1469 – Niccolò Machiavelli, Italian historian and political author, is born. He is most famous for a short political treatise, The Prince. Though released in book form posthumously in 1532, The Prince was first published as a pamphlet in 1513. In it, Machiavelli outlined his vision of an ideal leader: an amoral, calculating tyrant for whom the end justifies the means. The term "Machiavellian" is used to describe an action undertaken for gain without regard for right or wrong.
In longer and more detailed writings as Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy (1517) and History of Florence (1525), he shows himself to be a more principled, moral politico. Too bad, so sad.
1808 – Citizens of Madrid rose up in rebellion against the French occupation on May 2, slew 150 French soldiers. The next day, immortalized by Goya in his painting, The Third of May 1808, the French army shot hundreds of Madrid citizens in retaliation. Not cool, Froggie.
1933 - “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business," “The Godfather of Soul," "Mr. Dynamite," "Sex Machine," burst out of the womb. He stepped back and kissed himself. He was raised by his brothel running, moonshine selling aunt Honey.
1946 – The International Military Tribunal for the Far East begins in Tokyo with twenty-eight Japanese military and government officials accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. E hole la.
1991 – Jerzy Kosiński, Polish-born writer, best known for the novel The Painted Bird, died this day. He committed suicide, by taking a fatal dose of barbiturates, with or without a plastic bag around his head. His suicide note read: "I am going to put myself to sleep now for a bit longer than usual. Call it Eternity." I would of thought he’d come up with something a bit more horrific and gruesome. Maybe something with a dog. But, whatev.
I found the schock value wears off pretty fast. What violent act of cruelty will we see in the next vignette? How will you wow us this time, Jerzy? I’ve already seen this snuff film. Incest, bestiality and rape! Oh, my!
1997 - Garry Kasparov begins chess match with IBM supercomputer Deep Blue. The computer wins and takes over the world.