On This Day in History: May 14

On May 14, the first smallpox vaccine was tested. It would lead to the eradication of smallpox, and was supported by the crown. What else happened today in history?

1610: Assassination of Henry IV of France

Today in history, the French king Henry of Navarre was assassinated. He was in immediate danger as soon as he Henry of Navarrebecame King of France, viewed as an usurper by the Catholics and a traitor by the Protestants, as France was a Catholic country. There would be at least 12 assassination attempts throughout his reign, with this one in 1610 being successful. Francois Ravaillac stabbed the king, while Henry’s coach was stopped in traffic. Henry’s 9-year-old son Louis became Louis XIII with Henry’s wife Marie de Medici acting as regent until 1617. Louis would die 33 years later to the day likely from illness.

1787: Assembly of the Constitutional Convention Delegates

The delegates for the Constitutional Convention started to assemble on this day in history. Their task was to overthrow America’s new government, defined in the Article of Confederation. Only a small number assembled on the day, and meetings were pushed back to May 25 once a large enough amount of states had arrived.

1796: The First Smallpox Vaccine

NPG 62; Edward Jenner by James NorthcoteGloucestershire doctor Edward Jenner started to test the first smallpox vaccination. The disease had killed millions in England alone over the centuries, many more around the world. His vaccination was created after he noticed milkmaids who had contracted cowpox didn’t contract smallpox later. The cowpox disease wasn’t as lethal or debilitating as its cousin disease, so he took blister fluid and scratched it into the skin of smallpox sufferer James Phipps, who recovered. When given the smallpox disease later, the boy didn’t develop the disease. The vaccine was created and supported by the British royal family.

1955: The Warsaw Pact Signed

The Eastern Bloc and Soviet Union signed the Warsaw Pact, three days after the start of a conference. The draft was called the Warsaw Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance. Its aim was to integrate the military, cultural and economic policies between the communist states. Nationalist rebellions could be suppressed by the Soviet Union, and it lead to uprisings crushed in various countries. The Warsaw Pact came to an end in 1991.

Famous Birthdays on May 14

Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor–1316

Queen Consort of Navarre, Margaret of Valois—1533

Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia–1666

Thermostat inventor Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit—1686

Blue Boy painter Thomas Gainsborough—1727

Socialist and factor owner Robert Owen–1771

Sonia d’Artois, British Canadian WWII resistance agent–1924

The Broken Year novelist Richard P. Brickner—1933

Star Wars director and producer George Lucas—1944

Jarvik 7 artificial heart creator Robert Jarvik–1946

The Lord of the Rings actress Cate Blanchett–1969

Olympic gymnast Heather Brink–1978

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg—1984

Singer Olly Murs—1984

School of Rock actress Miranda Cosgrove—1993


Birthdays from HistoryNet.com and FamousBirthdays.com

Featured image from Deposit Photos

Henry of Navarre: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_IV_of_France#/media/File:Henry_IV_of_france_by_pourbous_younger.jpg

Edward Jenner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Jenner#/media/File:Edward_Jenner_by_James_Northcote.jpg

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