This Day in History - August 24

August 24

79 – Mount Vesuvius begins its eruption in southern Italy, destroying Stabiae, Herculaneum and Pompeii and killing thousands. The cities were buried and mostly forgotten until the 18th century when they were rediscovered and excavated

410 – Rome comes under attack by German barbarians

1542 – Gonzalo Pizarro returns to the mouth of the Amazon River after sailing it as far as the Andes Mountains

1572 – Charles IX of France attempts to rid the country of Huguenots by executing some 50,000 people in what will become known as the “Massacre of St. Bartholomew”

1759 – English politician and philanthropist William Wilberforce is born

1776 – During the American Revolution, General Charles Lee informs Congress that Georgia was much more valuable than he originally thought and that the Continental Army should assign additional reinforcements to it

1780 – King Louis XVI does away with torture as a means to coerce suspects into confessing

1810 – Leader of anti-slavery movement, Theodore Parker is born

1814 – During the War of 1812, General Robert Ross and his British troops seize Washington D.C. and set it on fire, including the White House. They were retaliating against Americans for burning the parliament building in York (Toronto), Canada

1821 – Spanish Viceroy Juan de O’Donoju signs the Treaty of Cordoba, which approves the plan to make Mexico independent

1828 – Confederate General George Hume “Maryland” Steuart is born

1847 – Under the pseudonym Currer Bell, Charlotte Bronte sends manuscript of Jane Eyre to London publisher

1869 – The waffle iron is patented by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York

1873 – William Henry Jackson becomes the first person to photograph Colorado’s Mount of the Holy Cross. The cross, a natural cross of snow, became elusive as many argued over its existence

1875 – Captain Matthew Webb of Great Britain becomes the first person to successfully swim the English Channel without assistance

1890 – Writer Jean Rhys is born

1891 – Thomas Edison files patent for the motion picture camera

1894 – The first graduated income tax law is passed by Congress. It will declared unconstitutional the following year

1895 – Director of Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Richard Cushing, is born

1896 – The beginning of the six-year-feud with the McFarland family begins when Thomas Brooks is shot and killed by an unknown assailant

1898 – Poet, translator, social historian and literary critic Malcolm Cowley is born

1899 – Argentine writer Jorge Luis Broges is born

1905 – Blues singer who influenced Elvis Presley, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup is born

1912 – Alaska is given territorial legislature of two houses by an act of Congress

1914 – American poet Alan Seeger volunteers for service in the French Foreign Legion during World War I

1915 – Science fiction writer, artist and CIA photo-intelligence operative, Alice H.B. Sheldon is born

1929 – Leader of the Palestinian Liberation Movement, Yasir Arafat, is born

1936 – Author A.S. Byatt is born

1942 – US naval forces defeat a Japanese force attempting to screen reinforcements for the Guadalcanal fighting in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons

1943 – French philosopher and mystic Simone Weil dies

1945 – American actor, producer, promoter, wrestler Vince McMahon is born

1946 – American judge and lawyer James Clark McReynolds dies

1948 – Edith Mae Irby becomes first black student to attend the University of Arkansas

1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty went into effect

1951 – Novelist Oscar Hijuelos is born

1954 – The Communist Party is outlawed in the US by Congress

1957 – English author, comedian, actor and journalist Stephen Fry is born

1958 – The first woman ever to compete in Formula One racing, Susie Wolff, drives a Maserati in the Portuguese Grand Prix

1960 – Baltimore Orioles shortstop and third baseman Calvin ‘Cal’ Ripken, Jr is born

1963 – Creator and director of video games, Hideo Kojima, is born

1963 – During the Vietnam War, the stage is set for a coup by ARVN generals when the US State Department cables embassy in Saigon that if South Vietnam’s president Ngo Dinh Diem does not remove his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu as his political adviser, the US would explore alternative leadership

1965 – Professional basketball player, Reginald “Reggie” Miller is born

1968 – France detonates a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific

1969 – During the Vietnam War, A Company of the Third Battalion, 196th Light Infantry Brigade refuses the order of its commander, Lieutenant Eugene Schurtz, Jr., to continue an attack that had been launched to reach a downed helicopter under the reasoning that they had “simply had enough” and were “broken”. Eventually the helicopter was found, but all eight on board were dead. The incident was widely reported by newspapers, as the case of “combat refusal” and none of the men were disciplined

1970 – US B-52s carry out heavy bombing raids along the DMZ during the Vietnam War. A radical protest group in the US, the ‘New Year’s Gang’ blew up the Army Mathematics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin Army Mathematics Research Center in Madison, killing a graduate student

1973 – Voice-over actor Grey DeLisle-Griffin is born

1975 – Georgios Papadopoulos, Stylianos Pattakos and Nikolaos Maaerzos, the principal leaders of Greece’s 1967 coup are sentenced to death for high treason but will later be committed to life in prison

1981 – Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life for murdering former Beatles band member John Lennon

1982 – A meetings takes place between Martin Siegel, a mergers and acquisitions executive at Kidder, Peabody & Co. and Ivan Boesky, an arbitrageur, at the Harvard Club in New York City, in which a plan is laid for Siegel to give Boesky inside information on upcoming mergers in which Boesky will later make millions. While later sentenced and imprisoned for their roles, the incident showcased the greed that is now commonly associated with Wall Street

1983 – American educator and writer Scott Nearing dies

1989 – Two political party offices and the homes of two politicians homes are burned in Colombia as drug lords declare “total and absolute war” on Colombia’s government

1989 – Pete Rose’s banning from baseball becomes official

1991 – Ukraine declares independence from USSR as Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as the head of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union

1992 – Hurricane Andrew hits Florida as a Category 5, causing 65 deaths and falling 70,000 acres of trees in the Everglades

1994 – Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization create initial accord regarding partial self-rule for Palestinians living on the West Bank. The agreement is named ‘Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities’

2003 – Son of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, Alexandre Coste is born

2004 – Two airliners near Moscow are blown up by Chechnyan suicide bombers killing 89

2006 – The International Astronomical Union redefines “planet” downgrading Pluto to a dwarf planet

2010 – 72 illegal immigrants from Central and South America are killed by Mexican criminal syndicate Los Zetas in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico

2012 – The man who killed 77 people in the 2011 shooting attack at the capital of Oslo, Norway and a youth camp on the nearby island of Utoya to draw attention to the “Islamic colonization” of Europe, is sentenced to 21 years in prison-the maximum allowed under Norwegian law

2014 – English director Richard Attenborough dies

2015 – English racecar driver Justin Wilson dies

Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.

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