On This Day … 16 August


  • 1 BC – Wang Mang consolidates his power and is declared marshal of state. Emperor Ai of Han, who had died the previous day, had no heirs.
  • 942 – Start of the four-day Battle of al-Mada’in, between the Hamdanids of Mosul and the Baridis of Basra over control of the Abbasid capital, Baghdad.
  • 963 – Nikephoros II Phokas is crowned emperor of the Byzantine Empire.
  • 1328 – The House of Gonzaga seizes power in the Duchy of Mantua, and will rule until 1708.
  • 1513 – Battle of the Spurs (Battle of Guinegate): King Henry VIII of England and his Imperial allies defeat French Forces who are then forced to retreat.
  • 1652 – Battle of Plymouth: Inconclusive naval action between the fleets of Michiel de Ruyter and George Ayscue in the First Anglo-Dutch War.
  • 1777 – American Revolutionary War: The Americans led by General John Stark rout British and Brunswick troops under Friedrich Baum at the Battle of Bennington in Walloomsac, New York.
  • 1780 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Camden: The British defeat the Americans near Camden, South Carolina.
  • 1792 – Maximilien de Robespierre presents the petition of the Commune of Paris to the Legislative Assembly, which demanded the formation of a revolutionary tribunal.
  • 1793 – French Revolution: A levée en masse is decreed by the National Convention.
  • 1812 – War of 1812: American General William Hull surrenders Fort Detroit without a fight to the British Army.
  • 1819 – Peterloo Massacre: Seventeen people die and over 600 are injured in cavalry charges at a public meeting at St. Peter’s Field, Manchester, England.
  • 1859 – The Grand Duchy of Tuscany formally deposes the exiled House of Lorraine.
  • 1863 – The Dominican Restoration War begins when Gregorio Luperón raises the Dominican flag in Santo Domingo after Spain had recolonized the country.
  • 1869 – Battle of Acosta Ñu: A Paraguayan battalion made up of children is massacred by the Brazilian Army during the Paraguayan War.
  • 1870 – Franco-Prussian War: The Battle of Mars-la-Tour is fought, resulting in a Prussian victory.
  • 1900 – The Battle of Elands River during the Second Boer War ends after a 13-day siege is lifted by the British. The battle had begun when a force of between 2,000 and 3,000 Boers had surrounded a force of 500 Australians, Rhodesians, Canadians and British soldiers at a supply dump at Brakfontein Drift.
  • 1913 – Completion of the Royal Navy battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary.
  • 1918 – The Battle of Lake Baikal was fought between the Czechoslovak Legion and the Red Army.
  • 1920 – The congress of the Communist Party of Bukhara opens. The congress would call for armed revolution.
  • 1920 – Polish–Soviet War: The Battle of Radzymin concludes; the Soviet Red Army is forced to turn away from Warsaw.
  • 1933 – Christie Pits riot takes place in Toronto, Ontario.
  • 1942 – World War II: A naval L-class blimp drifts in from the Pacific and eventually crashes in Daly City, California. The two-man crew cannot be found.
  • 1944 – First flight of a jet with forward-swept wings, the Junkers Ju 287.
  • 1945 – The National Representatives’ Congress, the precursor of the current National Assembly of Vietnam, convenes in Sơn Dương.
  • 1960 – Cyprus gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
  • The first day of the Independence Days, celebrates the independence of Gabon from France in 1960.
  • 1962 – Eight years after the remaining French India territories were handed to India, the ratifications of the treaty are exchanged to make the transfer official.
  • 1964 – Vietnam War: A coup d’état replaces Dương Văn Minh with General Nguyễn Khánh as President of South Vietnam. A new constitution is established with aid from the US Embassy.
  • 1966 – Vietnam War: The House Un-American Activities Committee begins investigations of Americans who have aided the Viet Cong. The committee intends to introduce legislation making these activities illegal. Anti-war demonstrators disrupt the meeting and 50 people are arrested.
  • 1972 – In an unsuccessful coup d’état attempt, the Royal Moroccan Air Force fires upon Hassan II of Morocco’s plane while he is traveling back to Rabat.
  • 2015 – More than 96 people are killed and hundreds injured following a series of air-raids by the Syrian Arab Air Force on the rebel-held market town of Douma.
  • Bennington Battle Day (Vermont, United States).
    • A State holiday, unique to Vermont, commemorating the American victory over British forces at the Battle of Benningtom during the American Revolutionary War in 1777.
  • National Airborne Day (United States).
    • A day designated by the US Congress to honour the nation’s airborne forces of the US armed forces.
    • Created by then President George W. Bush in 2002.

People (Births)

  • 1848 – Vladimir Sukhomlinov, Russian general (d. 1926).
  • 1856 – Aparicio Saravia, Uruguayan general and politician (d. 1904).
  • 1888 – T. E. Lawrence, British colonel, diplomat, writer and archaeologist (d. 1935).
  • 1904 – Minoru Genda, Japanese general, pilot, and politician (d. 1989).
  • 1919 – Karl-Heinz Euling, German captain (d. 2014).
  • 1933 – Stuart Roosa, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (d. 1994).
  • 1934 – Donnie Dunagan, American actor and soldier.
  • 1956 – Vahan Hovhannisyan, Armenian soldier and politician (d. 2014).

People (Deaths)

  • 963 – Marianos Argyros, Byzantine general (b. 944).
  • 1153 – Bernard de Tremelay, fourth Grand Master of the Knights Templar.
  • 1225 – Hōjō Masako, Japanese regent and onna-bugeisha (b. 1156).
  • 1443 – Ashikaga Yoshikatsu, Japanese shōgun (b. 1434).
  • 1791 – Charles-François de Broglie, marquis de Ruffec, French soldier and diplomat (b. 1719).
  • 1904 – Prentiss Ingraham, American soldier and author (b. 1843).
  • 1945 – Takijirō Ōnishi, Japanese admiral (b. 1891).
  • 1959 – William Halsey, Jr., American admiral (b. 1882).
  • 1978 – Alidius Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer, Dutch soldier and politician, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies (b. 1888).
  • 2003 – Idi Amin, Ugandan field marshal and politician, 3rd President of Uganda (b. 1928).
  • 2006 – Alfredo Stroessner, Paraguayan general and dictator; 46th President of Paraguay (b. 1912).
  • 2010 – Dimitrios Ioannidis, Greek general (b. 1923).
  • 2014 – Patrick Aziza, Nigerian general and politician, Governor of Kebbi State (b. 1947).
  • 2015 – Shuja Khanzada, Pakistani colonel and politician (b. 1943).
  • 2015 – Mile Mrkšić, Serb general (b. 1947).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.