On This Day in History August 23

August 23 – Events:

  • 79 – Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, on the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
  • 1305 – William Wallace, Scottish patriot, is executed for high treason by Edward I of England.
  • 1328 – Battle of Cassel: French troops stop an uprising of Flemish farmers.
  • 1541 – French explorer Jacques Cartier lands near Quebec City in his third voyage to Canada.
  • 1555 – Calvinists are granted rights in the Netherlands.
  • 1595 – Michael the Brave confronts the Ottoman army in the Battle of Calugareni.
  • 1708 – Meidingnu Pamheiba is crowned King of Manipur.
  • 1775 – King George III declares 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 into the United States, and only lasted for four years.
  • 1793 – French Revolution: a levée en masse was decreed by the National Convention.
  • 1799 – Napoleon leaves Egypt for France en route to seize power.
  • 1813 – At the Battle of Grossbeeren, the Prussians under Von Bülow repulse the French army.
  • 1833 – Slavery abolished in the British colonies.
  • 1839 – The United Kingdom captures Hong Kong as a base as it prepares to war with Qing China. The ensuing 3-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.
  • 1866 – Austro-Prussian War ends with the Treaty of Prague.
  • 1889 – First wireless message from a ship to the shore received.
  • 1896 – First Cry of the Philippine Revolution is made in Pugad Lawin (Quezon City), in the province of Manila.
  • 1904 – The automobile tire chain is patented.
  • 1914 – World War I: Japan declares war on Germany and bombs Qingdao, China.
  • 1914 – World War I: the Battle of Mons; the British Army begins withdrawal.
  • 1923 – Capt. Lowell Smith and Lt. John P. Richter performed the first mid-air refueling on De Havilland DH-4B, setting an endurance flight record of 37 hours.
  • 1929 – Hebron Massacre: Arab attack of the Jewish community in the British Mandate of Palestine resulted in 133 Jews killed, 67 in Hebron.
  • 1939 – World War II: Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression treaty, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In a secret addition to the pact, Baltic states, Finland, Ukraine and Poland are divided between the two nations.
  • 1940 – World War II: The Germans start bombing London.
  • 1942 – World War II: Beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad.
  • 1943 – World War II: Kharkov liberated.
  • 1944 – World War II: Marseille liberated.
  • 1944 – World War II King Michael of Romania dismisses the pro-Nazi government of General Antonescu, who is arrested. Romania switches sides from the Axis to the Allies.
  • 1944 – Freckleton Air Disaster – A United States Army Air Forces B-24 Liberator bomber crashes into a school in Freckleton, England killing 61 people.
  • 1946 – Ordinance No. 46 of the British Military Government constitutes the German Land (state) of Schleswig-Holstein.
  • 1948 – World Council of Churches is formed.
  • 1952 – The Arab League is formed.
  • 1958 – Chinese Civil War: The Second Taiwan Strait crisis begins with the People’s Liberation Army’s bombardment of Quemoy.
  • 1962 – First live television connection between the United States and Europe, via the Telstar satellite.
  • 1966 – Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.
  • 1973 – The Intelsat communication satellite is launched.
  • 1975 – Successful Communist coup in Laos.
  • 1977 – The Gossamer Condor wins the Kremer prize for human powered flight.
  • 1979 – Soviet dancer Alexander Godunov defects to the United States.
  • 1982 – Bachir Gemayel is elected Lebanese President amidst the raging civil war.
  • 1985 – Hans Tiedge, top counter-spy of West Germany, defects to East Germany.
  • 1985 – Famous shipwreck RMS Titanic is found.
  • 1989 – Singing Revolution: two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stand on the Vilnius-Tallinn road, holding hands (Baltic Way).
  • 1989 – All of Australia’s 1,645 domestic airline pilots resign after the airlines threaten to fire them and sue them over a dispute.
  • 1990 – Saddam Hussein appears on Iraqi state television with a number of Western “guests” (actually hostages) to try to prevent the Gulf War.
  • 1990 – Armenia declares its independence from the Soviet Union.
  • 1990 – West Germany and East Germany announce that they will unite on October 3.
  • 1996 – Osama bin Laden issues message entitled ‘A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places.’
  • 2000 – A Gulf Air Airbus A320 crashes into the Persian Gulf near Manama, Bahrain, killing 143.
  • 2000 – Nicaragua becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty. This essentially deprecated the Buenos Aires Convention treaty, because as of this date, all members of the BA Convention were also signatories to Berne.
  • 2005 – TANS Peru Flight 204 crashes near Pucallpa, Peru, killing 41.
  • 2006 – Natascha Kampusch, who was abducted at the age of 10, managed to escape from her captor Wolfgang Priklopil, after 8 years of captivity.

