Today in History …
by Robert Joseph Baker | August 5, 2016 12:00 am
Last Updated: June 18, 2016 at 7:04 pm
25 – Guangwu claims the throne as emperor, restoring the Han dynasty after the collapse of the short-lived Xin dynasty.
642 – Battle of Maserfield: Penda of Mercia defeats and kills Oswald of Northumbria.
910 – The last major Danish army to raid England is defeated at the Battle of Tettenhall by the allied forces of Mercia and Wessex, led by King Edward the Elder and Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians.
939 – The Battle of Alhandic is fought between Ramiro II of León and Abd-ar-Rahman III at Zamora in the context of the Spanish Reconquista. The battle resulted in a victory for the Emirate of Córdoba.
1068 – Byzantine–Norman wars: Italo-Normans begin a nearly-three-year siege of Bari.
1100 – Henry I is crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey.
1278 – The Siege of Algeciras ends in the context of the Spanish Reconquista pitting the forces of the Kingdom of Castile against the Emirate of Granada. The battle resulted in a Granadan victory.
1305 – William Wallace, who led the Scottish resistance against England, is captured by the English near Glasgow and transported to London where he is put on trial and executed.
1388 – The Battle of Otterburn, a border skirmish between the Scottish and the English in Northern England, is fought near Otterburn.
1583 – Sir Humphrey Gilbert establishes the first English colony in North America, at what is now St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
1600 – The Gowrie Conspiracy against King James VI of Scotland (later to become King James I of England) takes place.
1620 – The Mayflower departs from Southampton, England on its first attempt to reach North America.
1689 – One thousand five hundred Iroquois attack the village of Lachine in New France.
1716 – The Battle of Petrovaradin takes place.
1735 – Freedom of the press: New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger is acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, on the basis that what he had published was true.
1763 – Pontiac’s War: Battle of Bushy Run: British forces led by Henry Bouquet defeat Chief Pontiac’s Indians at Bushy Run.
1772 – The First Partition of Poland begins.
1781 – The Battle of Dogger Bank takes place.
1796 – The Battle of Castiglione in Napoleon’s first Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars.
1824 – Greek War of Independence: Constantine Kanaris leads a Greek fleet to victory against Ottoman and Egyptian ships in the Battle of Samos.
1858 – Cyrus West Field and others complete the first transatlantic telegraph cable after several unsuccessful attempts. It will operate for less than a month.
1860 – Charles XV of Sweden of Sweden-Norway is crowned king of Norway in Trondheim.
1861 – American Civil War: In order to help pay for the war effort, the United States government levies the first income tax as part of the Revenue Act of 1861 (3% of all incomes over US $800; rescinded in 1872).
1861 – The United States Army abolishes flogging.
1862 – American Civil War: Battle of Baton Rouge: Along the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Confederate troops attempt to take the city, but are driven back by fire from Union gunboats.
1864 – American Civil War: The Battle of Mobile Bay begins at Mobile Bay near Mobile, Alabama, Admiral David Farragut leads a Union flotilla through Confederate defenses and seals one of the last major Southern ports.
1874 – Japan launches its postal savings system, modeled after a similar system in the United Kingdom.
1882 – The Standard Oil of New Jersey is established.
1884 – The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty is laid on Bedloe’s Island (now Liberty Island) in New York Harbor.
1888 – Bertha Benz drives from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in the first long distance automobile trip, commemorated as the Bertha Benz Memorial Route since 2008.
1901 – Peter O’Connor sets the first IAAF recognised long jump world record of 24 ft 11.75 in (7.6137 m). The record will stand for 20 years.
1906 – Persian Constitutional Revolution: Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar, King of Iran, agrees to convert the government to a constitutional monarchy.
1914 – World War I: The German minelayer SS Königin Luise lays a minefield about 40 miles (64 km) off the Thames Estuary (Lowestoft). She is intercepted and sunk by the British light-cruiser HMS Amphion.
