May 23 is the 143rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (144th in leap years). There are 222 days remaining.

  1. 1430 - Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to relieve Compiègne. (See Siege of Compiègne.)
  2. 1498 - Girolamo Savonarola is burned at the stake, in Florence, Italy, on the orders of Pope Alexander VI
  3. 1533 - The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void.
  4. 1541 - Jacques Cartier leaves St-Malo, France on his third voyage.
  5. 1555 - Paul IV becomes Pope.
  6. 1568 - Netherlands declared independence from Spain.
  7. 1568 - Dutch rebels led by Louis of Nassau, brother of William I of Orange, defeat Jean de Ligne, Duke of Aremberg and his loyalist troops in the Battle of Heiligerlee, opening the Eighty Years' War.
  8. 1609 - Official ratification of the Second Charter of Virginia takes place.
  9. 1618 - The Second Defenestration of Prague precipitates the Thirty Years' War.
  10. 1701 - After being convicted of piracy and of murdering William Moore, Captain William Kidd is hanged in London.
  11. 1706 - Battle of Ramillies - the John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough defeats a French army under Marshal Villeroi.
  12. 1788 - South Carolina becomes the 8th U.S. state to ratify the United States Constitution.
  13. 1805 - Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned King of Italy with the Iron Crown of Lombardy in the Cathedral of Milan.
  14. 1813 - South American independence leader Simón Bolívar enters Mérida, leading the invasion of Venezuela, and is proclaimed El Libertador ("The Liberator").
  15. 1844 - over the prior night the Persian Prophet the Báb announces his revelation, founding Bábísm. He announced to the world of the coming of "He whom God shall make manifest." He is considered the forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith.
  16. 1846 - Mexican-American War: Mexico declares war on the United States .
  17. 1863 - The Siege of Port Hudson starts.
  18. 1873 - The Canadian Parliament establishes the North West Mounted Police, the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
  19. 1900 - American Civil War: Sergeant William Harvey Carney becomes the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for his heroism in the Assault on the Battery Wagner.
  20. 1911 - Dedication ceremony for the New York Public Library.
  21. 1915 - World War I: Italy joins the Allies after they declare war on Austria-Hungary.
  22. 1923 - Launch of Belgium's SABENA airline.
  23. 1929 - The first talking cartoon of Mickey Mouse, The Karnival Kid, was released.
  24. 1933 - Seabiscuit, legendary American racehorse, is born
  25. 1934 - American bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed by police and killed in Black Lake, Louisiana.
  26. 1939 - The U.S. Navy submarine USS Squalus sinks off the coast of New Hampshire during a test dive, causing the death of 26 sailors. The remaining 32 crewmen and one passenger are rescued the following day.
  27. 1945 - World War II: Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, commits suicide while in Allied custody.
  28. 1945 - World War II: The Flensburg government under Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz was dissolved when its members were captured and arrested by British forces at Flensburg in Northern Germany.
  29. 1949 - The Federal Republic of Germany is established, and the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany proclaimed.
  30. 1958 - Explorer I ceases transmission.
  31. 1960 - Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion announces that Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann has been captured.
  32. 1967 - Egypt closes the Straits of Tiran and blockades the port of Eilat at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping, laying the foundations for the Six Day War.
  33. 1969 - Rock band The Who release Tommy, the first rock opera.
  34. 1970 - An outbreak of fire occurs in the Britannia Bridge over the Menai Straits in north Wales contributing to its partial destruction and amounting to approximately £1,000,000 worth of fire damage.
  35. 1977 - Two terrorist actions unfold in The Netherlands: Several dozen hostages are taken onboard a train, and about 100 others (mostly children) are held at a Dutch school. The train siege lasts until June 11.
  36. 1985 - U.S. engineer Thomas Patrick Cavanagh is sentenced to life in prison for attempting to sell stealth bomber secrets to the Soviet Union.
  37. 1995 - Oklahoma City bombing: In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, what remains of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building is imploded.
  38. 1997 - Mohammad Khatami is elected as President of Iran.
  39. 1998 - The Good Friday Agreement is accepted in a referendum, with a high margin of three-fourth 'yes' votes to Northern Ireland.
  40. 1999 - World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar Owen Hart falls to his death during the Pay Per View Over the Edge at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri after a botched entrance stunt.
  41. 2001 - Bayern Munchen wins the UEFA Champions League
  42. 2002 - The "55 parties" clause of the Kyoto protocol is reached after its ratification by Iceland.
  43. 2003 - The euro exceeds its initial trading value as it hits $1.18 for the first time since its introduction in 1999.
  44. 2003 - 25-year-old Nepalese Sherpa, Pemba Dorjie Sherpa, makes the fastest-ever ascent of Mount Everest, in 12 hours 45 minutes. This is broken by his rival Sherpa Lakpa Gelu only three days later.
  45. 2004 - Part of Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport Terminal 2E collapses, killing four people and injuring three others.