This Day in History

August 25


79      Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher Pliny the Elder is killed, age around 56) during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius   1940
357      Battle of Strasbourg–Julian, commander of the Roman army in Gaul, wins an important victory against the Alemanni at Strasbourg   1662
1537      Honourable Artillery Company founded by a Royal Charter—oldest military organisation in England   482
1580      Battle of Alcântra results in a decisive Spanish victory over Portuguese forces   439
1609      Galileo demonstrates his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers   410
1699      Christian V, King of Denmark and Norway, dies in Copenhagen after a reign of 29 years, age 53   320
1776      Scottish philosopher David Hume dies dies in Edinburgh, age 65   243
1814      White House is burned by British forces   205
1819      Scottish engineer James Watt dies in Birmingham, England, age 83   200
1822      astronomer Frederick William Herschel dies in Slough, Buckinghamshire, age 83   197
1835      Great Moon Hoax—The Sun of New York begins series describing giant telescope discovering lunar animals including flying humanoids   184
1836      American author and poet Francis Bret Harte born in Albany, New York   183
1867      English chemist and physicist Michael Faraday dies in Surrey, age 75   152
1875      first person to swim the English Channel, Matthew Webb   144
1900      German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche dies, age 55   119
1908      French physicist and Nobel laureate Antoine Henri Becquerel dies, age 55   111
1909      College Park Airport in Maryland aquires its first plane—world's oldest continuously operated airport   110
1914      library of the Catholic University of Leuven is deliberately destroyed by the German Army—hundreds of thousands of volumes lost   105
1916      U.S. National Park Service is created by Congress   103
1921      Franklin Roosevelt, 39, is diagnosed with poliomyelitis following a two-week illness—permanently disabled after this illness   98
1932      Amelia Earhart completes first transcontinental non-stop flight by a woman   87
1933      7.3 Diexi earthquake in Szechwan, China, kills 9300   86
1940      first bomber raid on Berlin is carried out by the RAF   79
1942      Battle of Milne Bay in Papua begins as Japanese attack the Allied airfields—ends 2 weeks later in a decisive Allied victory   77
1944      Allies liberate Paris   75
1969      American geologist and a "founding father" of plate tectonics Harry Hammond Hess dies in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, age 63   50
1981      Voyager 2 mkes her closest approach to Saturn   38
1984      American novelist, screenwriter, playwright, and actor Truman Garcia Capote dies in Los Angeles, age 59   35
1989      first flyby of Neptune—Voyager 2   30
1997      NASA launches Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) to study the solar wind and to provide real-time warnings of solar storms   22
2000      American musician, arranger, songwriter, composer, and record producer Bernard Alfred "Jack" Nitzsche dies in Hollywood, age 63   19
2001      American singer, actress, and model Aaliyah Dana Haughton is killed in a plane crash, age 22   18
2003      launch of the infrared Spitzer Space Telescope into a heliocentric orbit, fourth of NASA's Great Observatories   16
2009      U.S. Senator (D Massachusetts) for almost 47 years Edward "Ted" Moore Kennedy dies in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, age 77   10
2010      NASA inserts ARTEMIS-P1 into Earth-Moon L2 orbit—first spacecraft in such an orbit   9
2011      New York Yankees establish a MLB record hitting three grand slam homeruns in a 22 to 9 rout of the Oakland Athletics   8
2011      China's Chang'e 2 achieves a stable orbit about the Sun-Earth L2 point   8
2012      American pilot, engineer, astronaut, and the first man to step on the moon Neil Alden Armstrong dies, age 82   7
2012      Voyager i crosses the heliopause and becomes the first man-made craft to leave the solar system and enter interstellar space   7
2014      pioneer of African-American filmmaker William Greaves dies in New York City, age 87   5
2014      Dutch chemist and mass spectrometrist Nicolaas Martinus Maria Nibbering dies, age 76   5
2014      S&P stock index reaches 2000   5
2015      astrophysics instrument CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET) installed on the International Space Station   4
2017      Harvey comes ashore near Rockport, Texas, as a category 4 hurricane—causes extensive and record flooding in the Houston area   2
2018      Senator (R Arizona) John Sidney McCain III dies after 31 years in the senate, age 81   1
2018      1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sells for $48 million at an RM-Sotheby's auction setting the car auction record   1

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

day before yesterdayyesterday tomorrowday after tomorrow