Today-in-History

Church and State Separated in Virginia

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.

Laws of Burgos of Proclaimed

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.

Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley Burned in Oxford

Broad Street where Oxford Martyrs Burned.jpeg

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.

Roger Williams Banished from Massachusetts Bay Colony

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.