August 23rd in History

This day in historyAugust 23 is the 235th day of the year (236th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 130 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 30 BC,  After the successful invasion of Egypt, Octavian executes Marcus Antonius Antyllus, eldest son of Marc Antony, and Caesarion, the last king of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt and only child of Caesar and Cleopatra.

In 20 BC,  Ludi Volcanalici are held within the temple precinct of Vulcan, and used by Augustus to mark the treaty with Parthia and the return of the legionary standards that had been lost at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC.

In 79,  Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, on the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.

In 406,  Gothic king Radagaisus is executed after he is defeated by Roman general Stilicho and 12,000 “barbarians” are incorporated into the Roman army or sold as slaves.

In 476,  Odoacer, chieftain of the Germanic tribes (HerulicScirian foederati), is proclaimed rex Italiae (“King of Italy“) by his troops.

In 634,  Abu Bakr dies at Medina and is succeeded by Umar I who becomes the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate.

In 1244,  Siege of Jerusalem: The city’s citadel, the Tower of David, surrenders to Khwarezmian Empire.

In 1268,  Battle of Tagliacozzo: The army of Charles of Anjou defeats the Ghibellines supporters of Conradin of Hohenstaufen marking the fall of the Hohenstaufen family from the Imperial and Sicilian thrones, and leading to the new chapter of Angevin domination in Southern Italy.

William wallace.jpgIn 1305,  Sir William Wallace is executed for high treason at Smithfield in London. He was a Scottish landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Along with Andrew Moray, Wallace defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in September 1297, and was appointed Guardian of Scotland, serving until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk in July 1298. In August 1305 Wallace was captured in Robroyston near Glasgow and handed over to King Edward I of England, who had him hanged, drawn, and quartered for high treason and crimes against English civilians. Since his death, Wallace has obtained an iconic status far beyond his homeland. He is the protagonist of the 15th-century epic poem The Wallace, by Blind Harry. Wallace is also the subject of literary works by Sir Walter Scott and Jane Porter and of the 1995 Academy Award-winning film Braveheart.

The origins of the Wallace surname and its association with southwest Scotland are also far from certain, other than the name’s being derived from the Old English wylisc (pronounced “wullish”) meaning “foreigner” or “Welshman”. It is possible that all the Wallaces in the Clyde area were medieval immigrants from Wales, but given that the term was also used for local Cumbric-speaking Strathclyde Welsh, it seems equally likely that the surname refers to people who were seen as being “Welsh” due to their Cumbric language.

When Wallace was growing up, King Alexander III ruled Scotland. His reign had seen a period of peace and economic stability. On 19 March 1286, however, Alexander died after falling from his horse.

The heir to the throne was Alexander’s granddaughter, Margaret, Maid of Norway. As she was still a child and in Norway, the Scottish lords set up a government of guardians. Margaret fell ill on the voyage to Scotland and died in Orkney on 26 September 1290. The lack of a clear heir led to a period known as the “Great Cause”, with several families laying claim to the throne.

With Scotland threatening to descend into civil war, King Edward I of England was invited in by the Scottish nobility to arbitrate. Before the process could begin, he insisted that all of the contenders recognise him as Lord Paramount of Scotland. In early November 1292, at a great feudal court held in the castle at Berwick-upon-Tweed, judgement was given in favour of John Balliol having the strongest claim in law.

Edward proceeded to reverse the rulings of the Scottish Lords and even summoned King John Balliol to stand before the English court as a common plaintiff. John was a weak king, known as “Toom Tabard” or “Empty Coat”. John renounced his homage in March 1296 and by the end of the month Edward stormed Berwick-upon-Tweed, sacking the then-Scottish border town. In April, the Scots were defeated at the Battle of Dunbar in East Lothian and by July, Edward had forced John to abdicate. Edward then instructed his officers to receive formal homage from some 1,800 Scottish nobles (many of the rest being prisoners of war at that time).

Wallace’s personal seal bears the archer’s insignia. If Wallace was indeed an archer, he must have been a professional, worth paying a reasonable sum of money for military services. The first class long bow (as probably used by Wallace) had a draw weight of up to 170 lbs.

Walter Bower states that Wallace was “a tall man with the body of a giant … with lengthy flanks … broad in the hips, with strong arms and legs … with all his limbs very strong and firm”. Blind Harry’s Wallace reaches seven feet.

In 1328,  Battle of Cassel: French troops stop an uprising of Flemish farmers.