1914 – World War I: The guns of Point Nepean fort at Port Phillip Heads in Victoria (Australia) fire across the bows of the Norddeutscher Lloyd steamer SS Pfalz which is attempting to leave the Port of Melbourne in ignorance of the declaration of war and she is detained; this is said to be the first Allied shot of the War.
1914 – In Cleveland, Ohio, the first electric traffic light is installed.
1916 – World War I: Battle of Romani: Allied forces, under the command of Archibald Murray, defeat an attacking Ottoman army under the command of Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein, securing the Suez Canal and beginning the Ottoman retreat from the Sinai Peninsula.
1925 – Plaid Cymru is formed with the aim of disseminating knowledge of the Welsh language that is at the time in danger of dying out.
1926 – Harry Houdini performs his greatest feat, spending 91 minutes underwater in a sealed tank before escaping.
1940 – World War II: The Soviet Union formally annexes Latvia.
1941 – World War II: The Battle of Smolensk concludes with Germany capturing about 300,000 Soviet Red Army prisoners.
1943 – World War II: Anti-Nazi resistance fighter Eva-Maria Buch guillotined at Plötzensee Prison, Berlin.
1944 – World War II: Possibly the biggest prison breakout in history occurs as 545 Japanese POWs attempt to escape outside the town of Cowra, New South Wales, Australia.
1944 – World War II: Polish insurgents liberate a German labor camp in Warsaw, freeing 348 Jewish prisoners.
1944 – World War II: The Nazis begin a week-long massacre of anywhere between 40,000 and 100,000 civilians and prisoners of war in Wola, Poland.
1949 – In Ecuador, an earthquake destroys 50 towns and kills more than 6,000.
1949 – The Mann Gulch fire kills 13 firefighters in Montana.
1957 – American Bandstand, a show dedicated to the teenage “baby-boomers” by playing the songs and showing popular dances of the time, debuts on the ABC television network.
1958 – Herbert Hoover eclipses John Adams as having the longest retirement of any former U.S President until that time. Hoover would live another six years, his record 31 years 7 months 16 days retirement has since been eclipsed by Jimmy Carter.
1960 – Burkina Faso, then known as Upper Volta, becomes independent from France.
1962 – Apartheid in South Africa: Nelson Mandela is jailed. He would not be released until 1990.
1963 – The United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union sign a nuclear test ban treaty.
1964 – Vietnam War: Operation Pierce Arrow: American aircraft from carriers USS Ticonderoga and USS Constellation bomb North Vietnam in retaliation for strikes against U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.
1965 – The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 begins as Pakistani soldiers cross the Line of Control dressed as locals.
1969 – Mariner program: Mariner 7 makes its closest fly-by of Mars (3,524 kilometers).
1971 – The first Pacific Islands Forum (then known as the “South Pacific Forum”) is held in Wellington, New Zealand, with the aim of enhancing cooperation between the independent countries of the Pacific Ocean.
1974 – Vietnam War: The U.S. Congress places a $1 billion limit on military aid to South Vietnam.
1979 – In Afghanistan, Maoists undertake an attempted military uprising.
1981 – President Ronald Reagan fires 11,359 striking air-traffic controllers who ignored his order for them to return to work.
1989 – General elections are held in Nicaragua with the Sandinista National Liberation Front winning a majority.
1995 – Yugoslav Wars: The city of Knin, Croatia, a significant Serb stronghold, is captured by Croatian forces during Operation Storm. The date is celebrated in Croatia as Victory Day.
2003 – A car bomb explodes in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta outside the Marriott Hotel killing 12 and injuring 150.
2010 – The Copiapó mining accident occurs, trapping 33 Chilean miners approximately 2,300 ft (700 m) below the ground.
2010 – Ten members of International Assistance Mission Nuristan Eye Camp team are killed by persons unknown in Kuran wa Munjan District of Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan.
2012 – The Oak Creek shooting took place at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six people; the perpetrator was shot dead by police.
2015 – The Gold King Mine waste water spill releases 3 million gallons of heavy metal toxin tailings and waste water into the Animas River in Colorado.