This Day in History – May 16
Today is the 136th day of 2023. There are 229 days left in the year.
1975: Japanese climber Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
1596: Spanish stronghold of La Fere, in what is now northern France, capitulates to French.
1770: Marie Antoinette, age 14, marries the future king of France, Louis XVI, who is 15.
1866: The US Congress passes legislation that calls for the creation of a five-cent piece composed of nickel and copper; the currency becomes known as the nickel.
1868: The first of two key votes is held in the Senate impeachment trial of US President Andrew Johnson, who is ultimately acquitted of all charges.
1920: Joan of Arc (Jeanne D’arc) is canonised as a saint in Rome.
1929: The first Academy Awards are presented during a banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor win for best actor and actress, respectively, in Wings.
1932: Japan’s Premier Tsuyoshi Inukai is assassinated in Tokyo.
1941: The Icelandic Parliament ends its treaty with Denmark and proclaims independence.
1961: Major General Park Chung-hee stages a military coup in South Korea, overthrowing the Second Republic, taking over the government machinery, dissolving the National Assembly, and imposing a strict ban on political activity; he rules until his intelligence chief assassinates him in 1979.
1966: China’s Cultural Revolution begins when the Communist party’s politburo approves an edict from Chairman Mao Zedong; an elite corps of young zealous students, the Red Guards, is formed to attack traditional values and bourgeoise thinking.
1979: Police in El Salvador seal off the capital after 10 days of violence by anti-government groups take 44 lives.
1985: Michael Jordan is named NBA Rookie of Year.
1986: Action blockbuster Top Gun is released in American theatres and makes Tom Cruise an international star.
1987: The leader of a military coup in Fiji calls for a new constitution to block the Indian-dominated Government.
1989: Hundreds of thousands arrive in Beijing to support college students fasting for freedom in Tiananmen Square. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping meet in Beijing and formally end a 30-year rift.
1990: Responding to Soviet pressure, the Lithuanian Government suspends enforcement of independence laws in that republic.
1991: France’s first female prime minister, Edith Cresson, takes office. Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first British monarch to address the US Congress.
1992: A special governing panel fires Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov, a former communist.
1993: Maoist rebels bomb a bank and bridge in Lima, Peru, capping a three-day offensive that kills seven.
1994: Scotland Yard, for the first time, approves a plan to allow some London police officers to openly carry firearms. Tennis star Jennifer Capriati is arrested on possession of marijuana.
1995: Japanese police arrest doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara in connection with the nerve gas attack that killed 12 on Tokyo’s subways two months earlier.
1996: Romano Prodi, an economist who led a centre-left coalition dominated by former communists to electoral victory, is chosen premier of Italy’s 55th post-war Government. Sammy Sosa is the first Chicago Cub to hit two home runs in one inning.
1997: In the face of rebellion, Zaire’s President Mobutu Sese Seko gives up power after 32 years of autocratic rule.
1999: Iranian President Mohammad Khatami is greeted with warm embraces and kisses on his historic visit to Saudi Arabia, the first by an Iranian leader in two decades.
2000: Cuba frees Marta Beatriz, a well known dissident there, following a United Nations censure for human rights abuses.
2001: Former FBI agent Robert Hanssen is indicted on charges of spying for Moscow; he later pleads guilty to 15 counts of espionage and is sentenced by a US court to life in prison without parole.
2002: Pakistani police unearth the remains of Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the US Wall Street Journal newspaper who was kidnapped in January and whose execution was recorded on a videotape.
2003: Twenty-nine people are killed and about 100 others injured in five nearly simultaneous suicide bombing attacks in Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city and commercial centre.
2005: Kuwait permits women’s suffrage in a 35-23 National Assembly vote.
2006: Nigeria’s Senate rejects a proposed constitutional amendment that could have allowed its president, Olusegun Obasanjo, a third term — a proposal that had widened regional, ethnic and religious rifts in Africa’s most-populous nation.
2007: Estonia’s first and only synagogue opens, six decades after previous houses of worship were destroyed in World War II. French politician Nicolas Sarkozy is sworn in as president of France; his defeat at the polls in 2012 made him only the second French president to fail in a re-election bid since the foundation of the Fifth Republic in 1958.
2010: Iraq’s electoral commission affirms the narrow victory of a Sunni-backed bloc in the March vote after a partial recount undercut Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s claims of fraud in the tally.
2011: Uninhibited and irreverent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei sits red-eyed and tense for a brief, monitored meeting (according to his wife) — his first contact with the outside world in 43 days.
2012: Russian police arrest about 20 protesters at a central Moscow square, where demonstrators had moved after police uprooted them from a camp — the latest move in a broadening crackdown on the forces opposing President Vladimir Putin.
2013: The first exiles from an Iranian Opposition group move to Albania from a camp near Baghdad, part of a relocation process the UN says is a step toward defusing an explosive dispute leftover from the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s and the US-led ousting of President Saddam Hussein. Human stem cells are successfully cloned. Bill Gates regains his position as the world’s richest man with US$72.7 billion after losing the position in 2008.
2014: Paris Saint-Germain FC and Manchester City FC are each fined €60 million for breaching fair play regulations.
2017: A 10-year-old girl is granted a special 20-week abortion request in Rohtak, India, in a landmark case.
2018: The Past Times painting by Kerry James Marshall is bought by Sean Combs for US$21.1 million, the most paid for a living African American artist.
2019: Chinese-born architect I M Pei, known for his large, elegantly designed urban buildings and complexes, dies at age 102. British people get drunk more than any other nation, 51 times a year according to the Global Drug survey, with English-speaking countries drinking the most. New DNA research shows bedbugs are older than humans — 115 million years old — and outlived dinosaurs, as published in Current Biology. South African Saray Khumalo is the first black African woman to climb Mount Everest.
2020: At 118 years old American department store JC Penney files for bankruptcy.
2022: Sri Lanka runs out of petrol, has only enough for one more day, and has no cash to pay 1.4 million civil servants, says its newly appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Sweden formally announces it will seek to join NATO, after 200 years of neutrality, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. US President Joe Biden approves the redeployment of several hundred US ground troops to Somalia, reversing a decision by President Donald Trump.
Maria Agnesi, Italian and first woman to become a known mathematician (1718-1799); H H Holmes (born Herman Webster Mudgett), American and the USA’s first serial killer, fraudster and confidence trickster (1861-1896); H E Bates, English author (1905-1974); (Władziu Valentino) Liberace, American pianist and reputedly world’s highest-paid entertainer in 1950s-70s (1919-1987); Pierce Brosnan, Irish actor (1953- ); Olga Korbut, three-time gold medal-winning Soviet gymnast from Munich, West Germany 1972 Olympics (1955- ); Janet Jackson, US pop singer (1966- ); Gabriela Sabatini, Argentine tennis player