Reuters historical calendar - May 23

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LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) Following are some of the major events to have occurred on May 23 since 1900: 1906 - Henrik Ibsen, the Norwegian dramatist known for ''Peer Gynt'' and other plays, died.

1934 - Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, notorious American outlaws, robbers and murderers, were killed in a shootout with police.

1937 - John D Rockefeller, US multimillionaire and founder of the Standard Oil Company, died.

1945 - The leading German Nazi Heinrich Himmler committed suicide a day after being captured; Admiral Karl Doenitz and leading members of the German government were arrested; British Prime Minister Winston Churchill resigned, bringing an end to the country's wartime coalition.

1949 - The German Federal Republic formally came into existence with Bonn as its capital, after the signing of the constitution.

1960 - Adolf Eichmann, chief organiser of the Nazis' attempt to wipe out Europe's Jews, was captured by Israeli agents in Argentina.

He was later executed in Israel.

1977 - Moluccan extremists took 105 schoolchildren and 50 others hostage on a hijacked train in the Netherlands. The children were released on May 27 and the siege ended when the train was stormed on June 11.

1992 - Judge Giovanni Falcone, a top Italian prosecutor working against the Mafia, was assassinated. A one-tonne bomb exploded as his motorcade was passing.

1999 - The film ''Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace'' became the first to make more than 100 million dollar in five days.

2001 - Alessandro Natta, last leader of the Italian Communist Party, died aged 83.

2002 - Sam Snead, whose unmatched 135 tournament victories worldwide and trademark straw hat made him a golfing legend, died aged 89.

2003 - In Iraq, the US civil administrator announced the disbanding of the Iraqi armed forces as well as the sacking of 400,000 staff who had formed the backbone of Saddam's rule.

2006 - Former US senator and treasury secretary Lloyd Bentsen, who ran unsuccessfully for vice president in 1988, died aged 85.


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