August 5th in History

This day in history

August 5 is the 217th day of the year (218th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 148 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 25,  Guangwu claims the throne as emperor, restoring the Han dynasty after the collapse of the short-lived Xin dynasty.


Walls from the Betar fortress.

In 135, Roman armies enter Betar, brutally slaughtering thousands and effectively ending the bar Kokhba revolt. The Betar fortress was the last standing Jewishfortress in the Bar Kochba revolt of the 2nd century CE.

In 642,  Battle of Maserfield: Penda of Mercia defeats and kills Oswald of Northumbria.

In 910,  The last major Danish army to raid England is defeated at the Battle of Tettenhall by the allied forces of Mercia and Wessex, led by King Edward the Elder and Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians.

In 939,  The Battle of Alhandic is fought between Ramiro II of León and Abd-ar-Rahman III at Zamora in the context of the Spanish Reconquista. The battle resulted in a victory for the Emirate of Córdoba.

In 1068,  Byzantine–Norman wars: Italo-Normans begin a nearly-three-year siege of Bari.

In 1100,  Henry I is crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey.

In 1278,  The Siege of Algeciras ends in the context of the Spanish Reconquista pitting the forces of the Kingdom of Castile against the Emirate of Granada. The battle resulted in a Granadan victory.

braveh1In 1305,  William Wallace, who led the Scottish resistance against England, was betrayed by and captured by the English near Glasgow and transported to London where he is put on trial and executed on died 23 August. 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. A well-known account of Wallace’s life is presented in the film Braveheart (1995), directed by and starring Mel Gibson as Wallace, written by Randall Wallace, and filmed in both Scotland and Ireland. The film, however, was criticized for inaccuracies regarding Wallace’s title, love interests, and attire

In 1388,  The Battle of Otterburn, a border skirmish between the Scottish and the English in Northern England, is fought near Otterburn.

In 1570Juan Baptista de Segura leads a group of Spanish Jesuits to the Chesapeake Bay area to convert the Native Americans. The effort to found what was to be called St. Mary’s Mission predated the founding of the English settlement at Jamestown by about 36 years. In February 1571, all of the party were massacred by local Native Americans except a youth, Alonso de Olmos. The following year, a Spanish party from Florida went to the area for revenge; they reclaimed Alonso and, in the course of their confrontation, killed an estimated total of 20 Indians.

In 1583,  Sir Humphrey Gilbert establishes the first English colony in North America, at what is now St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

In 1600,  The Gowrie Conspiracy against King James VI of Scotland (later to become King James I of England) takes place.

In 1620,  The Mayflower departs from Southampton, England on its first attempt to reach North America.

In 1689,  One thousand five hundred Iroquois attack the village of Lachine in New France.

In 1716,  The Battle of Petrovaradin takes place.

In 1772, first partition of Poland, between Austria, Prussia & Russia.

In 1735,  Freedom of the press: New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger is acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, on the basis that what he had published was true.

In 1763,  Pontiac’s War: Battle of Bushy Run: British forces led by Henry Bouquet defeat Chief Pontiac‘s Indians at Bushy Run.

In 1772,  The First Partition of Poland begins.

In 1775, The first ship ever to enter the San Francisco Bay was the San Carlos, a Spanish  packet-boat under the command of captain Juan de Ayala.  It was sent by viceroy Antonio de Bucareli to survey the waters of the San Francisco Bay. The San Carlos reached the entrance to the San Francisco Bay on August 5th 1775, but the strong current pushed it back out to sea.  Using a tailwind, the boat made slow progress against the tide, and eventually slipped through the Golden Gate guided by the dim light of a half moon at 10:30 pm.

In 1781,  The Battle of Dogger Bank takes place.

In 1796,  The Battle of Castiglione in Napoleon‘s first Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars.

In 1816,  The British Admiralty dismisses Francis Ronalds‘s new invention of the first working electric telegraph as “wholly unnecessary”, preferring to continue using the semaphore.

In 1824,  Greek War of Independence: Constantine Kanaris leads a Greek fleet to victory against Ottoman and Egyptian ships in the Battle of Samos.

In 1844, the cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid at Bedloe’s Island (now called, Liberty Island), in New York Harbor. The actual statue was accepted as a gift to the United States, from the people of France, by U.S. President Grover Cleveland on October 28, 1886. The statue became a symbol of freedom to the European immigrants who passed it on their way to Ellis Island and their admittance to the United States. It remains, today, as a symbol of liberty for all.

In 1846, Oregon country divided between US & Britain at 49th parallel.

