History: August 8

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August 8

0117 Hadrian becomes emperor of Rome following the death of his father Trajan.

1471 Death: Thomas Kempis, aged 91, Dutch mystic and devotional author. Though most of his years were outwardly uneventful, his book 'The Imitation of Christ' remains in print today.

1570 The third Civil War in France ends with the peace of St. Germain-en-Laye. This granted the Huguenots an amnesty and gave them La Rochelle and Cognac as places of refuge.

1576 The cornerstone is laid for Tycho Brahe's Uraniborg observatory, the first purpose-built observatory ever constructed. Tycho accepted an offer from the King Frederick II to fund an observatory. He was given the little island of Hven in the Sont near Copenhagen, and there he built his observatory, Uraniburg, which became the finest observatory in Europe. Tycho designed and built new instruments, calibrated them, and instituted nightly observations. He also ran his own printing press. The observatory was visited by many scholars, and Tycho trained a generation of young astronomers there in the art of observing. He was born on 14 December 1546 in Skane, then in Denmark, now in Sweden. Died 24 October 1601 in Prague.

1588 The Spanish Armada, a fleet of 130 huge ships, meets defeat at the hands of English sailors and their smaller, more maneuverable vessels. Then a series of wicked Atlantic storms off the coast of Southern England took their toll. Only half of the 130 Spanish ships managed to limp home. The 60 or so English ships had saved England from the Spanish invaders.

1709 The first demonstration a hot-air balloon is performed indoors by Father Bartolomeu de Gusmao for the King and Queen of Portugal. The small bowl hanging below the balloon contained burning material, most probably paper, and even though the balloon sets fire to the curtains and some of the furniture, the Royal Couple are suitably impressed.

1763 Birth: Charles Bullfinch, in Boston, Massachusetts, the first professional architect in the US (Massachusetts State House).

1814 Birth: Esther Hobart McQuigg Morris, women's rights. Died in 1902. 1814 - Peace negotiations began in Ghent, Belgium.

1815 Napoleon Bonaparte sets sail for St. Helena to spend the remainder of his days in exile.

1843 Natal (in South Africa) is made a British colony.

1844 After the killing of Joseph Smith, Bringham Young is chosen to lead the Mormons.

1860 The Queen of the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) arrives in New York City, the first queen to visit the United States.

1861 Birth: William Bateson, in Whitby, England, originator of term 'genetics'. Died in 1926.

1866 Birth: African-American explorer Matthew A. Henso. Henson, along with Robert Peary and their Eskimo guide, will be the first people to reach the North Pole.

1876 Thomas A. Edison of Menlo Park, New Jersey, patents the mimeograph machine. It is a method of preparing autographic stencils for printing. Mimeograph machines used to be cranked by hand but later models are electric. The mimeograph worked by first creating a spirit master which was placed on a large rotating drum. A strong smelling, purple ink would then print out on paper.

1879 Birth: Emiliano Zapata, a leader of peasants and indigenous people during the Mexican revolution, in Anenecuilco, Mexico. Born a peasant, Zapata was forced into the Mexican army in 1908 following his attempt to recover village lands taken over by a rancher. After the revolution began in 1910, he raised an army of peasants in the southern state of Morelos under the slogan "Land and Liberty." Demanding simple agrarian reforms, Zapata and his guerrilla farmers opposed the central Mexican government under Francisco Madero, later under Victoriano Huerta, and finally under Venustiano Carranza. Zapata and his followers never gained control of the central Mexican government, but they redistributed land and aided poor farmers within the territory under their control. On 10 April 1919, Zapata was ambushed and shot to death in Morelos by government forces. Zapata's influence has endured long after his death, and his agrarian reform movement, known as zapatismo, remains important to many Mexicans today. In 1994, a guerrilla group calling itself the Zapata Army of National Liberation launched a peasant uprising in the southern state of Chiapas.

1887 Birth: Henry Fairfield Osborn, in Princeton, New Jersey, American naturalist, paleontologist, author Our Plundered Planet (1948), and The Limits of the Earth (1953). Died in 1968.

