On This Day … 23 July


  • 811 – Byzantine emperor Nikephoros I plunders the Bulgarian capital of Pliska and captures Khan Krum’s treasury.
  • 1319 – A Knights Hospitaller fleet scores a crushing victory over an Aydinid fleet off Chios.
  • 1632 – Three hundred colonists bound for New France depart from Dieppe, France.
  • 1677 – Scanian War: Denmark–Norway captures the harbor town of Marstrand from Sweden.
  • 1793 – Kingdom of Prussia re-conquers Mainz from France.
  • 1813 – Sir Thomas Maitland is appointed as the first Governor of Malta, transforming the island from a British protectorate to a de facto colony.
  • 1821 – While the Mora Rebellion continues, Greeks capture Monemvasia Castle. Turkish troops and citizens are transferred to Asia Minor’s coasts.
  • 1829 – In the United States, William Austin Burt patents the typographer, a precursor to the typewriter.
  • 1840 – The Province of Canada is created by the Act of Union.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: Henry Halleck takes command of the Union Army.
  • 1881 – The Boundary Treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina is signed in Buenos Aires.
  • 1903 – The Ford Motor Company sells its first car.
  • 1914 – Austria-Hungary issues a series of demands in an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia demanding Serbia to allow the Austrians to determine who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Serbia accepts all but one of those demands and Austria declares war on July 28.
  • 1921 – The Communist Party of China (CPC) is established at the founding National Congress.
  • 1926 – Fox Film buys the patents of the Movietone sound system for recording sound onto film.
  • 1940 – The United States’ Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles issues a declaration on the US non-recognition policy of the Soviet annexation and incorporation of three Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
  • 1942 – World War II: The German offensives Operation Edelweiss and Operation Braunschweig begin.
  • 1943 – World War II: The British destroyers HMS Eclipse and HMS Laforey sink the Italian submarine Ascianghi in the Mediterranean after she torpedoes the cruiser HMS Newfoundland.
  • 1945 – The post-war legal processes against Philippe Pétain begin.
  • 1952 – General Muhammad Naguib leads the Free Officers Movement (formed by Gamal Abdel Nasser, the real power behind the coup) in overthrowing King Farouk of Egypt.
  • 1961 – The Sandinista National Liberation Front is founded in Nicaragua.
  • 1962 – The International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos is signed.
  • 1968 – The only successful hijacking of an El Al aircraft takes place when a Boeing 707 carrying ten crew and 38 passengers is taken over by three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The aircraft was en route from Rome, to Lod, Israel.
  • 1970 – Qaboos bin Said al Said becomes Sultan of Oman after overthrowing his father, Said bin Taimur initiating massive reforms, modernisation programmes and end to a decade long civil war.
  • 1974 – The Greek military junta collapses, and former Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis is invited to lead the new government, beginning Greece’s metapolitefsi era.
  • 1983 – Thirteen Sri Lanka Army soldiers are killed after a deadly ambush by the militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
  • 1988 – General Ne Win, effective ruler of Burma since 1962, resigns after pro-democracy protests.
  • 1992 – Abkhazia declares independence from Georgia.

People (Births)

  • 1635 – Adam Dollard des Ormeaux, New France garrison commander (d. 1660).
  • 1773 – Thomas Brisbane, Scottish general and politician, 6th Governor of New South Wales (d. 1860).
  • 1802 – Manuel María Lombardini, Mexican general and president (1853) (d. 1853).
  • 1882 – Kâzım Karabekir, Turkish general and politician, 5th Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (b. 1948).
  • 1883 – Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, French-English field marshal and politician, Lord Lieutenant of the County of London (d. 1963).
  • 1892 – Haile Selassie, Ethiopian emperor (d. 1975).
  • 1900 – John Babcock, Canadian-American sergeant (d. 2010).
  • 1922 – Jenny Pike, Canadian WWII servicewoman and photographer (d. 2004).
  • 1961 – Michael Durant, American pilot and author.

People (Deaths)

  • 1403 – Thomas Percy, 1st Earl of Worcester, English rebel (b. 1343).
  • 1853 – Andries Pretorius, South African general (b. 1798).
  • 1885 – Ulysses S. Grant, American general and politician, 18th President of the United States (b. 1822).
  • 1927 – Reginald Dyer, British brigadier general (b. 1864).
  • 1941 – José Quiñones Gonzales, Peruvian soldier and pilot (b. 1914).
  • 1951 – Philippe Pétain, French general and politician, 119th Prime Minister of France (b. 1856).
  • 1955 – Cordell Hull, American captain, lawyer, and politician, 47th United States Secretary of State, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1871).
  • 2012 – Lakshmi Sahgal, Indian soldier and politician (b. 1914).

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