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Old Friday, February 15, 2013
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August 1

1838 - Slavery was abolished in Jamaica. It had been introduced by Spanish settlers 300 years earlier in 1509.

August 2

1939 - Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt concerning the possibility of atomic weapons. "A single bomb of this type carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory." Six years later, on August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb, developed by the US, was dropped on the Japanese port of Hiroshima.

1990 - Iraq invaded Kuwait, leading to the Gulf War of 1991.

August 3

1492 - Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos, Spain.

1914 - World War I Germany declares war against France.

1960 - Niger gained independence from France.

August 4

1962 - Apartheid opponent Nelson Mandela was arrested by security police in South Africa. He was then tried and sentenced to five years in prison.

1961 - Barack Obama the 44th US president was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father was from Kenya, Africa, while his mother was originally from Kansas.

August 5

1861 - President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the first Federal income tax, a 3 percent tax on incomes over $800, as an emergency wartime measure during the Civil War. However, the tax was never actually put into effect.

1604 - John Eliot was born in Hertfordshire, England. Known as the "Apostle to the Indians," his translation of the Bible into an Indian tongue was the first Bible to be printed in America.

1914 - The first electric traffic light was installed in Cleveland, Ohio.

1962 - Film star Marilyn Monroe died at age 36 from an overdose of sleeping pills. She made 29 films during her career and came to symbolise Hollywood glamour.

August 6

1881- Penicillin discoverer Alexander Fleming was born in Lochfield, Scotland. By accident, he found that mold from soil killed deadly bacteria without injuring human tissue. He received the Nobel Prize in 1954.

1945 - The first atomic bomb was dropped over the centre of Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m., by the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay. The bomb detonated about 1,800 ft. above ground, killing over 105,000 persons and destroying the city. Another estimated 100,000 persons later died as a result of radiation effects.

1960 - Fidel Castro nationalised American and foreign-owned property in Cuba.

1962 - Jamaica achieved independence after centuries of British and Spanish rule.

1809 - British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England.

August 7

1782 - George Washington orders the creation of the Badge of Military Merit to honour soldiers wounded in battle. It is later renamed the "Purple Heart".

1990 - Just five days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, President George Bush ordered Desert Shield, a massive military build-up to prevent further Iraqi advances.

1876 - International spy Mata Hari was born (as Margaret Gertrude Zelle) in Leewarden, Netherlands. Arrested by the French in 1917 as a German spy, she was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. At her execution, she refused a blindfold and instead threw a kiss to the French firing squad.

August 8

1876 - Thomas Edison received a patent for his mimeograph.

1945 - Soviet Russia declared war on Japan and sent troops into Japanese-held Manchuria.

August 9

1945 - The second atomic bombing of Japan occurred as an American B-29 bomber headed for the city of Kokura, but because of poor visibility then chose a secondary target, Nagasaki. About noon, the bomb detonated killing an estimated 70,000 persons and destroying about half the city.

1974 - Effective at noon, Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency as a result of the Watergate scandal. Nixon had appeared on television the night before and announced his decision to the American people. Facing possible impeachment by Congress, he became the only US president ever to resign.

August 10

1974 - Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) the 31st US president was born in West Branch, Iowa. He was the first president born west of the Mississippi.

August 11

1921 - Roots author Alex Haley (1921-1992) was born in Ithaca, New York. His Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, published in 1976, explored seven generations of his family from its origins in Africa through slavery in America and eventual hard-fought freedom. Roots was translated into 37 languages and also became an eight-part TV mini-series in 1977 which attracted a record American audience and raised awareness concerning the legacy of slavery.

August 12

1851 - Isaac Singer was granted a patent on his sewing machine.

August 13

1899 - British film director Alfred Hitchcock was born in London.

1927 - Cuban President Fidel Castro was born in Mayari, Oriente Province, Cuba.

1961 - The Berlin Wall came into existence after the East German government closed the border between east and west sectors of Berlin with barbed wire to discourage emigration to the West.

August 14

1947 - Pakistan became independent of British rule.

August 15

1877 - Thomas Edison made the first-ever recording "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

1947 - India became independent of British rule.

1960 - Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) declares independence from France.

1969 - Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleone Buonaparte), in the city of Ajaccio on Corsica one year after France bought the island from the Republic of Genoa.

August 16

1861 American Civil War President Lincoln prohibited the states of the Union from trading with the seceding states of the Confederacy.

1896 - Gold was discovered in Rabbit Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River in Alaska, resulting in the Great Klondike Gold Rush.

1977 - Elvis Presley was pronounced dead at the Memphis Baptist Hospital at 3:30 p.m., at age 42.

August 17

1978 - The first transatlantic balloon trip was completed by three Americans: Max Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and Larry Newman, all from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Starting from Maine on August 11th, they travelled in Double Eagle II over 3,000 miles in 137 hours, landing about 60 miles west of Paris.

1988 - Gen Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq died in planecrash.

August 18

1920 - The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, granting women the right to vote.

August 19

1934 - In Germany, a plebiscite was held in which 89.9 per cent of German voters approved granting Chancellor Adolf Hitler additional powers, including the office of president.

1833 - Benjamin Harrison the 23rd US president was born in North Bend, Ohio. He was the grandson of William Henry Harrison, the 9th president.

August 20

1866 - President Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over, months after the fighting had stopped.

August 21

1959 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Hawaii to the Union as the 50th state.

1983 - Filipino opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., was assassinated at the Manila airport while leaving his plane. Public outcry over the killing ultimately led to the collapse of the government of Ferdinand E. Marcos and the inauguration of Corazon C. Aquino, widow of the slain man, as president.

August 22

1846 - The United States annexed New Mexico.

1902 - President Theodore Roosevelt became the first US chief executive to ride in an automobile, in Hartford, Conn.

1911 - It was announced in Paris that Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" had been stolen from the Louvre Museum the night before. The painting turned up two years later, in Italy.

August 23

1927 - Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were electrocuted inside a prison at Charlestown, Massachusetts. They had been convicted of a shoe factory payroll robbery during which the paymaster and a guard had been killed.

August 24

1572 - Thousands of Protestant Huguenots were massacred in Paris and throughout France by Catholics, in what became known as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.

1932 - Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly non-stop across the United States, travelling from Los Angeles to Newark, N.J., in just over 19 hours.

August 24-25

1814 - During the War of 1812, Washington, D.C., was invaded by British forces that burned the Capitol, the White House and most other public buildings along with a number of private homes. The burning was in retaliation for the earlier American burning of York (Toronto).

August 26

1920 -The 19th amendment to the US Constitution, giving women the right to vote, was declared in effect.

August 27

1910 - Mother Teresa was born (as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) in Skopje, Yugoslavia. She founded a religious order of nuns in Calcutta, India, called the Missionaries of Charity and spent her life working to help the poor and sick of India.

August 28

1749 - German author-philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

August 29

1991 - Following the unsuccessful coup of August 19-21, the Soviet Communist Party was suspended, thus ending the institution that ruled Soviet Russia for nearly 75 years.

August 30

1797 - Frankenstein author Mary Shelley was born in London.

August 31

1997 - Britain's Princess Diana died at age 36 from massive internal injuries suffered in a high-speed car crash, reportedly after being pursued by photographers.

Source: JWT
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