August 23 – Birthdays:

  • 686 – Charles Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne (d. 741)
  • 1486 – Sigismund von Herberstein, Austrian diplomat and historian (d. 1566)
  • 1524 – François Hotman, French lawyer and writer (d. 1590)
  • 1623 – Stanislaw Lubieniecki, Polish astronomer (d. 1675)
  • 1724 – Abraham Yates, American Continental Congressman (d. 1796)
  • 1741 – Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse, French explorer (d. 1788)
  • 1754 – King Louis XVI of France (d. 1793)
  • 1769 – Georges Cuvier, French biologist and statesman (d. 1832)
  • 1783 – William Tierney Clark, English civil engineer (d. 1852)
  • 1785 – Oliver Hazard Perry, U.S. naval officer (d. 1819)
  • 1805 – Anton von Schmerling, Austrian statesman (d. 1893)
  • 1814 – James Roosevelt Bayley, first Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, and the eighth Archbishop of Baltimore (d. 1877)
  • 1829 – Moritz Cantor, German mathematician (d. 1920)
  • 1836 – Marie Henriette of Austria, Queen of the Belgians (d. 1902)
  • 1843 – William Southam, Canadian newspaper publisher (d. 1932)
  • 1846 – Alexander Milne Calder, American sculptor (d. 1923)
  • 1847 – Sarah Frances Whiting, American physicist and astronomer (d. 1927)
  • 1849 – William Ernest Henley, British poet, critic, and editor (d. 1903)
  • 1852 – Arnold Toynbee, English economist and social reformer (d. 1883)
  • 1852 – Clímaco Calderón, President of Colombia. (d. 1913)
  • 1854 – Moritz Moszkowski, Polish/German composer (d. 1925)
  • 1864 – Eleftherios Venizelos, Prime Minister of Greece (d.1936)
  • 1868 – Edgar Lee Masters, American author (d. 1950)
  • 1875 – William Eccles, English radio pioneer (d. 1966)
  • 1875 – Eugene Lanceray, Russian artist (d. 1946)
  • 1880 – Alexander Grin, Russian writer (d. 1932)
  • 1883 – Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV, U.S. general (d. 1953)
  • 1884 – Will Cuppy, American humorist (d. 1949)
  • 1884 – Ogden L. Mills, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, 1927-1932 (d. 1937)
  • 1900 – Ernst Krenek, Austrian-born composer (d. 1991)
  • 1900 – Malvina Reynolds, American folk singer/songwriter (d. 1978)
  • 1901 – John Sherman Cooper, U.S. Senator from Kentucky (d. 1991)
  • 1903 – William Primrose, Scottish violist (d. 1982)
  • 1905 – Constant Lambert, British composer (d. 1951)
  • 1908 – Hannah Frank, Scottish Artist and Sculptor
  • 1910 – Giuseppe Meazza, Italian footballer (d. 1979)
  • 1911 – Birger Ruud, Norwegian athlete (d. 1998)
  • 1912 – Gene Kelly, American dancer and actor (d. 1996)
  • 1917 – Tex Williams, American singer (d. 1985)
  • 1919 – Vladimir Abramovich Rokhlin, Russian mathematician (d. 1984)
  • 1921 – Kenneth Arrow, American economist, Bank of Sweden Prize winner
  • 1922 – George Kell, baseball player
  • 1922 – Jean Darling, American child actress
  • 1922 – Pierre Gauvreau, Quebec painter, television writer and producer
  • 1923 – Edgar F. Codd, English computer scientist (d. 2003)
  • 1924 – Ephraim Kishon, Israeli writer (d. 2005)
  • 1924 – Robert Solow, American economist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1925 – Robert Mulligan, American movie and television director
  • 1927 – Dick Bruna, Dutch illustrator
  • 1928 – Marian Seldes, American actress
  • 1929 – Vera Miles, American actress
  • 1930 – Michel Rocard, Prime Minister of France
  • 1931 – Hamilton O. Smith, American microbiologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
  • 1932 – Houari Boumedienne, President of Algeria (d. 1978)
  • 1932 – Mark Russell, American comedian, musician, and political commentator
  • 1933 – Robert Curl, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1933 – Pete Wilson, Governor of California
