1902 Encyclopedia > Today in History > Pedro the Cruel assassinated, Mountain Meadows Massacre, and more

Today in History - March 23
• King Pedro the Cruel of Castile assassinated
• Mormon bishop executed for massacre
• King Louis XII attacks Genoa with Swiss troops

-- Compiled by James Finlayson-Bald

Just before execution of John D. Lee (image)

Just before the excecution of John D. Lee on March 23, 1877 (Lee is seen sitting on a chair next to the coffin). Lee was a prominent early Mormon who was condemned to die by firing squad for his role in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

On this date:

1169Shirkuh, Vizier of Egypt, died of indigestion and was succeeded by the young Saladin.

Pedro "the Cruel", King of Castile, was assassinated. He was surnamed "the Cruel" by the monastic continuators, but they were miffed when he had to murder Suero, the Archbishop of Santiago, and the Dean Peralvarez. In extenuation it must be remembered that mediaeval churchmen could be awfully tiresome. Actually the merchants and traders thought that Pedro was rather a dear, calling him "El Justiciero" and this was a view shared by Edward the Black Prince" who was very supportive of him. He was murdered by his bastard brother Henry of Trastamara.

First trams in London at Bayswater went into operation, they were designed by Mr Train of New York.

Dr Livingstone appointed British Consul for the African Interior.

Mountain Meadows Massacre: Bishop John Doyle Lee executed for his part in the massacre of 1857 when a band of emigrants bound for California were attacked in southern Utah territory. Feelings had been running high among Mormon settlers because of U.S. Government decision to send troops into Utah to enforce Federal laws. When 137 emigrants camped at Cedar City there was bad feeling on both sides. They were attacked (7/4/57) by Paiute Indians and settlers led by the fanatical Lee. Under a flag of truce emigrants laid down their arms to avoid antagonising the Indians. They were later ambushed and all the adults killed. Hushed up for twenty years, the Bishop was tried and convicted, taken to the scene of the crime and executed by firing squad.

The free steam ferry at Woolwich in London was opened by Lord Rosebery.

British and American consulates in China were looted and burnt.

The Philippine Islands were granted independence by the U.S. effective 1945.

HM Queen Mary, Consort of King George V, died.

Today's birthdays:
-- Bertel Thorwaldsen, Sculptor (1770-1844)
-- Akira Kurosawa, Film Director (1910-1998).

Thought for today:
Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
Marie Curie.

The above article was written by James Finlayson-Bald.
Edited and illustrations added by David Paul Wagner.

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