On This Day … 07 August


  • 461 – Roman Emperor Majorian is beheaded near the river Iria in north-west Italy following his arrest and deposition by the magister militum Ricimer.
  • 626 – The Avar and Slav armies leave the siege of Constantinople.
  • 768 – Pope Stephen III is elected to office, and quickly seeks Frankish protection against the Lombard threat, since the Byzantine Empire is no longer able to help.
  • 936 – Coronation of King Otto I of Germany.
  • 1461 – The Ming dynasty Chinese military general Cao Qin stages a coup against the Tianshun Emperor.
  • 1479 – Battle of Guinegate, French troops of King Louis XI were defeated by the Burgundians led by Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg.
  • 1714 – The Battle of Gangut: The first important victory of the Russian Navy.
  • 1782 – George Washington orders the creation of the Badge of Military Merit to honour soldiers wounded in battle.
    • It is later renamed to the more poetic Purple Heart.
    • National Purple Heart Day (United States).
  • 1786 – The first federal Indian Reservation is created by the US.
  • 1789 – The US Department of War is established.
  • 1791 – American troops destroy the Miami town of Kenapacomaqua near the site of present-day Logansport, Indiana in the Northwest Indian War.
  • 1794 – US President George Washington invokes the Militia Acts of 1792 to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania.
  • 1819 – Simón Bolívar triumphs over Spain in the Battle of Boyacá.
  • 1927 – The Peace Bridge opens between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York.
  • 1942 – World War II: The Battle of Guadalcanal begins as the US Marines initiate the first American offensive of the war with landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon Islands.
  • 1944 – IBM dedicates the first programme-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (known best as the Harvard Mark I).
  • 1946 – The government of the Soviet Union presented a note to its Turkish counterparts which refuted the latter’s sovereignty over the Turkish Straits, thus beginning the Turkish Straits crisis.
  • 1960 – Ivory Coast becomes independent from France.
  • 1964 – Vietnam War: The US Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving US President Lyndon B. Johnson broad war powers to deal with North Vietnamese attacks on American forces.
  • 1990 – First American soldiers arrive in Saudi Arabia as part of the Gulf War.
  • 1999 – The Chechnya-based Islamic International Brigade invades neighboring Dagestan.
  • 2008 – The start of the Russo-Georgian War over the territory of South Ossetia.

People (Births)

  • 1533 – Alonso de Ercilla, Spanish soldier and poet (d. 1595).
  • 1742 – Nathanael Greene, American general (d. 1786).
  • 1876 – Mata Hari, Dutch dancer and spy (d. 1917).
  • 1907 – Albert Kotin, Belarusian-American soldier and painter (d. 1980).
  • 1927 – Edwin Edwards, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 50th Governor of Louisiana.
  • 1944 – Robert Mueller, American soldier and lawyer, 6th Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • 1957 – Alexander Dityatin, Russian gymnast and colonel.

People (Deaths)

  • 1632 – Robert de Vere, 19th Earl of Oxford, English soldier (b. 1575).
  • 1855 – Mariano Arista, Mexican general and politician, 19th President of Mexico (b. 1802).
  • 1864 – Li Xiucheng, Chinese field marshal (b. 1823).
  • 1917 – Edwin Harris Dunning, South African-English commander and pilot (b. 1891).
  • 1963 – Ramon Vila Capdevila, last of the Spanish Maquis, holding out after the end of the Spanish Civil War (b.1908).
  • 2011 – Mark Hatfield, American soldier, academic, and politician, 29th Governor of Oregon (b. 1922).
  • 2011 – Nancy Wake, New Zealand-English captain and spy (b. 1912).
  • 2015 – Manuel Contreras, Chilean general (b. 1929).

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