  • 1934 – Barbara Eden, American actress and singer
  • 1934 – Sonny Jurgensen, American football player
  • 1936 – Henry Lee Lucas, American serial killer (d. 2001)
  • 1943 – Nelson DeMille, American novelist
  • 1944 – Antonia Novello, former United States Surgeon General
  • 1946 – Keith Moon, English singer and drummer (The Who) (d. 1978)
  • 1947 – Willy Russell, British playwright
  • 1947 – David Robb, British actor
  • 1948 – Andrei Plesu, Romanian writer, essayist
  • 1948 – Daniel Ruettiger “Rudy”, University of Notre Dame football legend
  • 1949 – Katiana Balanika, Greek actress and singer
  • 1949 – Geoff Capes, English Strongman
  • 1949 – Shelley Long, American actress
  • 1949 – Rick Springfield, Australian singer and actor
  • 1951 – Akhmad Kadyrov, President of Chechnya (d. 2004)
  • 1951 – Queen Noor of Jordan
  • 1951 – Jimi Jamison, American singer (Survivor)
  • 1952 – Vicky Leandros, Greek singer and politician
  • 1953 – Bobby G, British singer (Bucks Fizz)
  • 1954 – Charles Busch, American director, writer, actor and drag queen
  • 1956 – Andreas Floer, German mathematician (d. 1991)
  • 1956 – Valgerd Svarstad Haugland, Norwegian politician
  • 1956 – Skipp Sudduth, American actor
  • 1957 – Tasos Mitropoulos, Greek footballer and politician
  • 1958 – Julio Franco, oldest regular position player in MLB history
  • 1959 – George Kalovelonis, Greek tennis player
  • 1960 – Rodney Alan Greenblat, American graphic artist
  • 1960 – Chris Potter, Canadian actor
  • 1961 – Dean DeLeo, American musician (Stone Temple Pilots)
  • 1961 – Gary Mabbutt, English footballer
  • 1962 – Martin Cauchon, Canadian politician
  • 1963 – Hans-Henning Fastrich, German field hockey player
  • 1963 – Kenny Wallace, American race car driver
  • 1963 – Park Chan-wook, Korean director and screenwriter
  • 1964 – Kong Hee, Singaporean, Founder and Senior Pastor of the City Harvest movement in Asia
  • 1965 – Roger Avary, Canadian-born screenwriter, director, and producer
  • 1966 – Rik Smits, Dutch-American basketball player
  • 1968 – Chris DiMarco, American golfer
  • 1969 – Keith Tyson, English artist
  • 1969 – Jeremy Schaap, American sportswriter
  • 1969 – Geneviève Brouillette, Quebec television and film actress
  • 1970 – Jay Mohr, American actor and comedian
  • 1970 – River Phoenix, American actor (d. 1993)
  • 1971 – Demetrio Albertini, Italian footballer
  • 1971 – BoneCrusher, American rapper
  • 1972 – Martin Grainger, English footballer
  • 1972 – Raul Casanova, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • 1974 – Ray Park, Scottish actor
  • 1974 – Shifty, American musician (Crazy Town)
  • 1974 – Benjamin Limo, Kenyan runner
  • 1974 – Christian Beranek, American graphic novelist and actor
  • 1975 – Eliza Carthy, English singer and fiddler
  • 1975 – Jarkko Ruutu, Finnish ice hockey player
  • 1976 – Scott Caan, American actor
  • 1977 – Douglas Sequeira, Costa Rican footballer
  • 1978 – Kobe Bryant, American basketball player
  • 1978 – Julian Casablancas, American musician
  • 1979 – Edgar Sosa, Mexican boxer
  • 1980 – Denny Bautista, Dominican baseball player
  • 1980 – Rex Grossman, American football player
  • 1981 – Ozzy Lusth, American Survivor contestant
  • 1981 – Stephan Loboué, Ivorian footballer
  • 1981 – Carmen Luvana, American pornographic actress.
  • 1982 – Natalie Coughlin, American swimmer
  • 1982 – YTCracker, American musician
  • 1982 – Scott Palguta, Professional soccer player
  • 1984 – Glen Johnson, English footballer
  • 1986 – Neil Cicierega, American cartoonist and musician
  • 1987 – Nikki Gil, Filipina actress, host and singer
  • 1988 – Daniel Schwaab, German footballer
  • 1995 – Eliza Pineda, Filipina child actress

