This Day in History

August 23


55BC  Julius Caesar first invades Britain   2073
30BC  Caesarion, son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, is executed by orders of Octavian, age 17   2048
406      Radagaisus, Gothic King, is executed by the Romans after leading an unsuccessful invasion of northern Italy   1613
1305      commander in the Scottish wars of independence William Wallace is executed by the English, age around 35   714
1478      Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance Johannes Pullois dies, age around 35   541
1769      birth of French naturalist Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric "Georges" Cuvier   250
1775      King George III declares that the American colonies exist in a state of open and avowed rebellion   244
1806      French physicist Charles-Augustin de Coulomb dies, age 70   213
1819      American naval commander Oliver Hazard Perry dies on his 34th birthday   200
1858      Round Oak rail accident near Dudley results in 14 deaths and 50 injured—worst railway accident in England to date   161
1864      Union forces capture Fort Morgan at the mouth of Mobile Bay, Alabama breaking Confederate dominance of all ports on the Gulf of Mexico   155
1866      Treaty of Prague ends the Austro-Prussian War   153
1896      recognized date for the "Cry of Pugad Lawin" marking the start of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish rule   123
1898      SS Southern Cross departs London on a voyage of Antarctic exploration   121
1903      photographer of western U.S. John C. H. Grabill dies in Saint Louis, age around 54   116
1904      automobile tire chain patented   115
1913      The Little Mermaid, based on a tale by Hans Christian Andersen, is unveiled in Copenhagen's harbor   106
1923      British engineer, mathematician, physicist, and inventor Phoebe Sarah Hertha Ayrton dies in Sussex, age 69   96
1926      Italian silent film actor Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d'Antonguolla (Rudolph Valentino) dies, age 31   93
1939      Germany and the Soviet Union sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact—in less than two years Germany invades Soviet Union   80
1942      beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad as the Germany army attempts to overrun the city—Soviets defeat the invaders 5 months later   77
1948      World Council of Churches is formed—first meeting takes place in Amsterdam with delegates from 147 churches   71
1954      first flight of the C-130 Hercules turboprop military transport aircraft   65
1960      American librettist, theatrical producer, and director Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein II dies, age 65   59
1962      American rodeo champion and a pioneer cowboy film actor, director, and producer Hoot Gibson dies in Los Angeles, age 70   57
1966      Lunar Orbiter 1 takes first photograph of Earth from lunar orbit   53
1973      bank robbery in Stockholm becomes a hostage situation over next 5 days—origin of the term "Stockholm syndrome"   46
1977      Gossamer Condor wins Kremer Prize for human powered flight   42
1980      NRAO Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope dedicated   39
1982      American biochemist and Nobel laureate (1972) Stanford Moore dies in New York City, age 68   37
1991      World Web Web becomes available for new users   28
1997      English biochemist and crystallographer and Nobel laureate (Chemistry 1962) John Cowdery Kendrew dies in Cambridge, U.K., age 80   22
2002      American Major League Baseball knuckleball pitcher James Hoyt Wilhelm dies, age 80   17
2002      Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) begins observations   17
2006      Canadian jazz trumpeter and bandleader Walter Maynard Ferguson dies in Ventura, California, age 78   13
2006      American geologist and oceanographic cartographer—created the first scientific map of the entire ocean floor—Marie Tharp dies, age 86   13
2006      Austrian woman who was abducted at the age of 10 Natascha Maria Kampusch escapes after 8 years   13
2007      Chris Messina posts the first hashtag, #barcamp, on Twitter to tag topics of similar interest   12
2011      Austrian mountaineer Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner becomes the first woman to climb the fourteen eight-thousanders without the use of oxygen   8
2011      earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 with an epicenter near Richmand, Virginia, is felt by more people than any other quake in U.S. history   8
2012      American author, folklorist, and anthologist Josepha Sherman dies, age 65   7
2012      hot air balloon carrying 32 crashes in the Ljubljana Marshes in central Slovenia killing 6 and injuring the other 26   7
2013      Russian economic sociologist Tatyana Zaslavskaya dies, age 85   6
2013      prison riot breaks out at Palmasola, a maximum-security prison in Santa Cruz, Bolivia—31 die and another 37 seriously injured   6
2014      Swedish author, translator, and illustrator Birgitta Stenberg dies, age 82   5
2015      Belgian nurse and volunteer during the siege of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge Augusta Marie Chiwy dies, age 94   4
2016      American actor Steven Hill (born Solomon Krakovsky) dies in Monsey, New York, age 94   3
2018      English entertainment reporter and writer Robin Douglas Leach dies in Las Vegas, age 76   1
2019      American businessman, philanthropist, political activist, and chemical engineer David Hamilton Koch dies, age 79   0

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.

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