In 1382,  Siege of Moscow: The Golden Horde led by khan Tokhtamysh lays siege to the capital of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

In 1514,  The Battle of Chaldiran ends with a decisive victory for the Sultan Selim I, Ottoman Empire, over the Shah Ismail I, founder of the Safavid dynasty.

In 1521,  Christian II of Denmark is deposed as king of Sweden and Gustav Vasa is elected regent.

In 1541,  French explorer Jacques Cartier lands near Quebec City in his third voyage to Canada.

In 1572,  French Wars of Religion Mob violence against Huguenots in Paris results in the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre.

In 1592,  Japanese invasions of Korea: The Yeongwon Castle is besieged by the Japanese Fourth Division led by Itō Suketaka.

In 1595,  Long War (1591–1606): Wallachian prince Michael the Brave confronts the Ottoman army in the Battle of Călugăreni and achieves a tactical victory.

In 1600,  Battle of Gifu Castle: The eastern forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu defeat the western Japanese clans loyal to Toyotomi Hideyori, leading to the destruction of Gifu Castle and serving as a prelude to the Battle of Sekigahara.

In 1614,  Fettmilch Uprising: Jews are expelled from Frankfurt, Holy Roman Empire, following the plundering of the Judengasse.

In 1614,  The University of Groningen is established in the Dutch Republic.

In 1628,  George Villiers, the first Duke of Buckingham, is assassinated by John Felton.

In 1650,  Colonel George Monck of the English Army forms Monck’s Regiment of Foot, which will later become the Coldstream Guards.

In 1655,  Battle of Sobota: The Swedish Empire led by Charles X Gustav defeats the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Increase Mather.jpgIn 1723,  Increase Mather, American minister and author (b. 1639) suffered bladder failure and died three weeks later on August 23, 1723. He was a major figure in the early history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and Province of Massachusetts Bay (now the Commonwealth of Massachusetts). He was a Puritan minister who was involved with the government of the colony, the administration of Harvard College, and most notoriously, the Salem witch trials. He was the son of Richard Mather, and the father of Cotton Mather, both influential Puritan ministers.

In 1765,  Beginning of Burmese–Siamese War.

In 1775,  American Revolutionary War: King George III delivers his Proclamation of Rebellion to the Court of St. James’s stating that the American colonies have proceeded to a state of open and avowed rebellion.

In 1784,  Western North Carolina (now eastern Tennessee) declares itself an independent state under the name of Franklin; it is not accepted into the United States, and only lasts for four years.

In 1799,  Napoleon I of France leaves Egypt for France en route to seizing power.

In 1813,  At the Battle of Grossbeeren, the Prussians under Von Bülow repulse the French army.

Portrait of Oliver Hazard Perry, 1818.jpgIn 1819,  Oliver Hazard Perry, American commander (b. 1785) died of  yellow fever from mosquitoes while aboard the USS Nonsuch, after a successful expedition to Venezuela‘s Orinoco River to consult with Simon Bolivar about piracy in the Caribbean. He was an American naval commander. Born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, the son of USN Captain Christopher Raymond Perry and Sarah Wallace Alexander, Perry was a direct descendant of William Wallace.  He was an older brother to Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry who compelled the opening of Japan. Perry served in the West Indies during the Quasi War with France, the Mediterranean during the Barbary Wars, the Caribbean fighting piracy and the slave trade, but is most noted for his heroic role in the War of 1812 during the Battle of Lake Erie. During the War of 1812 against Britain, Perry supervised the building of a fleet at Erie, Pennsylvania, at the age of 27. He earned the title “Hero of Lake Erie” for leading American forces in a decisive naval victory at the Battle of Lake Erie, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal and the Thanks of Congress. His leadership materially aided the successful outcomes of all nine Lake Erie military campaign victories, and the fleet victory was a turning point in the battle for the west in the War of 1812. Perry became embroiled in a long standing and festering controversy with the Commander of the USS Niagara, Captain Jesse Elliott, over their conduct in the battle, and both were the subject of official charges that were lodged. In 1815, he successfully commanded the Java in the Mediterranean during the Second Barbary War. So seminal was his career that he was lionized in the press (being the subject of scores of books and articles), has been heavily memorialized, and many places and ships have been named in his honor.

In 1839,  The United Kingdom captures Hong Kong as a base as it prepares for war with Qing China. The ensuing 3-year conflict will later be known as the First Opium War.

In 1858,  The Round Oak rail accident occurs in Brierley Hill in the Black Country, England. It is ‘Arguably the worst disaster ever to occur on British railways’.

