Today In History June 23
June 23 is the 174th day of the year 2020 (175th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar.
23rd June is now destined for a glittering place within the calendar of contemporary British history, having been designated the day for a referendum on whether Britain should remain part of the European Union (EU).
But even before David Cameron set the date, 23rd June had, over the centuries, acquired some significance. What might a number of those previous June 23s presage for the result of the referendum?
1314: The Scottish question
The Battle of Bannockburn began on 23rd June 1314. Unusually for a medieval battle, it didn’t endways equivalent day. The Scots’ victory over the English which ensured that Robert the Bruce became a Scottish folk hero didn’t come until the subsequent day. But 23rd June saw the opening of what’s sometimes referred to as the First War of Scottish Independence.
Nowadays, people are warning that the referendum of 23rd June 2016 might yet trigger another battle for Scottish independence. The Scottish National Party says that if the referendum decides that the U.K. should leave the EU, then there should be another referendum on the independence of Scottish.
1661: Marriage of convenience
On 23rd June 1661, after negotiations between England and Portugal, a pact was signed for the marriage of Catherine of Braganza to King Charles II. In the days before the EU, the marital arrangements of heads of state were a way to secure diplomatic relations. The wedding pact involved promises of territory for England in North Africa (Tangiers) and India (Bombay) and trading privileges for the British within the Portuguese territory of Brazil. In return, Portugal obtained the military support of the British against the Spanish.
The diplomacy of 1661 failed to bear fruit in one important respect: Catherine bore Charles no heir, therefore the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland passed to his brother James, whose brief reign of unflinching Catholicism prompted a revolution and forced the parliament to show for a successor to a Dutch protestant.
Nowadays, there’s much speculation about what diplomatic and trading relations Britain might put in place to supplant its membership of the EU in the event of aBrexit. In this day and age, royal marriages are unlikely to be so rewarding.
1795: Revolution time
In France, 23rd June might be remembered as a landmark in the country’s constitutional history were it not for the peculiarities of the French Revolutionary calendar. For it was on 23rd June 1795 that the national convention published a new constitution that became referred to as the constitution of Year III — which was ratified on August 22, 1795. But due to the suppression of the old calendar, and therefore the renaming of the months of the year, the constitution is remembered as being published on 5 Messidor (from the Latin name for harvest) and approved on 5 Fructidor.