Luther defiant at Diet of Worms - HISTORY
Year
1521

Luther defiant at Diet of Worms

Martin Luther, the chief catalyst of Protestantism, defies the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V by refusing to recant his writings. He had been called to Worms, Germany, to appear before the Diet (assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire and answer charges of heresy.

Martin Luther was a professor of biblical interpretation at the University of Wittenberg in Germany. In 1517, he drew up his 95 theses condemning the Catholic Church for its corrupt practice of selling “indulgences,” or forgiveness of sins. Luther followed up the revolutionary work with equally controversial and groundbreaking theological works, and his fiery words set off religious reformers across Europe. In 1521, the pope excommunicated him, and he was called to appear before the emperor at the Diet of Worms to defend his beliefs. Refusing to recant or rescind his positions, Luther was declared an outlaw and a heretic. Powerful German princes protected him, however, and by his death in 1546 his ideas had significantly altered the course of Western thought.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Mt. Everest sees its single deadliest day

On this day in 2014, 16 Nepali mountaineering guides, most of them ethnic Sherpas, are killed by an avalanche on Mt. Everest, the Earth’s highest mountain. It was the single deadliest accident in the history of the Himalayan peak, which rises more than 29,000 feet above sea level ...read more

Revere and Dawes ride

In Massachusetts, British troops march out of Boston on a mission to confiscate the Patriot arsenal at Concord and to capture Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock, known to be hiding at Lexington. As the British departed, Boston Patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes set ...read more

Journalist Ernie Pyle killed

During World War II, journalist Ernie Pyle, America’s most popular war correspondent, is killed by Japanese machine-gun fire on the island of Ie Shima in the Pacific.Pyle, born in Dana, Indiana, first began writing a column for the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain in 1935. ...read more

Doolittle leads air raid on Tokyo

On this day in 1942, 16 American B-25 bombers, launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet 650 miles east of Japan and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, attack the Japanese mainland.The now-famous Tokyo Raid did little real damage to Japan (wartime Premier ...read more

The Great San Francisco Earthquake

At 5:13 a.m., an earthquake estimated at close to 8.0 on the Richter scale strikes San Francisco, California, killing hundreds of people as it topples numerous buildings. The quake was caused by a slip of the San Andreas Fault over a segment about 275 miles long, and shock waves ...read more

Benoit wins Boston Marathon

Joan Benoit wins her second Boston Marathon in the women’s division with a time of 2:22:43 on April 18, 1983. The following year, she went on to win the first-ever women’s marathon at the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles and became the first person to win Boston as well as ...read more

San Francisco earthquake

A devastating earthquake begins to shake the city of San Francisco in the morning hours of this day in 1906.The first of two vicious tremors shook San Francisco at 5:13 a.m., and a second followed not long after. The quake was powerful enough to be recorded thousands of miles ...read more

Federal court decides to release Ezra Pound

A federal court rules that Ezra Pound should no longer be held at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for the criminally insane in Washington, D.C. Pound has been held for 13 years, following his arrest in Italy during World War II on charges of treason.Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho, and ...read more

Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier marry

American actress Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco in a spectacular ceremony on this day in 1956.Kelly, the daughter of a former model and a wealthy industrialist, began acting as a child. After high school, she attended the American Academy for Dramatic Arts in New ...read more

Missouri is ravaged by tornadoes

Missouri is hit by a string of deadly tornadoes on this day in 1880. Statewide, 151 people were killed by the twisters, including 99 in the town of Marshfield. The first tornado struck at about 4:30 p.m. in Springfield, Missouri, where seven people lost their lives. It then ...read more

The Red Brigade terrorizes Italy

On this day in 1974, Italian prosecutor Mario Sossi is kidnapped by the Red Brigades. It was the first time that the left-wing terrorist group had directly struck the Italian government, marking the beginning of tensions that lasted for 10 years.The Red Brigades were founded by ...read more