GB Donati.jpg

Giovanni Battista Donati

In 1854, the spectrum of a comet was observed for the first time by Giovanni Donati. Donati was also a pioneer in the spectroscopic study of the stars, the Sun, and comets. He observed the total solar eclipse of July 18, 1860, at Torreblanca in Spain, and in the same year began experiments in stellar spectroscopy. In 1862 he published a memoir, Intorno alle strie degli spettri stellari, which indicated the feasibility of a physical classification of the stars.

Donati also used spectroscopy of comets to determine their physical composition, in particular with the comet 1864b, which spectrum he found containing three emitting lines which would four years later be identified by William Huggins to be carbon. He discovered that the spectrum changed when a comet approached the Sun, and that heating caused it to emit its own light rather than reflected sunlight: he concluded that the composition of comets is, at least in part, gaseous.

Between 1854 and 1864 he discovered six new comets, including the spectacular Comet Donati (C/1858 L1), found in 1858.

In 1858,  Cyrus West Field and others complete the first transatlantic telegraph cable after several unsuccessful attempts. It will operate for less than a month.

In 1860,  Charles XV of Sweden of Sweden-Norway is crowned king of Norway in Trondheim.

In 1861,  American Civil War: In order to help pay for the war effort, the United States government levies the first income tax as part of the Revenue Act of 1861 (3% of all incomes over US $800; rescinded in 1872). President Lincoln signed the unconstitutional law the first federal government theft program.

In 1861,  The United States Army abolishes flogging.

In 1862,  American Civil War: Battle of Baton Rouge: Along the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Confederate troops attempt to take the city, but are driven back by fire from Union gunboats.

In 1864,  American Civil War: The Battle of Mobile Bay begins at Mobile Bay near Mobile, Alabama, Admiral David Farragut leads a Union flotilla through Confederate defenses and seals one of the last major Southern ports.

In 1874,  Japan launches its postal savings system, modeled after a similar system in the United Kingdom.

In 1882,  The Standard Oil of New Jersey is established.

In 1884,  The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty is laid on Bedloe’s Island (now Liberty Island) in New York Harbor.

In 1888,  Bertha Benz drives from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in the first long distance automobile trip, commemorated as the Bertha Benz Memorial Route since 2008.

In 1891, first travelers checks issued (American Express).

In 1901,  Peter O’Connor sets the first IAAF recognised long jump world record of 24 ft 11.75 in (7.6137 m). The record will stand for 20 years.

In 1906,  Persian Constitutional Revolution: Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar, King of Iran, agrees to convert the government to a constitutional monarchy.

In 1914,  World War I: The German minelayer SS Königin Luise lays a minefield about 40 miles (64 km) off the Thames Estuary (Lowestoft). She is intercepted and sunk by the British light-cruiserHMS Amphion.

In 1914,  World War I: The guns of Point Nepean fort at Port Phillip Heads in Victoria (Australia) fire across the bows of the Norddeutscher Lloyd steamer SS Pfalz which is attempting to leave the Port of Melbourne in ignorance of the declaration of war and she is detained; this is said to be the first Allied shot of the War.

In 1914,  In Cleveland, Ohio, the first electric traffic light is installed.

In 1916,  World War I: Battle of Romani: Allied forces, under the command of Archibald Murray, defeat an attacking Ottoman army under the command of Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein, securing the Suez Canal and beginning the Ottoman retreat from the Sinai Peninsula.

In 1921, The “New York World” published the first Pulitzer Prize cartoon ever awarded. “On The Road To Moscow”, by Rollin Kirby, was the cartoon that received the prestigious journalism honor.

In 1923, Henry Sullivan became the first American to swim across the English Channel.

In 1924, the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” by Harold Gray, made its debut in the New York Daily News. The search began for not only her lost parents, but her lost eyeballs as well. It was renamed simply “Annie” on Dec 9, 1979. His work would come to life in the Broadway and film adaptations of Annie a half-century later — to great success.

In 1925,  Plaid Cymru is formed with the aim of disseminating knowledge of the Welsh language that is at the time in danger of dying out.

In 1926,  Harry Houdini performs his greatest feat, spending 91 minutes underwater in a sealed tank before escaping.

In 1940,  World War II: The Soviet Union formally annexes Latvia.

In 1941,  World War II: The Battle of Smolensk concludes with Germany capturing about 300,000 Soviet Red Army prisoners.

In 1943,  World War II: Anti-Nazi resistance fighter Eva-Maria Buch guillotined at Plötzensee Prison, Berlin.

In 1944,  World War II: Possibly the biggest prison breakout in history occurs as 545 Japanese POWs attempt to escape outside the town of Cowra, New South Wales, Australia.

In 1944,  World War II: Polish insurgents liberate a German labor camp in Warsaw, freeing 348 Jewish prisoners.

In 1944,  World War II: The Nazis begin a week-long massacre of anywhere between 40,000 and 100,000 civilians and prisoners of war in Wola, Poland.