August 23 – Deaths:

  • 93 – Gnaeus Julius Agricola, Roman Governor of Britain (b. 40)
  • 634 – Abu Bakr, Arabian caliph
  • 1106 – Magnus, Duke of Saxony
  • 1176 – Emperor Rokujo of Japan (b. 1164)
  • 1305 – William Wallace, Scottish patriot
  • 1387 – King Olav IV of Norway (b. 1370)
  • 1507 – Jean Molinet, French writer (b. 1435)
  • 1519 – Philibert Berthelier, Swiss patriot
  • 1540 – Guillaume Budé, French scholar
  • 1591 – Luis Ponce de León, Spanish poet and mystic (b. 1527)
  • 1618 – Gerbrand Adriaensz Bredero, Dutch writer (b. 1585)
  • 1628 – George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, English statesman (b. 1592)
  • 1652 – John Byron, 1st Baron Byron, English royalist politician (b. 1600)
  • 1706 – Colonel Edward Nott, Esq., British Crown Governor of Virginia (b. 1654)
  • 1723 – Increase Mather, New England Puritan minister (b. 1639)
  • 1806 – Charles Augustin de Coulomb, French physicist (b. 1736)
  • 1813 – Alexander Wilson, Scottish-born ornithologist (b. 1766)
  • 1819 – Oliver Hazard Perry, American naval officer (b. 1785)
  • 1853 – Alexander Calder, first mayor of Beaumont, Texas (b. 1806)
  • 1867 – Auguste-Marseille Barthélemy, French poet (b. 1796)
  • 1892 – Deodoro da Fonseca, 1 President of Brazil (b. 1827)
  • 1926 – Rudolph Valentino, Italian actor (b. 1895)
  • 1927 – Nicola Sacco, Italian anarchist (b. 1891)
  • 1927 – Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian anarchist (b. 1888)
  • 1937 – Albert Roussel, French composer (b. 1869)
  • 1955 – Reginald Tate, British actor (b. 1896)
  • 1960 – Oscar Hammerstein II, American lyricist (b. 1895)
  • 1962 – Walter Anderson, German folklorist (b. 1885)
  • 1962 – Hoot Gibson, American actor (b. 1892)
  • 1963 – Glen Gray, American jazz musician and leader of the Casa Loma Orchestra (b. 1900)
  • 1966 – Francis X. Bushman, American actor (b. 1883)
  • 1967 – Georges Berger, Belgian racing driver (b. 1918)
  • 1971 – The original Shamu, Sea World orca
  • 1974 – Roberto Assagioli, Italian psychiatrist (b. 1888)
  • 1982 – Stanford Moore, American biochemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1913)
  • 1987 – Didier Pironi, French racing car driver (b. 1952)
  • 1989 – Mohammed Abed Elhai, Sudanese writer and academic (b. 1944)
  • 1989 – R. D. Laing, Scottish psychiatrist (b. 1927)
  • 1990 – David Rose, American composer and orchestra leader (b. 1910)
  • 1995 – Dwayne Goettel, Canadian musician (Skinny Puppy)(b. 1964)
  • 1997 – John Kendrew, British molecular biologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (b. 1917)
  • 1999 – Norman Wexler, American screenwriter (b.1926)
  • 1999 – James White, Northern Irish writer (b. 1928)
  • 2000 – John Anthony Kaiser, Roman Catholic priest (b. 1932)
  • 2001 – Kathleen Freeman, American actress (b. 1919)
  • 2001 – Peter Maas, American novelist (b. 1929)
  • 2002 – Hoyt Wilhelm, American baseball player (b. 1922)
  • 2003 – Bobby Bonds, American baseball player and manager (b. 1946)
  • 2003 – Jack Dyer, Australian rules footballer (b. 1913)
  • 2003 – John Geoghan, American Catholic priest (b. 1935)
  • 2005 – Brock Peters, American actor (b. 1927)
  • 2005 – Ninjalicious, Canadian author and urban explorer (b. 1973)
  • 2006 – Maynard Ferguson, Canadian jazz trumpeter and bandleader (b. 1928)
  • 2007 – Robert Symonds, American actor (b. 1926)

August 23 – Holidays:

  • Roman festivals – Vulcanalia.
  • RC Saints – Saint Rose of Lima, Philip Benitius
  • Romania – Liberation Day (1944).
  • Swaziland – Umhlanga Day.
  • Ukraine – Flag Day.
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