This Day in History

August 15


718      Second Arab siege of Constantinople is raised by rescuing Byzantine forces after a year   1300
1038      Stephan I, the first King of Hungary, dies   980
1057      Macbeth, King of the Scots dies   961
1248      foundation stone of Cologne Cathedral is laid—construction is eventually completed in 1880   770
1483      Pope Sixtus IV consecrates the Sistine Chapel—25 years later Julius II commissions Michelangelo to paint the ceiling   535
1511      Portuguese forces led by Afonso de Albuquerque capture the city of Malacca—gives control of the Strait of Malacca to Portugal   507
1519      Panama City, Panama, is founded by the Spanish conquistador Pedro Arias Dávila   499
1812      Potawatomi allies of the British attack Americans as they surrender and evacuate Fort Dearborn in what is now Chicago   206
1843      Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, Hawaii is dedicated—oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in continuous use in the U.S.   175
1843      Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest still-in-use amusement parks in the world, opens in Copenhagen, Denmark   175
1852      Finnish chemist, physicist and mineralogist Johan Gadolin dies, age 92   166
1892      Louis de Broglie, French physicist, born   126
1895      first U.S. battleship commissioned—USS Texas   123
1907      Scottish physicist John Kerr dies in Glasgow, age 82   111
1911      Crisco introduced by Proctor & Gamble—first shortening made exclusively from vegetable oils   107
1914      Panama Canal officially opens to traffic with the transit of the cargo ship SS Ancon   104
1935      Wiley Post (age 36) and Will Rogers (age 55) are killed in a plane crash during takeoff at Barrow, Alaska   83
1939      "There's no place like home," the MGM musical The Wizard of Oz premiers at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles   79
1941      captured German spy Josef Jakobs (age 43) is executed by a military firing squad at the Tower of London—last execution at the Tower   77
1944      American forces land on the beaches near Saint-Tropez—Germans abandon southern France   74
1945      in a radio address to his people Emperor Hirohito announces the surrender of Japan to the Allies   73
1947      Jawaharlal Nehru takes office as the first Prime Minister of India   71
1965      Beatles perform live to sellout crowd of 55,600 at Shea Stadium   53
1967      Belgian surrealist artist René François Ghislain Magritte dies, age 68   51
1969      the Woodstock Music and Art Fair opens in upstate New York   49
1969      establishment of India's Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)   49
1977      unexplained strong narrowband signal received by the Big Ear radio telescope of Ohio State University—"Wow! signal"   41
1998      car bomb set by the Real Irish Republican Army explodes in Omagh, Northern Ireland—31 die and 220 other injured   20
2001      Ukrainian computer and information research scientist Kateryna Lohvynivna Yushchenko dies, age 82   17
2001      astronomers announce discovery of first solar system outside our own   17
2006      Te Atairangikaahu, Maori Queen, dies after a reign of 40 years, age 75   12
2007      8,0 earthquake off the coast of Peru kills 519, injures 1090, and destroys over 58,000 homes   11
2007      American physicist, chemist, and biologist John William Gofman dies in San Francisco, age 88   11
2008      nine-year old Matthew Berger discovers bones from new species Australopithecus sediba north of Johannesburg   10
2012      American science fiction author Harry Harrison (born Henry Maxwell Dempsey) dies in Brighton, England, age 87   6
2013      car bomb exploded in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 27 and injuring over 200 others   5
2013      Smithsonian announces the discovery of the olinguito—first new carnivorous species found in the Americas in 35 years   5
2014      Italian-born American operatic soprano Licia Albanese dies in New York City, age 105   4
2014      13-yr old Mo'Ne Davis becames the first female pitcher to win a game in Little League World Series history   4
2015      American social activist and civil rights leader Horace Julian Bond dies, age 75   3
2017      Latvian-American architect Gunnar Birkerts dies in Needham, Massachusetts, age 92   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.

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