What happened on this day in history: Christopher Columbus sets sail for the New World, Sir Roger Casement is hanged for treason, and other historic events from this date.
1305: William Wallace Is Captured
William Wallace, legendary knight and leader of the First War of Scottish Independence, is captured by the English. Scottish knight John de Menteith, who was loyal to King Edward of England, turned Wallace over to English forces at Robroyston. He was transported to London, charged with treason, and executed. Wallace’s story was brought to the big screen in the 1995 film Braveheart.
1492: Christopher Columbus Sets Sail For The New World
Christopher Columbus sets off on what would become his famous journey to the New World. The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria set sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain under the sponsorship of monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I. Columbus was seeking a western route to the Far East, but he didn’t expect the American continents to be in his way.
1916: Sir Roger Casement Is Hanged For Treason
Diplomat and Irish nationalist Sir Roger Casement is executed for treason after seeking German military aid for Easter Rising, the 1916 insurrection for Irish independence from British rule. During World War I, Casement sought German aid hoping that the Germans would want to assist Ireland’s cause as an additional blow against Britain. Because of his execution, Casement became one of the most famous martyrs in the fight for Irish independence.
1936: Jesse Owens Wins His First Gold Medal At The Berlin Olympics
Jesse Owens wins his first gold medal in the 100 meter dash at the Berlin Olympics. In total, he won four gold medals in various track and field events at these historic games. Though Adolf Hitler hoped that the games would showcase Germany’s athletic superiority, Owens and other athletes showed the world otherwise, reportedly causing the Führer great consternation.
1958: The U.S.S. Nautilus Travels Under The North Pole
The American nuclear submarine Nautilus makes history by traveling underneath the Arctic ice cap. The submarine dove beneath the surface at Point Barrow, Alaska, then traveled 1,000 miles before resurfacing near Greenland. Commander William R. Anderson and 116 crew members made the 96-hour voyage through completely uncharted territory. The mission, known as “Operation Sunshine,” succeeded in pioneering a shorter route from the Pacific to the Atlantic.