February 18, 1546: German reformer Martin Luther dies in Eisleben. In one of his pockets he had placed the beginning of a projected manuscript against Roman Catholics. In another pocket was a slip of paper reminding him, "We are beggars, that's the truth" (see issue 39: Luther's Later Years).
February 18, 1564: Michelangelo Buonarroti, the Italian Renaissance artist whose works include the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, dies.
February 18, 1678: Puritan preacher John Bunyan publishes The Pilgrim's Progress, the best-selling book (apart from the Bible) in history. The allegorical tale, which describes Bunyan's own conversion process, begins, "I saw a man clothed with rags … a book in his hand and a great burden upon his back" (see issue 11: John Bunyan).
February 18, 1688: Quakers in Germantown, Pennsylvania, issue America's first formal protest of slavery.
May 26, 1521: The Edict of Worms formally condemns Martin Luther's teachings and he is put under the ban of the Holy Roman Emperor. Those who fear for his life then kidnap Luther and hide him in Frederick’s Wartburg castle (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).
May 26, 1232: Pope Gregory IX sends the first Inquisition team to Aragon, Spain.
May 26, 1647: Massachusetts enacts a law forbidding any Jesuit or Roman Catholic priest from entering Puritan jurisdictions. Second-time offenders ...