Today in History - May 14: Today in History - May 14

Article excerpt

Today is May 14:

On this date:

In 347, St. Pachomius, who was born in Egypt and founded the first monastery, died.

In 1565, German Protestant reform theologian Nicolaus von Amsdorf died.

In 1590, during the battle of Ivry, Protestant French King Henri IV defeated the Catholic League.

In 1610, King Henry IV of France was stabbed to death while riding in his carriage in Paris by a religious fanatic, Francois Ravaillac. In 1598 he enacted the "Edict of Nantes" which guaranteed religious liberties to the Protestants. One of the most popular French kings, he showed great care for the welfare of his subjects and displayed an unusual religious tolerance for the time.

In 1643, at the age of four, Louis the 14th became King of France. Known as "Louis the Great" and also as the "Sun King," he didn't take personal control of the government until the death of his first minister in 1661. Louis ruled until he died in 1715.

In 1796, English physician Edward Jenner succeeded in inoculating eight-year-old James Phipps against smallpox by using cowpox matter.

In 1853, New York dairyman Gail Borden applied for a patent for the process of making condensed milk.

In 1878, petroleum jelly received its Vaseline trademark.

In 1904, the first Olympic Games to be held in North America opened in St. Louis.

In 1907, Anna Jarvis arranged for a special church service in Philadelphia to honour mothers, an idea that caught on and became Mother's Day.

In 1940, future Tory leader and prime minister John Diefenbaker first took his seat in the Canadian House of Commons.

In 1940, the Netherlands surrendered to invading German forces during the Second World War.

In 1955, representatives from eight Communist bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, signed the Warsaw Pact in the Polish capital.

In 1956, the chaotic and contentious pipeline debate began in the House of Commons. The Liberal government caused an uproar by limiting each stage of debate on a bill loaning Trans-Canada Pipe Lines $80 million to build a natural gas pipeline from Alberta to Ontario. The controversy helped cause the Liberals' defeat in the 1957 federal election.

In 1970, actress Billie Burke died at the age of 84. She's probably best known for playing Glinda the Good Witch in "The Wizard of Oz."

In 1973, the United States launched "Skylab I," its first manned space station.

In 1981, a Vatican spokesman reported that Pope John Paul was strong enough to recite prayers and impart blessings to his doctors and nurses. The pontiff had been shot the previous day.

In 1984, Jeanne Sauve was sworn in as Canada's first female governor general.

In 1948, British rule in Palestine ended and the independent state of Israel was declared. It was led by David Ben-Gurion. At the end of the Second World War, an independent state was suggested for the combined 1.5 million Palestinian Jews, European Jews and Jews in Arab countries. The United Nations proposed in 1947 to divide Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with a small international zone to include Jerusalem. The Arabs rejected partition and attacked Israel as soon as it came into being. The ensuing war saw Israel greatly expand its boundaries from what the UN proposed.

In 1986, a blizzard with 80 km/h winds and knee-deep snow surprised south-central Alberta.

In 1987, actress Rita Hayworth died at the age of 68.

In 1992, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev addressed the U.S. Congress, urging it to approve aid to the people of the former Soviet Union.

In 2001, Canadian author Alistair Macleod's novel, "No Great Mischief," won the world's richest literary prize for a single work of fiction. The IMPAC Dublin award was worth $172,000.

In 2001, a slim majority of New Brunswickers voted to keep the province's video lottery terminals. It was Canada's first province-wide referendum on VLT's.

In 2003, The World Health Organization took Toronto off its list of places affected by SARS. …