Skip to content


Today in History for May 24: In 1543, astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus died in Frombork, Poland. He proposed the heliocentric, or sun-centred, system whereby the planets orbit around the sun. He was born Feb. 19, 1473, in Torum, Poland.

Today in History for May 24:

In 1543, astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus died in Frombork, Poland. He proposed the heliocentric, or sun-centred, system whereby the planets orbit around the sun. He was born Feb. 19, 1473, in Torum, Poland.

In 1603, Samuel de Champlain first landed in Canada, at Tadoussac, Que.

In 1686, Gabriel Fahrenheit, the German inventor of the temperature scale that bears his name, was born in Gdansk. He died in The Hague on Sept. 16, 1736.

In 1738, the Methodist Church was established in England.

In 1810, Rabbi Abraham Geiger, Semitic scholar, Orientalist and theologian, who helped found the Reform movement in Judaism, was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He sought to remove all nationalistic elements from Judaism, particularly the Chosen People doctrine, and to emphasize the Jewish "mission" to spread monotheism and moral law. He shortened the prayerbook, permitted instrumental music in the synagogue and advocated prayer in the vernacular. He served as chief rabbi of the Berlin congregations and director of the newly established seminary for the scientific study of Judaism. He was also a prolific writer. His great work is "Urschrift und ubersetzungen der Bibel" (text and translations of the Bible).

In 1819, Queen Victoria was born at Kensington Palace, London. She was the only daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, fourth son of George III. She became the heir to the throne because the three uncles who were ahead of her in succession -- George IV, Frederick, Duke of York, and William IV -- had no surviving legitimate children. Warmhearted and lively, Victoria had a gift for drawing and painting; educated by a governess at home, she was a natural diarist and kept a regular journal throughout her life. On William IV's death in 1837, she became queen at age 18 and reigned for 64 years. She died Jan. 22, 1901, at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.

In 1833, William Logie of Montreal became the first person to receive a medical degree in Canada. It was awarded by McGill University.

In 1844, Samuel Morse transmitted the words, "What hath God wrought!" from Washington to Baltimore as he formally opened the first telegraph line in the U.S.

In 1881, the excursion steamboat "Victoria" sank on the Thames River near London, Ont., with the loss of 181 lives.

In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge opened in New York. It was the world's first steel-wire suspension bridge.

In 1898, pediatrician Dr. Helen Taussig was born in Cambridge, Mass. She discovered the cause of "blue babies" illness while studying at John Hopkins University School of Medicine and doing research in the heart clinic at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. She became head of the heart clinic. She was killed May 20, 1986, in a car accident in Kennett Square, Pa.

In 1902, Victoria Day was first observed throughout Canada -- 16 months after the death of Queen Victoria.

In 1912, Charles Saunders made Canada's first parachute jump in Vancouver.

In 1918, the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, now Statistics Canada, was established.

In 1918, women attained full voting rights in Canadian federal elections.

In 1930, Amy Johnson landed her "Gypsy Moth" plane at Darwin in northern Australia, the first woman to fly solo from England.

In 1932, Parliament passed a bill establishing the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

In 1935, the first major league baseball game played at night took place in Cincinnati. The Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1.

In 1941, the German battleship "Bismarck" sank the British battle-cruiser "Hood" off Greenland with the loss of more than 1,400 lives. The Royal Navy retaliated three days later by sinking the "Bismarck."

In 1944, Major John Mahony of New Westminster, B.C. won the Victoria Cross for overcoming wounds to lead his army company across the Melfa River in Italy during the Second World War.

In 1950, in Boston, during its annual gathering, the Northern Baptist Convention formally changed its name to the American Baptist Convention. In 1972, the denomination changed its name once more, and became the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.

In 1959, the first home with a built-in nuclear bomb shelter was exhibited in Pennsylvania.

In 1967, the doors of Parliament's Centre Block in Ottawa were locked for the first time. More than 10,000 Ontario and Quebec dairy farmers gathered to demand higher milk prices.

In 1976, the British and French Concordes made their first commercial flights from London and Paris, respectively, to Washington's Dulles International Airport in just under four hours.

In 1977, in a surprise move, the Kremlin ousted Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny from the Communist Party's ruling Politburo.

In 1978, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowden were officially divorced after 18 years of marriage.

In 1988, a power failure at the Boston Garden forced the first suspension of a Stanley Cup playoff game. The Bruins and Edmonton Oilers were tied 3-3 near the end of the second period of Game Four of the NHL final. The entire game was replayed, and the Oilers ended up winning the series in five games.

In 1992, Al Unser, Jr. became the first second-generation winner of the Indianapolis 500. His father, four-time winner Al Unser, Sr., finished third.

In 1994, President Nelson Mandela opened South Africa's first democratic Parliament in Cape Town.

In 1998, Pope John Paul II became the 20th century's longest-serving pope. He surpassed the 19 years, seven months and seven days of Pius XII, who died in 1958.