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

In 1866,  Austro-Prussian War ends with the Treaty of Prague.

In 1873,  Albert Bridge in Chelsea, London opens.

In 1896,  Officially recognised date of the Cry of Pugad Lawin, the start of the Philippine Revolution is made in Pugad Lawin (Quezon City), in the province of Manila (actual date and location is disputed).

In 1898,  The Southern Cross Expedition, the first British venture of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, departs from London.

In 1904,  The automobile tire chain is patented.

In 1914,  World War I: Japan declares war on Germany and bombs Qingdao, China.

In 1914,  World War I: Battle of Mons — the British Army begins withdrawal.

The boat in 1931In 1914, T3 was a sea-going torpedo boat operated by the Royal Yugoslav Navy between 1921 and 1941. Originally 78 T, a 250t-class torpedo boat commissioned on 23 August 1914 by the Austro-Hungarian Navy, she saw active service during World War I, performing convoy, escort and minesweeping tasks, anti-submarine operations and shore bombardment missions. Following Austria-Hungary’s defeat in 1918, she was allocated to Yugoslavia and renamed T3. She was captured by the Italians during the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941. After her main armament was modernised, she served with the Royal Italian Navy as T3, although she was only used for coastal and second-line tasks. Following the Italian capitulationin September 1943, she was captured by Germany, and after being fitted with additional anti-aircraft guns, she served with the German Navy and the Navy of the Independent State of Croatia as TA48. In German and Croatian service her crew of 52 consisted entirely of Croatian officers and enlisted men. She was sunk by Allied aircraft in February 1945 while in the port of Trieste, where she had been built.

In 1921,  British airship R-38 experiences structural failure over Hull in England and crashes in the Humber estuary. Of her 49 British and American training crew, only 4 survive.

In 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.

Rudolph Valentino.jpgIn 1926Rudolph Valentino, Italian-American actor (b. 1895) died after suffering from appendicitis and gastric ulcers. Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguolla, professionally known as Rudolph Valentino (May 6, 1895 – August 23, 1926), was an Italian actor who starred in several well-known silent films including The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, The Eagle, and The Son of the Sheik. An early pop icon, a sex symbol of the 1920s, he was known as the “Latin Lover” or simply as “Valentino”. He had applied for American citizenship shortly before his death,  which occurred at age 31, causing mass hysteria among his female fans and further propelling him into iconic status.

In 1927,  Italian Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti are executed after a lengthy, controversial trial.

In 1929,  Hebron Massacre during the 1929 Palestine riots: Arab attack on the Jewish community in Hebron in the British Mandate of Palestine, continuing until the next day, resulted in the death of 65-68 Jews and the remaining Jews being forced to leave the city.

In 1938,  English cricketer Len Hutton sets a world record for the highest individual Test innings of 364, during a Test match against Australia.

In 1939,  World War II: [Nazi [Germany]] and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression treaty, the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. In a secret addition to the pact, the Baltic states, Finland, Romania, and Poland are divided between the two nations.

In 1942,  World War II: Beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad.

In 1943,  World War II: Kharkov is liberated as a result of the Battle of Kursk.

In 1944,  World War II: Marseille is liberated by the Allies.

In 1944,  World War II: King Michael of Romania dismisses the pro-Nazi government of Marshal Antonescu, who is arrested. Romania switches sides from the Axis to the Allies.

In 1944,  Freckleton Air Disaster – A United States Army Air Forces B-24 Liberator bomber crashes into a school in Freckleton, England killing 61 people.

In 1946,  Ordinance No. 46 of the British Military Government constitutes the German Länder (states) of Hanover and Schleswig-Holstein.

In 1948,  World Council of Churches is formed.

In 1954,  First flight of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

In 1958,  Chinese Civil War: The Second Taiwan Strait crisis begins with the People’s Liberation Army‘s bombardment of Quemoy.

In 1960,  Oscar Hammerstein II, American director, producer, and composer (b. 1895) died of stomach cancer on August 23, 1960, at his home Highland Farm in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, at 65, shortly after the opening of The Sound of Music on Broadway. He was an American librettist, theatrical producer, and (usually uncredited) theatre director of musicals for almost forty years. Hammerstein won eight Tony Awards and two Academy Awards for Best Original Song. Many of his songs are standard repertoire for singers and jazz musicians. He co-wrote 850 songs. Hammerstein was the lyricist and playwright in his partnerships; his collaborators wrote the music. Hammerstein collaborated with composers Jerome Kern, Vincent Youmans, Rudolf Friml, Richard A. Whiting and Sigmund Romberg; but his most famous collaboration, by far, was with Richard Rodgers, which included The Sound of Music.

