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What Happened on May 30?

  • Andrew Jackson killed a man who insulted his wife. (1806) Jackson was a senator at the time, and killed lawyer Charles Dickinson in a duel after he claimed Jackson's wife was a bigamist. Jackson was known for his volatility both before and during his presidency, and once even beat a would-be assassin into submission.

  • Joan of Arc was martyred. (1431) The French leader was convicted of heresy by English forces and burned at the stake. English forces were so afraid that French forces would try to reclaim her bones for relics that the burned the ashes twice, and then threw them into the Seine river.

  • The First Balkan War ended. (1913) The war had essentially ended the Ottoman Empire, and demonstrated the growing power of Serbia, Greece, and at times Bulgaria. European powers, especially Austria-Hungary and Germany, grew increasingly wary of Serbia's power, and started a preventative war against the country, which eventually led to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and, indirectly, World War I.

  • King Henry VIII married Jane Seymour. (1536) Seymour was Henry's third wife — out of six — and was the lady in waiting to his two first wives. She was the only one of his wives to be buried as a queen, since she died shortly after delivering a son, Edward VI, who himself died before he was seven.

  • Big Ben rang for the first time. (1859) The British landmark chimed for the first time on this day, and has marked time almost continuously ever since. Contrary to popular belief, Big Ben is the actually just the bell of the clock in the Palace of Westminster, not the tower itself.

  • Mikhail Gorbachev arrived in Washington D.C. (1990) The visit was ostensibly to talk about Germany's place in Europe, though many saw it as an attempt for Gorbachev to curry favor with Washington as the USSR started to fall apart. The summit led to the USSR dropping its opposition to Germany becoming a member of NATO, and made it possible for East and West Germany to unite soon afterward.

  • The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated. (1922) The neo-classical monument was dedicated by former President William Taft, who was serving as a Supreme Court Justice at the time. It was a controversial design; some felt that the Greek temple style was too ornate to represent Lincoln, and suggested that a log cabin be built in the monument's place instead.

  • Jesse K. Timmendequas was convicted of strangling his neighbor. (1997) The neighbor was seven-year-old Megan Kanka, and the case inspired Megan's law, which requires sex offenders to register any change of address to keep neighborhoods informed if a sex offender moves into the area.

  • The first Indianapolis 500 was run. (1911) Over 80,000 people turned out to watch the race, which has been run almost every year since, with the exception of the years in which the US was involved in World Wars I and II.

  • Chinese students erected a giant statue called "The Goddess of Democracy" in Tiananmen Square. (1989) The statue was put up as part of the ongoing student protests in Tiananmen Square, and was brought down by tanks just five days later.

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