In 2000, what was termed Canada's worst E-coli outbreak became public knowledge. Seven people died and 2,300 were sickened after drinking contaminated water in the southwestern Ontario community of Walkerton. A torrential downpour on May 12 had washed bacteria from cattle manure into a poorly planned and maintained town well. Residents began complaining of feeling ill on May 17, and the first death occurred five days later. A provincial inquiry blamed the chain of events on two town water officials, but also said spending cuts hurt the Ontario Environment Ministry's monitoring ability.

In 2002, the United States and Russia signed a treaty to reduce the number of nuclear warheads by two-thirds.

In 2004, severe storms flooded villages in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, resulting in an estimated 3,000 deaths.

In 2005, Queen Elizabeth II paid tribute to Alberta's pioneers in the first speech to the legislature by a reigning monarch.

In 2006, a herd of 72 plains bison were released into Grasslands National Park, near Val Marie, Sask., as part of a restoration project, marking the first time the animals have roamed in the region in 120 years.

In 2008, the Lake Nippigon Reserve, an Ojibwa reserve, officially opened in northern Ontario.

In 2008, comedy performer and director Dick Martin of TV's “Laugh-In” fame died in Santa Monica, Calif., at age 86.

In 2009, workers at GM of Canada overwhelmingly ratified a third round of historic concessions in less than a year to help keep the automaker alive.

In 2010, Canadian Trooper Larry Rudd, 26, died after an IED detonated near the Panjwaii district village of Salavat, about 20 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city, while he was on a combat resupply patrol.

In 2010, Canada imposed sanctions on North Korea that included enhanced restrictions on trade, investment and other bilateral relations for the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel in March. The next day, Ottawa suspended diplomatic relations with North Korea.

In 2011, what would turn out to be the most deadly outbreak of E. coli food poisoning in history was first detected in Germany. Its national disease control centre warned of a spike in cases of a kidney infection stemming from bacterial contamination. The outbreak, not declared over until July 26, killed 52 people, including 50 in Germany and one each in Sweden and the U.S. More than 4,300 became ill. German officials warned against eating cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce but later traced the outbreak to a vegetable sprout farm near Hamburg.

In 2011, the Chrysler Group repaid the remaining $7.5 billion in bailout loans it received from the Canadian, Ontario and U.S. governments after it filed for bankruptcy in 2009. (In July 2011, Chrysler's parent company Fiat paid US$140 million to the federal and Ontario governments for their 1.7 per cent stake they still had in the automaker.)

In 2014, veteran CBC broadcaster Knowlton Nash, who spent a decade at the anchor desk of The National, died at his home in Toronto following a lengthy battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 86.

In 2018, an international team of investigators determined the missile used to shoot down a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing all 298 aboard, belonged to a Russia-based military unit.

In 2018, 15 people were injured when two men entered an Indian restaurant in Mississauga, Ont., and detonated what police described as an improvised explosive device.

In 2019, British Columbia's top court ruled the province cannot restrict oil shipments through its borders in a decision that marked a win for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Alberta's efforts to get its resources to overseas markets. The province filed a constitutional reference question to the B.C. Court of Appeal that asked whether it had the authority to create a permitting regime for companies that wished to increase their flow of diluted bitumen. A five-judge panel agreed unanimously that the amendments to B.C.'s Environmental Management Act were not constitutional because they would interfere with the federal government's exclusive jurisdiction over interprovincial pipelines. B-C said it would appeal to the Supreme Court.

In 2019, Theresa May announced she would step down as U-K Conservative Party leader on June 7th, sparking a contest to become Britain's next prime minister. May said she would stay on as a caretaker prime minister until the new leader was chosen, a process likely to take several weeks. Britain was due to leave the E-U October 31st, but Parliament had yet to approve divorce terms.

In 2020, thousands took to the streets of Hong Kong to march against China's proposed tough national security legislation for the city. Pro-democracy supporters sharply criticized the proposal to enact a national security law that would ban secessionist and subversive activity, as well as foreign interference.

In 2020, after a week of online and phone voting by members, Currie Dixon defeated two contenders to become the new leader of the Yukon Party, taking over for an interim leader who'd been at the helm since 2016. Dixon is a former environment minister whose party was widely criticized for its development plan for the Peel region. The Supreme Court of Canada later ruled in favour of the territory's First Nations.

In 2021, the COVID-19 death toll in India passed 300,000 as a devastating surge of new infections showed no signs of easing. India had the third most deaths, behind the U.S. and Brazil, though experts believed the true toll was significantly greater.

In 2021, the actions of the president of Belarus were being called an act of state-sponsored terrorism, piracy and a hijacking. The European Union and other western countries were demanding an investigation into the dramatic forced landing the day before of a Ryanair jet carrying an opposition journalist.

In 2022, Defence Minister Anita Anand announced up to $98 million in new military aid for Ukraine for its ongoing defense against Russia's invasion in February. She said the government had bought more than 20,000 rounds of 155-millimetre artillery -- rounds that are compatible with guns that Canada and its allies had already provided to Kyiv.

In 2022, nineteen children and two teachers were killed in a deadly elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Authorities identified 18-year-old Salvador Ramos as the suspected shooter.


The Canadian Press