In 1966,  Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.

In 1970,  Organized by Mexican American labor union leader César Chávez, the Salad Bowl strike, the largest farm worker strike in U.S. history, begins.

In 1973,  A bank robbery gone wrong in Stockholm, Sweden, turns into a hostage crisis; over the next five days the hostages begin to sympathise with their captors, leading to the term “Stockholm syndrome“.

In 1977, The Gossamer Condor wins the Kremer prize for human powered flight.

In 1982,  Bachir Gemayel is elected Lebanese President amidst the raging civil war.

In 1985,  Hans Tiedge, top counter-spy of West Germany, defects to East Germany.

In 1987,  The American male basketball team lost the gold medal to Brazilian team at the Pan American Games in Indianapolis. Score was 115-120 and triggered changes in this sport basis in USA, resulting in the “Dream Team”.

In 1989,  Singing Revolution: two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stand on the VilniusTallinn road, holding hands (Baltic Way).

In 1989,  1,645 Australian domestic airline pilots resign after the airlines threaten to fire them and sue them over a dispute.

In 1990,  Saddam Hussein appears on Iraqi state television with a number of Western “guests” (actually hostages) to try to prevent the Gulf War.

In 1990,  Tim Berners-Lee opens the WWW – World Wide Web to new users.

In 1990,  Armenia declares its independence from the Soviet Union.

In 1990,  West Germany and East Germany announce that they will reunite on October 3.

In 1993,  The Galileo spacecraft discovers a moon, later named Dactyl, around 243 Ida, the first known asteroid moon.

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

In 1996,  Osama bin Laden issues message entitled ‘A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places.’

In 2000,  Gulf Air Flight 072 crashes into the Persian Gulf near Manama, Bahrain, killing 143.

Hoyt-wilhelm.jpgIn 2002,  Hoyt Wilhelm, American baseball player and coach (b. 1922) dies. He was an American Major League Baseball pitcher. During his career, he pitched for the New York Giants (1952–1956), St. Louis Cardinals (1957), Cleveland Indians (1957–1958), Baltimore Orioles (1958–1962), Chicago White Sox (1963–1968), California Angels (1969), Atlanta Braves (1969–1970; 1971), Chicago Cubs (1970), and Los Angeles Dodgers (1971–1972). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. Wilhelm was best known for his knuckleball, which enabled him to have great longevity; occasionally as a starting pitcher, but mainly as a specialist relief man (in which role he won 124 games, still the record for relief pitchers). He is recognized as the first pitcher to have saved 200 games in his career, and the first pitcher to appear in 1,000 games. He is also one of the oldest players to have pitched in the major leagues; his final appearance was 16 days short of his 50th birthday. Wilhelm retired with the lowest career earned run average of any major league hurler after 1927 (Walter Johnson) who pitched more than 2,000 innings.

In 2006,  Natascha Kampusch, who had been abducted at the age of ten, escapes from her captor Wolfgang Priklopil, after eight years of captivity.

In 2007,  The skeletal remains of Russia’s last royal family members Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia, and his sister Grand Duchess Anastasia are discovered near Yekaterinburg, Russia.

In 2007, Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson  dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. His campaign released a statement saying the Republican is leaving the campaign trail several hours after WITI-TV in Milwaukee reported that Thompson told one of its reporters he was withdrawing. The campaign statement said Thompson intended to take sometime off before returning to the private sector and his nonprofit work.

In 2010,  Manila hostage crisis, in which eight hostages were killed.

In 2011,  A magnitude 5.8 (class: moderate) earthquake occurs in Virginia. Damage occurs to monuments and structures in Washington D.C. and the resulted damage is estimated at $200 million – $300 million USD.

In 2011,  Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is overthrown after the National Transitional Council forces take control of Bab al-Azizia compound during the 2011 Libyan civil war.

In 2013,  A riot at the Palmasola prison complex in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, kills 31 people.

In 2014, The board of directors of the pet industry’s trade group, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), voted to hire Ed Sayres. He ran the ASPCA for nearly a decade. In 2012 the ASPCA agreed to pay Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus $9.3 million of donations to settle a lawsuit regarding the ASPCA’s false allegations of animal cruelty by the circus. Courts found that ASPCA activists had paid the key witness, a former Ringling barn helper, at least $190,000, making him “essentially a paid plaintiff” who lacked credibility. Edwin J. Sayres stepped down as CEO in 2012

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