In 1945, Atom Bomb dropped on Hiroshima (Aug 6th in Japan).

In 1949,  In Ecuador, an earthquake destroys 50 towns and kills more than 6,000.

In 1949,  The Mann Gulch fire kills 13 firefighters in Montana.

In 1953, Operation Big Switch was under way as prisoners taken during the Korean conflict were exchanged at Panmunjom.

In 1957, The comic strip “Andy Capp” debut.

In 1957,  American Bandstand, a show dedicated to the teenage “baby-boomers” by playing the songs and showing popular dances of the time, debuts on the ABC television network.

In 1958,  Herbert Hoover eclipses John Adams as having the longest retirement of any former U.S President until that time. Hoover would live another six years, his record 31 years 7 months 16 days retirement has since been eclipsed by Jimmy Carter.

In 1960,  Burkina Faso, then known as Upper Volta, becomes independent from France.

In 1962,  Apartheid in South Africa: Nelson Mandela is jailed. He would not be released until 1990.

In 1962, First quasar located by radio.

In 1963,  The United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union sign a nuclear test ban treaty.  The treaty took effect the following October. The treaty was NOT signed by France…which would spend the next 30 years angering South Pacific nations by doing open air tests there.

In 1964,  Vietnam War: Operation Pierce Arrow: American aircraft from carriers USS Ticonderoga and USS Constellation bomb North Vietnam in retaliation for strikes against U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.

In 1965,  The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 begins as Pakistani soldiers cross the Line of Control dressed as locals.

In 1969,  Mariner program: Mariner 7 makes its closest fly-by of Mars (3,524 kilometers).

In 1971,  The first Pacific Islands Forum (then known as the “South Pacific Forum”) is held in Wellington, New Zealand, with the aim of enhancing cooperation between the independent countries of the Pacific Ocean.

In 1974,  Vietnam War: The U.S. Congress places a $1 billion limit on military aid to South Vietnam.

In 1974, The comic strip “Tank McNamara” premiered in 75 newspapers this day. Jeff Millar and Bill Hinds created the 6-foot, 4-inch, 225-pound former defensive tackle of the State University Sand Crabs; and who became a jock/sportscaster. “Tank” is still in the funny papers — or on the sports pages — today.

In 1979,  In Afghanistan, Maoists undertake an attempted military uprising.

In 1981,  President Ronald Reagan fires 11,359 striking air-traffic controllers who ignored his order for them to return to work.

In 1985, President Reagan revealed to reporters that a growth removed from his nose several days earlier was basal cell carcinoma, a highly curable form of cancer.

In 1986, US Senate votes for SDI-project (Star Wars).

In 1988, Treasury Secretary James A. Baker the Third announced he was resigning to take over the presidential election campaign of Vice President George Bush. Nicholas F. Brady was nominated to take Baker’s place at Treasury.

In 1989,  General elections are held in Nicaragua with the Sandinista National Liberation Front winning a majority.

In 1990, An angry President Bush again denounced the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, telling reporters, “This will not stand. This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait.”

In 1991, YES They Did! Democratic congressional leaders formally launched an investigation into whether the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign had secretly conspired with Iran to delay release of American hostages until after the presidential election. (A task force later concluded there was “no credible evidence” of such a deal.)

In 1991, Iraq admitted it misled UN inspectors about secret biological weapons and also admitted extracting plutonium from fuel at a nuclear plant.

In 1994, A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington chose Kenneth W. Starr to take over the Whitewater investigation from Robert Fiske.

In 1995,  Yugoslav Wars: The city of Knin, Croatia, a significant Serb stronghold, is captured by Croatian forces during Operation Storm. The date is celebrated in Croatia as Victory Day.

In 1995, Secretary of State Warren Christopher arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, to “build a bridge of cooperation.” (Christopher was the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Vietnam since the war and the first ever to go to Hanoi.).

In 1996, Richard Allen Davis, murderer of 12-year-old Polly Klaas, was sentenced to death. He gave the courtroom people the finger on each of his hands. He is currently on death row in Adjustment Center at San Quentin State PrisonCalifornia.

In 2003,  A car bomb explodes in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta outside the Marriott Hotel killing 12 and injuring 150.

In 2010,  The Copiapó mining accident occurs, trapping 33 Chilean miners approximately 2,300 ft (700 m) below the ground.

In 2010,  Ten members of International Assistance Mission Nuristan Eye Camp team are killed by persons unknown in Kuran wa Munjan District of Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan.

In 2012,  The Oak Creek shooting took place at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six people; the perpetrator was shot dead by police.

In 2015,  The Environmental Protection Agency at Gold King Mine waste water spill releases 3 million gallons of heavy metal toxin tailings and waste water into the Animas River in Colorado.


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