1890 The Daughters of the American Revolution is organized.

1899 The refrigerator is patented by A.T. Marshall.

1901 Birth: Dr. Ernest O. Lawrence, in Canton, South Carolina, inventor (Cyclotron-Nobel 1939).

1902 Birth: Paul A. M. Dirac, in England, theoretical physicist (Nobel 1933).

1911 The number of representatives in the US House of Representatives is established at 435. There is one member of Congress for every 211,877 residents.

1914 WW1: French troops under Gen. Paul Pau advance across the frontier to Mulhouse in Alsace.

1918 WW1: British troops open a drive along the Somme near Amiens. The Germans, caught off guard by the well-mounted assault, begin a panicky withdrawal, which quickly turns into a full scale retreat.

The Allies take 100,000 prisoners and Ludendorff bitterly declares August 8 as the "Black Day of the German Army." He later added: "The war must be ended!"

1918 WW1: When 6 US soldiers are surrounded by Germans in France, Alvin York is given command and shoots 20 Germans while capturing 132 more.

1919 A peace conference between Afghanistan and India resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Rawalpindi. The British recognised Afghanistan's independence.

1920 Hitler receives permission to rename the German Workers Party (DAP): It now becomes the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). It seems more than coincidential that it is so similar to Dr. Walter Riehl's German National Socialist Workers Party (DNSAP) in Austria. (Forgotten Nazis)

1920 Hitler tells an audience in Salzburg, Austria, that "the same movement that started in Austria in 1904, has just now begun to gain a footing in Germany." This is another obvious reference to Walter Riehl's Austrian National Socialist Workers Party (DNDAP). (Forgotten Nazis)

1922 Birth: Rudi Gernreich, designed first women's topless swimsuit, miniskirt. Note: OK, I'll give him some credit for the miniskirt, but how much creativity can possibly be involved in 'designing' a topless swimsuit?

1923 German Chancellor Dr. Carl Cuno, in order to meet the drop of the mark to 5,500,000 to the dollar, proposes an unlimited gold loan, a gold tax, and a general tax to finance the passive resistance in the Ruhr.

1927 Birth: Carl Switzer.

1929 The first airship flight around the Earth flying eastward, German airship Graf Zeppelin, begins.

1933 Holocaust: A Nazi decree grants Staatenlose (stateless) status to some 10,000 Jews of eastern European origin who had been deprived of their German citizenship in July.

1937 Zionism: The World Zionist Congress debates the partitioning of Palestine. Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion defend the plan.

1937 Holocaust: The Romanian government prohibits the singing of Hatikvah (the Zionist national anthem) in Jewish schools.

1938 Holocaust: Mauthausen, the first concentration camp in Austria, goes into operation.

1939 Winston Churchill makes a fifteen-minute radio broadcast to America, warning of the increasingly serious threat of war in Europe and the likelihood of American involvement. "This is the time to fight - to speak - to attack!"

1940 WW2: The German Luftwaffe begins a series of daylight air raids on Great Britain.

1941 Holocaust: Several hundred Jewish men and women are executed by the Waffen-SS and Ukrainian militia at Byelaya Tserkov (Bialacerkiew) in the Ukraine. The children of those murdered are locked in a building on the edge of the village. (see August 19, 22) (Days)

1942 WW2: Marines on Guadalcanal overrun the airstrip, which is soon renamed Henderson Field.

1942 WW2: Six Nazi saboteurs are executed in Washington after conviction. Two others are more than cooperative and receive life in prison.

1944 WW2: Polish tank crews, together with Canadians, launch Operation Totalize in Normandy, striking at SS armoured forces along the Caen-Falaise Road.

1945 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: The London Agreement is signed by the Allies, enabling the prosecution of war criminals. (Maser II)

1945 President Truman signs the UN Charter, making the US the first nation to ratify its signature.

1945 WW2: The Soviet Union declares war on Japan, two days after the atom bomb is dropped on Hiroshima and seven days before Tokyo surrenders.

