What happened on this day in history: Marie Antoinette marries Louis XVI, the first Academy Awards are held, and more from May 16th.
1717: Voltaire Is Imprisoned
French writer Voltaire is sent to Paris’ Bastille prison. After satirically suggesting that Philippe Duc d’Orléans, who ruled France as a regent, had an incestuous relationship with his own daughter, Voltaire was sent to prison for almost a year. Nine years later, Voltaire was sent to the Bastille again after insulting an aristocrat, who then arranged to have him beat up and locked away.
1770: Marie Antoinette Marries Louis XVI
Marie Antoinette, the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, marries the French dauphin, Louis XVI, at Versailles. At the time, Marie Antoinette was only 14 while Louis was 15. Sadly, neither would have long to live as both were arrested and beheaded during the French Revolution in 1792.
1929: The First Academy Awards Are Held
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out its now-famous annual film awards for the first time in Hollywood, California. Though the film Wings won Best Picture (then called Outstanding Picture), it took no one by surprise, because, unlike today, winners had been announced three months before the event.
1966: Mao Zedong Releases The May 16 Notification
The Chinese Communist Party releases the “May 16 Notification.” Overseen by Chairman Mao Zedong, the document warned that “revisionists” within the party were planning to create a “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.” This triggered China’s bloody Cultural Revolution, in which 1.5 million people lost their lives as suspected enemies of the party between 1966 and Mao’s death in 1976.
2006: Rey Rivera Disappears
Rey Rivera disappears in Baltimore, Maryland. Authorities found his body in an abandoned conference room at the historic Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore. It appeared that he plunged through the roof, leaving a gaping hole. Authorities ruled that Rivera likely committed suicide, but his family disagreed. According to his wife, Rivera rushed out of their home on the night of his disappearance. The case includes other strange details, including malfunctioning security cameras, mysterious notes, and a connection to the Free Masons.