TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1484, Pope Innocent
VIII issued his Witch Bull, ordering an inquisition to systematically discover, torture and execute witches throughout Europe. It led to the ease with which witchcraft was charged and punished, even in the American colonies two centuries later. In 1776, the first scholastic fraternity in the United States, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. In 1837, Lower Canada (now Quebec) was placed under martial law during a rebellion that had broken out largely over constitutional issues. The unrest was sparked in part by the control exercised by the largely English-speaking executive government over the elected -- and predominantly French-speaking -legislative assembly.
In 1837, William Lyon Mackenzie, journalist and politician, led a rebel force down Yonge Street from Montgomery’s Tavern hoping to capture Toronto. The force was repelled by Loyalist guards who easily defeated the rebels two days later. Mackenzie fled to the United States for 10 years but returned to Canada after receiving a government pardon. He resumed his journalistic and political careers. In 1848, U.S. president James K. Polk triggered the Gold Rush of ’49 by confirming that gold had been discovered in California.