Tuesday, August 23, 2011

23rd of August

Today is the 235th day of the year with 130 days remaining until the end of the year.

79 - Mount Vesuvius begins stirring and causing slight tremors.  Interestingly enough, it is on the feast of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.

1305 - William Wallace, Scottish patriot, is hung, drawn, and quartered for high treason by Edward I of England.

1775 - King George III declares that the American colonies exist in a state of open and avowed rebellion.

1784 - Western North Carolina, now eastern Tennessee, declares itself an independent state under the name of Franklin, it wasn't accepted in the the United States, and only last four years.

1799 - Napoleon Bonaparte leaves Egypt for France en route to seize power.

1839 - The United Kingdom captures Hong Kong as a base as it prepares for war with Qing China.  The ensuing three-year conflict will later be known as the First Opium War.

1864 - The Union Navy captures Fort Morgan, Alabama, thus breaking Confederate dominance of all ports on the Gulf of Mexico.

1914 - The Battle of Mons during the First World War, was the first major action of the British Expeditionary Force and they attempted to hold the line of the Mons-Conde Canal against the advancing German First Army.

1923 - Captain Lowell Smith and Lieutenant John P. Richter performed the first mid-air refueling on De Havilland DH-4B, setting an endurance flight record of 37 hours.

1927 - Ferdinando Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed for the 1920 armed robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts.

1939 - Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression treaty, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.  In a secret addition to the pact, the Baltic states of Finland, Romania, and Poland are divided between the two nations.

1942 - It is the beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad during the Second World War.

1943 - Kharkov, in what is today the Ukraine, is liberated as a result of the Battle of Kursk.

1944 - King Michael of Romania dismisses the pro-Nazi government of General Antonescu, who is arrested.  Romania then switches sides from the Axis to the Allies.

1946 - English musician, best known for being the drummer of The Who, Keith Moon is born.

1954 - Marks the first flight of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

1966 - The Lunar Orbiter I, takes the first photograph of Earth from its orbit around the Moon.

1985 - Hans Tiedge, the top counter-spy of West German intelligence, decides to defect to the East.

1990 - Armenia declares its independence from the Soviet Union.

1994 - Eugene Bullard, the only black pilot of World War I, is posthumously commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry - American naval officer who was born and died on the same day.  He was born in 1785 in South Kingstown, Rhode Island and passed away in 1819 at the age of 34.  He served in the War of 1812 against Great Britain, and at the age of 27 earned the title of "Hero of Lake Erie," for leading American forces in a decisive naval victory during the Battle of Lake Erie.

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