1953 The US and South Korea initiate a mutual security pact.

1955 A Geneva conference is held to discuss peaceful uses of atomic energy.

1963 Approximately two million pounds is stolen in Britain's Great Train Robbery by a gang of fifteen thieves. Scotland Yard calls the hold-up, 'Britain's biggest robbery ever attempted'. At 3.10am on 8 August 1963, the Glasgow to London mail train was held up in Buckinghamshire, on a straight stretch of line between Leighton Buzzard and Tring, particularly, the three-kilometre stretch between Sears Crossing and the village of Cheddington. All but three of the gang were identified by finger prints. One of those convicted, Ronald Biggs, Biggs escaped from the maximum security wing of London's Wandsworth prison in 1965, and was never caught. He later gave himself up and returned to Britain from his 35 year hideaway in Brazil. He was promptly arrested when he landed at Heathrow Airport.

1967 In Bangkok, a declaration signed by foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand leads to the formation of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

1973 Vice President Spiro T. Agnew brands as 'damned lies' reports he had taken kickbacks from government contracts in Maryland, and vows not to resign.

1974 US President Richard Nixon announces on TV he is resigning for his part in the Watergate scandal, effective midday on August 9. He is the first US president to resign from office.

1976 Death: John Roselli, hired by CIA to kill Castro, found murdered.

1978 The US launches Pioneer Venus II, which carries scientific probes to study the atmosphere of Venus.

1985 Near Frankfurt, outside the Rhein-Mein U.S. air base, a bomb explodes killing two Americans. The bomb is blamed on the Red Army Faction.

1985 Japan launches Planet A, a probe to Halley's comet.

1988 South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha announces agreement has been reached for a cease-fire in the Angolan conflict.

1988 It is announced that a cease-fire between Iraq and Iran has begun.

1988 The discovery of the most distant galaxy, at 15 * 10 ^ 12 light years away, is announced.

1988 Russian troops begin to pull out of Afghanistan after 9 years of war.

1988 US Secretary of State Shultz narrowly escapes an assassination attempt in Bolivia.

1990 Desert Shield: Iraq announces that it has annexed Kuwait as its 19th province and President Bush sends US troops to Saudi Arabia as part of a multi-national force to defend the kingdom.

1991 John McCarthy, a British TV producer is released by his Lebanese kidnappers. He had been held captive for more than five years. A rival group abducts Jerome Leyraud in retaliation and threatens to kill him if any more hostages were released.

1991 The slain bodies of former Iranian Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhriar and his chief of staff are found. 

1991 The UN Security Council approves North and South Korea for membership.

1993 Four US soldiers are killed in Somalia when a land mine detonates underneath their vehicle.

1994 The first road link between Israel and Jordan opens.

1994 Representatives from China and Taiwan sign a cooperation agreement.

1995 Saddam Hussein's two eldest daughters, their husbands, and several senior army officers defect.

1997 Iraq clears the last obstacle for a resumption of oil sales after a United Nations (UN) Security Council panel approves a formula for setting crude prices under an "oil-for-food" plan.

2000 The submarine H.L. Hunley is raised from ocean bottom after 136 years. Privately built in 1863 by Park and Lyons of Mobile, Alabama, Hunley was fashioned from a cylindrical iron steam boiler, which was deepened and also lengthened through the addition of tapered ends. Hunley was designed to be hand powered by a crew of nine: eight to turn the hand-cranked propeller and one to steer and direct the boat.

As a true submarine, each end was equipped with ballast tanks that could be flooded by valves or pumped dry by hand pumps. Extra ballast was added through the use of iron weights bolted to the underside of the hull. In the event the submarine needed additional buoyancy to rise in an emergency, the iron weight could be removed by unscrewing the heads of the bolts from inside the vessel. On 17 February 1864, the Confederate submarine made a daring late night attack on USS Housatonic, a 1,240-ton (B) sloop-of-war with 16 guns, in Charleston Harbor off the coast of South Carolina. H.L. Hunley rammed Housatonic with spar torpedo packed with explosive powder and attached to a long pole on its bow. The spar torpedo embedded in the sloop's wooden side was detonated by a rope as Hunley backed away. The resulting explosion that sent Housatonic with five crew members to the bottom of Charleston Harbor also sank Hunley with its crew of eight. H.L. Hunley earned a place in the history of undersea warfare as the first submarine to sink a ship in wartime.




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