Today in history

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On August 4 in …

1693 –- This is the date traditionally ascribed to Dom Perignon’s invention of Champagne, although it is not clear whether he actually invented the wine. However, most historians concur he was an innovator who developed the techniques used to perfect sparkling wine.

1783 –- Mount Asama erupts in Japan, killing about 1,400 people. The eruption causes a famine, which results in an additional 20,000 deaths.

1889 –- The Great Fire of Spokane destroys 32 blocks of the Washington city, prompting a mass rebuilding project.

1977 –- President Jimmy Carter signs legislation creating the federal Department of Energy.

1987 -– The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rescinds the “Fairness Doctrine” which had required radio and television stations to present controversial issues “fairly.”

Today in history

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On August 3 in …

1852 –- Harvard University wins the first boat race with Yale University, the first American intercollegiate athletic event. The racing series continues to this day.

1921 –- Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis confirms the ban of eight Chicago White Sox players for allegedly fixing the World Series and earning the infamous nickname Black Sox, despite the fact the athletes had been acquitted by a Chicago court.

1946 –- Santa Claus Land, the world’s first themed amusement park, opens in Santa Claus, Indiana.

1949 –- The Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL)  finalize their merger to create the modern National Basketball Association (NBA).

1977 –- Tandy Corporation announces the availability of the TRS-80, one of the world’s first mass-produced personal computers.

Today in history

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On August 2 in …

1610 –- English explorer Henry Hudson, in the employ of Dutch financial backers, sails his ship the Half Moon into what now is known as Hudson Bay, Canada, thinking he had made it through the fabled Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean.

1776 -– The Declaration of Independence is formally signed by representatives of the 13 founding states.

1923 –- Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes President of the United States upon the death of President Warren G. Harding.

1934 –- Adolf Hitler becomes führer — a title meaning “leader” or “guide” — of Germany following the death of President Paul von Hindenburg.

1990 -– The Iraqi army, under Saddam Hussein, invades neighboring Kuwait, an action that touches off the First Gulf War.

Today in history

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On August 1 in …

30 BC -– Octavian, later known as Augustus, enters Alexandria, Egypt, bringing it under the control of the Roman Republic.

1498 –- Christopher Columbus led the first European group to visit what now is Venezuela.

1774 –- British scientist Joseph Priestley discovers oxygen gas, corroborating the prior discovery of this element by the German-Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele.

1876 –- Colorado is admitted as the 38th U.S. state.

1981 –- MTV begins broadcasting. Its first video is titled “Video Killed the Radio Star,” by The Buggles.

Today in history

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On July 31 in …

30 BC –- In Egypt, Mark Antony achieves a minor victory over Octavian’s forces in the Battle of Alexandria, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to his suicide.

1492 –- Under Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, the expulsion of all Jews from Spain is begun as the Alhambra Decree takes effect.

1777 –- The Second Continental Congress passes a resolution that the services of Gilbert du Motier “be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States.” Du Motier, better known as the Marquis de Lafayette, was two months shy of his 20th birthday.

1790 –- The first U.S. patent is issued, to inventor Samuel Hopkins of Pittsford, VT,  for an improvement “in the making of Pot ash and Pearl ash by a new Apparatus and Process.” Potash is one of several salts mined to extract its potassium. Because there was no federal Patent Office at that time, Hopkins received the patent after petitioning for it under the new U.S. patent statute signed into law by President Washington on April 10 of that year.

2012 –- Swimmer Michael Phelps breaks the record set in 1964 by Larisa Latynina for the most medals won at the Olympic Games. He compiled 22 medals (18 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze medals); the Soviet gymnast had won 14 (6 gold, 5 silver, 3 bronze).


Today in history

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On July 30 in …

762 –- The city of Baghdad is founded by Caliph Al-Mansur. Located along the Tigris River in today’s Iraq, it will go on to become the world’s largest city (population an estimated 1.2 million) during the 11th-13th centuries, known as the High Middle Ages.

1608 –- At Ticonderoga (now Crown Point, NY), the French explorer Samuel de Champlain shoots and kills two Iroquois chiefs. This will set the tone for French-Iroquois relations for the next 100 years.

1619 –- In Jamestown, VA, the first representative assembly created by European settlers in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convenes for the first time.

1866 –- In New Orleans, Louisiana’s Democrat-controlled government orders police to raid an integrated Republican Party meeting. They end up killing 40 people and injuring another 150.

1965 –- President Lyndon B. Johnson signs into law the Social Security Act of 1965, establishing Medicare and Medicaid.


Today in history

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On July 29 in …

1148 –- The Siege of Damascus ends in a decisive Crusader defeat that will lead to the disintegration of the Second Crusade.

1836 -– The Arc de Triomphe (Triumphal Arch) is inaugurated in the center of the Place de l’Étoile (later to be renamed the Place Charles de Gaulle), at the western end of the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The structure was created to honor those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces.

1907 –- Sir Robert Baden-Powell sets up the Brownsea Island Scout Camp in Poole Harbour on the south coast of England. The camp will run for eight days, and will be regarded as the foundation of the worldwide Scouting movement.

1921 –- Adolf Hitler becomes leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party, colloquially known as the Nazi Party.

1976 –- In New York City, David Berkowitz (a.k.a. the “Son of Sam”) kills one person and seriously wounds another in the first of a series of attacks.


Today in history

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On June 25 in …

1580 — The Book of Concord, the collection of doctrinal standards of the Lutheran Church, is published for the first time as a single entity.

1788 — Virginia ratifies the U.S. Constitution and becomes the 10th state of the United States.

1938 –- Dr. Douglas Hyde is inaugurated as the first President of Ireland.

1950 — North Korean troops, supported by the Chinese government, invade South Korea.

2009 — Legendary and controversial pop music star Michael Jackson dies of a drug overdose believed to have been administered by his private physician.

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On July 26 in …

1267 — The Roman Catholic Church begins the infamous Inquisition under Pope Clement IV.

1788 — New York ratifies the Constitution, becoming the 11th member of the United States.

1944 — 
The Soviet Army enters Lviv, a major city in western Ukraine, capturing it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jews survive out of 160,000 living in Lviv prior to occupation.

1947 — President Harry Truman signs into law the Security Act of 1947, thereby creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Air Force, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1990 — 
The Americans with Disabilities is signed into law by President George Bush.

Today in history

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On July 25 in …

306 –- His troops proclaim Constantine I emperor of the Roman Empire. On the same date nine years later, the iconic Arch of Constantine is completed near the Colosseum in the city of Rome to commemorate one of his major military victories.

1609 — The English ship Sea Venture, en route to Virginia, is deliberately driven ashore at Bermuda during a storm to prevent its sinking. The survivors will go on to found a new colony on the island instead of continuing to Virginia.

1722 –- Dummer’s War erupts along the border area between Maine and Massachusetts. It is the first in a series of battles between New England and the Wabanaki Confederacy who were allied with New France. The essential cause is a dispute between French and English local governments over borders. William Dummer was the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. (It also is variously known as Father Rale’s War, Lovewell’s War, Greylock’s War, the Three Years War, and the 4th Anglo-Abenaki War.)

1861 — Congress passes the Crittenden–Johnson Resolution, stating that the Civil War being fought against the Confederacy is being fought to preserve the Union, not to end slavery.

1978 –- Louise Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby,” is born in England as a result of in vitro fertilization. She was delivered by planned Caesarean section, weighing 5 pounds, 12 ounces.