What happened on this day in history: Female pirate Anne Bonny faces trial and narrowly escapes execution, Jeffrey Dahmer is killed in prison, and more.
1582: William Shakespeare Marries Anne Hathaway
Renowned playwright William Shakespeare, then just 18, marries 26-year-old Anne Hathaway in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. They had three children — one just six months after their wedding — before Shakespeare set off to London to seek work as an actor and playwright. Aside from the children, little is known about their marriage. Hathaway outlived Shakespeare by seven years, and in his will, he left her the “second-best bed with the furniture.”
1720: Anne Bonny’s Trial Begins
Notorious female buccaneer Anne Bonny faces trial for piracy, pleading for mercy because she is pregnant. Bonny infamously joined the crew of “Calico Jack” Rackham and was captured alongside him when their ship was attacked by pirate hunters. While Rackham and the rest of the crew were hanged, Bonny and the other female pirate onboard, Mary Read, were both granted stays of execution because they were pregnant.
1820: Friedrich Engels Is Born
Philosopher and revolutionary socialist Friedrich Engels is born in what is now Wuppertal, Germany. As a young man, he began forming radical opinions for the time, and he soon started publishing criticisms of industrialism, capitalism, child labor, and the political economy. Engels is best known for developing Marxism with fellow philosopher and economist Karl Marx and co-authoring The Communist Manifesto.
1978: Harvey Milk Is Assassinated
Harvey Milk is assassinated in San Francisco. Milk was one of the first openly gay elected officials in United States history and a staunch advocate for civil and human rights. While living in San Francisco, Milk became a respected community leader who advocated for economic rights of LGBT business owners. In 1978, Milk was inaugurated as a San Francisco City-County Supervisor. Milk’s life was tragically cut short by a disgruntled former city supervisor, Dan White. White snuck into City Hall through the basement window to avoid metal detectors and fatally shot both Milk and the city’s mayor, George Moscone.
1994: Jeffrey Dahmer Is Killed
American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is beaten to death by a fellow inmate while serving life imprisonment for 16 murders.
Dahmer had been carrying out his sentence at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin since 1992, but his first year had been spent in solitary confinement for his own safety. After Dahmer was transferred to a less secure unit, inmate Christopher Scarver bludgeoned him with a metal bar in the bathroom of the prison gym, saying God told him to do it.