty miles from land, killing 1,014 of the 1,433 people aboard.