On this day April 12, 1724: Lyman Hall was born in Wallingford, Connecticut. A graduate of Yale University, he was a clergyman, physician, and statesman. He settled in Georgia. He signed the United States of America Declaration of Independence. He was one of three from Georgia to sign the document.
On this day February 13, 1633: Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome after being ordered by the Inquisition to appear before it on charges of heresy. His crime: believing and teaching that the Earth was not the center of the universe.
On this day January 30, 1649: Beheaded for treason on this day in 1649, Charles I antagonized his subjects by marrying a Catholic princess, forcing Anglican practices on Presbyterian Scotland and refusing to work with Parliament.
On this day January 18, 1525: The Zurich City Council, unconvinced by the arguments of those opposing infant baptism, decreed that all unbaptized children be presented for baptism within eight days of the decree. Those parents who refused faced expulsion or drowning for, as it was stated, 'he who dips, shall be dipped.'
On this day January 16, 1786: Under James Madison's guidance, the General Assembly passes Thomas Jefferson's Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom. Passage of the bill ended the cozy relationship between church and state in Virginia and set all religious beliefs on equal footing.
On this day December 27, 1512: The Spanish Crown declared the Laws of Burgos, the first time Spain issued laws governing indigenous peoples. Their promulgation was to prevent mistreatment of native peoples whose American territories Spain had conquered. In addition, the Laws of Burgos provided for the teaching of and conversion to Catholicism of the native population.
On this day December 21, 1120: Thomas Becket was born in Cheapside, London in 1120 (or 1119). After becoming Archbishop of Canterbury his close friendship with Henry II dissolved as their disagreement over the boundaries of church and state grew ever more contentious.
Picture: Karen R. Scott
On this day October 16, 1555: Hugh Latimer, former Bishop of Worcester and Nicholas Ridley, former chaplain to Edward VI, were burned at the stake in Oxford. They refused to convert from the Church of England to Catholocism under Mary I. A stone cross on Broad Street in Oxford marks the spot of their execution.
On this day October 9, 1635: Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Massachusetts General Court found him guilty of criticizing the government for illegally seizing Native Americans' land and also challenging the right of the church to reprimand religious dissenters. During his lifetime he could never enter the colony without risking his liberty and life.
On this day October 5, 1573: In Antwerp, Maeyken Wens was burned at the stake for her Anabaptist beliefs. To prevent her speaking to the crowd her tongue was screwed to the top of her mouth. Adriaen, her son, found the screw in her ashes after her death and the fire down died.
On this day September 3, 1783: in Paris Great Britain signed the Peace Treaty with the United States of America thereby recognizing its former colonies as an independent nation.
On this day, February 20, 1798: Louis Alexandre Berthie removed Pope Pius VI from power.
On this day, May 19, 1536: Anne Boleyn was beheaded. In order to marry her, Henry VIII split the kingdom from the Roman Catholic Church and created the Church of England.
On this day, March 5, 1616: The Catholic Church added 'De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium' ('On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres') by Nicolaus Copernicus to the Index of Forbidden Books.
On this day February 19, 356: Emperor Constantius II ordered all pagan temples in the Roman Empire closed.
On this day, February 18, 1546: Martin Luther dies in Eisleben, Saxony. He was 62 years of age.
On this day, February 5, 1631: Roger Williams and his wife Mary arrive in Boston.
On this day January 28, 1547 Henry VIII, founder of the Church of England, dies.
June 11, 1571: On this day freedom of religion was declared for Austria's nobility.
July 16, 1546: On this day Anne Askew was burned at the stake in Smithfield, London's meat market district. She had been tortured in the Tower of London but refused to recant her religious beliefs. She is the only woman known to have been tortured in the Tower and then burned at the stake.